Steam-release system prevents condensation inside the machine, leading to a crispier waffle.
Priced a bit higher than budget models (although not the most expensive on the market.)
Produces evenly cooked waffles. Five levels of browning control.
Lacks the "bells and whistles" of some pricier machines.
Great for other foods besides waffles. Three temperature settings.
No browning setting.
An "old fashioned," stove top waffle maker puts the "control" in your hands.
Waffles taste good initially, but burn more often as product ages. Will "stick" without oil.
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Waffles are part meal and part celebration. It's impossible not to smile when you think of those fluffy treats smothered in fruit and topped with a swirl of whipped cream. When you have a waffle maker, any day can be special. However, with so many different models to consider, how do you choose the right waffle maker for you?
A stand-alone electric waffle maker is what you want to consider. One with a nonstick coating will facilitate both cooking and cleaning, but a waffle maker with temperature control will let you be in charge of the waffle's texture. For the novice, indicator lights and cool-to-the-touch handles are highly desirable.
If you'd like some expert tips on waffle making or you'd like to take a closer look at other useful features, continue reading. If you are already fairly certain of what you need in a waffle maker, take a look at our recommendations to find your best match so you can purchase one today.
You'll find two main varieties of waffle makers on the market: electric waffle makers and stovetop waffle makers.
Electric waffle makers are standalone appliances that plug into a power outlet. You cook your waffles on cooking plates inside a metal or plastic housing, and can often control the temperature and browning. This is definitely the most popular – and arguably the easiest and most convenient – type of waffle maker.
A stovetop waffle maker is essentially a hinged pair of cooking plates that fasten together. To cook waffles, you put the batter inside the waffle maker and put it on the stove, flipping it over to cook both sides. This was how people cooked waffles before electric waffle makers existed, and some people who grew up making them this way may prefer a stovetop model.
On the whole, however, stovetop waffle makers are much less popular than their electric counterparts, because they require more hands-on effort, and it's harder to get a perfectly cooked waffle.
Since stovetop varieties aren't commonly used today, this guide will focus on electric waffle makers.
Nina is a longtime gourmet chef, interior designer/decorator, and events planner. She has accomplished all of this in addition to maintaining a stellar career as a healthcare executive, where she helps alter the course of people’s lives via preventive care and healthy living. Nina’s hobbies include learning new recipes, planning and executing amazing dinners to impress local chefs, and hiking around the world.
The All-Clad 99011GT 2-Square Belgian Waffle Maker makes two Belgian waffles at once. Each waffle plate creates a one-inch thick Belgian waffle with a crispy exterior (thanks, in large part, to the All-Clad's "steam-release" system) and a fluffy interior. If you like deep waffle pockets to catch your syrup and butter, you're likely to enjoy this product. A few owners we surveyed told us that they occasionally get a "limp" or "damp" waffle out of their All-Clad. However, this could very well be the result of anxious consumers who don't wait long enough for their waffle to thoroughly cook.
Most waffle makers either make round or square waffles. However, some models make waffles shaped like cartoon characters or animals, which can be fun for kids or the young at heart. You shouldn't find a noticeable difference in taste or texture, so choose whichever you prefer.
We prefer waffle makers that allow you to control the temperature at which your waffles cook. On the whole, a higher temperature will produce a crispier waffle, whereas a lower temperature will produce a softer one.
Waffle makers with variable temperature settings make it easier to cater for different preferences.
The cooking plates of a waffle maker are the grid-like surfaces on which you put your batter. Most are made of aluminum, with a non-stick coating. This is because waffles are prone to sticking to the plates, so using a material without a non-stick coating will end in tears, torn waffles, and some tough dishes to wash.
If you're completely averse to using cookware with non-stick coatings, you can find a handful of stovetop waffle makers made from cast iron, which (with some careful seasoning) can be just as non-stick as Teflon.
Some waffle makers can only tackle one waffle at a time, whereas others can make four or more. That said, those units that only make a single waffle sometimes make one extra-large waffle, divided into four segments. So, as well as looking at the number of waffles the model you're considering can make, look at the size of each waffle.
Waffle makers with indicator lights are extremely useful, especially if you're new to waffle-making and aren't quite sure how long they take to cook.
Models that offer this feature usually have two indicator lights, one that tells you when the appliance has heated up enough to use, and one that tells you when the waffles are done. Some even make a beeping noise when the cooking time's up, which means you don't have to stand around staring at it to see when your waffles are ready.
Ease of Use
Hungry diners know whether or not their breakfast is ready when the Cuisinart's convenient "ready to bake/ready to eat" indicator lights with corresponding red and green hues come on. The Cuisinart features a cool-touch lid and round, non-stick cooking plates with four quarters, giving users the option of having a single waffle or dividing it up. We particularly like how this waffle maker, in its brushed stainless steel housing, stands on end for convenient storage in tight spaces.
There's no reason why dietary restrictions should stop you eating waffles: you can find plenty of recipes for dairy-free, gluten-free, or vegan versions.
What should you expect to pay for a waffle maker? It varies, depending on a range of factors such as the brand, the amount of waffles it can make, and what extra features it offers.
Basic waffle makers cost as little as $15 to $30. These models tend to produce a single waffle (though it may be divided into four segments), give you less control over temperature, and come from a lesser-known brand.
Mid-range waffle makers are usually priced between $30 and $50. This includes units from some better known brands and with extra features, such as indicator lights, alarms, and fine-tuned temperature control. At the higher end of this price range, you can find models that make two round or four square waffles at a time.
High-end waffle makers start around $50 and can cost well over $100, but we don't think you need to go the the very upper reaches of this price range to get a good one. You'll find some highly-rated models from trusted brands that produce top-notch waffles every time.
While baking powder does give a better rise to your waffles, baking soda can better bring out the taste of buttermilk in them.
A thinner batter will give you more crispness in your waffles. Using vegetable oil can help thin out your batter better than butter will.
Even if you're using a non-stick waffle maker, grease the cooking plates to prevent batter from sticking to the grooves, and be sure to grease between making waffles, too.
Do your waffles get soggy while they wait for the entire batch to be done? A simple solution to this is to add some cornstarch to the recipe; it will keep your waffles from soaking moisture.
Stick to to a waffle maker that cooks either Belgian waffles or American waffles – some claim to cook both, but quality tends to suffer with the added versatility.
The first waffle you make is usually the test subject that will tell you if your batter is correct, if the crispness is to your liking, and how the flavor resolved.
Waffle makers with temperature settings or variable browning settings offer you better control on how crisp and toasted your waffles come out.
Q. How long does it take to cook a waffle?
A. This varies depending on a range of factors, including which waffle maker you choose, the recipe you use, and how much batter you put in. If your waffle maker has one, we recommend trusting the indicator light to tell you when your waffle's done, but if you open the lid and it doesn't look crisp enough for your liking, you can cook it a little longer. Ultimately, it may take some trial and error to find that waffle-making sweet spot.
Q. Are waffle makers easy to clean?
A. If you choose a waffle maker with a decent non-stick coating, it should be easy to clean, especially if you can remove the cooking plates from their housing.
Q. Are waffle makers safe for kids to use?
A. It's great to get kids involved in the kitchen, and making waffles is a relatively simple task. Waffle makers are fairly safe, but because the cooking plates get very hot, we don’t recommend kids use them without an age-appropriate level of adult supervision. Ideally, look for waffle makers with handles or exteriors that stay cool to the touch while in use.
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