Many people think they don’t eat waffles often enough to own an appliance dedicated to this alone. And if waffles weren’t part of your childhood growing up, you’ll be forgiven to think that a waffle baker is an unnecessary purchase – after all, you can easily buy waffles from a diner or restaurant if you fancy them right?
While this is true, owning your very own waffle maker will vastly improve the quality of your breakfast offerings and buffet when the occasion calls. And once you’ve purchased your first waffle maker, you’ll be surprised how often this is.
Hangovers, social gatherings, hosting special guest and celebrations are all better when you have a waffle maker that rarely fails to deliver joy when it’s used. If you’re toying with the idea of buying your own, or your old one needs an upgrade, we’ve collected everything there is to know about buying a waffle machine and outlined some of our top picks for 2023.
Do I need a waffle maker?
While some use their waffle makers for all sorts of other tasks, like cooking bacon, pizza or waffle shaped cheese toasties, the chances are you’ll be using yours for just one thing: making waffles. The question is, how much do you love waffles and do you cook them frequently enough to justify your purchase?
If you’re going out once or twice a month to buy waffles for you and your family, owning a waffle maker might help you save money on this cost over the course of a year. However, when it comes to waffles, price isn’t really the biggest concern for people. The truth is, people are willing to pay for this home luxury simply because of how delicious a well-made waffle is.
The best way to review whether your purchase of a waffle is good value for money is by measuring its effects in happiness. If homemade waffles bring you a great deal of joy – whether it’s from the taste of them alone or the ability to feed your friends and family – then buying a waffle machine could be a real game changer.
There are two main types of waffle makers out there. The first caters to fans of fluffy waffles with large craters and segments that create gorgeous pools of syrup or cream when you pour it over. For this, you’ll want a Belgian waffle maker. If you’re less concerned about the size factor and prefer your waffles to be crispy, then you can buy a standard (American) waffle maker which will come with a more shallow waffle tray.
One of the most important factors when it comes to selecting a waffle machine is its ability to cook your waffle evenly. This is often something you won’t be able to tell until you’ve tested it out, so it’s worth checking online user reviews to check whether the waffles that are produced have a golden edge all over with no burnt or soft spots.
Even though waffles are not that big, the appliance used to make them can sometimes be fairly large. The most practical waffle bakers can be folded and slotted into most cupboards without any fuss, while others can be quite large contraptions with multiple controls. If you only have a modest sized kitchen, you can easily find one that will fold away and stand on its side with a cord storage option.
Not all waffles are round shaped. Some are square and others come in custom heart shapes. This won’t really impact the quality of your waffle unless you’re a purist, so feel free to choose whatever shape you prefer.
A sticky waffle plate is the most frustrating thing to deal with when making homemade waffles. Luckily, modern options almost always come with non-stick pans that make it easier to clean up. Others go one step further and allow you to remove the plates so you can clean them in the sink with the addition of overflow control features that stop your batter from spilling over onto your counter. If practically is important to you, look for these options.
How brown and crispy do you like your waffles? Some waffle irons possess a temperature setting that can be adjusted depending on the texture and colour you most prefer. Most waffles will come with a thermostat that lets you alter the way you cook your waffles, but it’s worth checking just in case.
You shouldn’t have to wait long for a good waffle to be made. In fact, if it cooks too slowly, it is likely to be overcooked at the edges. Ideally, a waffle maker should be able to turn out an evenly crispy and golden waffle in under two minutes.
Like other appliances, waffles either use sound or light to indicate that a process has been completed. Most people prefer sound alerts as they are more direct and noticeable. As long as your waffle maker has an auto-shut off feature, burning them isn’t really a problem, but if you want to create a large batch, it’s handy to know exactly when one waffle batch is done so the next can go straight in.
Rotating waffle makers
Waffle irons that rotate, or flip, are typically raised off the counter and have a handle that you twist to spin the waffle maker. By rotating the waffle maker upside down, you let the batter settle into the waffle plates on the top of the machine, evenly cooking the batter throughout.
What’s the difference between a waffle maker and a waffle iron?
While these two terms are often used interchangeably, strictly speaking, a waffle iron is a device that makes waffles over the stove or campfire while a waffle maker is an electronic all-in-one waffle-making system, with its own internal source of heat.
Having a cast iron waffle iron can be fun, especially if you like camping or have a fire pit in your garden / terrace, but other than that the two appliances are vastly different. The electric waffle maker / waffle machine is much more convenient, easy to use and versatile – even allowing you to cook more than just waffles in it.
It’s a bit like comparing classic iron skillets with electric skillet appliances. The durability of a cast iron skillet can’t be beaten, but it’s more complicated to turnout out a great batch of waffles in under ten minutes.
Mini waffle makers
Mini waffle makers are similar to normal waffle makers, but simply turn out waffles that are miniature sized. It bakes small waffles that are perfect snacks for children or if a large waffle is just too much for you.
If you’re sending your kids off to university or gifting someone a novelty present for their new apartment, mini waffle makers are a great choice. As well as being easier to pack away in cupboards, they’re often cheaper to buy too.
Thin waffle makers vs. belgian waffle makers
Many people love thin waffles because they are crispier than Belgian waffles. They are also called classic, regular, Eggo, or American style waffles and are enjoyed in the same way that larger, chunkier waffles are.
Belgian waffle makers create a more dense or fluffy texture and are similar to cakes or bread in their consistency. They are significantly thicker than regular waffles and require special irons or waffle machines to make them.
Thin waffle makers on the other hand turn out waffles that are much thinner and crispier than Belgian waffles. They typically use baking powder instead of yeast and are crunchier. They use small squares and grids with shallow indentations that creates waffles up to about 0.5-inches thick.
What about stroopwafel irons?
One of the best breakfasts you can tuck into on a Sunday morning is a stroopwaffel – a great variation on the Belgian waffle that originates from Holland. Also known as pizelles in Italy, they are thin waffle cookies that are dense and crispy. You’ll find a number of pizelle makers on the market that specialise in the creation of this kind of waffle, and can sometimes double up as a cookie, cannoli or pancake maker.
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Our top 6 Best Waffles Makers of 2023
1. Breville No-Mess Waffle Round Waffle Maker
One of the best waffle makers on the market today is the Breville No-Mess Round Waffle Maker. With seven brownness setting, aluminium cooking plates, an overflow moat for batter and a high reliability rate for turning out perfect waffles time and again, it comes well recommended by waffle lovers around the world.
2. Presto Ceramic FlipSide Belgian Waffle Maker
This is a great option for more budget conscious buyers who still want a decent waffle maker at home. It doesn’t come with all the features and functions of other more expensive waffle machines, but it does have a 180-degree flip to ensure the batter spreads evenly across the cooking plates as well as a ceramic non-stick interior that’s easy to wipe clean. It also packs away vertically which is great for kitchens with limited storage space.
3. The Breville Smart Waffle
This is something you’re only likely to buy if you really love waffles and don’t mind paying more for excellence. Coming in two sizes (2 slices and 4 slices) it comes with tonnes of settings and features to deliver the best waffles every time, whether you’re looking for a classic waffle, chocolate or buttermilk waffle, by calculating the ideal cooking time for each variety.
4. Dash Mini Waffle Maker
This waffle maker is a lot of fun. If you or your kids don’t need a full-size waffle, you can make smaller ones with a charming Dash Mini Waffle Maker which weights under 1 pound and delivers 4-inch waffles in less than three minutes.
5. Cuisinart Double Belgian Waffle Maker
This professional-grade waffle maker can produce two perfectly cooked waffles at once, letting you spend less time cooking and more time eating. It offers great Belgian waffle options with deep pockets and consistent heat distribution. It’s also incredibly easy to use with a flip rotation of 18-degrees and 6 different browning options. Slightly more expensive, it’s a good choice for a long awaited upgrade or if you have a large family.
6. KRUPS Belgian Waffle Maker
Many people really love the KRUPS Belgian Waffle Maker because of its removable plates that you can simply put in the dishwasher after use. Using a steam release system, it creates four square Belgian waffles with five adjustable browning settings.