Although we included one cast aluminum stovetop waffle maker, we decided to eliminate cast iron models, because seasoning the material added another layer of complexity to use and care. In addition, we were interested in testing a waffle maker with interchangeable plates (one that could also serve as a grill or panini press, for example), but the particular model we had our eye on, the T-fal EZ Clean Sandwich and Waffle Maker, has been discontinued, and in a later conversation with Matt Maichel, he confirmed that a device dedicated solely to waffle making works better than one that multitasks.
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.

Most modern waffle makers run on electricity and can be adjusted to produce lighter or darker waffles. Many, but not all, have indicator lights and audible beeps to cue you through the preheating, battering and cooking stages. Even more important, the waffle maker should maintain consistent, even heat to make sure your waffle isn't overcooked on the outside and mushy on the inside, or cooked in some places but not in others.
Cuisinart recommends the heat setting #3 for golden brown waffles. If you prefer crisper, darker waffles, increase the browning control to setting #4 or 5. For evenly filled waffles, pour the batter onto the center of the lower grid and close the cover. We recommend using 1/2 cup batter per waffle for evenly filled waffles. Waffles are best when made to order, but baked waffles may be kept warm in a 200°F oven. Place in a baking pan or wrap in foil while in the oven. Waffles wrapped in foil may lose their crispiness. Baked waffles may be frozen. Allow to cool completely, then place in plastic food storage bag. Use waxed paper to keep waffles separated. Reheat in a toaster or toaster oven when ready to use.
This machine can be used for breakfast or lunch, with interchangeable waffle and pressed sandwich plates. You can make delicious, crispy waffles for breakfast, and then break the machine out again at lunch time to make golden, gooey grilled cheeses. Both sets of plates are dishwasher safe, and an indicator light lets you know when the device is ready to go.
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