What we liked: The Breville made crispy and light American-style waffles in three to four minutes. The waffles made in this model come out round, thin, and crispy, yet manage to maintain a soft interior. Even though it makes only one waffle at a time, the Breville reheats and is ready for another waffle in under two minutes, so it can make a greater quantity of waffles in the same amount of time as many larger models. This model also heated the most evenly of all the brands we tested, both across the surface of the waffle and when comparing the top and bottom. With a built-in drip tray, this unit remains true to its "no mess" name. Equipped with convenient cord storage, a locking handle, and a slim design, it’s easy to store in tight spaces or small kitchens.
First off, the build: this thing is a tank. Made of the same 18/10 stainless as All-Clad's prized cookware, the 4-square model we tested weighs in at about 14 pounds, so lifting it will give you a nice little bicep workout to offset all that maple syrup. (A smaller, slightly less expensive 2-square model is also available; it weighs closer to 10 pounds.) That said, the exterior dimensions are not considerably larger than other 4-square models on our list (in fact, it was smaller than some)—so, though heavy, the All-Clad doesn't seem like it would take up appreciably more storage space. Ultimately, because its heft seems like a result of quality and sturdiness, we decided that the extra weight was an issue we would be happy to live with.
Making waffles has never been easier with the Easy Pour Belgian Waffle Maker. Simply use the included measuring cup to pour batter into the spout, adjust to desired temperature setting and within minutes you will have a perfectly cooked waffle. The adjustable angle makes it possible to evenly distribute batter easily and efficiently. Indicator lights plus five browning levels, guarantee crowd-pleasing waffles are easily baked for all your family and friends.
That said, the price differences between the high-end and low-end models are also significant, with the budget models ranging between $20 and $60 while the expensive models reached upwards of $125. Even though the budget models we chose as winners did not brown as evenly or result in waffles with near the quality of the expensive models, they still outperformed their peers. Our winning budget models also offer removable, dishwasher-safe plates, making them far easier to clean than our high-end winners, a much-appreciated feature that we feel makes them worth recommending.
Partly I think my nostalgia is preemptive: it’s for Brussels. We’re not leaving, not yet. We have no concrete plans. We speculate, throw ideas in the air, see where they land, then back away from them for now. It’s just that I’m beginning to think we might be heading towards done. Eventually I want more hens and less saxophone free jazz in my life and my husband wants space and peace. One day, perhaps not until the boys leave, we’ll do it. But this will forever be the place they grew up and it was pretty great, most of the time.
That first Sunday, after a few scolding headlight flashes and a quick burst of Google, we got the message. We’ve known the next ten have been coming. The weather is almost always good - I don’t know quite how they swing that - and we’ve cycled and roller bladed and walked and run, gone to local knees-ups and city ones. We’ve queued for ice creams, petted police horses and collected conkers. I mention this because I’m drowning in nostalgia at the moment: the kind of nostalgia that physically hurts, not the soft-focus, delightful kind. This variety aches until it’s almost intolerable. I usually love this time of year; I land in September with relief, a sense of purpose and a bustle of work after summer rootlessness but this year the work hasn’t come and it seems to have left me open to this weird, achy sense of loss.
We also tested the flip model from Hamilton Beach, the Hamilton Beach Flip Belgian Waffle Maker. It has a drip tray and removable plates for easy cleanup, and, although this unit is larger, the handle folds in for easier storage. Similar to the other Hamilton Beach model, though, this unit did not heat up well, which led to sticking and dense waffles.
After enjoying a plate of waffle goodness, you’ll need to clean up your mess. The level of cleaning you’ll have to do may depend on your waffle maker. Some models have a nonstick coating such as the Oster CKSTWFBF21 1-1/2-Inch Thick Belgian Flip Waffle Maker while others also have removable plates such as the KRUPS GQ502D Belgian Waffle Maker. Some models also feature a drip tray to make sure you don’t leave a mess on your countertop such as the All-Clad 99011GT Stainless Steel Belgian Waffle Maker. Others, like the NordicWare 15040 Cast Aluminum Stovetop Belgium Waffle Iron, can be placed entirely in the sink for cleaning.
Versatility combines with affordability in this option from Black and Decker. The griddle plates simply reverse to give you the option of either a waffle iron, griddle, or grill. No matter what you decide to make for breakfast, this waffler will help you serve it up hot. A temperature dial also grants you complete control over how to prepare your meal.
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Criteria for what makes an ideal waffle are somewhat subjective: I happen to like mine crunchy on the outside but fluffy in the center, but maybe you like yours golden and crispy? Still, some technical standards are pretty universally accepted, and those were what we focused on during our test. A good waffle iron should heat evenly and cook batter consistently from top to bottom and side to side without burnt spots or raw patches. It should allow enough steam to escape during the cooking process as to produce waffles that are structurally firm and not soggy. It should also be reliable, repeating the same results batch after batch, and easy to clean.
Easy to use, makes delicious waffles. I used a setting between 3-4, and they came out perfect. Later, I made corn waffles with a box of Jiffy mix. I will never make cornbread any other way again. The corn muffin waffles were crisp on the outside and perfectly moist (the only time you can use that word) on the inside. I did use non-stick spray, and resprayed after about 3 uses. I am so looking forward to many more waffle-shaped goodies.
Crispy on the outside and meltingly tender on the inside, with perfect indentations for toppings, waffles are one of the most loved breakfast foods out there. Being able to prepare waffles at home for yourself and your loved ones will satisfy both your hunger and your confidence in yourself as a cook. Wonderfully easy to use, wafflers broaden your breakfast horizons. I hope this list has helped you find a waffle maker that is right for you.
A previous version of this guide was written by Winnie Yang, who is now a Wirecutter editor. Yang worked in the food industry—with stints in a restaurant kitchen, cookware retail, and chocolate making—for over a decade. She was the managing editor of the print quarterly The Art of Eating and has written for that magazine as well as for Condé Nast Traveler, Feast, Jamie, Saveur, and Tasting Table, among other publications.
The red Power light comes on when the waffle baker is plugged in. This light will stay on until the unit is unplugged. The green Preheat light comes on when the waffle baker has reached the desired temperature and is ready for waffle batter. Check for doneness when steaming slows. Most waffle batter cooks in 5 to 8 minutes, making for a quick meal with easy clean up.
For our original testing, we assembled a panel of seven tasters. We made at least two rounds of Bisquick waffles and one round of yeast-raised waffles in each model. Rather than judge the time it took for the machines to heat up and cook, we focused on how good a waffle each maker produced. At first we followed the indicators to determine when the waffles were done, and if a machine had no indicator, we waited for it to stop steaming, as Matt Maichel suggested. We allowed for flexibility in cooking time, so if one needed more time, we would shut the lid and let it cook a little longer.
The Bella Copper Titanium Rotating Belgian Waffle Maker has a unique ceramic non-stick coating that is eight times more durable and cooks up to 30% faster than standard non-stick coatings. The coating is reinforced with titanium for outstanding durability and resistance to metal utensils. This healthy-eco coating does not contain lead, cadmium and is PTFE and PFOA free. No matter what side of the bed you wake up on, you will make the perfect flip with the Bella rotating waffle maker. Its...
The versatile four-waffle size allows you to feed large or small crowds, but this sturdy machine is still relatively compact, and it can easily store vertically or horizontally. Not only is it about the same price as our former top pick, the Proctor Silex 26016A (which is no longer being manufactured), it even feels of better quality and comes with more great features.
What we didn’t like: This is a big and bulky unit, making it a difficult fit in small spaces. Without a drip tray, there is potential for mess. (However, because it's a flip model, you need less batter to fill up the iron, so drips are also less likely.) There was some unevenness in cooking, with the edges browning a touch faster than the rest. The deep wells and fixed plates make cleanup difficult.
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