Last week I spent a night in a hotel ON. MY. OWN. This was the best night I have had in forever, I am not joking. Beautiful hotel. Just exquisite. Sunny afternoon in Ghent (which is lovely anyway). Went to stare at the Mystic Lamb for ages. Walked around buying myself an elaborate picnic of small delights. Practised my Dutch. Toured the hotel. Two delicious cocktails in the lovely bar. Retired to gigantic, pillow filled bed, watched Drag Race and ate my picnic with a cup of tea. Woke up, ate large delicious breakfast alone with my book, walked back to the station. Literally perfect happiness. Here are pictures.
First and foremost, you want a waffle maker that effectively and evenly cooks the batter. Electric waffle makers have heating elements on both sides, behind each grid, to aid in even cooking. Matt Maichel explained to us that these machines work by removing moisture from the batter via heat and surface area: “The dimples create more surface area; the more surface area, the more quickly the waffle can cook.” He added, “If steam doesn’t escape properly from the device, then you won’t get a good waffle.”
Made great waffles quickly. I had been worried because of other reviews which showed ripped waffles sticking to the plates. I think I know why: the indicator light (which is supposed to turn green when your waffle is ready) is in accurate. Your waffle will stick if the surface is not cooked enough and the indicator light consistently says your waffle is ready too early. The trick is to very gently try to open the waffle iron for a few seconds. If you meet resistance, your waffle is not ready and will rip if you force it open. If the waffle iron opens with a second or two of gentle force, you're good to go.
If you’re not serving the waffles as soon they come out, it pays to take a little extra care with them. As Maichel told us, when they cool down, the steam inside condenses and makes the waffles soggy—especially if you let them sit around on a plate at room temperature. “I’ll put it on paper towels on a cookie rack. Or I’ll put them in the oven,” Maichel said. If you need to make waffles in quantity and keep them warm, you can put them on a sheet tray in a low oven (200 °F) until you’re ready to serve them.
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.
For those who aren't happy with just wiping their waffle maker down to keep it clean, the Hamilton Beach 26030 Belgian Waffle Maker has removable non-stick plates and a drip tray that can all go straight into the dishwasher, and users say they come clean very nicely that way. The indicator lights make it easy to use, and the adjustable browning control offers some customization. Most importantly, it also turns out great, fluffy yet crisp Belgian waffles.
I speak from experience: a few months ago, clear out of nowhere, I was struck by a need for homemade waffles. I had to have them—and because I live in New York City and expect immediate gratification, I proceeded directly to my local discount emporium and procured a plastic waffle iron—covered in a thin film of dust—for the sum of $16.99. Back home, I washed it and hastily set about mixing up a bowl of batter. Sadly, this story has a grim ending: even after the the requisite heating and greasing, pouring and griddling, the specimens that emerged from my iron were flabby and pale—hardly deserving of the name waffle and certainly a far cry from the feast of my dreamings.
Waffle sandwich caterer Matt Maichel, who also greases the plates before each use, had specific batter advice. “You should take your dough out of the fridge to come to room temp, or it will not cook as well,” he said. “The trick to filling is, find a batter that you like; the viscosity determines how much goes [on the plates]. Thicker stuff doesn’t spread out as well, so you might have to help it.” (We found in testing that a spatula or the back of a ladle worked well for this.) “You use the least amount of really thin batter because it goes all over the place,” he added.
Our biggest criticism was one of consistency: some batches turned out strong, but others showed signs of uneven heating or inefficient steam release. Some waffles had over-crisped spots while others were golden on the bottom but soggy and undercooked on top, as though they came from two different irons. Still, the Krups was a solid performer, especially given its capacity, reasonable price, and rave reviews from other testers—it was the #1 pick from the Wirecutter and has over 240 five-star reviews on Amazon. We feel confident recommending it as a wallet-friendly alternative to the All-Clad.
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.
If our main pick sells out, we also like the Chef’sChoice WafflePro Classic Belgian (840B), our original top pick, which performs just as well as the Krups—but only with thick batter, which makes it less flexible in practice. It also produces fewer waffles at a time than the Krups, but it does have a wide range of doneness settings, and it will beep when your waffles are ready.