The drip tray included with the BELLA waffle maker makes cleanup even easier. After cooking several dozen waffles, we still found very little that needed to be cleaned from the waffle maker itself once the drip tray was removed. In addition, the nonstick surface was effective — however, it didn’t particularly stand out compared to the rest of the field.
The first thing we didn’t like was an unpleasant plastic smell that emanated from the Presto waffle maker when we first started cooking with it. While this scent did mostly dissipate over the course of our testing, and most waffle maker manuals suggest throwing away your first waffle because of chemicals that might be released from the non-stick, the smell from the Presto made us more uneasy than the rest.
Someone gave us one of these 12 years ago as a wedding gift. Used it every other weekend for all that time, and, like many heat-producing appliances, the heating element just wore out over time. We definitely got our money's worth out of it, and when it failed, we decided to get another one just like it because it had been so good. This one LOOKS the same as our old one, but definitely doesn't have the same quality build or performance of our old one. Hinge was loose and wobbly out of the box, the thermostat lacks precision (no difference between 3 and 5 settings), the heating element burns the center of the waffle while leaving the outside soggy and undercooked, it overflowed even with less than the 1/4 cup of batter recommended by the recipe, and the waffles invariably stick! We sent back the first one we ordered after it demonstrated these substandard characteristics, thinking it was just defective, and ordered another one. It wasn't a defect -- the second one had the same shortcomings: flimsy build, useless thermo adjustment, uneven cooking, and shallow waffle plates. It's too bad. This used to be a great product, but Cuisinart has cheaped out -- recommend you look elsewhere for a waffle maker.
The Chef’sChoice Classic WafflePro 852 was our former runner-up when the Chef’sChoice 840B was unavailable. Although this model was an initial favorite in our testing, with tasters praising its waffles’ consistency and crunch, it makes only two thin, American-style waffles at a time, whereas our pick makes four. We also found that this model had a tendency to burn waffles when the dial was on the highest setting.
There’s a reason it’s called a waffle iron, because it’s meant for waffles, right? Not so! Well, yes, but you know what I mean. If you’ve ever done any experimenting with your waffle maker, you know that it can produce some pretty good scrambled eggs, brownies, cinnamon rolls, and much more. Just make sure you have plenty of cooking spray as things tend to stick! I’ve compiled a list of 23 waffle iron recipes that are definitely worth a try.
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.
You can depend on the Breville the No Mess Waffle for thin crispy waffle rounds, one after another, after another. The other great thing about this brushed stainless-steel waffler is that it has a moat around the waffle grid that catches any excess batter so there’s never any runover on the counter or the machine itself making it truly no mess. It lights up and beeps when it’s hot enough for baking and again when your waffle is ready, but we wish the beeps were louder—they would be easy to miss in a noisy kitchen. After breakfast, you can latch the grids together and store it on its side to have more room to prep for the next meal.
Out of all our picks, the Krups is the only one that can feed a large group efficiently, producing four 1-inch-thick, 4½-inch square waffles at a time. But its shape also works for feeding just one or two people. As Will It Waffle? author Daniel Shumski pointed out, “You can always make four at a time if you want, or you could make fewer, or you could make four, freeze two.” Neither our runner-up nor our budget picks offer that option, since they make waffles that are big enough to serve only one or two people at a time.
What we liked: The All-Clad is well built and sturdy, and heats up quickly and evenly for perfectly crisp, light, and consistent waffles. The crunchy, golden waffles made with this model are tall and square, with deep nooks. The All-Clad makes two waffles at a time in under four minutes and reheats fast, requiring just two minutes between batches. It browns evenly along the surface and between the top and the bottom of the waffle, even without a flip mechanism. A drip tray is fitted to the back of the unit to contain spills for easy cleanup. This unit is also compact, as it's equipped with cord storage and locking handles.
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.
We also offer waffle irons with many attributes that add value for advanced chefs. Additional features include a variety of temperature settings, locking lids, countdown timers and chimes that announce the waffles are cooked. Some useful qualities for cooks of any skill level include griddle surfaces that don’t get gummed up with dough and moats to catch excess batter and keep it off the counter, which reduces the likelihood of messes and helps to simplify cleanup. Make the perfect pastry for serving cold desserts, such as ice cream or gelato, with specialty electric cookware such as a waffle cone maker. Properties like nonstick plates allow for easy cleaning, and they help make it possible to move quickly from completing one cone to starting the next without regreasing each time.
If you’re tight on space and money, the Black+Decker offers the most bang for your buck for thin, American-style waffles. It produces waffles that are thin and crunchy on the outside, with some chewiness on the inside; it makes four square waffles, with shallow wells, at a time; and its reversible plates and adjustable hinge convert it into a panini press for toasting thick sandwiches. The unit also opens up to lie completely flat as a griddle for eggs, pancakes, and more, making this a cheap all-in-one breakfast station. The plates are fully removable and dishwasher-safe for fast and easy cleanup.
Of course, it's a waffle iron that makes it all possible. And while the same machine may spend the other 51 Sundays a year wedged in the back of your cabinet, when that craving strikes, it better be ready for the big leagues. Because if you're going to go through the motions—the ceremony!—of making homemade waffles, why bother with mediocre results? If that's what you wanted, you could just defrost some frozen ones.
What else? Poor gentle Ouipette got attacked very badly by a slavering Alsatian psychopath and a month later still has a giant scar and a limp. This was a very bad scene altogether and they were not sure they could save him, but he has rallied with miraculous Ouipette spirit, many treats and me keeping the fire going CONSTANTLY ever since he got home from the vet’s. Surprisingly, he does not seem to have any psychological scars, but I am terrified every time I go round a blind corner with him, in case some kind of dog Dahmer is waiting to rip his jugular out (the dog did try to do that, but it was really fucking stupid and mainly ended up with his leg).
What we liked: The Cuisinart waffle maker was the hottest of all the irons we tested, making waffles in just over three minutes. The waffles it produced were light and fluffy on the inside, with a delicate and crisp crust. They had deep divots for holding lots of syrup and butter, and a traditional round shape. Because the iron gets so hot, the adjustable temperature is actually a useful feature, unlike on most of the other waffle irons we tested.
We’re still happy with our top pick from a few years ago, the Oster-Flip, but Oster doesn’t sell it anymore. They’ve switched their entire line to a new “DuraCeramic” coating, and while the wattage and temperature specs haven’t changed the new waffle iron just doesn’t brown waffles evenly. (We ordered a replacement model just to be sure something wasn’t broken.)
Unless you lead a life of leisure (or run a bed and breakfast) chances are your waffle iron is not going to be a daily-use appliance, so ideally you shouldn't have to allocate much of your kitchen real estate to store it. Since most waffle irons are pretty bulky, we paid special attention to the design—does the size of the machine make sense? Is the space well-used? Does it feel solidly built? Does seem like it will hold up well to cleaning and other wear and tear?
By way of a small apology for absence here is the most ridiculous picture from when we went indoor sky-diving in Charleroi at Christmas. One of the weirder ways to spend a morning. I look fucking ridiculous, not at all like a sugar glider, which was how I hoped I would look, but like some kind of really fat-faced... no. It's indescribable, I don't know what I look like. One of Alvin's chipmunks? It's bad. It's the kind of thing you wouldn't put on the internet if you had any self-respect or personal brand.