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.
One of our two budget picks, the Cuisinart Round Classic Waffle Maker (WMR-CA), makes consistently excellent waffles, and its compact design is perfect for small spaces. It produces just one round, thin waffle at a time (even smaller than what our runner-up makes), so this model is a good choice only if you like your waffles thin and crispy, and don’t need a high-volume waffle maker. The hardware is also cheaper feeling than that of our other picks.
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.
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.

Use one of our Pizelle makers to prepare cannolis that look like they were created by a pastry chef with a professional-style stove. Coated aluminum baking plates cook cannoli shells evenly and let the shells slide out without breaking apart. The cast aluminum plates also quickly recover temperature so the next batch can cook without losing a lot of time. The traditional size for a pizelle is just under 5", and a pizelle maker can cook two shells in just under 30 seconds.


Most waffle makers are not overall difficult to clean and simply require a wipe off with a soapy damp cloth, followed by a dry one. Those without removable grill plates can be a bit more of a pain, with difficult to reach nooks and crannies. Waffle makers with removable dishwasher-safe grill plates are by far the most convenient when it comes to cleaning.
A. It's great to get kids involved in the kitchen, and making waffles is a relatively simple task. Waffle makers are fairly safe, but because the cooking plates get very hot, we don’t recommend kids use them without an age-appropriate level of adult supervision. Ideally, look for waffle makers with handles or exteriors that stay cool to the touch while in use.
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