Despite the honeyed yogurt and granola on some of the waffles pictured, please don’t be fooled. When it comes to milk, you’ll need to use full-fat (whole) milk in this recipe; this ensures there is less water content in the waffles, which means the waffles will steam less and remain crisp on the outside. More steam means you’ll end up with limp waffles. We don’t do limp and soggy anything around here, pun unintended. For flavor that is found in most classic American-style Belgian waffle recipes, feel free to use buttermilk if you have it on hand. It imparts a lovely tang to the waffles. If you don’t have buttermilk, I wouldn’t bother using the vinegar / lemon juice and milk substitute here. Buttermilk adds a nice tart flavor to the waffles that cannot be recreated with a quick substitute like that. This would work in a pinch, however. Even Bon Appetit agrees.
Waffles from the Hamilton Beach 26009 are also quite similar to those from the Proctor Silex 26016A and the Krups GQ502D: They’re 1 inch thick and a square shape, with an evenly browned exterior. Waffles consistently came out crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, and though the browning control didn’t produce quite as much range as any of our other picks, the Hamilton Beach 26009 never burned or undercooked a waffle. Batter didn’t always fill the top plate evenly, leaving waffles a little blotchy on top, but not in a way that significantly affected taste or texture. And, unlike our other budget pick, the Hamilton Beach 26009 handled thin, yeasted batter with ease.
The Cuisinart WMR-CA has been a budget pick at Wirecutter for multiple years. "It truly excels at making consistently thin, crunchy waffles," write the Wirecutter editors. They say that a bit of uneven browning they noticed in their test (there's a darker brown patch on the center) is just aesthetic and doesn't affect the waffle's crispness or taste. It's also a top pick from Your Best Digs.
“My 40-year quest to find the perfect waffle-maker ended when I purchased this double-flip model. Over the decades, I had bought and used a number of different non-flip models. All suffered from the same problem of requiring more precise filling than I was capable of — too much batter and it oozed out the sides and made a big mess, but too little and the waffles ended up with bald spots. Then I started paying attention to the waffle-makers that hotels use for brunch. From Frankfurt to Burlington to Savannah, they all used flip-style waffle-makers. So I hunted down and tried this model. It works great! The flip action distributes the batter evenly. No oozing, and no bald spots. And the thermometer/timer works very well — I set it around 4, and when the beeper sounds, I have perfectly golden-brown waffles every time. The waffles release easily, and there’s minimal cleanup. Best. Waffle. Maker. Ever.”