Dear reader, when you mix all of the ingredients together for waffles, you’ll realize that things aren’t as smooth as silk. We’re not going for a cake batter here. The moment there’s no visible flour, you’re ready to go. Easy peasy! Mixing everything within an inch of its life to ensure a lump-free batter means you’ll likely end up with tough waffles.
After putting in a total of 63 hours on research, talking with four experts, and testing 21 models, we highly recommend the Krups GQ502D Belgian waffle maker for most people. It consistently delivers perfect-looking, crispy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside waffles, no matter what kind of batter you use. The nonstick grid releases waffles easily, and the dishwasher-safe plates pop out of the machine for effortless cleaning. A numbered dial allows you to control browning, and a loud beep with a green light tells you when your waffles are ready.
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 girlfriend is great, but this thing is amazing. She laughed when I said it, but in an uncomfortable way, as if she knows there is a chance I may run away with this machine never to be seen or heard from again. I have never been so overly satisfied with a product that exceeded my expectations right off the bat. We made the traditional-style waffles and filled them with an assortment of berries and peanut butter and syrup, and everybody was satisfied. We even tried cooking eggs, just eggs, as an omelette, and at about one minute a little more you have perfect omelette bowls to fill with whatever you wish. Tonight, I may throw some ground beef in there just to see what happens. Buy this and never look back … Shoot, buy four and feed the neighborhood every morning.”
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?
One other nice, though not strictly necessary, feature is the toggle switch, which allows you to select either a “crisp exterior/moist interior” setting or an “evenly baked” setting. For the most part, these settings work as promised: The former produced waffles with a custardy interior, while the latter produced more evenly crisp waffles. The only caveat is that, on a lower browning setting, your crisp-exterior, moist-interior waffles may come out underdone.
One of the most important attributes of a waffle maker is how well its nonstick coating works—there’s nothing worse than trying to clean stuck-on waffle from those narrow cracks. Luckily, waffles popped out easily from the Krups GQ502D with the aid of silicone tongs or chopsticks, even on the one or two occasions when opening the lid took a little prying. The manual recommends oiling the plates just once each time you use the machine, and we found that this step was more than enough to keep waffles from sticking, even through many rounds of batter. Best of all, the waffle plates detach from the machine, so once they’re cool you can pop them in the sink and wash them with soap and water, or, according to the manufacturer, even run them through the dishwasher. This is so much easier than cleaning most of the other machines we tried, including our former top pick, which requires you to wipe down the plates still in the machine with first a soapy cloth and then a damp one; inevitably, some soap seems to cling stubbornly in the cracks. But only two other machines we tested—the Nordic Ware stovetop model and Black+Decker’s brand-new (as of 2016) Removable Plate Waffle Maker, model WM700R—featured removable plates, and both fell far short of the Krups in ease of use and quality of waffles.
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.”
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.
Hungry diners know whether or not their breakfast is ready when the Cuisinart's convenient "ready to bake/ready to eat" indicator lights with corresponding red and green hues come on. The Cuisinart features a cool-touch lid and round, non-stick cooking plates with four quarters, giving users the option of having a single waffle or dividing it up. We particularly like how this waffle maker, in its brushed stainless steel housing, stands on end for convenient storage in tight spaces.
We went on a Sunday morning and the place was crowded but we we're seated down pretty quickly. We were offered the option to seat inside or outside, we decided to sit inside since it was a bit chilly. The seating arrangement we're kind of too close to each other but doesn't seem to bother anybody. The menu were pretty straight forward. They had three specials which they offer including a Khalua flavored hot chocolate with vodka (Just what I need on a Sunday morning ;) Overall, a great place to start your morning.