There's no easy way to say this: the real revelation of this test was just how mediocre most waffle irons are. But at least they were consistent in the ways in which they were mediocre! Far and away, the most common problem was one of uneven cooking, or what I like to call the "two-face" effect: waffles that emerged from the iron evenly browned on one side but pale and doughy on the other. It is not a good look.
This was the first waffle iron I've ever bought and I'm extremely happy with it. I've read some other reviews complaining about how it doesn't have a timer or other fancy gadget but for me that is only a benefit. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not great with technology but this waffle iron was so simple and easy. And I don't mind setting my own timer---in fact I prefer doing that as I've been greatly disappointed with automated equipment in the past.
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.
As always, though, with any kitchen appliance, user reviews are king because they tell how the appliance does under real-world conditions with a real person at the helm -- and how long they hold up under that real-world use. Combining all those terrific resources with our own kitchen experience led us to our recommendations for the waffle irons that are easiest to use and clean, and, of course, make a perfect waffle.
Belgian waffles are thicker than American waffles, and also have deeper wells for butter, syrup, or whatever else you decide to put on top of your waffle. In our opinion, choosing a waffle style comes down to a personal preference. However, the majority of highly-regarded waffle makers are Belgian — with the notable exception of one of our top picks: the Cuisinart-Round Classic Waffle Maker.
Get ready for more of a good thing with the Cuisinart Classic Waffle Maker. Bake delicious waffles fast with this gleaming stainless steel appliance. Nonstick plates, indicator lights and a regulating thermostat make operation easy while the five-setting browning control mean your waffle will always be baked to perfection. Top chocolate waffles with ice cream for an update on the ice cream sandwich, or try cheddar cheese and chive waffles as an out-of-the-ordinary complement to soup or chili. It’s time to break away from breakfast!
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.
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.
“I have no bad things to say about this. It’s completely nonstick — not like a little bit nonstick — it’s COMPLETELY nonstick. Don’t spray it or oil it or butter it. It’s nonstick. It heats incredibly fast and cooks fast, too. I’d play with the timing because it often says cook a waffle for four minutes, and I can get a nice fluffy waffle that’s not too crisp in way less. It depends on your preference. You can store it upright. I can tuck it out of the way much easier than stacking it in a cabinet somewhere. And lastly, I have made protein waffles and regular waffles and no matter the batter type or consistency, I had great results. My insane toddler keeps asking for waffles and I can’t deny him because they are just too easy to make.”
Toppings are fabulous, but the perfectly crisp, tender, and golden brown square waffles from All-Clad's Belgian waffle maker will leave you wondering, who needs butter and syrup anyway? It was one of the top scorers in all our performance evaluations and tied for easiest to use overall. Turn the dial to your preferred doneness setting, pour in batter (it's okay if you use too much — the removable moat tray will catch any excess), and go about your business until it chimes.
“Sometimes when cooking, one tends to get distracted by the kid screaming, the dog barking, the front doorbell ringing, or some other exciting moment. I was surprised to hear a little alarm go off when I began using this waffle-maker. There I was cooking, I mean, doing laundry and cooking, I mean helping with last-minute homework, cramming the towels in the dryer, and trying to provide a nutritious breakfast while putting my makeup on, when lo and behold I heard BEEP, BEEP, BEEP. I screamed, ‘Oh no! I forgot the waffle!!’ I went to the machine and there was a perfectly cooked non-burned waffle. Most impressive! The hearts are darling. The waffle comes out very thin and crispy.”
Yes, I can make Belgium waffles now! I still need to work on a from scratch recipe, but this turns out great waffles with either Stonewall Kitchen Farmhouse Pancake and Waffle Mix or Carbon's Golden Malted Pancake and Waffle Flour Mix -- I like both over other mixes. I can get the crispy outside and soft inside just like at a restaurant. My family was impressed but I drove them crazy as all I fixed for a couple of weeks I had the waffle-maker was different kinds of waffles with different toppings and fruits and foods. I like the thin profile vertical storage as well. And it is true that you really cannot overcook your waffles. Setting the waffle maker timer at 4 minutes seems perfect. And do not overfill - makes a sticky mess. 1/2 cup of batter seems to work fine. Lightly oil before the first use; then no need after that.
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).
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.
The Kalorik Traditional Belgian Waffle Maker makes large, fluffy, Belgian-style waffles with ease. Pour your favorite waffle batter onto the non-stick coated plates and close the lid, the waffle maker does the rest! Equipped with an adjustable temperature control knob, you can cook your waffles to perfection, make them as soft or as crispy as you would like. The unit features power and ready indicator lights, so that you always know when your waffle maker has reached its optimum cooking...
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.
- listening to Graceland, for some reason? For a while even podcasts, my usual refuge, became too intense and only the soothing sounds of Paul Simon could calm me. I am now more robust and listening to The Poisonwood Bible on Audible at my friend Fran’s suggestion and my god, it is brilliant. Why had I never read it? Because I am stupid, I suppose. It’s wonderfully read too. Recommend.
The Chef’sChoice WafflePro Express Waffle Maker comes packed with features, such as a locking handle and cord storage, making it convenient to tuck away upright; two indicator lights; and an on/off switch, allowing you to store the unit plugged in (the only model besides our winning Cuisinart equipped with such a switch). Unfortunately, the waffles it produced were highly uneven in color, with pale edges and one side much darker than the other.
We looked at one stovetop model, the nonstick-coated cast aluminum Nordic Ware Original Stovetop Belgian Waffle Maker (15040). We ultimately cut it because the iron depends too much on the cook’s attention and experience to yield consistently great results. Professional and seasoned home cooks may prefer the great degree of control this Nordic Ware model allows, and if you know your stove well, J. Kenji López-Alt pointed out, you can compensate for hot and cool spots. It’s also the easiest to clean, he said, since you can just throw it in the sink when you’re done. None of the other waffle makers can go in the sink or be sprayed.
This machine can be used for breakfast or lunch, with interchangeable waffle and pressed sandwich plates. You can make delicious, crispy waffles for breakfast, and then break the machine out again at lunch time to make golden, gooey grilled cheeses. Both sets of plates are dishwasher safe, and an indicator light lets you know when the device is ready to go.