If you have a Ron Swanson mindset when it comes to breakfast, chances are you take your waffles very seriously. When it comes to kitchen appliances, however, waffle irons are often an afterthought of blenders, blenders, and toaster ovens – in fact, they can actually help you cook quite a few dishes at the same time. beyond waffles.
âOnce you start to think of the waffle iron as more than a single-use device, the possibilities really expand,â said Daniel Shumski, recipe developer and author of âWill It Waffle? He highlighted several innovative ideas for the tool, including smorffles (s’mores waffles), waffle falafels and waffle chocolate chip cookies. New Jersey chef and food stylist Carla Contreras agreed that “the possibilities are endless” and added that you can use the machine to do everything from hash browns and omelets to quesadillas and macaroni and cheese.
To help give you a bit of waffle wisdom, we’ve polled experts on what features to look for in a waffle iron, and got their recommendations for double-sided waffle irons, square waffle irons, and more.
LEARN MORE How To Buy A Waffle Maker | How to maintain a waffle iron
Waffle irons to consider in 2021
Below, we’ve rounded up waffle maker choices from cooking experts for every type of chef.
Best waffle maker: Breville
Breville Smart Waffle
According to Shumski, Breville makes some of the best waffle irons on the market. âThey heat up very evenly and have a great non-stick coating,â he said. However, Shumski cautioned that these kitchen appliances “are NOT cheap,” so they may be better for large families or couples who plan to use their waffle iron often.
Best Double Sided Waffle Maker: Cuisinart
Cuisinart WAF-F20P1 Waffle Maker
Contreras uses this specific waffle maker around the house with her family, and she loves that “you can make two [waffles] both âwith her. “He also rocks [and] creates round Belgian-style waffles, âshe noted. âBonus: this beeps when ready to cook. “
Best Affordable Waffle Maker: Oster
Belgian Waffle Maker Oster
If you’re not looking to spend too much money on a waffle iron, Contreras said this is a âsimple and affordableâ option to consider. âI love the lights on the top and the fact that you can adjust the temperature,â she said.
Best square waffle iron: Cuisinart
Cuisinart WAF-150 4 Slice Waffle Maker
For those who prefer square-shaped waffles, Contreras recommended this waffle maker from Cuisinart that bakes four waffles at a time. âHe has a light to let you know when he’s ready,â she noted. “You can adjust the temperature and it has non-stick grates.”
Best waffle maker for mini waffles: Nostalgia
Nostalgia MWF5AQ Personal Waffle Maker
If you’re short on space or have kids who don’t finish their larger waffles, Contreras recommended this mini waffle iron, which is just 3.5 inches tall. Depending on the brand, the waffle iron heats up in 1 to 3 minutes and the indicator light turns off when it is at the correct temperature for baking. It has a non-stick surface and makes 5 inch waffles.
How to buy a waffle iron
All waffle irons serve the same basic purpose, but not all are created equal. Below, the experts have highlighted some things to watch out for during the buying process.
Size and shape
Waffle irons can be round, square, or even character shaped. They can also be designed to make a different number of waffles, ranging from one to four at a time. However, there is no one ideal size or shape – as Shumski noted, it comes down to “personal preference.”
âIt’s tricky because you’re probably going to own a waffle iron and it involves a certain degree of commitment to a unique size or shape. But don’t think too much about it, âhe advised. âGo for what appeals to you. Contreras also said to keep in mind the storage space you have as well as the number of people you will be cooking for.
Experts we spoke to agreed that the most important thing to look for in a waffle iron is a non-stick coating, which facilitates cleaning of the device. However, Shumski cautioned that while “most waffle irons have non-stick coatings, not all non-stick coatings are the same.” Some of the cheaper waffle irons, he said, “may disappoint in terms of the quality of the non-stick coating.”
Shumski also noted that it is convenient to have a waffle iron with removable plates. âIt’s not crucial, but it can help with cleanup if you’re making more adventurous waffles,â he noted. Some machines, like the All-Clad stainless steel waffle iron, even have removable plates that are dishwasher safe.
If you have a large family or just prefer to get things done quickly, a double-sided waffle iron may be a good option. âI love my double-sided waffle iron for me and my family,â Contreras said. This type of waffle maker bakes two waffles simultaneously, essentially cutting your baking time in half.
How to maintain a waffle iron
Waffle irons are relatively easy to maintain: if the one you buy isn’t dishwasher safe, you can most likely clean it with soap and water. However, according to Contreras, there are other things you can do to avoid big damage and keep your iron in good condition:
- Don’t overfill your waffle iron with batter. âIt makes a giant mess and it’s hard to clean up,â Contreras explained.
- Never use metal utensils to take your waffle out of the iron. According to Contreras, these can “scratch the surface” of the waffle iron.
- Coat your waffle iron with oil or butter before baking. âI always make sure to sterilize with olive oil before cooking,â Contreras noted.
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