It started a few weeks ago I went out to breakfast with my oldest two kids and ordered a Belgian waffle with strawberries (and a Toffee Crunch Latte).
It was good. Like, really good. And I couldn’t help thinking, “We need to get a good waffle maker so we can eat like this without having to leave the house!”
I’m ridiculously lazy when it comes to cleaning. The idea of trying to squeeze a sponge in and around every little square of an appliance sounds so unpleasant that I could picture myself opting for cold cereal some mornings just because I didn’t want to have to deal with it. Fortunately, I discovered that some waffle makers come with removable plates that you can put in the dishwasher. (Call me slow, but I honestly did not know this until just last week.) so it was a no-brainer that I which sounds much more pleasant than trying to clean in between each little square yourself.
We haven’t made a purchase yet, but here are some waffle makers I found that look promising. They each serve a slightly different purpose, depending on your needs.
This Cuisinart Belgian waffle iron maker includes both Belgian waffle plates and pancake plates (although with the pancake plates, you cannot adjust the size of the pancakes. The timer starts automatically when you close the lid, and you can adjust the settings to make the waffles either more or less crispy.
Amazon reviewer NBC pointed out a clever way that this waffle maker avoids making a big mess:
The bottom of the waffle maker is angled inward!! I had no idea how cool this was until I accidentally made it overflow with batter (my fault, not the waffle maker’s). The batter dripped onto my counter top instead of baking onto the outside of the waffle maker like it did with my previous waffle makers. The counter top is exponentially easier to clean than the side of the waffle maker, so this is more helpful than I could have ever dreamed.
Some reviewers said the plates were too shallow to truly make Belgian waffles — they were more like regular waffles — but overall the reviews were very high and there was a lot of love for this appliance.
Note: Since Belgian waffles are so popular, I wrote another post specifically about the best Belgian waffle makers with removable plates.
Best Bizarre Uses for Waffle Irons
If you’re looking for a waffle maker that can also make a ham and cheese “hot pocket” type sandwich, this T-fal sandwich and waffle maker might be just what you’re looking for.
There is a green light that tells you when it’s heated and ready to cook, but it does not have a light or timer that will tell you when the waffles are done, so you’ll have to set a kitchen timer yourself when you pour the batter (reviewers say that three minutes work for them).
Amazon reviewer Rowni described their first experience with the T-fal waffle maker this way:
Washed and inserted the waffle plates, plugged it in, waited for the green light to appear and it was ready for use. Since I was anxious to try this appliance and didn’t want to start making batter from scratch, I used a can of Batter Blaster that I had in the fridge. (This happens to be a great product for waffles and pancakes!) I put it on the griddle, closed the lid and set the timer for 3 minutes. Three minutes is the right amount of time for waffles. They were excellent, easily removed from the plate and ready to make the next batch. I was going to season the plates with oil before using it initially but the instructions didn’t call for it so I didn’t…and there was no need to do so…NO STICKING! And when I was done, I let the unit cool and took the plates out and put them into the dishwasher…couldn’t be easier. I haven’t tried the sandwich plates yet but am looking forward to doing so! I would definitely recommend this item to anyone looking for a waffle maker…and the fact that it has a duel purpose and can make sandwiches too…you can’t beat it!
Some reviewers comments that, while the plates themselves were very easy to clean, while cooking the food tends to leak down into the heating elements and into spaces where the clips hold the plates that food has found its way down into. One reviewer even said they removed the screws so that could get some of the “gook” out. However, this product has lots of 4 and 5 star reviewers, so that must be a big problem for everyone. It sounds like a machine that you have to be careful not to overflow.
It’s worth noting that this T-fal waffle maker is less than half the price of the Cuisinart maker above.
Best Waffle Iron Recipes
It turns out your waffle iron can make a lot more than just waffles:
This George Foreman electric grill and waffle maker with 5 removable plates makes not only waffles (both regular and Belgian, and they are big ones, too!), but also sandwiches, bacon, steaks, hamburgers, paninis, and kebobs. You can even use the baking pan to make chocolate chip cookies! It comes with two drip trays, two spatulas, and a cleaning sponge.
The great thing about a waffle maker like this is can it replace a bunch of kitchen appliances at once. Amazon reviewer Gadget Fanatics says,
It replaced a toaster oven, two waffle makers (one regular, one belgian) and a grill someone gave us eons ago … We’re even getting rid of the rotisserie oven (we never used it much anyway). With the baking pan we’ve been able to toast bread, english muffins, toaster pastries and reheat pizza and meat patties. The grill plates cook great sandwiches, bacon (really great and drains a lot of fat), steaks, hambergers, franks, sausage, shrimp (we did kebobs with vegetables).
It’s also great for making food for a crowd. Reviewer Heather B. says, “I am able to make waffles, cook bacon & eggs for a great Suday breakfast for a family of 6.”
The cons of this waffle maker are that 1) You may not want one that makes sandwiches and steaks; and 2) It can be a challenge to store all the different plates.
Best Foods You Can Make in a Waffle Iron
The Black and Decker 3-in-1 waffle maker and indoor grill and griddle makes one large 8×8 inch square waffle which divides into four 4×4 inch waffles, making it great for families where everybody wants their waffles right away instead of having to make a few different batches. Reviewers described these as “old-school waffles” or “just like my Grandma’s waffles!” Amazon reviewer Robert Dumon Photographer elaborates on why this makes “normal waffles”:
We also have one of those a Belgium waffle irons, but I HATE those deep pockets it creates. How the heck is a guy supposed to butter THOSE waffles? For me a waffle should look like what you get in a Waffle House… thick enough to taste, but thin enough to be able to spread butter (or jam, or syrup, or whatever) over it without having to fill every one of those goofy Belgium waffle iron deep holes. This product makes great waffles with the proper consistency.
One particularly nice feature I noticed is that the top opens up flat, giving you more surface area to work with. For example, you can cook eggs on the “bottom” side while cooking bacon on the “top” side.
The negative comment that came up many times is that the plates are “flimsy” and that the top plate, in particular, does not always stay in place as well as it should. While I have not used this waffle maker myself, I can believe that comment to be somewhat accurate, because it is a pretty low price considered it is both a grill and a waffle maker. Just for a point of comparison, the George Foreman electric grill and waffle maker above costs almost four times as much as the Black and Decker on Amazon at the time of this writing.
Amazon reviewer Vernon L. Jenewein shared some helpful hints about using this waffle maker:
Cooks well and cleanly. However, be mindful that you need to allow just a little bit of time between taking out the fresh cooked waffle and putting in new batter to cook. If you start the process too quickly, you can get an undone center and the outsides will be done as intended. Also I found that when it cools down I can wrap the cord around the bottom half and put the cord in that small groove and lock it in with the plug in on the other side. I use a large pan under it to catch any overage-spill from baking. I have put too much batter in and had it ooze out the sides and drip onto that pan. It breaks right off from the waffle iron when done, and I can easily clean up the drip on the pan underneath. Use aluminum foil and merely dispose of the foil when done. I used NO spray, but relied on the oil I have in my waffle recipe (home style recipe). I wish there were a cross-element of coiled heating wire to get the centers of the grill more even, rather than the solid heating element. However, this type of element will be a lot harder to damage or burn out later on.
Finally, since we’re big Disney fans at my house, my family was eager to find a Mickey Mouse waffle maker with removable plates. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a single one! However if that’s not a deal-breaker for you, you can read the post I wrote reviewing the best Mickey Mouse waffle makers in general.