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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.
If you’re curious (or in a hurry):
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.
Once you’ve read the reviews and chosen the waffle maker that’s best for you, you can scroll down to the bottom of this post and read my update on the secret (there are two secrets, actually) for making perfect Belgian waffles.
Cuisinart WAF-300 Belgian Waffle Maker with Pancake Plates
✅Click here to watch a video demo of the Cuisinart WAF-300 Belgian Waffle Maker with Pancake Plates.
This Cuisinart Belgian waffle iron includes both Belgian waffle plates and pancake plates. (Note that if you use the pancake plates, you cannot adjust the size of your 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.
✅ This Cuisinart waffle maker is the one voted as “Amazon’s Choice” 2018 winner.
❓What do Consumer Reports reviews say about waffle makers?
After their own in-depth testing and independent review process, Consumer Reports also chose the Cuisinart WAF-300 as their favorite, saying that it “served up plate after plate of Belgian waffles that were nicely and evenly cooked on both sides, whether on low or high heat.”
(They also suggest that you check out the recipe book for the Sour Cream Blueberry Pancakes, because they are gooood.)
Can you use Pancake Mix in a Waffle Iron?
Surprisingly (to me), the answer is no — or at least not as is. With a little modification, though, you can “transform” your pancake mix into waffle mix.
It turns out that waffle batter has more fat in it than pancake batter does, in order to make it thick enough to take shape and not stick to the inside of the waffle iron. Several people have had good results by adding a couple tablespoons of butter or coconut oil to the mix.
Another additional trick is to separate the eggs, beat the whites to stiff peaks, then fold them gently in at the end. to insure that their waffles are light and crispy.
Some pancake mixes even have a specific recipe for waffles right on the box.
T-fal SW6100 Sandwich and Waffle Maker with Removable Plates
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.
Are Waffle Makers Allowed in College Dorm Rooms?
Since my oldest daughter, believe it or not, is now a junior in high school and we’re starting to think about things like college visits and SAT scores, I started to wonder if students were typically allowed to have their own waffle makers in student housing. They sure would come in handy, especially one like the T-Fal above that also makes sandwiches!
I did some research, and the short answer is: Check with your college. I saw one campus that stated “All appliances should be UL listed and have an automatic shutoff.” (“UL Listed” means that it has been tested and meets certain requirements.) Another college website listed waffle makers as an “approved appliance.” A third college stated that “any cooking appliance with a heating element” was not allowed.”
Of course, let’s be honest here. I distinctly remember a guys I knew in college finding clever ways to hide their “illegal” microwave in their dorm room. And drinking was definitely not allowed anywhere on my college campus, but … well, we won’t go there.
But generally speaking, if you’re like me and generally like to follow the rules, especially where safety is concerned, then check with student housing to see what, if anything, is allowed before you make your purchase.
Hamilton Beach Flip Belgian Waffle Maker with Removable Plates
Whenever our family stays in a hotel, we try our darndest to find a La Quinta, simply because we love their free breakfasts with the rotating Belgian waffle maker!
This Hamilton Beach waffle maker doesn’t have the industrial strength that the one at La Quinta, but it does have removable plates that are dishwasher safe. Amazon chose it as their “Amazon’s Choice” 2018 Winner in the category of Belgian Waffle Makers with Removable Plates.
So why do some waffle makers flip, anyway?
We all know it’s fun to flip the waffle maker (well, our family thinks it’s fun, anyway) — but did you ever wonder why some waffle makers flip? And more importantly, does flipping make a better waffle?
Supposedly the flip feature ensures that the waffle will spread and therefore cook more evenly — the end result being that you won’t end up with soggy or burned spots.
What’s interesting is that apparently this feature is more important in commercial settings (like La Quinta and other hotels). Not only is it more important that the finished waffle “looks perfect,” but the expansion and spreading of the batter means that you get a thick, fluffy waffle with less batter than you might need to make a thick waffle in a traditional waffle maker.
So is the flipping feature important if you’re just making waffles at home? It may just be a matter of preference.
The reviews for this Belgian waffle maker were overwhelmingly positive. People liked the plastic drip tray that catches excess batter that spills out, as well as the flip handle that folds up for easy storage. They also loved how the waffles themselves came out. One reviewer described them as “crispy and golden on the outside, fluffy and perfect on the inside,” while another said that they were “Nice FAT thick yummy delicious Belgian waffles.”
✅ Click here to watch a customer video review of the Hamilton Beach Flip Belgian Waffle Maker.
On the other hand, there were a few people who didn’t like this waffle maker at all and gave only gave it ONE star. THE main complaint in these negative reviews was that it didn’t heat up enough to cook the waffles all the way through.
But wait! It turns out that these people may have simply gotten a defective product, which they could have returned in exchange for a decent one.
Amazon reviewer Thomas C. Corcoran bought three of the same waffle maker, with different results, claiming “the product is outstanding if you get one that works.” In his 5-star review he discusses his experience and gives a way to test your waffle maker right away so you’ll know whether or not it’s defective and needs to be returned.
✅ Click here to read Thomas’s review and troubleshooting suggestions.
George Foreman GRP90WGR Electric Nonstick Grill with 5 Interchangeable Plates
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.
Are you Supposed to Spray a Waffle Maker with Pam or Other Cooking Spray?
From what I read, non-stick sprays can cause a build-up on the waffle maker plates that is almost impossible. Over time, it actually makes the plates sticky — in effect, causing the actual problem you were trying to solve by using the spray.
Most waffle makers currently have a non-stick surface eliminating the need for cooking spray anyway.
One popular alternative I’ve seen is to dip a silicone basting brush in melted butter and “paint” your waffle iron plates with it. The brush makes it easy to get into all the nooks and crannies, and you can just throw it in the dishwasher when you’re done.
When in doubt, check the instructions on your particular waffle maker for what, if anything, you should coat it with before adding any batter.
KRUPS GQ502D Adjustable Temperature Belgian Waffle Maker
The KRUPS GQ502D Adjustable Temperature Belgian Waffle Maker with Removable Plates makes four waffles at a time, making it a good choice for people who often have a lot of folks to feed at the breakfast table. Another plus is that it has 5 adjustable browning levels, so if your waffle super-crisp (or not), you can adjust the temperature to make your waffle as light or as dark as you want.
This is also a good choice for people who just want a quick-and dirty waffle maker. This is one of the less expensive ones on the list (you can check the current price here), and it just makes waffles. There are no pancake plates, it doesn’t dub as a sandwich maker, and it doesn’t grill a chicken. It just makes waffles.
If you have your heart set on a true Belgian waffle, then this is NOT the waffle maker for you. Even though it calls itself a “Belgian waffle maker,” and claims to “bake waffles with extra-deep pockets,” its waffles are thinner and more similar to traditional waffles. (One negative review describes them as “more like Eggos”.)
Also, at 12 x 16.5 inches and weighing just over 9 pounds, some reviewers disliked that this waffle maker was “big and bulky.” It is, however, built in a way that you can easily store it vertically, so at least there’s that.
On another note, Amazon reviewer Smart Consumer, left a long and detailed 5-star review which, among other things, includes his recipe for Belgian waffles which he describes as “the bomb.”
Video — Best Waffle Iron Recipes
It turns out your waffle iron can make a lot more than just waffles. Watch this video to see three non-waffle recipes that you prepare in even the simplest of waffle irons.
Black & Decker 3-in-1 Waffle Maker with Nonstick Interchangeable Plates
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.
I hope this post has helped you find the best waffle maker for you to have a great, relaxing breakfast with your family in the morning!
Update: The Secret to Making Perfect Belgian Waffles
Oddly enough, when we bought a waffle maker, we — and my husband Rob in particular — were disappointed with the results. The waffles came out find, they didn’t stick to the plates, they looked fantastic.
But they just tasted … bland. They were not nearly as good as the ones we’d enjoyed at La Quinta’s.
Me being me, I decided that tasteless waffles — or worse, giving up — was not acceptable and the answer had to be out there somewhere.
It turns out that La Quinta uses Carbon’s Golden Malted Original Waffle and Pancake Flour, and being a desperate man in search of a good waffle, Rob immediately ordered a package to see if it worked.
Guess what? It did work! Instead of our waffles being tasteless and bland, they were perfect, and exactly like we remembered them being at the hotel breakfasts.
Problem solved, right?
Except … no.
The price was about triple what a regular boxed pancake mix costs. Sure, you could argue that it was worth it because it was exactly what we wanted. But if the entire family wanted to enjoy waffles a couple times a week … well, that price was too steep for us to maintain this lavish waffle-eating lifestyle.
I knew there had to be a way you could make good waffles without a special mix, so I went back to the Internet and did some more research.
It turns out that is a “secret ingredient” that you can add to your waffle mix (either boxed or from scratch) that makes your waffles both fluffy and tasty.
Yup. A heavy, dark beer. Don’t try something like Bud Light (yuck). Rob used Michelob AmberBock, but Samuel Adams Boston Lager would work well too.
The idea is that the replicates replicates the yeast typically found in “real” Belgian waffle batters, but missing from our “lazy American” version that uses baking soda and/or powder.
Rob was skeptical that just adding beer to our previously bland waffle batter could make much of a difference, but he reluctantly decided that it was at least worth a try. And sure enough, that did the trick.
So now you have not one, but two ways to go forth and use your new waffle maker to make perfect waffles — just like the ones at the hotels!