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9 of the Very Best Waffle-Makers

For all the not-pancake people.

Photo: Marcus McDonald
Photo: Marcus McDonald

In This Article

A waffle-maker is, in my mind, a luxury — a piece of kitchen equipment that doesn’t have the multiple uses of, say, a blender or the everyday nature of a coffee machine. But what’s become clear to me is that if you’re a waffle person, you’re an enthusiastic waffle person, and a quality waffle iron is just as much of a necessity as any other appliance. To that end, I asked some very passionate folks about the ones they rely on to get their breakfast fix.

What we’re looking for

Style

The waffle-makers on this list either create deep-pocketed, super-fluffy Belgian-style waffles or smaller-pocketed, thinner, crispier American-style waffles (referred to as “diner-style” and “Eggo-style” by a couple of the experts I spoke to and as “regular,” “classic,” and “traditional,” according to the internet). The only exception is the Norwegian-style maker, which produces waffles just a bit thinner and, therefore, slightly crispier than American-style ones. Which you go with simply depends on personal preference.

Shape

Do you like square or round waffles? This is another subjective decision that may make your waffles taste different — akin to cutting your sandwich in half or on the diagonal. Here, too, the one outlier is the Norwegian, which spreads the batter into five distinct heart shapes connected at the center so that the final form looks something like a scalloped circle.

Number of waffles

Here, I’ve denoted how many waffles each waffle-maker will turn out at a time, important to consider if you’re going to be cooking for one or two adults on a lazy Sunday morning, or consistently feeding multiple hungry children who want waffles right now.

Best overall waffle-maker

Style: American | Shape: Round | Number of waffles: One

Food stylist Sue Li has been carrying this Cuisinart waffle iron to photo shoots for at least five years, and it has never failed her — even with the wear and tear that comes with heavier-than-normal commuting. There’s nothing particularly revolutionary about this model, but in Li’s mind, that’s a good thing. “My preferred kitchen appliances are always the most analog. I want the least amount of bells and whistles. Oh, it has smartphone abilities? No, thank you. It connects to Wi-Fi? Okay, bye. This one plugs in and has a manual dial from high to low. It’s light, compact, and always reliable. It heats up quickly, and the cleanup is a snap.” Once cooled, Li takes a wet paper towel, wipes down the nonstick grates, and lets the iron air-dry. Gabriella Stern, the development coordinator at Hot Bread Kitchen, bought the same one for herself and her partner a couple of years ago in an attempt to (slightly) change up their pancake routine. She repeated a lot of the same compliments as Li — the simplicity of use, the short preheating time, the ease of cleaning. “The higher-end ones might do multiple waffles in one batch, but they take up a lot of space. This is perfect for two people,” Stern says. “Another thing I like is the smaller pockets. It has Eggo vibes. They’re thinner and on the crispier side.”

If you like the idea of a simple and affordable waffle-maker but want deeper pockets and a fluffier interior, Los Angeles Times cooking columnist Ben Mims loves his Oster Belgian Waffle-Maker. “I make a waffle in it every weekend basically,” he told me. And if you like the way the Oster sounds but prefer a square shape, Li relies on her Hamilton Beach Belgian-Style Waffle-Maker, which she described as having many of the same good qualities as the Cuisinart.

Best double waffle-maker

Style: Belgian | Shape: Round | Number of waffles: Two

Cuisinart reigns supreme when it comes to a double waffle-maker — the kind where you fill one side with batter, close it, flip it around, then fill the second side to make two that are done within a few seconds of each other. This recommendation comes from Roxana Jullapat, head baker at Friends & Family in Los Angeles and author of the cookbook Mother Grains, and though Cuisinart has discontinued the exact model she owns, this one is an updated version of it. “It’s very durable,” she says. “No joke, I’ve even used it in restaurants which are super-high-volume.” She appreciates that it holds a solid cup of batter, which she says is enough to make a substantial waffle. Still, batter never seeps over the sides, ensuring an easy clean of the nonstick plates.

Best durable waffle-maker

All-Clad Gourmet Waffle Maker
$209
$209

Style: American | Shape: Square | Number of waffles: Four

Sana Javeri Kadri, the founder of Diaspora Co., has had her fair share of waffle-makers — but none has stood the test of time like her All-Clad model, which she’s been using for four years. It’s relatively pricey, but in a “sea of cute-but-useless” versions, she’s found it to be “super-sturdy — like industrial grade,” she says. Indeed, this one is made entirely from stainless steel on the exterior (as opposed to plastic), including the substantial handle to open and close the machine. The heavier construction means it’s on the bulkier side, but that’s not too much of a problem since Javeri Kadri tends to pull it out of storage only on special occasions.

Best big-batch waffle-maker

Style: Belgian | Shape: Square | Number of waffles: Four

If you’re consistently making breakfast for more than one or two people, you might want to opt for this bigger version from Krups that makes four waffles at a time (yes, so does the All-Clad, but this one is a couple inches longer in all directions). It’s what recipe developer and cookbook author Jessie Sheehan uses to feed her husband and kids. “I always spray it first, and it works brilliantly,” she says. “I would say literally within five minutes — maybe even four — your waffles are perfectly brown. You can open the top and look. That won’t ruin them at all. One little thing I look for is once the steam disappears, then I know they’re done or close to being done.” She appreciates how easy the Krups is to clean. “The plates pop out and can be put in the dishwasher. We’ve never lost the nonstick, and I’ve had this iron for a long time,” she says.

Best mini waffle-maker

Dash Mini Waffle Maker
From $13

Style: American | Shape: Round | Number of waffles: One

Several years ago, New York Times Cooking editor Nikita Richardson (then a writer for this site) detailed her first foray into hosting brunch in her tiny studio apartment. She was able to pull it off partially thanks to this “palm-size” waffle-maker. “No matter how much I worried that I would overfill the iron, the Dash just kept spitting out tea-plate-size waffles that were perfectly browned and fluffy,” she wrote. The Dash’s super-compact size means you don’t have to sweat adding yet another appliance to your kitchen (especially a unitasker) as it’s so easy to store. Plus, at only $12, we think it’d be worth it even if you only pulled it out of your cabinet a few times a year.

Best waffle-maker for grain-free waffles

Style: Belgian | Shape: Round | Number of waffles: One

Several months ago, Moon Juice founder Amanda Chantal Bacon told me about her waffle-maker — the only one she’s ever found that does justice to her grain-free waffles (and yes, she tried and gave away six different models before finally deeming this one good enough). “With grain free, my goal is to always get a crust, then have a steamed cake on the inside,” she explains. But without any gluten in the batter, it’s all too easy for the waffles to end up sad and flat. This iron solves that problem. It gets supremely hot, which creates a steaming effect and ensures the texture she is after.

Best nonelectric waffle-maker

Style: Belgian | Shape: Square | Number of waffles: One

Just like with a panini press, you can opt for a nonelectric version of a waffle-maker. It presses batter into a waffle shape just like all the others on this list but uses the heat of the stove to do the cooking as you manually control the iron. Nordic Ware, a favorite brand of the Strategist, makes theirs from nonstick cast aluminum, which maintains heat really nicely (good for a crispy outside), but still ensures the waffles will come out of the tool with ease.

Best waffle-maker with pancake plates

Style: Belgian | Shape: Square | Number of waffles: One

In a previous version of this story, this waffle iron emerged as a reader favorite. It’s yet another Cuisinart (which means we trust it), but the reviews speak for themselves: It has nearly five stars with more than 3,000 ratings on Amazon, with buyers praising the versatility of the removable grooved and smooth-bottomed plates for cooking waffles and pancakes, respectively. One mentioned they use the latter not just for flapjacks but for eggs, sandwiches, and sausage patties as well, commenting that the unit heats up quickly and doesn’t stick. Many mentioned how easy the plates are to clean, with one saying they came out of the dishwasher “sparkling” even after she made sugar-coated waffles.

Best Norwegian-style waffle-maker

$73

Style: Norwegian | Shape: Hearts | Number of waffles: One

Norwegian-style waffles are made up of distinct heart shapes forming a scalloped circle you can pull apart at the indents. According to Kristi Bissell, the writer and recipe developer behind True North Kitchen, the batter often includes cream or sour cream in place of whole milk or buttermilk to make the waffles extra-rich in flavor, which are traditionally served with brown cheese or fruit and whipped cream. As for the maker itself, Bissell appreciates that the hinges are on the back sides of the handle, as opposed to the back of the maker itself, which creates a more even shape and thickness. She points out that the maker latches tightly in the front, ensuring that the waffles never puff up. Still, there are two cook settings: one that heats more quickly and ensures an ultracrispy texture all the way through and another that heats more slowly, giving the waffle just a bit of tenderness in the center.

Some more waffle-makers we've written about

Our experts

• Amanda Chantal Bacon, founder of Moon Juice
• Kristi Bissell, writer and recipe developer of True North Kitchen
Roxana Jullapat, head baker at Friends & Family and cookbook author
Sana Javeri Kadre, founder of Diaspora Co.
Sue Li, food stylist
Ben Mims, Los Angeles Times cooking columnist
Nikita Richardson, New York Times Cooking editor
Jessie Sheehan, recipe developer
• Gabriella Stern, development coordinator at Hot Bread Kitchen

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9 of the Very Best Waffle-Makers