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11 of the Very Best Waffle-Makers

For all the not-pancake people.

The best waffle maker is the Cuisinart Classic Round Waffle Maker.
Photo: Marcus McDonald
The best waffle maker is the Cuisinart Classic Round Waffle Maker.
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 iron is just as much of a necessity as any other appliance. To that end, I set out to find the best models, testing a couple myself (a chunkier, more expensive Belgian-style one and a cheaper, slimmer machine that ended up being my favorite) both from Cuisinart, which, after doing extensive research, I’ve gathered is generally the most trusted brand on the market.

Then, to round out the list, I talked to several cooks and bakers, making sure to tap folks who I knew had a favorite machine, or who I had seen develop waffle recipes (meaning they made many waffles in the process). What I’ve discovered is that at the end of the day, a lot of this comes down to preference: Do you want large-pocketed, fluffy waffles, or thinner, crispy ones? Are you okay making one at a time or do you have kids clamoring for more? No matter what, I have you covered. And if you’re a pancake person, you can find my guide to the best nonstick skillets here, too.

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 (also 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 exceptions are the Norwegian-style maker (which produces waffles just a bit thinner, and therefore slightly crispier, than American-style ones) and the bubble maker (which produces waffles made up of distinct spherical shapes). Which you go with simply depends on personal preference.

Shape

Do you like square or round waffles? This is another subjective decision that may or may not make your waffles taste different, akin to cutting your sandwich in half or on the diagonal. Again, the outliers are the Norwegian, which spreads the batter into five distinct heart shapes connected at the center and the bubble, which comes out as a hexagonal shape you can eat in bites or rip into individual circles.

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 waffle-maker overall

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

I love this Cuisinart maker and find the waffles it produces to be particularly delicious — and when something so cheap works so well, it earns a best overall badge. Admittedly, I’m not someone who cooks waffles on a regular basis — but I was so impressed, I made permanent room for the machine in my cupboard. The appliance’s overall small and slim profile helped it earn its spot, too. (No matter how much I liked a bigger waffle maker, I likely wouldn’t have done the same, as space is precious in my Brooklyn apartment and single-use appliances generally don’t make the cut.)

As for the waffles themselves, Gabriella Stern, former development coordinator at Hot Bread Kitchen, likened their overall stature and texture to Eggos, which I think is right on: They’re quite thin, with a super crisp exterior (more so than you would find with an actual Eggo) and almost custardy center. There are five increasing temperatures and I cook them at the recommended level three, which produces a perfectly golden-brown color. It only takes a few minutes to preheat, and the nonstick surface is super easy to wipe down with a damp paper towel. One warning: When your waffle is done cooking, the maker has a light that turns from red to green, but it doesn’t make any sound, so you have to pay attention.

To get a sense of its durability (especially given the low price), I talked to food stylist Sue Li, who has been carrying this Cuisinart waffle iron to photo shoots for more than five years. 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,” she says. “I want the least amount of bells and whistles. Oh, it has smart-phone abilities? No, thank you. It connects to Wifi? Okay, bye. This one plugs in and has a manual dial from high to low. It’s light, it’s compact, and it’s always reliable.” Stern has had hers for several years, too, and repeated a lot of the same compliments Li and I laid out — 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.

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 also relies on her Hamilton Beach Belgian-Style waffle-maker, which she described as having many of the same good qualities as the Cuisinart.

Best Belgian-style waffle-maker

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

Though there are more Belgian-style waffle-makers below, I think this particular model is incredibly straightforward to use. It’s not quite as small as the American-style above, but still more so than all the other electric ones on this list, a big plus when it comes to single-use appliances that you’re likely storing away. The machine has a power button with six heat levels and preheats in just a few minutes. There’s a light and a sound to indicate both when it’s ready to go and when your waffle is done cooking. I found the perfect doneness to be at a level four, which gave my waffles a golden-brown and slightly crisp exterior, with a light and fairly airy inside, almost like the texture of a doughnut. (This might vary a bit depending on the recipe you use, but you can always play around.) The machine comes with insertable pancake plates — essentially flattops, one of which has four indented circles in it. (And while I don’t find those particularly useful, many reviewers on Amazon do — and not just for flapjacks, but eggs, sandwiches, and sausage patties, too.) All the plates are easy to remove and reinsert, a plus if they need more of a scrub than a wipe to get clean.

Recipe developer and cookbook author Kristina Cho has owned this model for nearly a decade and it hasn’t let her down. She likes how intuitive it is to use and says it has “very even distribution of heat across all four quadrants.” Those quadrants also allow her to make four smaller waffles per cook to freeze and snack on later.

Best double waffle-maker

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

Cuisinart reigns supreme yet again when it comes to a double waffle-maker — the kind where you fill one side with batter, close it, flip it around, and 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 the brand 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 also 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 with the nonstick plates.

Best durable waffle-maker

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

Sana Javeri Kadre, 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 five 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 outside (as opposed to plastic), including the substantial handle to open and close the machine. Content creator and recipe developer Dan Pelosi, who has the two-square version, says that that handle is “massive and great, big enough for my big paws to get a good grip,” and agrees with Javeri Kadre that the machine is well-made and durable. But he also notes that even with the solid construction, it’s not too heavy. He’s made many different waffle recipes in it and assures that every one has been crispy on the outside but soft, moist, and fluffy on the inside. Finally, “the sheer depth of the waffle pockets is stunning,” he says.

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, above, and the Breville, below, but this one is a couple inches longer than both). 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 also 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 also 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

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

“With grain-free, my goal is to always get a crust, and then have a steamed cake on the inside,” says Moon Juice founder Amanda Chantal Bacon. 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. 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). 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 multipurpose waffle-maker

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

Food writer and editor Alyse Whitney originally bought this Breville model several years ago in an attempt to streamline the bulky appliances in her kitchen. While it comes with grooved and flat plates to operate as a panini press and indoor grill (the hinge opens 180 degrees), you can also buy Belgian waffle plates that easily click into place, she says. The machine allows you to select the exact degrees too — the only one on this list that does so — so you can determine exactly the shade of golden brown and crispy you like (and adjust for different recipes depending on how the batter behaves as well). It has a high wattage, so it gets hot in a matter of minutes, Whitney says. She uses it to make waffles for a crowd because it turns out four at a time, and she says she appreciates that when she’s done, the plates can go in the dishwasher to clean.

Best Norwegian-style waffle-maker

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.

Best bubble waffle-maker

Style: Bubble | Shape: Hexagon | Number of waffles: One

Cookbook author Kat Lieu has loved Hong Kong egg waffles, or gai dan jai, since she would eat them from street carts in Manhattan’s Chinatown as a kid. The batter is similar to standard waffles but with the addition of rice or tapioca flour to give them a chewy texture, she says. Then there’s the distinct shape: a myriad of individual bubbles connected by a thin film of crispy batter.

A little over a year ago, she purchased this electric maker to make them at home. She loves that the machine is simple with “no power button or settings you have to mess with,” she says. When you plug it in, it automatically preheats in about a minute, the outside stays cool to the touch, and there’s no greasing necessary because the nonstick surface “really works,” she says. She describes the waffles it produces as having a “smooth, shiny, and golden brown outside with a bit of a crisp” and a tender inside, “sort of like a cross between mochi and tapioca pearls,” she says. Lieu adds bacon bits and cheese to a savory version she makes for her son and sprinkles powdered sugar, matcha powder, or cocoa powder on top for a sweet take. She eats them plain, too, popping individual bubbles into her mouth, “a sensory delight through and through,” she says. To clean, she waits for the machine to cool down and brushes off any excess bits, then runs over the surface with a damp rag.

Some more waffle-makers we’ve written about

Our experts

• Amanda Chantal Bacon, founder of Moon Juice
Kristina Cho, recipe developer and cookbook author
• 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
Kat Lieu, cookbook author
Ben Mims, Los Angeles Times cooking columnist
Dan Pelosi, content creator and recipe developer
Nikita Richardson, New York Times Cooking editor
Jessie Sheehan, recipe developer
• Gabriella Stern, former development coordinator at Hot Bread Kitchen
Alyse Whitney, food writer and editor

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11 of the Very Best Waffle-Makers