The Best Waffle Makers, Tested by Food Network Kitchen
There’s no denying the pleasure of eating a stack of hot, golden, homemade waffles, whether you like ‘em savory or sweet, lightly toasted or extra crispy, or enjoy them at breakfast, brunch or even dinner. Though a waffle machine may serve one function, there are still several factors to consider when purchasing one. Above all, a waffle maker should be easy to use and produce consistently cooked, evenly browned waffles. Other factors to consider include how long it takes to cook, whether the plates are non-stick, how easy it is to clean and how much storage space it takes up. There are other features that may sway your decision too: indicator lights and alerts, timers, no-mess pour spouts, rotating plates, no-drip moats for catching excess batter and more. To help you find the best waffle maker for your needs, we mixed, poured and cooked dozens of waffles to bring you our top picks for best-in-class waffle makers.
How We Tested
We purchased nine top-rated waffle makers according to various online sites, reviews and bestseller rankings. We tested only round waffle makers, the majority of which made Belgian-style waffles, but a couple made classic-style waffles. We tested both standard and vertical waffle makers. To test each waffle maker, we used a standard instant pancake and waffle mix.
We tested each waffle maker in three parts: First, we noted the waffle maker’s size, weight, manual, instructions for use and care, as well as any special claims or features such as indicator lights, indicator alerts, timers, cool-touch handles, no-mess moats, non-stick plates, easy-clean plates, no-drip funnels or non-skid feet.
Then, using a standard instant pancake and waffle mix, we made three waffles on each unit, testing low, medium and high heat settings. For waffle makers with only one heat setting, we cooked each of the three waffles for different amounts of time, adding more and less time to the average cooking time to provide a range of doneness (this was informed by the average cooking time or cooking chart included in the unit’s manual).
For each of the three waffles made per unit, we evaluated how long it took for the waffle to cook, how easily it released from the machine (noting whether or not it stuck, and if we had to pry underneath the waffle first) and whether it produced a waffle with uniform browning, noting if the waffle burnt on the highest heat setting.
Finally, we noted which parts of the makers were hand-wash only or dishwasher safe and how easy they were to clean, including how easy it was to wipe clean the unit’s plates and exterior, and how easy cooked-on batter was to remove. Two units that we tested came with dishwasher safe batter scoops but otherwise, all the waffle makers we tested were hand-wash only and none of the plates removed from the unit.
Best Overall: Black + Decker Belgian Waffle Maker
The Black + Decker Belgian Waffle Maker produced consistently golden waffles that were evenly browned and cooked through from the first try. It lived up to its no-stick promise — the waffles slid out easily and the plates were easy to clean. The extra deep grids did indeed yield thick and fluffy Belgian-style waffles. There is only one heat setting, but the manual includes suggested cooking times (two to three minutes) and recommends cooking the waffles longer for a crisper texture.
Best for Beginners: Presto Ceramic Belgian Waffle Maker
We loved the rotating design and 180-degree flip feature, which ensured even batter distribution and yielded waffles with a crisp exterior and fluffy interior, as advertised. It was also easy and fun to use and would be a great way to get kids in on the action. The non-stick ceramic plates lived up to their promise and we liked that we didn’t have to oil the plates before using. Once the unit was fully cooled, the plates were easy to clean simply by brushing crumbs away from the grid and wiping it with a paper towel.
Best for Small Kitchens: Dash Express Waffle Maker
This waffle maker was the smallest and lightest unit we tested, so its compact shape makes it a great choice for dorm rooms or small kitchens. It lived up to the express part of its name: The unit heated up quickly, cooked waffles promptly and reheated well in between batches. This waffle maker has a non-stick cooking surface and waffles release easily (though we noticed a little sticking the longer the waffle cooked).