7 Best Waffle Makers of 2023, Tested by Food Network Kitchen
We made dozens of waffles to find the best of the best.
Our Top Waffle Maker Picks
- Best Overall: Breville No-Mess Classic Round Waffle Maker
- Best Value: Black + Decker Belgian Waffle Maker
- Best Rotating: Presto Flipside Belgian Waffle Maker
- Best Compact: Dash Express Waffle Maker
- Best Belgian: Calphalon Intellicrisp Belgian Waffle Maker
- Best Mini: Dash Mini Waffle Maker
- Best Smart: Breville Smart Waffle Maker
Tested by Layla Khoury-Hanold and Taylor Murray for 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. And while a waffle maker might not be deemed a kitchen essential, you simply can’t make waffles (or waffled-anything, for that matter) without one.
What to Consider Before Buying a Waffle Maker
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.
- Consider the shape. We tested round waffle makers to test for browning and cooking across brands. However, classic waffle makers come in both round and square shapes; and now you'll find waffle makers in many other shapes like hearts, animals and more.
- Think about waffle style. If you prefer thick Belgian-style waffles, make sure to choose a specifically Belgian-style waffle maker. For thinner, classic waffles, you can choose a classic model.
- You may want nonstick. For anyone who finds their favorite waffle batter sticks to their current waffle maker, opt for a nonstick model. These tend to be easy to clean with a simple swipe of a cloth.
- You can make more than waffles. Sure, classic waffles are the most common use for a waffle maker, but they serve other purposes too. You can waffle other foods like potatoes, mac and cheese and more.
- Other factors to consider include price, how long it takes to cook, 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.
This waffle maker lived up to its name, providing a mess-free experience from pouring to cooking to clean-up. And it won top marks for being supremely easy to use and turning out consistently cooked and evenly browned waffles on a variety of settings.
With seven heat settings, you can choose how light or dark you’d like your waffle, and we found there was enough variation between low, medium and high settings to satisfy all preferences. We loved that the machine had indicator alerts (audible beeps) to let users know when the machine is pre-heated and ready for use, as well as when the waffle has finished cooking on the desired setting.
This waffle maker boasts die-cast aluminum plates that ensure heat retention and even browning, and we found that at each of the three heat settings we tested, the waffle browned uniformly and was cooked evenly throughout. The waffles also cooked quickly (just over three minutes on the highest setting we tested) and the unit also reheated quickly in between batches. Thanks to the non-stick plates, the waffles released easily from the get-go (and no pre-coating with oil was required). As a result, the plates were also easy to wipe clean with a dry cloth. Any excess batter was caught in the unit’s no-mess moat. The manual provided clear operating instructions and tips, including suggestions for the recommended amount of batter to use (1/2 cup).
The Breville No-Mess Waffle Maker also comes with a one-year limited warranty. This waffle maker was one of the most expensive units we tested but given its performance we determined that the extra features, solid construction and no-mess experience made it worth the price (particularly if you make waffles often).
The Black + Decker Belgian Waffle Maker is another solid option for a standard waffle maker. It produced consistently golden waffles that were evenly browned and cooked through from the first try. (Under the manual’s Helpful Hints section, it specifically states that packaged pancake or baking mixes work well with this product.)
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. This waffle maker features a sturdy construction and a space-saving design; the unit can be stored vertically and the cord wraps around the storage stand.
There is an indicator light to let you know when the unit is pre-heated, but no timer, so you need to set your own or keep a close watch. This waffle maker also features a cool-touch handle; while the handle does remain cool, the steam from the maker is very hot when you open the lid, so we recommend wearing an oven mitt. This product also comes with a limited two-year warranty.
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. The waffles released easily; there was no need to peel away part of the waffle from the plates to dislodge it. 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.
There is only one heat setting on this machine, but there is a timer and audible alerts to help you keep track of cooking time (it beeps at the one-minute warning and once the timer is finished). And the clearly-written manual contains a lot of helpful hints to ensure success, including cooking time, batter amount and tips for evenly filling the grid. The manual recommends using 3/4 to 1 cup of batter, though we found that a full cup of batter worked best to fill the plate’s deep grooves (characteristic to Belgian waffles).
One drawback is that the unit is a little slow to reheat in between waffles, and you’ll need to watch for the indicator light to come back on to alert you to when it’s ready to go. And we noticed that on the highest setting, the browning was slightly uneven.
This waffle maker’s inexpensive price tag and solid performance make it another great budget pick. It 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 quickly in between batches. It takes a little guesswork to determine how much batter to use: The final amount will vary depending on the thickness of your batter, but we found that around 2/3 cup was ideal. The unit also has a run-off moat to catch excess batter. This waffle maker has a non-stick cooking surface and waffles release easily (though we noticed a little sticking the longer the waffle cooked). The final cooking time required comes down to personal preference, but we found that 2 1/2 minutes yielded evenly cooked waffles that were crisp on the outside and fluffy inside. The unit didn’t produce waffles that were 100% uniformly browned, which was especially noticeable the longer the waffle cooked. Still, given the cost, we found that the unit produced good results overall. This product comes with a one-year limited warranty.
Belgian waffles are known for a large, deep grid pattern, which creates pockets that can hold toppings like fruit, whipped cream, or syrup. They are also traditionally larger and thicker than regular waffles, with a crispy exterior and soft interior. The Calphalon Intellicrisp Belgian Waffle Maker made perfect Belgian waffles every single test, even with a cheap, just-add-water batter. The exterior of each waffle was supremely crisp (moreso the longer it cooked) and the inside was fluffy, not gummy.
Our favorite feature of the Calphalon waffle maker is the high-contrast LCD screen which detects the waffle inside the machine and calculates the amount of time until done. Having a handy countdown allows you to step away with the knowledge of exactly how much time is left before you’ll need to take the waffle out. We also liked even heat of the ceramic cooking plates, which need no oils or sprays to pretreat. Every test yielded results that released from the plates instantly, even on the lowest darkness setting.
Not everyone has enough space for a full-sized waffle maker, which is what makes the mini waffle maker by Dash such a great option. It’s the smallest machine we tested by far, measuring just 6 1/4 inches at the widest. Despite its small size, it is still capable of making a fluffy and crispy waffle. The waffles that come out of this machine are closer to an Eggo waffle than the large, Belgian type you might find at a brunch buffet, but they are still plenty good enough to hit the spot.
The Dash mini heats up quickly, just under 4 minutes on average during our testing. Without a timer or audible doneness indicator, it’s up to you to keep track of how long the waffle has been cooking and to what degree of darkness you prefer. We found that the longer the waffle was in the machine, the more even the coloration and more crisp the texture. This lack of extraneous features means the Dash mini can come at the rock-bottom price of just $12.99. It also comes in a variety of colors and waffle shapes, like a heart or a pineapple. The heart-shaped waffle maker we tested produced the same quality waffles as the regular round shape, with nice clean edges and uniform coloring overall.
It’s nice to be able to let a machine do the thinking for you. The Breville Smart Waffle Maker comes equipped with an intelligent darkness control system that adjusts the cooking time according to the type of waffle being prepared. It offers five distinct darkness settings and also features a manual option, allowing you to personalize the color of your waffles, ranging from a light and soft to deeply browned and crisp. The waffle maker has a 4-slice capacity, which is ideal for families or larger groups, though you can also cook just one or two slices of waffle if you prefer. The time it took the machine to preheat was super fast, at just under three minutes.
The waffle maker has a PFOA-free non-stick surface, which makes it easy to remove waffles and clean the appliance. It comes with a substantial wrap around moat coated with the same nonstick surface as the waffle cooking plates, so we didn’t have to scrub a single drop of stuck-on batter from the outside. The cool-to-the-touch handle didn’t burn us with steam when we opened it up, unlike some other models we tested.
How We Tested
We purchased 15 top-rated waffle makers according to various online sites, reviews and bestseller rankings. We tested both round and square waffle makers, smart waffle makers and mini waffle makers. We tested both standard and vertical waffle makers in a range of price points. 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, price, 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.