Homemade waffles are always a hit whether for breakfast, brunch or dessert. We reviewed electronic waffle makers to bring you our best buys, plus our tips for making perfect waffles.
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If you're a big fan of waffles, buying a waffle maker rather than eating out could be a worthwhile investment. While it’s possible to make something resembling a waffle on a griddle pan, nothing matches the airy texture and golden crunch of one made in a good waffle machine.
When buying a waffle maker, the first thing you should do is decide what style of waffle you want to make. There are two styles of waffle machine – those that make deep Belgian or American waffles and the other that produce flatter Scandi-style waffles. The latter are still crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle but they’re not as big and fluffy.
If you like waffles but don’t eat them frequently, a multipurpose snack machine might be a better option than a single purpose waffle maker. These tend to double up as toasted sandwich or panini makers.
We used our triple-tested waffle recipe to put electronic waffle makers through their paces. We made several batches of waffles and compared consistency of results. When waffle machines had multiple functions, including toastie and panini functions, we tested these too.
Best waffle makers to buy
Breville DuraCeramic deep-fill waffle maker – best compact waffle maker with best compact design
The unique selling point of this machine is its DuraCeramic non-stick coating, which is claimed to heat and cook up to 20% faster than other non-stick surfaces, as well as being scratch-resistant and four times more durable. While we couldn’t test these claims in a scientific setting, DuraCeramic did stand up well in our cooking trial.
There is a clip on the handle but we found it rather confusing as the instructions advise leaving it unlatched during cooking to allow the batter to rise. However this clip is useful for storing the machine upright in a cupboard. Read our full review of the Breville DuraCeramic deep-fill waffle maker.
Salter 3-in-1 snack maker – best multi-purpose waffle maker
This hardworking Salter machine comes with three sets of interchangeable plates for waffles, paninis and sandwiches and outdid other multifunction machines in the texture and taste stakes. It makes impressively large and deep waffles that were soft and light in the middle with a crunchy exterior.
The high hinge of the machine helps to create a uniform thickness, although the colour was a little uneven. The deep, wide plates can take lots of batter so we had to experiment with quantities to get it just right. The sandwich and panini plates are just as generously sized but were slightly trickier to remove than other brands we tested.
Given its versatility and generous portions, it is surprisingly compact, although it doesn’t come with a storage solution so has to be packed away carefully to avoid scratches. However, there is a useful cable tidy and clips for keeping the plates secure when stacked. Read our full review of the Salter 3-in-1 snack maker.
Cuisinart waffle maker WAF1U – best overall waffle maker
This reliable machine from Cuisinart creates American-diner style waffles that are crisp and golden with a soft airy middle. The crust had a good crunch and the colour on the waffles was generally even, but we had to keep a close eye after 4-5 minutes of cooking to avoid overcooked patches.
The waffle maker had some smart design touches, such as the clip on the handle which helps clamp the two sides together and preserve temperature while heating up. Using this clip during cooking creates optimum contact, ideal for getting that optimum crunchy crust.
We were particularly impressed by the uniform thickness of the finished waffles. This is thanks to the high hinge which allows the batter to rise. The functionality is straightforward, although there is no integrated timer so you have to check the old-fashioned way. The body of the machine is easy to clean down, and there’s a ridge on the short edge of the waffle maker so you can store it upright. Read our full review of the Cuisinart waffle maker.
Dualit waffle iron – best blowout waffle maker
This heavy-duty Dualit machine sits at the catering end of the waffle maker spectrum. It has two individual plates that can be switched on separately, making it perfect for catering for a crowd. The style of waffle is flat and round, so they cook quickly and we were impressed with the results. The waffles were even, crisp and fluffy.
While there is no clip on the handle, the weight of the top lid is enough to achieve a good press. We had a few trials before getting batter quantities right – too much batter and it erupts (although there is an overflow channel). Too little and you end up with a crispy cracker.
The plates are non-stick and only require a little oil. They aren’t removable so special care needs to be taken to clean them and rid the many small indentations of residual oil. The machine does get very hot and the lid should be handled with care – we recommend using a dry cloth.
At 1600W, this is a powerful machine, but if you love waffles and have the space, then this is an efficient and reliable option. Read our full review of the Dualit waffle iron.
How we tested waffle makers
Each maker was used to make several rounds of waffles using our triple-tested BBC Good Food batter recipe. This meant we could check for consistency in waffle results to fairly compare the machines. We could also make sure the machines were able to maintain temperature and cope with making a number of waffles in a row if cooking for a group of people.
Some machines doubled up as toastie and panini makers. Their ability to make waffles was the primary concern but we tested all functions to make sure they were good all-rounders.
What to look for when buying a waffle maker
Quality of non-stick: Nearly all waffle makers come with non-stick plates. The non-stick coating needs to be durable. We looked for plates that released the waffles easily after cooking with no sticking or tearing.
Indicator lights: Having one light to show that the machine is turned on and a second light to indicate the waffle maker has come up to cooking temperature is a very useful feature.
Removable plates: Though not essential, having removable plates can make cleaning easier.
Overrun channel: Some machines have a useful ‘overrun’ channel that collects excess batter and prevents it from running down the side of the machine.
Speed of cooking: We looked for machines that cooked quickly and efficiently.
Texture of waffle: We looked for waffles that were fully cooked and fluffy on the inside with a crunchy but not overcooked exterior.
Colour of waffle: We looked for even golden colour across the waffle, rejecting machines with obvious hot spots or that burnt on the outside before cooking the middle.
Thickness of waffle: Some machines with narrow hinges tend to squash waffles along their edge. We looked for waffles of uniform depth.
How to make waffles in a waffle maker
Our easy homemade waffles recipe is designed to be used in a standard electric waffle maker like the ones listed above (in fact, we put the machines through their paces using this recipe). Use the manufacturers instructions to heat the waffle maker up to temperature, then spoon the batter into the mould, close the lid and cook for 5 minutes or following the instruction manual. Once you've completed your batch, crisp up the waffles in the oven for 5 minutes and serve warm with toppings of your choice.
Our best waffle recipes
This review was last updated in February 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at email@example.com.
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