The Best Waffle Maker for Sunday Brunch
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Spend Sunday morning making your own brunch. Head to the kitchen, pour yourself a mimosa and grab the best waffle maker. These models won our test.
Claire Krieger/Taste of Home
When it comes to waffles, everyone is after those perfectly golden, crunchy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside Belgian waffles you find at the best brunch spots. Replicating these waffles can be challenging—unless you have the right equipment.
To find the best waffle maker, our Test Kitchen put five popular brands to the test. Discover what the pros recommend to make the crispiest, fluffiest waffles.
What Our Test Kitchen Was Looking for in a Waffle Maker
When testing waffle makers, our Test Kitchen kept a few criteria in mind:
- Ease of use: Overall, how simple is the machine to use? Is it intuitive?
- Appearance and texture of waffles: What kind of waffle does the iron make? Does it produce golden waffles? Is the inside fully cooked and tender?
- Ease of waffle removal: How easy was it to remove the waffle from the iron? Did it come out intact?
- Browning control and settings: Are the controls easy to use? Are there enough settings? Too many?
- Batter leakage: Does the manual provide a recommended amount of batter to use to minimize spills? Does the machine leak a lot of batter?
- Cleanup: Is this gadget easy to clean? Are there any nooks and crannies that are challenging to clean?
The Best Waffle Makers
The Best Restaurant-Quality Waffle Maker: All-Clad
A waffle hot out of the All-Clad Belgian Waffle Maker tasted as delicious as any restaurant waffle our Test Kitchen staff has tried. The heavy-duty waffle plates heated up nicely to create a golden exterior and the weighty upper plate pressed down on the batter so the inner wells of the waffles were thin and crunchy while the insides remained fluffy. Simply, this waffle maker made the perfect waffle—the ones we all want to slather in maple syrup or cover in fresh fruit.
When it came to making the waffles in our Test Kitchen, testers found that the machine was intuitive. The machine is streamlined with just a single knob. Switch between seven temperature settings and use the lights to determine when the iron is hot and waffles are ready (there’s an audible chime, too, in case you step away).
Getting the perfect waffle did take some trial and error (but so do many breakfast foods—who has ever made a perfect pancake or omelet on the first flip?). Our Test Kitchen quickly found that somewhere between three and four on the temperature gauge produced perfect waffles. Determining the right amount of batter was trickier, though. Excess batter spilled over the edge causing some mess (even with the included batter tray). Our testers felt that a little extra cleanup was worth every fluffy, crunchy bite of waffle, though.
Yes, this gadget is pricey, but our Test Kitchen knows it to be top quality. This is the sort of waffle maker that should last a lifetime.
- Capacity: 2- and 4-waffle options
- Style of waffles: Square Belgian with a crisp exterior and deep pockets
- Special features: Seven temperature settings
- Price: $180-$200
Best Design: Calphalon
When it came to a well-designed, easy-to-use waffle iron, our Test Kitchen loved the Calphalon IntelliCrisp Waffle Maker. Everything about working with this appliance was a breeze.
From the very start, the waffle maker lets you know where you’re at in the cooking process with a screen reading “preheating,” “ready to cook,” “cooking” and finally “cooking complete.” No guesswork here! Just select the shade of waffle you like (our Test Kitchen found that the middle setting worked well) and start cooking when ready.
Sure, there was a bit of mess with extra batter running along the side, but the nonstick ceramic surface was a cinch to clean up and there were no hard-to-reach areas. A few wipes with a damp towel and it was ready for another batch. And when it’s all cooled down, the waffle maker snaps together so you can store it vertically in the cupboard. Clever!
- Capacity: 2 waffles
- Style of waffles: Square Belgian waffles
- Special features: Countdown timer, display indicating machine status, nonstick ceramic cooking plates
- Price: $120
Best Multi-Use Waffle Maker: Cuisinart
Want a waffle maker that can do more than just make waffles? Try the Cuisinart Belgian Waffle Maker. It makes deliciously crisp waffles and comes with plates for making pancakes, bacon or eggs.
This waffle maker was a cinch to use. Our Test Kitchen found that the amount of batter recommended in the manual was just right for filling up the waffle iron without any excessive dripping or spills. On setting four, the waffle maker made perfectly golden waffles. Testers found that the waffles were ready as soon as the light and tone sounded on the machine—no need to second guess as you crack open the hinges.
The style of waffle is definitely still Belgian, with deeper wells, but the waffles themselves baked up more bread-like. This is perfect if you are a fan of more traditional waffles. The waffles came out of the press easily, though the included tongs were helpful!
Overall, this waffle maker was a hit in the Test Kitchen. It made four delicious waffles in a single go (perfect for families) and there was little mess to clean.
- Capacity: 4 waffles
- Style of waffles: Thicker, fluffy, square Belgian waffles
- Special features: Six temperature settings, pancake plates included
- Price: $100
What to Make with Your Waffle Iron
Taste of Home
But you don’t need to limit yourself to this brunch must-have. You can use your waffle maker for some pretty surprising recipes: crispy hash browns, cookies and even pizza-filled sandwiches. Think of a waffle maker almost like a panini press or a griddle and you’ll find there are lots of options!
Any of our Test Kitchen’s preferred waffle irons would work well to make these sweet and savory recipes.
Note: This blind taste test was performed by our staffers and was not part of a sponsorship. All opinions shared are our own, and have not been influenced by advertisers.