Who doesn't love a waffle? Whether you like them thin and crisp or thick and fluffy, these treats make an excellent breakfast slathered in butter and syrup or dessert topped with ice cream, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream.
Waffle batter is easy to make using a store-bought mix or homemade batter, but that unique shape requires special equipment. Modern electric waffle makers come in lots of shapes and sizes, so to find the best ones, we tested top models in our Lab using both yeasted and no-yeast waffle recipes before rating each maker on design, performance, size, ease of cleaning, and overall value. From basic machines to high-volume rotating models to a kid-friendly one that makes Mickey Mouse waffles, here are the winners.
Cuisinart WAF-200 4-Slice Belgian Waffle Maker
Nonstick surface for easy cleanup
Simple to use
The Cuisinart WAF-200 is a classic and reliable waffle maker that rightfully cemented itself as our top pick after testing. Its six separate heat settings are actually all useful: The lowest made soft but fully cooked waffles, and the highest gave us crispy crusted, browned-but-not-burnt ones. It took four minutes to preheat, which is on the longer end compared to other models, but there's an indicator that lights up green and beeps when it's time to start cooking.
The interior surface of this waffle iron is nonstick, which makes for an easy release and simple cleaning. We got excellent results with both yeasted and non-yeasted batters, though they both needed a little bit of extra spreading and swirling to reach all the edges of the iron. The round shape forms a classic Belgian waffle design, with scoring to break the waffle into four even quadrants. (Some waffles actually split along the scores as we removed them from the machine—not the biggest issue, but it's worth noting to be careful if you want perfect circles.)
We were especially impressed at how consistent the results were. Across different batters and at different heat settings, the waffles were always cooked thoroughly and evenly from top to bottom and side to side. The temperature of the cooking plates was quite low compared to other units, but that didn't seem to affect the results very much: The WAF-200 was on the slower end of the machines we tested but still made an excellent waffle in a little over three minutes.
With its reasonable price, we couldn't find much to criticize with this machine. If anything, it's a little bulky for its size and takes up a lot of cabinet or counter space.
Price at time of publish: $60
Dimensions: 5.6 x 9.3 x 11.5 inches | Weight: 6.2 pounds | Power: 1,250 watts | Browning Settings: 6
Breville The Smart Waffle Pro 4 Slice
Highly customizable settings
Moat catches overflow batter
Automatic cooking adjustment
With five separate settings for waffle type and 12 for doneness, the Breville Smart Waffle Pro is worth the splurge if you're hardcore about making the perfect waffle with any kind of batter or mix-in. It's the priciest model on this list and one of the largest, but it works very, very well. The "Waffle IQ" system lets you choose from Belgian, classic, chocolate, buttermilk waffles, or a custom setting. Combined with your choice for browning level, this automatically figures out the ideal time and temperature. It shows up on an easy-to-read LCD screen that really does make this look like the waffle iron of the future.
In testing, level 1 made light golden waffles that were soft and springy but not too pale or undercooked, while level 12 waffles showed a deep dark golden color without any burnt areas and a satisfying crunch for all you texture fanatics. We loved the "a bit more" button, which cooks the waffles, well, a bit more, for extra browning and crispness without having to start a whole new cooking cycle.
This is a sizable machine that makes four thick square waffles at a time, enough for breakfast for at least two people. It heats extremely evenly, giving consistent color from middle to edge. The Breville also has a clever built-in moat with the same nonstick coating as the rest of the machine that catches any batter overflow and cooks it into bonus waffle bites. That's really helpful, as the recommended half-cup of batter overflowed the iron a bit in our testing.
The major stumbling block with this waffle iron is the price. It's sky-high, even for the smaller two-slice model. If you're going to make waffles all the time, though, it could very well be worth it.
Price at time of publish: $280
Dimensions: 5.1 x 2.3 x 14.9 inches | Weight: 14.8 pounds | Power: 1,800 watts | Browning Settings: 12
Cuisinart Round Classic Waffle Maker
Fast heating and cooking
No audible signals
Though its performance wasn't quite as consistent as our best overall pick, this Cuisinart makes good waffles, really fast for a very low price. It was the fastest-cooking unit of all the waffle makers we tested, finishing a waffle in about one minute, and it took only two and a half minutes to preheat. A sliding control lets you select from five different browning settings, and a convenient green light comes on to indicate it's ready to cook and that the waffle is done. (There's no audible signal, however, so you have to keep an eye on the machine.)
This waffle maker's main problem is that it didn't cook evenly in testing. With just 300 watts of power, it left the edges and center of each waffle lighter than the rest of it. (It was consistent, though, as we found that same issue from batch to batch on all the different doneness settings.) The machine also put out a lot more steam than other models, though that was somewhat helpful: We noticed that waffles were done cooking when the steam subsided, often a few seconds after the green indicator light turned on. It's designed to hold half a cup of batter per waffle, and that measurement is very accurate, filling the maker pretty perfectly with very little dripping.
Price at time of publish: $30
Dimensions: 9.7 x 7.9 x 3.3 inches | Weight: 5 pounds | Power: 300 watts | Browning Settings: 5
Chefman Anti-Overflow Waffle Maker
Deep moat on all sides
Uneven filling and cooking
No audible signals
Waffle-making can be messy: If you accidentally pour in even a little too much batter, it'll ooze out the sides as it cooks and expands, leaving a big mess on your countertop. This Chefman model is designed to avoid that possibility entirely, with a deep moat around the entire cooking surface that can catch just about any overflow and cook it into a little bit of bonus waffle. (The feature also comes in handy if you plan to use your waffle maker to cook eggs, a fun and useful but often sloppy process.) The moat design is similar to the Breville above, but it's attached to a much less expensive machine. In our testing, we didn't get any countertop spillage whatsoever.
The Chefman does a pretty good job at actually cooking waffles, too. There are seven shade options, and we found clear differences in texture between them, with pale and soft waffles from the lowest setting and crunchy, golden-brown ones on the highest. This model comes with its own measuring cup, which is ironically a little bit too small: We ended up with irregular thickness and some holes on the edge when using it. (Thankfully, you can add a little extra batter and not worry about spills thanks to that moat.) We also found doneness to be a little uneven, with patchy browning on lower settings.
For as low of a price as the Chefman carries, it also has an impressively sleek look. The red exterior is eye-catching, with a smudge-free finish. It's also fairly compact and can tuck away horizontally or vertically in a cabinet or drawer.
Price at time of publish: $35
Dimensions: 8 x 10 x 4 inches | Weight: 3.4 pounds | Power: 700 watts | Browning Settings: 7
Dash Mini Waffle Maker
Available in many fun colors and shapes
Very even cooking
No setting options
No timer or doneness indicator
It cooks just a single 4-inch waffle at a time, but the Dash Mini does a great job at it, looks adorable doing it, and costs next to nothing. The compact design is ideal for dorms, small apartments, or camping, and in testing, we got impressively even cooking results. It has a preheating indicator light but no timer or doneness settings, which means you have to keep a constant eye on it and open the door to check browning—it took three to four minutes to cook a waffle to proper golden, fluffy crispness.
Arguably more importantly than anything else, the Dash is fun. It comes in colors including white, red, aqua, and leopard print, and there are also models that make adorable waffle shapes including bunnies, hearts, pumpkins and skulls. The small size and low price make it a good candidate for experimenting with cooking things like hash browns, eggs, and other non-waffle items, too.
Price at time of publish: $10-$20, depending on color and shape
Dimensions: 5 x 6.4 x 2.8 inches | Weight: 1.5 pounds | Power: 350 watts | Browning Settings: 1
“This is perfect for breakfast sandwiches, single servings, and dessert waffles.”
Cuisinart WAF-F4 Double Flip Belgian Waffle Maker
Dishwasher-safe drip tray
If you're setting up a waffle bar with all the fixings for brunch or have a large family to feed, a waffle maker that can cook more than one waffle at a time helps you get breakfast on the table faster. This Cuisinart model is a classic rotating Belgian-style waffle maker, like the professional ones you find in restaurants. You fill the top chamber with batter, then flip it over and fill the other chamber while the first waffle cooks. Flip it back, remove the finished waffle, and repeat for endless breakfast.
This is a sizable model that requires some dedicated counter space, but it's got impressive functionality, with 1,400 watts of cooking power, six levels of browning control, stay-cool handles, and an audible beep to signal that your waffle is done. We did, however, get some splotchy and uneven doneness, especially on lower settings. We'd suggest going for browner waffles—at the highest heat setting, we got more even doneness and a nice crisp exterior.
Rotating waffle irons like this one tend to have issues with batter spilling or dripping out, but the Cuisinart has a clever feature to keep your counters clean: A drip tray beneath the iron that's removable and can go straight into the dishwasher. The cooking surfaces themselves have a very effective nonstick coating that's easy to clean up, too.
Price at time of publish: $120
Dimensions: 8.4 x 15.1 x 19.8 inches | Weight: 13 pounds | Power: 1,400 watts | Browning Settings: 6
Best for Kids
Disney Mickey Mouse Double Flip Waffle Maker
Fun waffle shapes
Bring Disneyland (or Disney World) home with this fun waffle maker for kids of all ages. The rotating model makes three Mickey Mouse-shaped mini-waffles per side in about three minutes. One of the 3-inch mini waffles is perfect for a child's breakfast, or a child at heart could have all three.
It’s simple and intuitive to use, with a power indicator light that beeps six times when preheated and ready for batter and three times when the waffle is done cooking. It flips easily and releases perfectly shaped Mickey waffles. This all ensures a smooth process in the kitchen that produces multiple batches quickly. It earned bonus points in testing for how the handle stayed cool throughout the cooking process, essential for safety with little ones running around the kitchen. (This machine is not made for kids to use themselves, however—it's a high-powered waffle iron that gets very hot, so there should always be adult supervision.)
Unfortunately, the cooking was pretty inconsistent. We got different levels of browning, with one pale Mickey and another deep-brown one in the same batch, and even more variability between batches. There's a dial to select the browning level, which in theory gives you more pinpoint control than machines with set levels, but it makes for a learning curve to figure out exactly where you need to set the dial.
Price at time of publish: $100
Dimensions: 8 x 8 x 14 inches | Weight: 7.8 pounds | Power: 1,400 watts | Browning Settings: Dial
NordicWare 15040 Cast Aluminum Stovetop Belgium Waffle Iron
Easy to clean
No electricity required
No onboard heat controls or timer
You don't need a plug-in machine to make waffles: Before the invention of electric power, the tasty treat still existed and was cooked on devices like this one. The NordicWare stovetop waffle iron will work on a gas or electric stove, or even a campfire. You simply preheat the pan, open and fill with batter, close, and cook for two to three minutes per side. The large-capacity iron (it holds about a cup of batter, compared to half a cup for most of the electric models we tested) makes one really large or four smaller waffle squares at once.
This iron is made from PFOA-free nonstick-coated aluminum and has stay-cool handles, so you won't need mitts to flip it. We had no trouble at all removing the finished waffles in testing; they slipped right out onto the plate without even a spatula required. (The only downside of the aluminum is that it won't work on an induction cooktop, unlike cast iron.)
It takes some practice to master stovetop waffle-making. It's on you to adjust the heat and figure out the proper flip timing. We got better, more even results flipping the NordicWare back and forth every 30 seconds instead of trying to cook one side completely before a single flip. But there was still inconsistent performance, as it's nearly impossible to get the exact same temperature and timing with every manual cook. It's fairly expensive for a waffle iron that doesn't supply its own heat, but it's durable and long-lasting. This could be the choice for a DIY waffle enthusiast or frequent camper.
Price at time of publish: $51
Dimensions: 1.4 x 8.5 x 14.1 inches | Weight: 3.2 pounds
"You can flip the waffle right out of the iron. It cleans easily between batches, with no re-oiling needed. With yeasted batter, we had to bump the amount up to 1.25 cups to reach all the edges."
The Cuisinart WAF-200 4-Slice Belgian Waffle Maker is our top pick because it's simple to use, easy to clean, and makes beautiful quartered waffles in no time at all. For our best budget pick, we chose the Cuisinart Classic Round Waffle Maker.
How We Tested
We purchased and tested 19 of the top waffle makers in our Lab using both yeasted waffle batter and non-yeasted waffle batter. We first made waffles following the manufacturer directions and using the middle browning setting, and then we cooked batches on the highest and lowest settings for machines with multiple options. We rated the resulting waffles on flavor and texture and recorded times to preheat and cook, paying close attention to consistency between batches and evenness of browning. We also made notes on design, ease of cleaning, and size/storage considerations. Only after all other ratings were complete did we look up prices and rate the machines on overall value.
Other Options We Tested
- All-Clad WD700162 Stainless Steel Classic Round Waffle Maker: This All-Clad appliance won points for its sleek appearance and doneness indicator. However, when put to the test, it fell short of expectations. There was some patchiness when cooking, with pale edges and random hot spots. Its mediocre performance isn't worth the considerable price tag.
- Black+Decker 3-in-1 Waffle Maker, Grill, and Griddle: This convertible machine lets you cook waffles and then flip the plates to make a flat griddle for bacon, eggs, paninis, and more. We were excited about all that functionality but disappointed with its performance. The lower plates skewed hotter than the top ones, which caused uneven cooking and browning.
- Presto 03510 Ceramic FlipSide Belgian Waffle Maker: The Presto certainly had promising potential, with its 180-degree flip capacity and built-in timer, but ultimately failed to deliver in testing. Its reversible plates are not very secure and tended to pop out of place, which posed a serious safety issue. The batter also didn't fill the machine evenly, resulting in waffles with thick spots and holes.
What to Look for in a Waffle Maker
The cooking plates on a waffle maker are made from one of two metals: cast iron or aluminum. Iron is heavier and denser, which makes it better at transferring heat evenly, but it tends to be more expensive and takes longer to preheat. Lighter aluminum is cheaper and heats up more quickly, but it can cook waffles unevenly.
Waffle maker exteriors come in lots of colors, designs, and materials, from plastic to stainless steel. This really just affects the look and not so much cooking performance.
Size and Shape
Waffle irons almost all have the familiar pattern of square pockets designed to hold butter and maple syrup, but the waffles themselves can come in many different shapes and sizes. There are square waffles and round ones, miniature single-serving waffles and huge, thick ones. There's no official definition for a Belgian waffle, but a machine labeled as a Belgian waffle maker tends to create thicker treats, with a crispy outside, fluffy inside, and deep square pockets that can hold lots of butter and maple syrup. A "regular" waffle is thinner, has shallower pockets, and typically cooks more quickly (think Waffle House or Eggo).
For high-volume waffle-making, look for a rotating unit with waffle irons on both the top and bottom. These let you pour out one serving of batter, then flip and start making a second waffle while the first one cooks.
Some waffle makers come with reversible or swappable plates so you can cook eggs or bacon on a flat griddle, or make waffles in fun, kid-friendly and seasonal shapes like Easter bunnies, Halloween pumpkins, or Valentine's Day hearts,
Settings and Controls
Most machines offer more than one doneness setting to help control the texture of the finished waffle. These adjust both the temperature and length of cooking so you can get crisp and deeply browned results on the high end or soft, lightly toasted waffles on the low end. Everyone has a different opinion on what's best in a waffle, and multiple settings let each person get exactly what they want. More expensive machines tend to offer more (and more effective) options, with many browning choices and even separate recipe settings based on the particular ingredients in your batter.
Another aspect to pay attention to is how the machine lets you know it's preheated and when cooking is done. A simple light is pretty common, with an indicator that turns on or changes color. Other machines add an audible series of beeps to get your attention, something very helpful if you're cooking breakfast for a crowd in a busy kitchen. Just be sure to read the manual so you know what the beeps and signals mean—some machines have an indicator only for preheating or only for cooking and not both.
If you’ve never tried to clean a waffle maker, you may not have experienced the frustration of trying to scrape baked-on batter out of crevices that can't be put in the dishwasher or even under running water. Nonstick coatings on the griddle help remove any stray batter as well as the waffles themselves, but they vary in effectiveness and durability. If you find your machine tends to stick, try hitting the plate with cooking spray before cleaning.
Whether it uses yeast or baking soda for leavening, waffle batter will puff up and expand as it cooks, and that means it will often drip out the sides of the machine. Some waffle makers have a "moat" around the outside to catch stray batter (and cook it into extra waffle bites), while others have a drip plate underneath the iron. More advanced makers have parts that detach entirely, making washing by hand or dishwashing incredibly convenient. Just make sure to check the user manual before putting anything in the dishwasher.
When choosing an electric waffle maker, look for a model with a weighted or locking lid to keep the top from popping up mid-cooking. Any part of the machine that you need to touch while in use—like the handle, lid clasp, drip plate, or machine base—should be heat-resistant to avoid burning yourself during use.
After you're done cooking, make sure to unplug the machine and leave it open until it's completely cool before cleaning.
How do you use a waffle maker?
The first step is preheating. You want the cooking surfaces nice and hot before you add the batter. To preheat, plug your waffle maker in, power it on, and keep the lid closed until it's ready to go. Most electric models have an indicator light to let you know when the waffle maker is fully heated.
Next, grease the waffle iron with a bit of nonstick cooking spray or oil, and then pour in the batter. (This works the same whether you're using homemade or store-bought waffle mix.) Check the manual for exactly how much batter to use, but as you figure out your machine, you may want to adjust up or down for best results. Closing the lid will help spread the batter across the whole waffle iron, but you may also need to use a spoon or chopstick to ensure evenness.
If you have a rotating waffle maker, you'll flip it over after closing the lid to start the cooking process. (With a non-rotating model, the timer will start when you close the lid, too.) Then you just wait until cooking is done. Your machine will probably have an light or sound to indicate when the waffle is done cooking, but you can also keep an eye on the steam coming out of the machine. When the steam stops, the waffle is fully cooked.
The exact amount of time will depend on the type of waffle maker you have and the brownness level you selected, but it generally takes three to six minutes. Try not to open the lid before cooking is finished or you'll risk tearing your waffle. Use a fork or spatula to remove the waffle from the machine, and then either repeat the process to make more waffles or turn the machine off, unplug it, and let it cool before cleaning.
How much batter do you add to a waffle maker?
That depends on the waffle maker you have. The user manual will tell you how much batter is recommended, and then you can adjust from there depending on the results. In our testing, the directions called for anywhere from 3 tablespoons for the Dash Mini to a full cup for several of the larger machines. If you wind up with holes or thin spots in your waffles, try adding a little more batter, and if it oozes out the sides, try using a little less. Different batter recipes will rise differently while cooking, as well, so you may need different amounts when making different waffle styles in the same machine.
How do you know when to flip a waffle maker?
Rotating waffle makers need to be flipped to start the cooking process, so you should flip it as soon as you add your batter and close the lid. The flip also helps spread the batter evenly across the waffle iron for even cooking and texture.
With a stovetop waffle maker, you'll need to flip it during cooking so that the top and bottom come out evenly. We found that the best method is to flip it over multiple times every 30 seconds or so rather than trying to fully cook one side before turning.
Can you cook anything else in a waffle maker?
Waffle makers are good for cooking so much more than just waffles! You can use almost any type of batter—brownies, cornbread, banana bread, pancakes—to make a waffle-shaped treat, using the same procedure as with standard waffle batter. The machine also is basically a sandwich press with a waffle texture inside, so you can use it for grilled cheese, French toast, panini, quesadillas, and other foods that are tasty when smashed flat and grilled. You can even cook hash browns, eggs, biscuits, pizza, falafel—the options for experimentation are pretty much endless.
Just keep a close eye on the machine if you're using it for something new, and be careful not to overfill. If any oil, melted cheese, or other ingredients leak out, it can make a big mess on the counter, and they can also stick to the machine and start to burn.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Sharon Lehman, RDN, is a home cook who happens to be a registered dietitian nutritionist. She happily makes space for any gadget that makes cooking faster and easier, and she specializes in small kitchen appliance testing and reviews for The Spruce Eats. As for waffles, she owns the top pick on this list, the Cuisinart Classic Waffle Maker, which she uses to churn out weekend brunch for her family.
Our associate commerce editor Rachel Lee assessed testing insights from our Lab and researched each model's qualities to determine the top picks to recommend in this updated roundup. Commerce writer Jason Horn further updated this roundup with more insights and updates.