Waffles seem to only be reserved for a decadent breakfast or brunch when you're in a restaurant, but luckily, that doesn't always have to be the case.
If you can't get enough of the treat, loved in Belgium and America, investing in a waffle maker gives you the freedom to tuck in whenever you like. Even at 3am. No judgement here! Whether you love sweet waffles or savoury, want a dedicated machine or a multi-use appliance, there's a waffle machine out there for you.
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Scroll down to find out our shortlist of the best waffle makers - and we've got a great waffle recipe for you further down the page, too.
How to make waffles with a waffle maker
For light and fluffy waffles, the key is all in the batter. You must decide first whether you want to opt for a Belgian waffle maker, which have a deeper grid for thicker waffles. The recipe also needs either egg whites or baking soda to add air and soften the mixture.
Pre-grease your waffle maker with a little oil or butter to get them extra crispy and stop them sticking, if your maker doesn't have a protective non-stick coating.
Most waffle makers carry similar instructions but always consult them first. In general, you want to switch on your appliance and close the lid so that it heats evenly. Once your waffle maker is heated, open and pour the batter using a measured ladle so you don't overfill it.
Secure the lid once you close it to reduce any leakage. If you have a flip waffle maker, then you will need to turn it over as soon as you close it. Depending on the heat setting, the waffles will take between 4-6 minutes to cook, so don't be tempted to check on them, otherwise, you risk ripping the waffles. Remove them with a kitchen utensil like a fork or tong, and serve. Clean your waffle maker as soon as it has cooled down.
Best waffle makers
1. Sage BWM620UK the Smart Waffle Maker
This waffle maker from Sage is pricey, but you really do get your money's worth. The build is really high quality and sturdy. You get plenty of options when it comes to style, including Belgian, classic, chocolate, buttermilk and the option to customise. The machine works all the timings out for you, so you'll always have perfect waffles. It evenly distributes heat and is super easy to clean and use. We really like the 'no mess moat' which stops any excess batter spilling out all over your work surface. It's an investment, but it will last.Key features:Browning controlNo mess moatThermal pro even heatNon-stick surfaceWaffle iQ automationVerdict: Best of the best
2. Salter EK2249 Deep Fill Waffle Maker
What's better than a waffle? An extra-thick waffle, that's what. This new deep waffle maker from Salter delivers thick, fluffy waffles with its XL cooking plates – as good as any you'll get from brunch at the pub. It's easy to use, with simple indicator lights; plus the plates are non-stick so require no effort to clean. Tested by Editor Sophie Knight: "I love waffles, and so does my son Eli, who's three. We often have them at the weekend as a brunch treat, with bananas, berries and maple syrup. I didn't really think deep waffles would be any better than normal waffles – I mean, they're pretty great already aren't they. But this Salter waffle maker really impressed – not only are the waffles thick and fluffy, but they also come out crispier than with my other, normal-thickness waffle maker. It's really easy to use; it heats up quickly and the lights tell you when they're ready. Plus the non-stick plates really take no cleaning at all – I just wiped them with a damp cloth. I'd thoroughly recommend this. It's also really reasonably priced."Key features:Cool-touch handleLocking catchNon-stick platesIndicator lightsVerdict: Editor's pick
3. VonShef 3-in-1 Waffle Maker, Brownie & Doughnut Maker
Another one for the multi-use appliance lovers, this 3-in-1 waffle maker will also give you mini doughnuts and brownies. The removable plates make for easy cleaning, it has automatic temperature control and even heat distribution to ensure your sweet treats don't get burnt. It's a great all rounder for the price.Key features:Automatic temperature controlCord storageFast heat-up timeNon-stick coatingVerdict: Best value
4. American Originals Flip Over Waffle Maker
A pretty simple and straightforward waffle maker from American Originals at an affordable price. You plug in switch on and wait a few minutes for it to fully heat up and you're good to go on that scrumptious breakfast you've got planned out. Key features:Non-stick coating180-degree flipIndicator lightLock catchMakes 2 waffles Tried and Tested by Deputy Commerical Content Editor, Natalie Corner: "Once you've made your batter and heated up the waffle maker you only need to pour it in and let it do its thing. It's recommended to pop in a bit of oil to preserve the non-stick coating and make it easier to remove your waffles once they're done. There's nothing that can really go wrong here apart from slightly overfilling one batch of waffles and even though the locking mechanism still worked as they baked the overflow squeezed out of the sides. But luckily no mess and was purely user error! As it only makes two at a time if you're looking for a bigger batch it may take you about an hour to build them up as each take 10-15 mins to cook but great for just one person."
5. NETTA Waffle Maker Machine
Make the fluffiest waffles with NETTA's 700W waffle maker, boasting fully integrated extra-deep cooking plates, adjustable temperature control and lots more. The sleek and compact design will fit right in on your kitchen counter without occupying too much space.Key features:Powerful 700W OutputDeep Non-Stick PlateVariable Temperature ControlPower & Ready Light IndicatorStainless Steel FinishVerdict: Best for a sleek design
6. VonShef Waffle Maker
This large quad Belgian waffle maker from VonShef has easy-clean non-stick plates, so the waffles are easy to remove. It has automatic temperature control and a cool-touch handle to make waffle-making as easy as can be. It looks great, although is a large appliance so won't suit smaller kitchens.Key features:Cool-touch handleFour waffle platesWrap around cordNon-stick coatingVerdict: Best for large families
7. VonShef Stove Top Waffle Iron
If you don't have enough space in your kitchen for a dedicated waffle appliance, this stovetop waffle iron is a brilliant alternative. It's suitable for both gas and electric stoves and could even be taken camping if you fancy it. It can be stowed in a drawer, is easily cleaned and heats up quickly. The ergonomically designed Bakelite handle is both safe and comfortable, and the secure closing latch means no product leakage.Key features:Fast heat-up timeDie-cast aluminiumBakelite handleNon-stickClosing latchVerdict: Best for those with limited space
8. Schallen Black Electric 760W Waffle Maker Iron Machine
If it's the classic American pancake shape you crave, this simple waffle maker will tick that box for you. Perfect for one or two people, or even for the kids if you cut it into quarters. It's compact and lightweight, so it's great for those with small kitchens. It heats up quickly, is so simple to use and cleans easily. This is a no frills waffle maker that gets the job done.Key features:Non-stick platesTemperature controlLight indicatorFitted with a knob cord wrapVerdict: Best for small households
9. Global Gourmet Square Waffle Maker
This simple waffle machine delivers perfect waffles every time and certainly won't break the bank. It's easily cleaned, although the plates aren't removable. It has an indicator light to tell you when the machine is ready to use but doesn't have any timers, so you will need to pay attention to it. It heats up quickly and distributes heat evenly. Be careful not to overfill it, as it can be a bit of a nightmare to clean if the mixture spills everywhere. It isn't the most hi-tech gadget available, but it would be great for those on a budget.Key features:Deep non-stick cooking platesLight indicatorCord-wrap for easy storageVerdict: Best budget machine
10. Hong Kong Bubble Waffle Maker
If you want something that's a bit out of the ordinary, this bubble waffle maker is certainly different. One to impress the kids, you can even roll your waffle up into a waffle cone. It cooks waffles evenly, but you have the option to flip it to let gravity do its thing. The non-stick plates are easy to clean and it even has overheat protection, which switches off the machine, should you forget to.Key features:Unique shapeNon-stick coating Non-slip feet180-degree flipOverheat protectionVerdict: Best unique waffle maker
11. Tefal Snack Time SW341D40 Sandwich and Waffle maker
This machine is pretty genius if you're lacking in counter space and don't want to shell out loads of money for different appliances. It does it all. The Snack Collection comes with toasted sandwich and waffle maker plates; there are 14 different grill plates to add to your collection. The plates are really easy to wipe down but the best part is, they're dishwasher safe. Although it doesn't have all of the bells and whistles of some more expensive machines (you'll need to read the recipe book for timings), it's designed well and won't break the bank.Key features:Numerous plates availableEasy to useCompact designDishwasher-safe platesVerdict: Best all-in-one appliance
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What to look for in a waffle maker
There are some things you'll need to bear in mind when selecting your perfect kitchen companion.
What size of machine can your kitchen handle? If you're lacking in space or are just cooking for one or two people, opt for something compact that can be easily stored away. If you're making waffles for the whole family and have plenty of room, go wild with more of an industrial size waffle maker.
Belgian waffle maker or regular?
After figuring out how much space you have, you should also consider the style of waffles you prefer. Belgian waffle makers have a deeper grid and tend to be bigger than regular waffles, which feature a shallow grid.
Heat distribution and speed
Making the perfect waffle requires your machine to cook the batter evenly all over, so look for one with reviews that focus on this. Furthermore, a good waffle needs to be cooked quickly, so timing is important.
How easy it is to clean
Having to spend 30 minutes scrubbing your appliance is bound to take away most of the joy of actually eating waffles, so look for a machine that is non-stick and easy to clean.
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Waffle maker recipe
Credit: BBC Good Food
Makes ten waffles:
4 large eggs, separated
300g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp golden caster sugar
50g butter, melted
600ml semi-skimmed milk
Heat the waffle maker as per the instructions. Separate the eggs, keeping the yolks to one side. Whisk the egg whites until you have stiff peaks. In another bowl, mix the flour, bicarbonate, caster sugar and a pinch of salt.
Make a well in the centre of the dry mix and add the egg yolks and melted butter. Start mixing with a whisk and slowly add the milk until you get a smooth, thick batter. Finally, fold in the egg whites with a metal spoon.
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Cook your mixture as per the waffle maker's instructions, then place into a tray in the oven to crisp up for five minutes.
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Can you make waffles without a waffle maker?
The short answer is: yes! Instead of the traditional waffles mentioned above, you can make griddle waffles, which look like thicker American style pancakes, using a griddle pan.
The recipe remains the same but the finished waffles are a lot flatter. Using your batter mixture from the recipe above simply pour into your griddle pan and wait until they crisp up and you can see the griddle marks. Flip them over after around six minutes and repeat for another six minutes. After they're finished cooking, cut them up into quarters and serve.
Jade Moscrop is a Deputy Commercial Content Editor for WhatsTheBest, specialising in lifestyle topics. She also writes for Closer, Heat, and Mother&Baby.
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