How to Make the Most Incredible Waffles

How-to’s and recipe tweaks for perfect, golden results every time. Plus, the best waffle makers from Consumer Reports’ tests.

By Perry Santanachote

Crisp, airy waffles can be an easy, mess-free affair at home. Getting a top-rated waffle maker is a good start, and that’s where our testing comes in handy.

“Few waffle makers can get you picture-perfect waffles that are evenly golden throughout,” says Tara Casaregola, a CR test engineer who oversees our waffle-maker tests.

“Besides rating how models cook and brown waffles, we also look at how easy they are to use, including whether there are seams and crevices that batter can get stuck in,” she says. You can see how all the models fare in our waffle-maker ratings.

But a great waffle maker is only part of the equation. You need great batter, too, and you want to make sure you’re keeping your waffle maker in tip-top shape to ensure the best results.

Read on for advice on making great waffles. Plus, discover other food you can make with your waffle maker, and have a look at some of the best performers in our waffle-maker tests.

How to Get Light, Crispy Waffles

A great waffle starts with a great recipe, but you may want to experiment to find your signature flavor. Here are some tips:

Strike while the iron’s hot. If your waffles come out pale and soft, it could be because the appliance isn’t hot enough. It’s important to preheat the waffle maker for at least 10 minutes. Also, pause for a couple of minutes between batches to let the iron heat up again.

Whip your whites. For lighter, fluffier waffles, add egg yolks and whites separately. Add just the yolks to the batter’s liquid ingredients. Whisk the whites until stiff peaks form, and fold them gently into the batter using a rubber spatula. For similar results, try substituting seltzer for some of the liquid in the recipe.

Opt for oil instead of butter. For crispier waffles, use vegetable oil instead of melted butter in your recipe. Unlike butter, oil doesn’t have any water content, which adds moisture and hinders a crust from forming. A waffle study published in Food Science & Nutrition showed that waffle batter made with oil browned more than batter made with butter.

Try a yeasted waffle recipe. Yeast gives waffles airiness and a crisp crust, and it adds flavor that waffles made with baking powder or baking soda lack. Yeast batters need to rise, though, so make the batter the night before, pop it into the fridge, and you’ll be ready to go in the morning.

Add cornstarch. If you’re making waffles with baking powder and baking soda, adding cornstarch to the mix will get you waffles that are crisp on the outside and soft and flaky on the inside. Because waffle recipes vary, start with ¼ cup and work in as much as ½ cup to get the desired effect.

Finish them in the oven. To keep waffles warm while you continue cooking, transfer them from the iron to an oven set to 200° F. Place the waffles directly on the oven rack. The low heat will “set” their crispness, so they’ll actually get crispier and stay that way longer.

Stand-Ins for Special Features

Some waffle makers come with indicators that light up or make a sound when your waffle is done cooking or when the iron is finished preheating. Bargain models may not have these features, but don’t worry: Here are other ways to take the guesswork out of making waffles:

No preheat indicator? If your waffle maker doesn’t have an indicator that alerts you when it’s preheated, test the iron’s temperature by flicking water on it. If the droplets sizzle and dance on the surface, it’s ready.

No doneness alert? If your waffle maker doesn’t have a doneness indicator, watch the steam coming out of the unit as you cook. Once the steam stops (usually after 5 to 6 minutes), the waffle should be done. If the lid resists when attempting to lift it, cook the waffle for 30 seconds longer. Time the first batch, and set a timer for subsequent batches so you don’t have to hover over each waffle.

No batter cup? If your waffle maker doesn’t come with a cup for exact portioning to avoid batter overflow, it’ll take some trial and error to figure out the perfect amount you need for each waffle. Start with ⅓ cup of batter for small irons and ⅔ cup for bigger ones, and increase as necessary to fill out your waffles. Make note of the final cup size and tape it to your waffle maker’s exterior, in case you forget during the next use.

Other Food to Cook in a Waffle Maker

Believe it or not, you can use a waffle maker to cook all kinds of food. And they cook many dishes faster than an oven or a stovetop because they cook both sides simultaneously (no flipping required). Most recipes don’t need to be adapted, either. Just don’t force the lid to close all the way if it can’t. Here are some ideas for starters:

3 Top Waffle Makers From CR’s Tests

These produce evenly browned waffles and are easy to clean.

Breville Smart 4-Slicer BWM640XL

CR’s take: The Bentley of waffle makers costs a pretty penny but aces all our tests, scoring an Excellent rating for even browning, color range, and ease of use. The Smart 4-Slicer has a large grid that can fit twice the batter of a standard round iron, which means a full batch of piping hot waffles in half the time. It sounds an alert when waffles are done and is one of only two models we’ve tested that has countdown timers. (The other model is the Calphalon below.)

Calphalon CKCLWF1

CR’s take: Calphalon’s scaled-down waffle maker is ideal for small households. The smaller rectangular grid makes two square waffles at a time. It scores a Very Good rating for even browning but loses some points in our test for color range, in which it scores a Good. That means there’s less variation between the dark and light settings; waffles cooked on the light setting still come out pretty brown. A countdown timer indicates how much cooking time remains, and an alarm will sound once your waffles are ready. This CR-recommended model can be stored on its side to save space.

Chefman Anti-Overflow Belgian Waffle Maker

CR’s take: The Chefman is the only waffle maker we’ve tested to snag a CR Best Buy designation. For far less money than most of the competition, this machine churns out evenly browned round waffles. It garners a Very Good rating for its color-range settings, meaning there’s a remarkable difference between waffles made on the darkest setting (brown and crispy) and lightest setting (light and fluffy). It has an indicator to let you know when the waffles are ready and can be stored vertically to save space. The handle and latch can get uncomfortably warm during cooking, though, so you may want to use an oven mitt.

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Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. CR does not endorse products or services, and does not accept advertising. Copyright © 2022, Consumer Reports, Inc.

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