Waffle Maker Buyers' Guide
Waffles come in many shapes, from thick, fluffy Belgian waffles to crispy, chewy Liége waffles. Like the waffles themselves, the equipment you use to make them comes in a number of formats. Learn to choose the right baker for the type of waffle you want to create with this guide.
Waffle makers are designed to make particular styles of waffles. Familiarize yourself with the most popular styles to be sure you know which type of waffle maker to look for as you shop.
In the United States, a traditional waffle is typically thin with a crispy exterior. Its pockets are small and shallow to capture and distribute the syrup and melted butter traditionally served atop the pastry. These waffles are typically round.
Belgian waffles are light and fluffy with large, deep pockets, and they're typically made on square grids instead of round ones.
Liége waffles are the most popular type in Belgium, the waffle capital of the world. Unlike other waffles that are made from a batter, Liége waffles are made from a dough that's formed into a ball, pressed between a waffle maker's platens, and baked. That leads to a pastry without a uniform shape or clearly defined edges.
The super-thin waffle cones and bowls used to serve ice cream are made on equipment very similar to the kind used for other waffles. The difference is that these units impart shallower pockets to create end products that can easily be rolled into cones or shaped into serving dishes in which to serve ice cream and similar creations.
Waffle on a Stick
A unique version of the waffle that can be eaten as an on-the-go treat is the waffle on a stick. While these treats can be created with traditional waffle makers, like the ones made famous on Instagram, equipment exists that is made specifically to create these unique edibles.
Offer a unique, snackable take on Belgian waffles with mini waffles. These micro versions of the classic can be stacked like pancakes, turned into sandwich bread, and served as part of the classic chicken and waffles pairing.
Waffle Iron Features
Once you've determined which type of waffle you'd like to make, you can begin to look at the technical details of waffle makers. Here are a few of the most essential to keep in mind:
- Voltage: You'll come across waffle makers that run on 120-volt circuits and ones that are designed for 240-volt circuits. Although 240-volt units heat quicker and can therefore produce a higher volume than 120-volt units, the latter type can be operated virtually anywhere and you may prefer a 120-volt unit if you'll use it outside of a traditional kitchen.
- Capacity: Waffle bakers come in all sizes. The smallest models have the capacity for a single waffle per batch, while larger ones can cook four at a time. Double waffle makers feature two independently controlled sections that can come in handy when you need to bake two separate recipes simultaneously.
- Controls: The most basic waffle makers include on/off switches and infinite heat controls. More advanced models include timers and some provide thermostatic controls that let users dial in precise cooking temperatures.
- Waffle Size: The average round waffle maker makes a 7-inch waffle. Belgian waffle makers typically produce waffles in 4-inch squares or 4-inch by 7-inch rectangles. Cone maker grids measure 10-inches square or larger.
- Grid Finish: Economy waffle makers are made with bare aluminum grids that can cause the batter or dough to stick unless they're properly seasoned and cared for. Middle-of-the-road waffle makers' grids are finished with nonstick coatings, while higher-end models is typically built with heavy-duty cast iron plates that offer long service lives.
Waffle Maker Accessories
Once you've picked out the perfect waffle maker, it's time to choose the tools and accessories you'll need to put it to work for you.
Nothing can make the process of making waffles easier than a pre-formulated waffle mix. You'll find mixes for traditional waffles, Belgian waffles, waffle cones, and more.
Thoroughly cleaning all the nooks and crannies of a waffle maker can be a tedious process, but the work is made easier by a suitable brush. Commercial waffle maker manufacturers often sell brushes for cleaning their equipment, either by themselves or in kits.
Cone- and bowl-forming tools
If you'll serve freshly baked waffle cones or bowls, you'll definitely need a forming tool to get your fresh waffles into a shape suitable for serving ice cream.
Some manufacturers offer drip trays to complement their waffle makers. These sit underneath the unit to catch dripping batter and make it easy to keep a clean work surface, so they are especially handy if you have a self service waffle maker.
The waffle pick is a handy tool to have when you serve a high volume of waffles. It allows the user to quickly and easily lift a finished waffle off the cooking grid without tearing or puncturing the product.
Waffle Cone Display Case
If you make freshly baked waffle cones in-house, you'll need a way to keep them fresh and show them off to customers. That's where a waffle cone display case will come in handy.