How To Select a Waffle Iron

Published: 08th August 2012
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"And in the morning, I'm making waffles." Donkey, from Shrek.

Making your own waffles at home is generally not something you can do when the family is rushing out the door for school or work. But on those more leisurely weekends or holidays, waffles, the real kind, not the popup toaster kind, can be a great treat. So you want to make sure that you invest in a reliable and convenient waffle iron. Fortunately, there are many such models available and you can shop until you find the one with just the features you need.

Basically, a waffle iron has two plates with grids, top and bottom. The waffle gets cooked between the two plates. The shape of the grid forms the shape of the waffle.

The two basic kinds of waffles are regular and Belgian. Regular waffles are thin and have smaller holes or impressions. Belgian waffles, what most folks would probably want to make at home, are thicker with larger holes or impressions. Belgian waffles are generally more crisp. So make sure you know which kind you want to cook before purchasing your waffle iron.

How many waffles do you want to make at a time? There are waffle makers that will make a single waffle or up to four at a time. If you've got a family anxiously waiting with empty plates, that may be the waffle maker for you. Some models will let you choose between making one or several waffles. Some also have grids that allow you to separate or divide the waffles.

Depending on your preference, you can find a waffle iron in a variety of shapes. Some are circular, some are square. You can even find models to make heart-shaped Belgian waffles or the faces of cartoon characters. As a rule the circular models heat a little more quickly and distribute the heat more evenly.

Varying temperature settings on your waffle iron will allow you to adjust the color and texture of your waffle. Better models will include a thermostat to help maintain an even temperature. That allows you to get a nice crispy waffle through and through without burning the edges.

Don't even think about getting a waffle iron that doesn't have a non-stick coating. Traditionally waffle irons had iron plates that did a great job, but also needed to be scrubbed and scrubbed to get clean. It's helpful too if the waffle iron has a reservoir to catch the overflow batter. You'll appreciate that at clean up time when your family is too full of waffles to help with the dishes.

Waffle irons with removable plates can give you some added options, such as making Paninis, pizzelles or grilled cheese.

Waffle makers really aren't something you display, but keep appearances in mind if you're going to leave it out on your counter. Otherwise, look for a sleek and compact design that can easily fit into your kitchen cabinet.

It helps if the waffle maker has a flashing LED light to tell you when the waffle is done. Some models come with an added beep for convenience.

You can purchase a good, reliable waffle iron for your home for somewhere between $30.00 and $70.00. Sure, you can always spend more if you want and get a commercial version. That's a matter of personal preference and how often you actually intend to use your waffle iron.

Waffles can be great on any day. But if you're looking for another reason to celebrate, consider August 24. That's "Waffle Day" which recognizes the day in 1869 when Cornelius Swarthout of Troy, New York received his patent for the first waffle iron in the United States.


Lawrence Reaves writes for Proctor Silex, a kitchen appliance company that offers affordable products including slow cookers, toasters, and coffee makers. For more information on these products and others click here.

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