Everyone's looking for creative ways to step up their cooking-at-home game, and the introduction of a few affordable gadgets is a great way to add novelty and variety to each of your meals. The waffle maker is one such tool that's spent far too many years relegated to the bottom of wedding registries and shoved in the backs of cabinets while waffle lovers saved their indulgences for expensive brunch spots, but it's high time to take back the griddled delicacy's rightful place on the kitchen breakfast table with one of following models ready to give you the crispy, lusciously golden brown breakfast carbs you've always loved.
And lest we not consider the multitude of calorific sins made possible by these versatile machines: hash browns go from pan-fried potato stacks to perfect starch sticks of delight; sandwiches take on brutalist forms as their contents condense into oozing lunchtime treats; the deeply American possibility of a tater tot grilled cheese takes form with your newly imbued ironing power. But really, the options are only as limited as your creativity and the features for which you're willing to spend. Read on to see the pros and cons of each waffle maker, and find the ideal model to help you materialize your esculent dreams.
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Dash Mini Maker – The Mini Waffle Maker Machine
+Lightweight and portable, only 1.4 pounds
+Perfect for singles
+Heats up and cooks quickly
–Not great for groups due to size constraints
–Small handle increases likelihood of burns according to a few users
The Dash Mini Maker's tiny price tag matches its tiny stature, which one reviewer describes as "like a big pressed powder." This won't be practical if you're attempting to cook for more than one, or maybe two at the most, but for something small that can crisp up a sandwich or single waffle on the go, the Mini is an adorably affordable option.
Disney DCM-9 Mickey Mini Waffle Maker
+Fun for kids
+Easy to clean
–Only one waffle at a time
–Waffles are small
If your family loves Disney and perhaps wants to relive a special vacation to one of its theme parks, the DCM-9 Mickey Mini Waffle Maker is a fast way to bring back that rush of youthful excitement by whipping up a batch of mouse-eared waffles and assembling them next to a buffet-style selection of syrups, fruits, and toppings, just like you'd find at one of old Walt's hotels in Florida. Since you can only cook one waffle at a time, several users suggest whipping up a large batch and freezing (like you would with Eggos), then using the waffle maker to heat them as needed.
Cuisinart Belgian Waffle Maker
+Larger, thicker waffle
–Exclusive to BB&B, so no price comparisons available
Featuring a whisk and a plate for catching excess batter, the Cuisinart Belgian Waffle Maker is a step up from the mini-makers above in that it creates a larger, one-inch deep waffle and thus feeds more (or more grown-up) people faster. Non-stick plates make it easier to remove the golden treats once the blue LED light indicates its readiness, and a rotary dial control simplifies the process of ensuring your waffles are evenly cooked on top and bottom.
Cuisinart 4-Slice Belgian Waffle Maker with Pancake Plates
+ Makes four waffles at once
+ Pancake plate adds variety
- Waffles reportedly less thick than standard Belgian waffles
- Slow to heat according to some reviews
If you have mouths to feed and little time to do it, it's imperative you get a waffle maker with high-volume capabilities like the Cusinart 4-Slice so you can knock out cooking duties in half the time. This model, with special plates included for those who prefer pancakes to waffles, are a quick way to create the special breakfast of your dreams and do so at an affordable price.
Hamilton Beach Belgian Style Waffle Maker
+Makes four waffles at once
-Potential for uneven heating
For a family on a budget, Hamilton Beach is a great brand that makes good-quality products for often half the price of more pristine small appliance makers. With an easy-to-store construction and four-waffle capabilities, this is the perfect starter maker for anyone who is planning to use it on a weekly or monthly basis. 89% of buyers from Target would recommend, with only a few reviews complaining of a somewhat uneven heating element.
Presto 03500 Belgian Waffle Bowl Maker
+Makes thick, fluffy waffles
–Might be too tempting to indulge in sundaes as meals too often
Once you've mastered the art of the breakfast waffle, it's time to take those bad boys all the way past dinnertime to create a mouth-watering treat that's easily filled with ice cream, chocolate syrup, caramel, or any kaleidoscope of toppings you can dream up for the perfect waffle bowl dessert sundae. You don't have to wait though–you could also use these at breakfast time as a convenient bowl for a protein-packed Greek yogurt and honey mixture, or perhaps a bit of roughly chopped mixed fruit salad. The options are endless when a waffle is your bowl.
Marvel Captain America Shield Waffle Maker
+Kid-pleaser that makes quality waffles
–Can overflow if not careful
–One waffle at a time
Another entry in the novelty field, the Marvel Captain America Shield waffle maker is a sure hit with the comics-obsessed kid or adult in your house, and according to reviews submitted so far, it makes an excellent, perfectly crisp and evenly cooked waffle. "Seems to be a quality product in terms of how it is built and how it feels--I suspect that Marvel wouldn't license their name to just anyone--but it is important to know that it's a quality product," says one very happy user who adds: "t is exactly what we wanted it to be and your kids will be very happy if you buy it."
Black & Decker Rotating Waffle Maker, Black, WMD200B
+Makes large, round waffles
–Hot to touch and lets off steam, so not great for kids who want to help
–Practice needed to perfect waffle form
If it's breakfast in bed for two you're looking to make, your best bet might lie on the Black & Decker rotating waffle maker. Its sleek black finish sits well on any countertop, and a special cooking system allows batter to distribute evenly for the picture-perfect waffle. There's a bit of a learning curve, so prepare for that by having some extra batter on hand for your first go-round with this model.
Bella Rotating Non-Stick Belgian Waffle Maker with Removeable Drip Tray
For under $30, the Bella Rotating and non-stick model waffle maker gives a real breakfastl bang for your buck. Nine different settings allow you to customize the crisping abilities of the pan, and mainly positive reviews highlight how easy it is to both use and clean. It takes a bit longer to cook waffles thoroughly for those who want the edges browned, so leave batter in place for at least three to four minutes and flip more than once for optimal evenness.
Williams Sonoma Star Wars Millennium Falcon Waffle Maker
+Great for adult and child-aged fans alike
+Easy to clean
–Take a bit more time to warm up
–Reviews cite a learning curve to achieving perfect waffles
Star Wars isn't just a film series for some, it's a lifestyle. These waffles will let those fanatics wake up happy with a Millenium Falcon-shaped breakfast treat that contains all the necessary pockets to hold butter, syrup, fruit, or any other topping in its endlessly fun shape that will let the force stay with you all day long.