12 best waffle makers for the perfect family brunch
29 January 2021
If you’re looking for a quick way to make breakfast, brunch, dessert and snack times more fun, a waffle maker could be the answer.
Waffles are a bona fide trendy snack right now – just ask any hip and hungry teenager. Filling and delicious, they’re especially mouth-watering when topped with fruit, ice cream or chocolate sauce
or all the above or whatever else you fancy. Best of all, they’re incredibly photogenic, making them ideal for your Insta feed (again, ask that ravenous teen of yours for guidance).
If you’ve only ever had waffles when eating out, it’s time to widen your knowledge. There are different styles of waffle, including Belgian (which are generally seen as the ‘original’ waffles), American, Scandinavian and Hong Kong.
American-style waffles tend to be rectangular in shape and have moderately deep pockets. Belgian waffles are deeper and often heart-shaped. Scandinavian-style waffles are also heart-shaped, but are flatter and crispier on the outside, while Hong Kong-style egg waffles – the very latest waffle trend – are made in a bubble design and can be used as delicious cones for ice cream.
Waffle machines come in a variety of styles, including electric ‘toastie machine’ designs – some with flip-over or rotary mechanisms – or more traditional stovetop contraptions.
Whichever you opt for, creating your own DIY treats with a home waffle machine is a surefire way to save money. As one desperate Mumsnetter confided, when asking advice about waffle makers on our forums: “Both DCs love going to those expensive waffle and ice cream places so thought I would buy them a waffle maker.” A wise move.
Here are the best waffle makers to suit all tastes and families.
1. Best overall waffle maker: Breville DuraCeramic Ultimate Waffle Maker
“I love Brevilles!”
For most people, simplicity is key when it comes to kitchen gadgets, especially when you have a hungry horde to feed, and this electric waffle maker certainly delivers on that score.
Brevilles are very popular on Mumsnet. Check out one of the many Breville threads for more details. This clever gadget – a cousin of the fabled Breville toasted sandwich machine – features removable non-stick ceramic plates, which are a cinch to clean.
Garnering praise from independent reviewers as well as Mumsnetters, the Breville DuraCeramic Ultimate wins points for producing decently sized waffles with an even golden crust.
It’s also sleek and compact, making it a great space-saver gadget. It’s not a particularly cheap option, but it’s a quality waffle maker that should come to your rescue in the kitchen time and time again.
2. Best budget double waffle maker: Salter Deep Fill Double Waffle Maker
“I replaced my Russell Hobbs with a Salter version with deeper plates – makes fantastic waffles.”
A sensible budget choice, this stainless steel Salter waffle maker gets a good write-up on our forums. Besides the reasonable price, another bonus is that it makes double quantities of waffles at a time – great news if you have more than one hungry mouth to feed.
Featuring extra large cooking plates for ‘three times thicker waffles,’ according to the manufacturer, you won’t have to worry about fiddling with a confusing temperature control as, with the Salter Deep Fill Double Waffle Maker, it’s all automatic.
Taking only 10 minutes to cook two waffles, you’ll have breakfast for two sorted in no time. We’d recommend serving your waffles covered in lashings of maple syrup and rashers of crispy bacon, washed down with bottomless mugs of coffee, just as they do in the good ol’ US of A.
3. Most versatile waffle maker: Global Gourmet by Sensiohome American Waffle Maker
The adjustable temperature control on this clever waffle maker allows you to pick the ideal temperature for cooking different types of waffles, including potato waffles if you’re looking for a savoury snack.
As well as offering easy cleaning, a light indicator and temperature variability, the Global Gourmet by Sensiohome is also convenient to store thanks to its handy cord-wrap function. The extra deep, non-stick cooking plates produce pleasingly deep waffles too.
All in all, this automatic electric waffle maker is a great, versatile purchase and pretty good value too.
4. Best flip waffle maker: American Originals Flip-Over Waffle Maker
As you’d expect from a New York company, American Originals produce a wide range of kitchen appliances for making USA classics including doughnuts, snow cones and popcorn.
Their waffle maker comes recommended by independent reviewers who say the American-style waffles produced are reliably golden and crispy on the outside, and pleasingly fluffy on the inside.
A shiny red slimline gadget that’s easy to store, the American Originals Flip-Over Waffle Maker is also eye-catching enough to leave out on your worktop.
You’ll find batter recipes in the instruction manual – simply mix your ingredients, pour your batter into the moulds and wait, giving it a flip over half way (total cooking time is around 10 minutes). Flipping helps speed up the process and ensures an even finish – although it won’t be disastrous if you forget. Be careful if you’re getting the kids to help with flipping as the sides of the machine get hot.
5. Best traditional stovetop waffle maker: Nordic Ware Original Stovetop Belgian Waffle Maker
“A couple of years ago, I did loads of research on waffle makers for my son. Apparently the best waffle maker on the planet is the Nordic Ware Stovetop Belgian Waffle Maker and I have to say that we have had perfect waffles ever since. It’s simple, but the waffles are fantastic.”
A traditional stovetop contraption, this is the best heart-shaped waffle maker we’ve found for Belgian waffles.
The famous Brussels Waffle is a popular street food treat, dusted with icing sugar. Generally, Belgian waffles have deeper pockets than American-style waffles – perfect for holding all delicious pools of syrup and sauce. The texture of a Belgian waffle is lighter and crispier than its American counterpart too and, traditionally, it’s adorably heart-shaped. Don’t confuse it with a Scandinavian-style waffles, though, which are also heart-shaped but much thinner.
The Nordic Ware Original Stovetop Waffle Maker – our best Belgian waffle maker – is an impressive piece of kit. Granted, it’s expensive and you have to be careful when pouring in your batter and keep an eye on it when it’s cooking, rather than just pressing a button and waiting for a beep. But reviewers and Mumsnetters love this old-fashioned waffle iron because you can flip it during the cooking time to ensure an evenly golden, delicious finish.
It can also be used outdoors over a camping stove to make the perfect camping late night snack.
6. Best rotating waffle maker: VonShef Waffle Maker with Rotary Iron
“Having got through several, I can tell you that you need the round sort that flips over.”
A different style of waffle maker from the electric fold-down or the traditional stovetop, this ingenious waffle iron uses a rotary function to cook individual waffles to perfection. It’s the best flip waffle maker we’ve found and consistently wins praise from independent review sites and Mumsnetters alike.
The rotating function is hand-operated so you unfortunately can’t just leave the VonShef Waffle Maker to do its thing. You’ll need to be there to turn it. The process takes around 10 minutes – longer than some machines – and you can adjust the temperature gauge depending on how crispy you like your waffles.
The trays aren't non-stick, making it harder to keep clean, but reviewers say that the end result – thick, fluffy, golden waffles – are worth the extra elbow grease involved.
7. Best 3-in-1 waffle maker: Russell Hobbs 3-in-1 Sandwich, Panini and Waffle Maker
“I have a Russell Hobbs sandwich maker with plates for waffles.”
“We have a 3-in-1 sandwhich maker/panini maker/waffle maker and love all three parts of it.”
A true value-for-money choice, this gadget from kitchen giants, Russell Hobbs, gives you three for the price of one thanks to the three sets of non-stick removable plates.
Whether you fancy a toasted sandwich, a panini or a fluffy waffle for your lunch, you can rely on this clever kitchen accessory to come up with the goods. With a safety locking clip and helpful cord storage function, it’s a reliable piece of kit that should last you for years.
Reviewers praise the quality of the waffles and you can just fling the plates in the dishwasher when you’ve finished. Allowing you to be creative in the kitchen, the Russell Hobbs 3-in-1 Sandwich, Panini and Waffle Maker is a really great all-rounder.
8. Best mini waffle maker: Urban Outfitters Mini Waffle Maker
“I got my daughter one from Urban Outfitters which makes mini waffles.”
A dinky, lilac appliance that would make a great gift for a waffle mad teenager, the Urban Outfitters Mini Waffle Maker offers plenty of street (or should that be kitchen?) cred. Producing teeny individual waffles, it comes with a recipe guide to help your junior gourmet get started.
The only hitch is that it only makes one at a time, so it’ll take a while to make a whole stack of them for your plate.
Compact, easy to store and easy to wipe clean, this small waffle maker would work well for a student living in uni accommodation or their first flat share. Even better, it might even tempt them into making you breakfast in bed.
9. Best high-end electric waffle maker: Sage The No-Mess Waffle Maker
Heston Blumenthal has done it again. The man who put ‘snail porridge’ on the menu has now turned his attention to waffle makers. It’s the most expensive waffle maker on our list by quite a long way, but Heston’s Sage The No-Mess Waffle Maker claims to be able to save your worktops from annoying batter drips that may plague other electric waffle making machines.
The wrap-around overflow moat catches excess batter and cooks it rather than letting it leak out. There are also seven settings so you can customise your waffle from light to dark.
It’s certainly a showstopping piece of kitchen kit. But if you’d rather not shell out nearly £100 on a waffle maker, you could just follow one wise Mumsnetter’s sage advice for saving your worktop from batter mess – stick your waffle maker on a (heat-resistant) tray. Genius.
10. Best bubble waffle maker: American Originals Bubble Waffle Maker
Bubble waffle cones are the latest street snack trend to hit the mainstream, having first originated in Hong Kong. These malleable waffles with a bubble imprint are served in a paper cone and filled with whatever you fancy – ice cream, fruit or maple syrup.
The snazzy, red American Originals Bubble Waffle Maker is reasonably priced and easy to use. You only need to pre-heat the waffle maker for four minutes before pouring your batter into the tray and letting it cook for a couple of minutes.
You’ll get 20 serving cones, recipes and topping ideas included so you can get creative at dessert time – a lovely lockdown activity which is sure to delight any child after a long day at school or homeschooling.
Be warned – it can be tricky to fold the bubble waffle into the cone without it cracking so you might practice. Also, you’re advised to use evaporated milk for the batter mix so make sure you get some in before you start cooking.
11. Best heart-shaped waffle maker for Scandi-style waffles: OBH Nordica Single Waffle Maker
If thick waffles aren’t your thing, you might prefer to go down the Scandinavian route and make much thinner pancakes – known as Vafflor in Sweden and Vafler in Norway, in case you were wondering.
These heart-shaped waffles are traditionally served with a dollop of soured cream and jam or fruit – a lovely alternative to toast and jam for breakfast.
It can be tricky to find a waffle maker that produces thin waffles rather than deep ones, but the OBH Nordica Waffle Maker – from a company with Nordic roots – is just the ticket for Scandi-style treats, although it is fairly spendy.
This stainless steel waffle maker produces four thin, heart-shaped waffles at a time in just a few minutes and the plates are non-stick for easy cleaning. “Smaklig måltid!” (that’s Swedish for ‘enjoy your meal’).
Price: £65Buy now from Cool Shop
12. Best no-mess waffle maker: Lakeland No Mess Waffle Maker
“Recommendations from Lakeland? EVERYTHING! I’m sure DH physically shakes when he sees me flicking through the catalogue.”
Indisputable fact: Mumsnetters love Lakeland products – and this nifty kitchen gadget is no exception. Just like Heston’s posh Sage The No-Mess Waffle Maker, this sleek silver and black contraption promises not to make an utter disgrace of your worktops – but for less than half the price.
If you slop too much batter into the machine’s waffle plates, the excess liquid will run into the clever channels at the side instead of leaking out of the machine. Less cleaning up time is always a bonus in our books. Non-slip feet keep the Lakeland No Mess Waffle Maker extra steady and the included recipe leaflet has some interesting recipes to try, both sweet and savoury.
It’s a hefty machine to store, but you have the advantage of being able to cook four waffles at a time. With waffles taking approximately three minutes to whizz up, you’ll be eating a delicious breakfast en famille in no time (unless you keep all four for your own plate and, really, we wouldn’t judge).
How do I choose a waffle maker?
When choosing a waffle maker, consider the following:
- Style of waffle: Decide whether you want to produce Belgian, American, Scandinavian or Hong Kong-style waffles and choose your waffle maker accordingly.
- Speed of cooking: Machines can take between two and 10 minutes to cook waffles depending on the style of waffle and the design of the waffle maker.
- How many waffles it cooks in one go: Some machines cook individual waffles at a time – others produce two or more.
- Non-stick: Non-stick plates that release your waffles easily after cooking will reduce the risk of sticking or ripping as well as making cleaning between uses easier.
- Removable plates: Having removable plates can make cleaning easier.
- Indicator lights: It’s helpful to have one light showing that the machine is switched on and a second light to indicate the waffle maker has reached cooking temperature.
- Overrun channel: Some machines, like the Sage The No-Mess Waffle Maker and the Lakeland No Mess Waffle Maker, have an ‘overrun’ channel for collecting excess batter and preventing it leaking down the side of the machine.
Are flip waffle makers better?
Some people claim that flip waffle makers produce a more evenly cooked waffle than other designs. We’ve featured two electric flip waffle makers in our list – the VonShef Waffle Maker with Rotary Iron and the American Originals Flip-Over Waffle Maker. You can also flip handheld stovetop irons like the Nordic Ware Original Stovetop Waffle Maker.
Experts say that rotating the waffle maker allows the batter to spread more evenly over the waffle plate, producing waffles that are crispy on the outside but fluffy in the middle compared to non-flip waffle makers that can tend to make denser waffles. That said, reviewers say that you can get acceptably tasty waffles using a non-flip waffle maker too. So while it can be a real bonus to be able to flip your waffle maker, it’s by no means essential.
How to make waffles in an electric waffle maker
1. Plug in and switch on your waffle maker with the lid closed and wait for the ‘ready to use’ indicator to come on, if it has one.
2. Using a heat resistant oven mitt, open the waffle maker and spray the inside with a non-stick spray.
3. Carefully pour in your batter over the lower plate, without overflowing. You can help spread the batter with a palette knife or wood spoon.
4. Close the lid. If you’re using a rotating waffle maker, flip the metal plates upside down for the machine to begin cooking.
5. Your waffles should be ready within four to six minutes so you can open it up or flip over the rotating waffle maker and carefully remove the waffle with a fork and knife.
6. Let your waffle maker cool a little before cleaning but don’t leave it for too long or the batter will congeal.
How to make waffles in a stovetop waffle maker
1. Place your waffle iron on top of your stove burner, which should be on medium heat.
2. Heat the iron for about two minutes and then turn it over to heat the other side too. Make sure you wear oven mitts.
3. Remove the waffle iron from the heat, open the iron and brush both plates with a thin coating of vegetable oil.
4. Place the iron back onto the burner, leaving it open and carefully spoon batter onto the bottom half of the waffle iron. Close the iron for about 90 seconds and then carefully flip the waffle iron over to cook the other side of the waffle. It should be cooked after about 60 seconds.
5. Remove the iron from the stove and open over a plate, using a fork to gently remove the waffle from the iron.
What else can I use a waffle maker for?
You can use a waffle maker to produce a wide range of other treats including:
- Cinnamon rolls
- Hash browns
- Crispy bacon
- Courgette and parmesan fritters
- Grilled cinnamon apples
- Croissant waffles
How much should I spend on a waffle maker?
Waffle makers are available in a wide price range and you could shell out almost £100 for the most expensive model in our list, the Sage The No-Mess Waffle Maker. But you can get perfectly good results using a budget waffle maker such as the Salter Deep Fill Double Waffle Maker, which is priced under £20.
What is the best waffle maker to buy?
The best traditional stovetop waffle maker is the Nordic Ware Original Stovetop Waffle Maker and it produces dreamy Belgian waffles every time. For true versatility and value for money, the best 3-in-1 waffle maker is the Russell Hobbs 3-in-1 Sandwich, Panini and Waffle Maker. The best overall electric waffle maker is the Breville DuraCeramic Ultimate which we rate for its all round performance and value.
How we chose our recommendations
Our waffle maker suggestions mostly came from recommendations on the Mumsnet forums and from consumer reviews on the web. We consulted independent review sites for opinions about products to ensure we were bringing you an honest summary of electric waffle makers and stovetop waffle makers in 2021.
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