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Buying Guide: The Best Waffle Irons For You

The authors of The New Cooks' Catalogue certainly know what to look for when choosing cooking equipment. These leading culinary experts have been evaluating cooking equipment for over 25 years. The following information is what they consider important when selecting a waffle iron.

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What to Look For

  • The best waffle irons offer a range of temperature settings, just like a toaster, and have nonstick cooking grids
  • Lights or audible tones should signal when a machine has preheated and when the waffle is ready.
  • The ability to stand on end plus a way to contain the cord makes a waffle iron easier to store.

More information

Uses

While you may not use a waffle iron every week, this is a special piece of equipment for which there is no substitute. You can choose from machines that make classic thin waffles in squares, circles, hearts or cartoon characters, or fluffy Belgian waffles with deep pockets to catch maple syrup. Stovetop models are still available but we prefer the convenience of an electrified iron that bakes both sides at once and can maintain a consistent temperature.

A waffle iron should deliver waffle after waffle that is evenly browned and crispy on the outside, cooked through yet not dry on the inside. The best irons offer a range of temperature settings, just like a toaster, so you can select the degree of doneness that you prefer. Good machines should be "thermostatically controlled" to maintain an even temperature.

Features

The interior cooking surfaces should be nonstick and easy to wipe clean. Some machines have cooking surfaces that remove for cleaning and reverse to a flat griddle side for making grilled cheese sandwiches or French toast. But removing and replacing the grids can be inconvenient. Plus, we found that removable surfaces sometimes pop off during baking.

We love audible tones that tell us when the surface is hot enough to add the batter and when the waffle is done. Other models signal the same information with a light.

Pizzelle Makers

It’s not Christmas in some households without pizzelles. These festive anise-flavored cookies are baked in a special iron with engraved patterns. Like a good waffle iron, this appliance should have a thermostat to maintain a consistent baking temperature and a nonstick finish that makes it effortless to remove cookies and wipe the surface clean.

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