Waffles have long been an indulgent breakfast favourite, but they’ve recently risen in popularity as a great savoury option for lunch or dinner too.
It is possible to make waffles without a maker, but it’s quite fiddly and the results can be disappointing. Invest in a dedicated waffle maker and you’ll have golden, fluffy waffles every time – whether you’re got a sweet tooth or you usually opt for savoury, it will be a great investment for your kitchen.
Before you buy a waffle maker, there are a couple of things that you need to consider. Firstly, what kind of waffles are you looking to make? The thicker and fluffier Belgian waffles, the thinner, crispier heart-shaped Scandinavian waffles, or the lighter and airier bubble waffles?
We would also recommend considering how often you will use the machine – if waffles are a once a month treat, consider buying a multi-purpose appliance that can be used to make toasties, too.
Having durable non-stick plates is also key, as this will make it easy for you to slide out the waffles onto your plate when they’re ready. Finally, you’ll need to factor in cleaning – we found waffle irons with removable plates were so much easier to clean, and the plates could even go into the dishwasher.
How we tested
To ensure a fair test, we used the same waffle recipe on all of the waffle makers that we tried out. We were looking for golden and thick, evenly cooked, fluffy yet crunchy waffles. A perfect waffle is fluffy on the inside and golden and crispy on the outside.
Only after we had tested this recipe several times, did we branch out into making alternatives such as Belgian waffles, or more adventurous options – our sweet potato waffles turned out well, as did cheddar and chive.
Whether you’re a huge fan of breakfast waffles or if you’ve never cooked them before and are just looking to introduce some extra fun to your kitchen, we’ve tested a range of budget-friendly makers as well as higher-end options. If you’re looking for a harder working appliance, we’ve also tried several multi-functional makers which you can use to cook waffles, toasties and even use for grilling.
The best waffle makers in 2021 are:
- Best overall – Lakeland no mess electric waffle maker: £44.99, Lakeland.co.uk
- Best multi-purpose appliance – Salter 3-in-1 snack maker: £29.99, Robertdyas.co.uk
- Best affordable option – American Originals flip over waffle maker: £29.99, Argos.co.uk
- Best for bubble waffles – StarBlue Hong Kong bubble waffle maker: £28.99, Amazon.co.uk
- Best for toasties and grilling – Ikohs stone 3-way sandwich grill and waffle machine: £84.95, Ikohs.com
- Best cast iron model – Skeppshult cast iron waffle iron: £109, Souschef.co.uk
- Best for easy cleaning – VonShef rotating waffle iron: £42.99, Vonhaus.com
Lakeland no mess electric waffle maker
Of all the products that we tested out, this waffle maker was the only one that could make four waffles at a time, making this the ideal choice if you’re cooking for your family or a group of friends. It’s easy to use and comes with a recipe booklet of sweet and savoury waffles in case you’re needing some inspiration, (the chocolate waffles were our favourite).
The green indicator light lets you know when the machine is hot and ready for your waffle mixture to be added, and after several rounds of testing we found on average, it only took about six minutes for the waffles to be cooked to our liking – golden on the outside with a fluffy texture inside. What we really liked best about this waffle maker, were the wells along each side which are designed to catch the over-spill of batter, hence the name "no mess". It takes a lot of practise to pour in the right amount of batter when making waffles, so it’s inevitable that some of the mixture will pour out of the side.
The wells are such a handy feature and makes cleaning so much easier, as well as keeping your kitchen counter nice and clean. Add to this, the machine’s Teflon dual non-stick coating which meant you could slide out the waffles once they were cooked, and the reasonable price point, it was a no-brainer for us to choose this waffle maker as our best buy.
Salter 3 in 1 snack maker
Best: Multi-purpose appliance
With a total of three different sets of interchangeable plates, this was the best multi-purpose appliance that we tried out. You can use this machine to make delicious waffles, toasted sandwiches, as well as use it for grilling. We liked that the waffle plates were deeper compared to other machines that we tested – this means that you can make extra thick waffles, two at a time.
As the plates are deep we found they needed a slightly longer cooker time, around 12 minutes for golden waffles that were cooked evenly all of the way through. The non-stick coating seemed to work well during testing, and the plates were easy to remove and clean in the dishwasher.
American Originals flip over waffle maker
Best: Affordable option
This was the cheapest waffle maker we tested out and very straightforward to use. The retro design might not appeal to everyone, but this maker cooks two servings of tasty American-style waffles in around eight minutes. Although the instructions state it is non-stick, it does advise you to still add some oil onto the plates before you begin to cook. It also recommends flipping the machine 180C to get a more even cook on your waffles, which did appear to help produce a better consistency of waffle during testing.
With this one, we found that you need to be careful with the amount of batter you add to the machine, as it overflowed quite easily making it difficult to clean up after use as the plates cannot be removed. But at this price, we didn't mind the small amount of extra effort.
StarBlue Hong Kong bubble waffle maker
Best: For bubble waffles
This was one of the cheaper machines we tested out – it’s designed to make the impressive-looking (and very photogenic) bubble waffles you’ve probably seen all over Instagram. We found the non-stick coating worked well, and after cooking for around nine minutes, the waffle eased out. Bear in mind the machine gets extremely hot, so you really need to handle it with care.
As with all the waffle makers we tried out, less is more when it comes to adding in the batter. The first time we tried to flip this machine over during cooking (as recommended) a lot of batter dripped out the side. After some trial and error, we found waiting around four minutes until turning it over allowed enough time for the mixture to be cooked enough.
The plates are not removable, so we found it a bit tricky to clean – a damp cloth worked best for us during testing. This maker comes with a recipe booklet so we made the peanut butter waffles too which were really tasty.
Ikohs stone 3-way sandwich grill and waffle machine
Best: For toasties and grilling
With interchangeable plates for making waffles, toasties and grilling, this was definitely the chicest appliance we tested out. We found this to be a good all-rounder, however it is at a slightly higher price point compared to similar products we tried.
You can make two waffles at a time, and ours turned out light and fluffy, although they did get slightly stuck to the plates. As the plates can be removed, this was not really a problem when it came to cleaning. If you’re short of space, this can be stored upright on your kitchen counter, and unlike some more, clunkier appliances we’ve seen, you won’t mind having this one out on display.
Skeppshult cast iron waffle iron
Best: Cast iron model
From Swedish company Skeppshult, this cast iron waffle maker certainly looks the part. During manufacturing, the molten iron is cast into special moulds made from sand which can only be used once, which results in every waffle iron being unique. This can be used on a range of stove tops (we tested it out on induction), and it makes Scandi style, heart-shaped waffles.
The waffle iron is seasoned cast iron, although on our first use we found the batter stuck slightly so on our second attempt we seasoned it again. Once we had done this, the waffle didn’t stick so much, and it took around fifteen minutes to cook. As it is cast iron, bear in mind it’s quite heavy, so you need to be extra careful when flipping the iron halfway through cooking. This was the most expensive waffle iron we tested out, however, it will last a lifetime. Use it regularly and it’ll be worth the investment.
VonShef rotating waffle iron
Best: For easy cleaning
This waffle iron was a firm favourite during testing. With a very useful removable drip tray, this means that when you turn the iron 180C, any batter that drips out is caught by the tray which is easy to remove and clean. We found it better to wait to rotate your waffle, otherwise, all of the batter goes into one side and you’ll end up with an uneven cook. This machine also has a variable temperature dial, so you can choose the setting that works best for your recipe – we found the highest setting resulted in very crispy waffles so watch out for this.
Although we loved the design, one downside to this maker is that you can only make one waffle at a time, so the cooking process will take you longer if you opt for this machine. If you’re looking for a larger waffle maker, VonHaus does have other options available, which can make up to four at a time. It’s currently unavailable to buy, so sign up for stock notifications.
The verdict: Waffles makers
If your whole family are waffle lovers and you know it will get lots of use, the only choice has to be the Lakeland no mess electric waffle maker. But, if you’re looking for a reasonably priced, multi-purpose appliance go for the Salter 3 in 1 snack maker.
For the latest discounts on waffle makers and other home appliances offers, try the links below:
After something more savoury? Look to our review of the best toastie makers
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