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Waffle Maker Buying Guide

A breakfast buffet just isn’t complete without a self-serve waffle station, and although operation of a waffle maker, also known as a waffle baker, is simple enough, choosing one can be a difficult task! Whether you’re offering this tasty treat as a continental breakfast option at your hotel or allowing students to create breakfast and specialty desserts in your college cafeteria, we have the right unit for you. Check out this guide for more information on waffle types, features to consider, accessories, and more!

Types of Waffles

When considering what kind of waffle maker to buy, the first thing to decide on is what type of waffles you would like to offer your customers. Most waffle types originated in specific regions of the world from which they take their name, and each type has its own distinct flavor profile and texture. Below is a list of the most common types of waffles that are served in the United States.

5 lb. Pancake & Waffle Mix   - 6/Case

American Waffles

American waffles are typically made from batter that is leavened with baking powder, which creates a thin, dense final product. The honeycomb squares (sometimes called cups, dents, or pockets) on the grids for American waffle makers are often smaller and more numerous than they are for other waffle types, making these waffles perfect for holding syrup or gravy. Because this type of batter is relatively plain, these versatile waffles are not only served for breakfast with sweet toppings, but are also used as a base for dishes like chicken and waffles, stew, and chili. They are made in a variety of shapes.

Krampouz WECCBEAT 4 inch x 6 inch Brussels-Style Swivel Belgian Waffle Maker - 208/240V, 2600W

Brussels Waffles

Brussels-style waffles are made using a batter that contains beaten egg whites or yeast for leavening, and this gives them their iconic, fluffy texture. Generally served as a dessert with powdered sugar, fruit, whipped cream, or even ice cream, these waffles are crisp with large, deep pockets. They are usually rectangular in shape and have straight, finished edges.

Carnival King Belgian Waffle Mix 5 lb. Bags   - 6/Case

Belgian Waffles

Oddly enough, Belgian waffles were not developed in Belgium. They are simply the North American version of Brussels-style waffles. Like their Brussels equivalent, these waffles are thicker than traditional American waffles, are made from a lighter batter, and have large, deep pockets. However, similar to American waffles, they are often made with baking powder rather than yeast. Belgian waffles are served for both breakfast and dessert, depending on the venue. Their shapes vary from rectangular to round, and they have finished edges.

Krampouz WECDHAAS 4 inch x 7 inch Liege-Style Single Belgian Waffle Maker - 120V, 1440W

Liege Waffles

Liege waffles are the sweeter, denser cousin to Brussels and Belgian waffles. This type of waffle is made with a yeast dough that was adapted from brioche bread dough, and pearl sugar is added to the outside of the waffle towards the end of the cooking process to create a caramelized sugar coating that gives them their distinctive sweet flavor. Thanks to this exterior coating, Liege-style waffles won’t get soggy when served with fruit or ice cream, and they are perfect for street vendors selling handheld desserts. The other defining feature of a Liege waffle is its irregular, unfinished edges.

Now that you’ve decided what type of waffles you will be serving, you’ll need to consider a few other factors. Determining how many waffles per hour you want to produce, how large you want your waffles to be, and what ranks as the biggest benefit to your business—ease of cleaning, fast bake time, durability, or something else—are all good places to start. Plus, don’t forget to take a look at the more technical aspects of a unit like voltage, temperature range, and timer features.

Number of Waffles

Often listed as “waffles per hour,” output is an important factor that should influence your decision when purchasing a waffle maker. Waffle makers come in both single and double models with unique features to suit your needs.

Carnival King WBM13 Belgian Waffle Maker with Timer - 120V
Single waffle makers are straightforward in that they have one top and one bottom grid that fit together to form a single waffle at a time. These are great for low volume use and will typically produce anywhere from 20-35 waffles per hour.

Carnival King WBM26 Double Belgian Waffle Maker with Timers - 120V
On the other hand, double waffle makers come in two different configurations and have an output of 40-60 waffles per hour. The first type has two single waffle irons side by side. Ideal for high volume self-service because two different people can use them at once, these units generally offer independent temperature settings and/or timers for each waffle iron so customers can customize their waffles to their specific tastes.

Stacked double waffle makers are also an option. These units feature two waffle irons, one on top of the other, and they can be flipped to allow access to one waffle at a time. Due to their single temperature control and less-accessible design, these units are better suited to low volume self-service areas or back-of-the-house applications. Thanks to their compact footprint, they are the most ideal option for kitchen areas with limited counter space.

Shape and Size

Shape and size of your waffle baker’s grids will vary depending on the type of waffles you are making. Below are some of the shapes and sizes we offer for the four types of waffles covered in this guide.

Shape Thickness Size
1/2" – 5/8"
7"- 8" diameter
7"- 8" square
1 1/4" – 1 1/2"
7"- 8" diameter
1 1/8"
4" x 6"
4" x 7"
3" x 5"
4" x 7"
4" x 13"

Grid Material and Cleaning

The most common materials for waffle iron grids are cast aluminum, cast steel, cast iron, and nonstick-coated. The size of the pockets or squares on the grids will vary between different units, and some even have grids that are removable to make cleaning and sanitizing easier than ever. Check out the chart below for a comparison of the benefits and drawbacks of each material type!

Material Type
Cast Aluminum
  • Fast preheat time
  • Fast bake time
  • Energy efficient
  • Must be handwashed
  • Soft metal can scratch and dent easily
Cast Steel
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Promotes even heat distribution
  • Scratch-resistant
  • Longer preheat times
  • Longer bake times
Cast Iron
  • Great heat retention
  • Becomes nonstick after being seasoned
  • Very durable
  • Must be regularly seasoned
  • Longer preheat times
  • Easy to clean
  • Easy release keeps waffles intact
  • Must be handwashed
  • Coating may scratch or chip

Electrical Configuration

With a variety of voltages to choose from, it’s important for you to evaluate what voltage your operation can support. Most electric waffle irons come with a cord and plug, but the plug will vary depending on the voltage. In addition, some dual waffle makers come with two cords/plugs and require two separate circuits to operate. Make sure you read Specification Sheets carefully to determine whether or not the unit you’re considering will work for you.

Timers and Temperature Range

A waffle baker with a timer is a great option for busy kitchens since your employees can pour in the batter, close the unit, and carry on with other tasks while the waffle bakes. These units will make an audible noise when the waffle has baked for the preset amount of time, ensuring that your staff removes it before it burns or overcooks. Double waffle bakers with independent timers for each side are also available and are ideal for high volume self-service applications where more than one patron will be using the waffle maker at a time.

Most waffle makers have an adjustable temperature range, which, coupled with the timer feature, can allow your patrons to customize the texture of their waffles to their individual tastes. Purchasing a unit with a wide temperature range also gives you the ability to perfect your recipe and ensure consistent results by using the same settings each time.

Specialty Products

Churro Waffle Makers

Churro waffle makers, as their name suggests, are designed specifically for making churros. These units have cylindrical grids for producing the sweet, savory pastry that everybody loves.

Waffle Cone Makers

Waffle cone makers have grids similar to that of a normal waffle maker, but they produce a much thinner finished product that can be wrapped into an ice cream cone. In order to form the pliable flat waffle into the right shape, you may want to purchase a forming tool along with your waffle cone maker.

Accessories and Mixes

A great product to prevent customers or employees from overfilling your waffle baker and making a mess, batter cups are simple plastic measuring cups with a clearly marked “Fill Line.” A batter cup generally comes with a waffle maker at the time of purchase and is specific to the model it came with.
Similar to batter cups, batter dispensers are just another way to cleanly pour batter onto the grids of your waffle maker. These help to cut down on waste by reducing dripping and splattering during pouring.
Drip trays prevent messes by catching drips and splashes of batter. The use of a drip tray can cut down on clean up time because you won’t have to work dried-on batter up off your countertop at the end of the day.
This premium Belgian waffle mix from Carnival King will delight your diners with its fantastic flavor and made-from-scratch taste. Requiring you to do only half the prep work for a batch of waffles, this mix creates waffles with a consistent light texture and golden brown outside.
Available in three different flavors, Carnival King waffle cone mix allows you to prepare your own waffle cones to perfection without the risk of breakage that comes with pre-packaged cones.
No waffle is complete without syrup! With a number of brands and quantities to choose from, you’re sure to find the right kind of syrup to suit the taste of even the pickiest breakfast-eater.
If you want to truly impress your customers, try investing in some extras like baking chips, chopped nuts, whipped cream, and more! Some of these can be baked right into your waffles, but others are perfect for topping those sweet, fluffy treats and turning a breakfast favorite into a delectable dessert.

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