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Everything You Need to Know About Waffles & Waffle Makers

Everything You Need to Know About Waffles & Waffle Makers

A breakfast buffet just isn't complete without a self-serve waffle station. Operating a waffle maker (also known as a waffle baker) is simple enough, but 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 best waffle makers for you. Check out this guide for more information on waffle types, features to consider, accessories, and more!

What is a Waffle?

A waffle is a cake-like food made from leavened batter when it is poured between two hot, patterned plates. Waffles come in a variety of shapes and sizes and they are eaten all over the world. While traditionally served at breakfast, waffles can also work well as a snack or dessert.

Three plates with waffles and various toppings

What are Waffles Made of?

Waffle recipes can differ depending on the types of waffles you're making or the ingredients you use. Traditionally, waffle batter is made from flour, butter, brown sugar, yeast, milk, and eggs. Waffle mix is similar to pancake mix, but often has more sugar and fat for a crispier exterior. Pre-made waffle mixes or frozen waffles can make it easy to serve delicious waffles in seconds. 

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.

Two belgian waffles on white plate in front of glass or orange juice and cup of coffee

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. To make Belgian waffles, purchase a 7"-8" round waffle maker with a 1 1/4"- 1 1/2" thickness.

Rectangular Brussels waffle

Brussels Waffles

Brussels-style waffles are made using a batter that contains beaten egg whites or yeast for leavening. 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. To make Brussels-style waffles, purchase a 4" x 6", 4" x 7", or 3" x 5" rectangular waffle maker with a 1 1/8" thickness.

Eggo waffles on white plate with chocolate chips, butter, syrup, and bananas

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. To make American waffles, purchase a 7"-8" round or square waffle maker with a 1/2"-5/8" thickness.

Liege waffle dusted with powdered sugar on white striped napkin

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. To make Liege waffles, purchase a 4" x 7" or 4" x 13" irregular-shaped waffle maker with a 1" thickness.

What is a Waffle Maker?

A waffle maker, or a waffle iron, is an essential cookware appliance that is used to make waffles. Simply pour in the batter of your choice, close the waffle maker, and in a short amount of time you'll end up with delicious, uniform waffles.

Hand opening steaming single waffle maker with cooked Belgian waffle inside

How to Choose a Waffle Maker

There are a variety of waffle maker models to choose from depending on your needs. Light-duty models work well at self-serve breakfast stations while heavy-duty models are great for busy diners. Before choosing a waffle maker, you'll need to determine 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.

Single vs. Double Waffle Makers

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.

Single Waring waffle maker opened with cooked Belgian waffle inside next to plate of waffles

Single Waffle Makers

  • Make one waffle at a time
  • Produce 25-35 waffles per hour
  • Ideal for light-duty use at diners or restaurants

Waring double waffle maker

Double Waffle Makers

  • Two single waffle irons side by side
  • Produce 40-60 waffles per hour
  • Independent temperature settings and timers for each iron

Double stacked Waring waffle maker with cooked Belgian waffle inside next to plate of waffles

Stacked Double Waffle Makers

  • Two waffle irons stacked on top of each other
  • Can be flipped to allow access to one waffle at a time
  • Single temperature control, compact to save counter space

Waffle Maker Shapes & Sizes

Shape and size of your waffle maker'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"

How to Clean a Waffle Maker

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!

Cast Aluminum
  • Fast preheat time
  • Fast bake time
  • Energy efficient
  • Must be hand washed
  • 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 hand washed
  • Coating may scratch or chip

Waffle Maker Specs

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.

Specialty Products, Accessories, and Mixes

Open waffle cone maker

Waffle Cone Makers

  • Grids are similar to normal waffle makers but thinner
  • Can be wrapped into an ice cream cone 
  • Forming tool shapes the pliable flat waffle into the right shape

Clear Waring Belgian waffle batter cup

Batter Cups

  • Prevents customers or employees from overfilling waffle baker
  • Plastic measuring cups with a marked “Fill Line.”
  • Generally comes with a waffle maker at the time of purchase

Stainless steel batter dispenser

Batter Dispensers

  • Cleanly pour batter onto the grids of waffle maker
  • Help cut down on waste by reducing dripping and splattering
  • Provide consistent results

Metal drip tray

Drip Trays

  • Prevent messes by catching drips and splashes of batter
  • Cut down on clean up time
  • Keeps counterspace neat

Bag of Carnival King Belgian waffle mix next to plate of Belgian waffle with butter and syrup

Carnival King Belgian Waffle Mix

  • Premium mix has fantastic flavor and made-from-scratch taste
  • Requires only half the prep work
  • Consistent light texture and golden brown outside

Bag of Carnival King waffle cone mix next to waffle cones

Carnival King Waffle Cone Mix

  • Available in three different flavors
  • Eliminates the risk of breakage of pre-packaged cones
  • Gives customers a fresh backdrop for their ice cream

Mini jar of Dickinson's pure maple syrup


  • Many brands and quantities available
  • Different types of syrups for different tastes
  • Use bulk syrup for your restaurant and individual servings for takeaway

Hand scooping tablespoon of chocolate chips out of bag of chocolate chips

Baking Extras / Toppings

  • Wide variety of toppings available
  • Can be baked directly into your waffles
  • Options to expand your sweet and savory menus

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