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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.