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Stovetop Waffle Irons
Do manual, stovetop waffle makers work as well as electric waffle makers? We made dozens of waffles on both gas and electric stoves as we tested six hand-held models.
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What You Need To Know
Material made a big difference in performance. Waffle irons made of light-colored, shiny metal yielded pale, dry waffles that stuck to even the most well greased grids. Cast iron produced crisp, golden waffles, but even after rounds of seasoning and oiling the surface, they stuck. Dark, nonstick metal was king, requiring no seasoning and producing evenly crisp, golden brown waffles that released easily.
We liked waffle irons with reservoirs to catch overflowing batter and long stay-cool handles that kept our hands safe. But thin handles were key for success on electric stovetops, allowing the waffler to lie flat on the burner—bulky handles lifted one edge away from the heat, making cooking uneven. (Handle design was less of an issue on gas burners.)
Only two waffle irons performed well in every test and on both gas and electric ranges. Both were made of dark, nonstick metal with thin, flat handles and each yielded crisp waffles that could rival those from an electric waffle maker.
Compared to electric wafflers (which preheat automatically and cook waffles to a preset degree of doneness, with no monitoring needed), hand-held models are less of a no-brainer (the cook has to gauge when the waffler is preheated, manually flip the waffles, then judge when they’re done). Still, they have their advantages: Manual wafflers tend to be smaller, for easier storage, and our winner cleans up with a quick rinse.
Everything We Tested
This waffle iron was ready to use out of the box, heated up evenly and quickly, and made golden brown, crisp waffles that released easily. Easy-to-follow instructions and thin, flat handles facilitated perfect waffle-making on electric stoves. A quick scrub and rinse was all that was needed to clean the nonstick metal.
Dark nonstick metal released waffles easily and thin handles made them stay flat on an electric stovetop. But when we followed the instructions to cook on low heat, waffles steamed. When we cranked the heat up to medium, the results came out golden brown and crisp. This model’s handles and two grids came apart for easy cleaning.
Recommended with reservations
The hot cast iron produced crisp waffles and its thin, flat handles allowed the iron to lie flat on electric stovetops. The cast iron was tedious to season and requires a great deal of use before it becomes sufficiently nonstick. Its short metal handles became very hot, so we needed oven mitts to handle it every time.
Despite several rounds of seasoning, waffles still stuck to the cast-iron surface, even with plenty of oil. The waffle maker retained heat and produced crispy waffles, but it takes dedicated effort and a lot of time to make it sufficiently nonstick. Cleanup involved simply rinsing it under hot water and drying it under the burner. Thick handles prevented the iron from laying flat on a flat electric stovetop.
Vague instructions left us guessing how to make waffles in this model, although long, thin handles allowed it to lie flat. Repeated attempts produced only one crisp waffle, and it was pale and dry. Waffle bits got stuck and trapped in the small grooves of the metal grid, forcing us to use a toothbrush to get them all out.
This hybrid pan—half waffle iron, half pancake pan—lacked an opposing grid to press against the batter, so you have to flip the waffle/pancake, meaning only one side will get a good grid pattern. It fared better with pancake batter, producing golden brown “waffled” pancakes. Even so, one side browned more than the other, and flipping the small, (usually) stuck pancakes was a hassle. We needed to use a toothbrush to clean out the small bits stuck in the grids.
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