That’s right: Every waffle maker is different, and the only way to know how to make the best waffles in yours is to practice. If you’re just getting started with waffle making, these tips will help get you started.

Understanding the coatings on electric waffle irons

Most waffle irons are coated with a non-stick surface. Two chemicals commonly used in these coatings are PFOA and PTFE. Dupont, the folks behind Teflon, claim that both are safe. You can learn more about the safety of these coatings here.

Other waffle irons are made with a ceramic coating, which claims to be “greener” and safer to cook with. They’re wonderfully non-stick, but there aren’t as many waffle iron options available with this surface.

waffle in waffle iron

Properly oiling the iron to make waffles

It’s a good idea to oil your waffle maker (even if it’s got a nonstick coating) before using it. You can use oil or butter. Use a pastry brush to make sure that all of the cracks and crevices of both the top and bottom plates are covered.

Nonstick sprays can work, but it’s a little more difficult to make sure that every part of the plate is covered. I’ve also noticed that they tend to leave a residue behind that will eventually (ironically) cause the waffles to stick.

Preheat the waffle maker

That little indicator light that says your waffle iron is ready? It lies. Perfect waffles come from a hot waffle maker. Don’t hesitate to let the iron preheat for 10-15 minutes. This allows the plates to warm thoroughly and evenly, all the way out the edge.

And be sure to allow the plates to reheat for two to three minutes between each homemade waffle. waffle batter

Use the right amount of batter

The amount of batter necessary to make a fully-formed waffle will vary, depending on both the waffle and the batter. Use a measuring cup to determine the perfect amount to use each time. When you’ve dialed in just the right amount, make note of it on the recipe so future waffle making endeavors will turn out a perfect waffle every time!

For evenly shaped waffles, spread batter — especially thick batters — toward the outer edge of the bottom plate before closing the lid.

waffle batter in cooker

How do you know when is a waffle done?

This is probably the trickiest part of waffle making. Again, practice makes perfect. And for goodness sakes, take notes. When you get it right one Sunday morning, write down what worked so you can easily replicate those results the next time you pull out the waffler maker!

Recipes to try

If you open the waffle maker too soon, the top may stick. Instead of releasing the waffle. The waffle, still uncooked in the center, will split apart leaving batter stuck to both the top and bottom grids of the waffle iron.

The exact timing for cooking waffles will — again — vary by manufacturer. A waffle can take between five and ten minutes to cook completely. As a general rule, watch the steam. Waffles should be done when steam stops escaping from the waffle iron.

You’ll also notice that the waffle batter will initially rise (below) causing the top to lift. As the waffle cooks the top will lower and you’ll see less of the waffle.

cooked waffle

Removing the waffle from the waffle iron

Take care in removing the cooked waffle from the waffle maker to avoid damaging the nonstick surface. Don’t use metal tools! A chopstick is a handy tool for loosening the waffle from the plates.

Once loosened, crispy waffles should lift out easily. Softer, more cake-like waffles may require a bit more care; you can use a spatula to support them if necessary.

browned waffle

How to clean a waffle iron

Cleaning your waffle maker between uses is important. Always unplug the waffle iron before cleaning.

If the nonstick coating is working well, you should only need to wipe the plates with a damp cloth to remove residue.

If you have problems and end up with stuck on bits of waffle, wet and squeeze out a dish rag. Set the dish rag in between the plates while they are still warm. (But unplug the machine.) Allow the moisture to loosen the stuck on bits for 15 minutes or so, then wipe out. Remaining stuck on bits can be dislodged with a wooden chopstick.

Never immerse an electric waffle maker in water. WAFFLES sprinkled with cocoa

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