Even if you’ve never tasted one for yourself, there is slim likelihood that you’ve not spotted a couple of artsy snaps of Liège waffles on your Instagram or scrolling through Facebook. They’re an experience unto themselves – sold practically corner to corner in Belgium, these fluffy, light waffles, caramelized and crisp on the outside, buttery soft and with bursts of sugary sweetness on the inside, have spilled over borders and gained well-deserved popularity for their amazing medley of texture and taste.
Now while it’s not possible for us to drop by for a street-food rampage every other weekend in the Belgian municipality these waffles get their name from – unfortunately – we can still attempt to recreate them at home, for a special breakfast treat or as a crowd-pleasing dessert. All we need is the right recipe, the right ingredients (particularly Belgian pearl sugar), and, of course, the right waffle iron. A good, easy to use iron should be non-sticky, easy to clean up, and with handy features like indicator lights to signal when the iron is ready to bake and a sturdy locking mechanism. Here are our picks for the best waffle irons for Liège waffles.
Hamilton Beach Flip Belgian Waffle Maker
Our top pick easily meets all our requirements for the ultimate waffle iron – a flip waffle maker, this rotating model is built to work with the thickest of batter for the fluffiest of waffles, letting you pull off restaurant or Belgian food-truck levels of panache at your breakfast table. The rotating mechanism of the iron lets you evenly spread the batter and ensure both sides are cooked consistently, with a cleverly placed drip tray underneath to catch any run-off batter and prevent a mess on your countertop. The Belgian-style grids themselves are non-sticky, so with a little greasing before preheating the waffle iron and subsequent greasing with a cooking spray in between baking sessions, it’s perfectly simple to lift your waffle out of the iron without it having stuck to its sides. To ensure that you don’t damage the non-stick interior, we recommend using a plastic or rubber spatula – applicable to all the irons on this list.
Another incredibly handy feature of these grid plates is that they’re removable – once they’ve cooled down, you can remove them from the iron and wash them down in your sink or in your dishwasher, which makes for a more thorough and convenient cleaning process compared to non-detachable grids which have to be wiped down with a cloth or towel instead.
The waffle iron is programmed with advanced heating technology to ensure your waffles bake consistently and thoroughly, a browning control letting you choose if you want your crisp waffle exteriors to be lighter or darker, while the interior remains buttery soft and fluffy, with pops of sugar. A dual-light indicator system lets you know when then waffle is on, and when it’s ready to bake.
KEN’S BUDGET PICK
Oster CKSTWF2000 Belgian Waffle Maker
Though not a rotating model, or one with removable grids, this unit still has a bunch of compelling merits – including its pocket-friendly price – earning it a place on this list. With Belgian-style grids to give your waffles the deep pockets we love filling in with delicious toppings, the temperature settings of the waffle iron let you control how much you wish to bake your waffles, especially for different types of batters – you can opt for darker or lighter crusts and varying degrees of crispness, to your preference. Non-sticky grids ensure your batter won’t adhere to the pans when baking, but as with all waffle irons, remember to grease it up before pre-heating and before each baking session, using a plastic or rubber spatula to remove the cooked waffles.
The grids are easy to wipe down, thanks to the non-stick interior making sure you can remove everything cleanly without any burnt or dried batter clinging to the inside. A set of two lights let you know when the iron is switched on, and when it’s preheated enough to let you bake, while a cool touch handle lets you open and close the waffle iron without risking burning yourself. More than functional for the price, this is a great budget unit to consider if you’re nervous about how much you’ll be spending.
NordicWare 15040 Cast Aluminum Stovetop Belgium Waffle Iron
Go more traditional with this manual waffle iron – if you’ve had experience with electric waffle makers shutting down or simply don’t have the space or resources to accommodate another electrical appliance, this timeless design is a great way to go. For starters, you won’t have to worry about clean-up or storage – unlike oftentimes heavy and bulky waffle irons, this unit folds in half and can be slid in anywhere at the back of your cupboards or into a kitchen drawer, while its non-electric structure means you can wash it up with ease at your sink. We’re going for the non-stick version of this product over the more traditional, cast iron version – with a little bit of thorough greasing, you get to flip your waffles, spread the batter, and cook both sides consistently, the end result being perfectly cooked, fluffy waffles you can easily lift out with a spatula. Remember to warm the waffle iron up, on both sides, before you pour your first round of batter – in less than five minutes cooking time, you can dish out four perfectly crisp, fluffy Liège waffles.
Cuisinart WAF-300 Belgian Waffle Maker
This heavy-duty unit comes decked with a bunch of handy features to make our waffle-making experience a breeze – adjustable temperature settings, 6 browning options and sound alert mechanisms give you much more control over how you bake your waffles, so you can rest assured they will always come out perfect. The Belgian-style grid plates are removable, letting you clean up any messes in the sink or your dishwasher, while their non-stick coating makes removing and nailing perfect waffles every time a stress-free process. Apart from the audible alert signal, the waffle iron also comes with light notifications to let you know when the iron is ready to bake, and when your waffles are ready to eat. This dual-purpose waffle iron also comes with 4-slot pancake plates, and works just as well as a pancake maker too.