The waffle iron is a necessary item when making Belgian-style waffles, and can prove to be a smart investment for other kitchen ventures. Although the waffle iron comes in a variety of different shapes, styles, and sizes, the design is essentially the same. Two hinged metallic panels press dough or batter into the traditional waffle shape while providing quick, multidimensional cooking. The iron’s corrugated texture is what gives the waffle its iconic honeycomb pattern. If you only use your iron for waffles, however, you may be missing out on some excellent food opportunities.
In fact, there are whole recipe lists devoted to alternative and interesting ways to use your waffle iron. For example, Greatist’s “27 Ingenious Things You Can Make in a Waffle Maker (Besides Waffles)” covers everything from waffle iron quesadillas to frittatas, pizza, brownies, and more. Essentially, anything you normally cook in a frying pan can be adapted to cook in your iron. The bonus is that your iron cooks the item from the top and the bottom, which reduces prep time and allows your food to cook evenly.
There’s also an element of fun involved: you get to experience some of your favorite foods in waffle shape! As a visual effect, the waffle finish adds a touch of quirky (and unique) adventure to any mealtime. Impress your guests, invent new “eats,” and experience the creative rewards of innovative waffle iron use.
Creative Waffle Iron Ideas
- Omelets & Frittatas: Make your regular omelet in a waffle iron! Add cheese, meats, or veggies to make things interesting.
- Hash Browns: Shred your potato of choice (Yukon gold, sweet, etc.) into a bowl with spices and 1 egg. Spoon contents into a well-oiled iron.
Lunch & Dinner
- Waffle Fries: Shred a potato (or sweet potato) into your iron and experience a true “waffle” fry.
- Polenta: Get the perfect crisp and add volume to your usual polenta dish.
- Panini: Any sandwich can get fancy—and there’s no need to buy a panini press to get there.
- Crab Cakes: Just like pan-made, except they cook faster and come out looking excellent.
- Eggplant Parmesan: A quick and delicious way to make a healthy meal. See Tikkido’s step-by-step guide here.
- Personal Pizza: Lay dough, add sauce and cheese, then lay additional dough on top to seal in toppings.
- Quesadillas: Add tortilla, cheese, toppings, and another tortilla for your top layer.
- Wonuts: The waffle meets the donut. Add glaze after cooking to really impress your guests!
- Cookies: Try placing your usual cookie dough into a well-oiled iron.
- S’mores: Assemble and place lightly between the plates to prevent cracking.
- Brownies: Spoon batter into your iron and enjoy!
- Churros: See Rachael Ray’s easy recipe for churros.
Viola! The waffle iron will not only deliver perfect Belgian waffles, but it also doubles as a panini press, frying pan, and convection oven. Use your iron as your sidekick during any meal to explore new methods of cooking and create your own signature dishes.
- Be sure to spray your iron thoroughly before use
- Use rubberized or heat-resistant plastic tongs to remove your food item (metal will scratch and damage the iron’s plates)
- Don’t overcook! The iron cooks quickly, and can easily be forgotten. Try setting a 1-2 minute timer so your meal doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.
To Clean Your Waffle Iron
- Remove the iron’s plates only once they have completely cooled.
- Brush away excess crumbs with small brush or towel.
- Soak plates in warm soapy water.
Warning: Never submerge the whole waffle iron.
- Brush and scrub with soft bristle brush. DO NOT use abrasives, steel wool, or scouring pads on your iron.
- For stuck-on batter or food, try soaking the area in cooking oil. Let sit until softened, then wipe away problem spot with a paper towel.