What makes a better breakfast than delicious homemade waffles?
Just imagine: the ultimate fluffy soft texture with a slight crispness, some deliciously rich and semi-sweet flavors, topped with smoky bacon, maple syrup, whipped cream. Delicious!
But will you believe us when we say it can get better than that? Well, folks, we have found a way to elevate your waffle game!
And no, it has nothing to do with your recipe. By only using a cast-iron stovetop waffle iron, you will be left with the ultimate waffles!
But, what makes a good cast iron waffle maker? Well, first and foremost, determine what you want to use the waffle iron for. Do you want to make Belgium waffles, traditional waffles, or waffle cones? Then, look at the design, maintenance, and durability of the product you have in mind before pulling the trigger.
Today, we will be discussing all of those things including why a cast iron waffle maker is superior to electric ones, the pros, and cons, the different design features to look for, and finally, our top picks!
What Are Cast Iron Waffle Makers?
Cast iron waffle makers are exactly what the name says: waffle makers made from cast iron materials.
Now, these aren’t the well-known electrical waffle makers you commonly find today in-store, but actually, a tool that is used to make traditional waffles.
They are also sometimes referred to as a waffle iron which personally, we feel describes the product better.
A Bit Of History
Waffle irons originated around the 14th century in the north-western coastal region of Europe. This region includes countries like Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.
Back then, the design was pretty much similar to what it is today: two metal plates (usually made from cast iron) that are hinged together with two long wooden handles.
The design hasn’t changed much since which is why many still see it as the traditional and authentic way to make waffles.
What makes these types of waffle irons unique, especially the older models, was that the metal plates had absolutely beautiful designs on them which then transferred to the waffle itself.
These patterns could include anything from a coat of arms emblem, religious symbols, mandalas or oriental designs, or even landscapes.
In 1869, Cornelius Swartwout, an extremely well-known person to many waffle enthusiasts, perfected the original design of the waffle iron by adding a handle and a hinge that swiveled in a collar that is made from cast iron.
This added feature and sturdiness essentially allowed users to now use a waffle iron on the stovetop without the danger of burning or the two plates slipping from each other.
The definition of waffles completely changed when electric waffle makers were invented in 1911 and became commercialized in 1918.
The design and functionality of these electric waffle makers have improved, but unfortunately, has caused this traditional tool to slowly disappear.
Waffle Irons Today
Luckily, nowadays these traditional methods of preparing and cooking waffles are on the rise again!
Most of todays’ cast iron waffle irons still consist of two large plates that are hinged together. The pattern however has now taken on the more modern classic honeycomb design.
You can still find a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and patterns for these waffle irons. You can even find ones that will make different thicknesses of waffles!
We of course are in love with traditional waffle irons with the pretty patterns on them.
The way they work is quite simple: first, you make a waffle batter. Then the waffle maker is heated over medium heat on a stovetop or gas burner. Once it has pre-heated, the batter is poured in until it covers the entire surface of the metal plate.
The waffle maker is closed and the batter is left to cook. Usually, your recipe will give you an indication of how long it will take.
Personally, we have found that with pre-heated waffle irons the time is slightly shorter compared to electric waffle makers.
Benefits Of Cast Iron
Cast iron is arguably one of the most popular cooking materials used around the world. It is used to make both modern pieces of cookware as well as old traditional cooking utensils and vessels.
One of the main reasons for its popularity is because it is extremely versatile. Cast iron can be used on any type of heat source.
From open fires, gas burners, electrical stovetops, induction plated, grills, and even inside ovens – there is no limit to how and where they can be used!
Another reason so many people use cast iron cookware is because of its durability.
If you look after your cast iron cookware well and make sure it gets seasoned regularly and cleaned properly, your equipment will last for decades, maybe even centuries!
It is a virtually indestructible material that can handle extremely high temperatures, evenly heats and distributes the heat, and is a naturally non-stick material when used correctly.
You can use a wide variety of cooking methods in a cast iron cooking vessel including baking, roasting, grilled frying, and even toasting.
For waffles specifically, the main reason it makes such a fantastic material is because of its non-stick ability. Waffles sticking are one of the biggest problems people run into even when using their electric “non-stick” waffle makers.
For waffle irons, its ability to distribute heat evenly is great because it will allow the entire waffle to cook evenly, ensuring that you end up with a beautifully browned and evenly cooked waffle.
Cast Iron Vs Cast Aluminium
Believe it or not, but your so-called “cast iron” cookware might not be pure cast iron. Today, especially when people are trying to save as much money as possible, a lot of companies have developed blended materials for cookware.
Cast aluminum is exactly such a blend that has been developed to help people afford cast iron – or at least cookware that has similar properties to pure cast iron.
Cast aluminum, however, has very different characteristics from pure cast iron. We have already discussed the characteristics of pure cast iron above, but let’s compare the two materials.
Pure cast iron is an extremely durable material, has naturally non-stick characteristics, conducts heat well, distributes it evenly, and holds it well too.
The blend of cast aluminum on the other hand, while having better characteristics compared to pure aluminum material, still isn’t as good as pure cast iron.
Quickly think about baking sheets and roasting trays – these are usually made from pure aluminum.
You always have to line these metals trays with baking paper to help prevent the food from sticking, the pan from scratching, and the tray from wearing down.
Pure aluminum is a good conductor of heat but doesn’t hold it well. It is also not the best non-stick material to use and it is not an extremely durable and long-lasting material.
So cast aluminums’ characteristics are somewhere between cast iron and aluminum.
It is a good conductor of heat, holds it semi-well, and is more durable than aluminum. It does however heat much quicker compared to regular cast iron.
Why Buy A Cast Iron Waffle Maker?
So, why even get this type of waffle maker? Why not get an electric one or one that has been made from cheaper materials?
Firstly, these types of waffle makers (non-electric ones) can be used everywhere!
You can easily transport them without them taking up a ton of space and because they are made from cast iron, they won’t easily break during transportation.
They are also very versatile when it comes to using as we’ve discussed. You can use them over gas, over the open fire, or on electric plates.
Regardless, you aren’t dependent on electricity to use these, so you can even go camping and make some delicious breakfast waffles.
Another great reason, and one we especially love, is that these waffle makers create beautiful, aesthetically pleasing, and authentic waffles that an electric waffle iron simply cannot compete with.
Other than that, cast iron is the perfect material for waffle making as it can produce a very stable and evenly distributed heat that makes great waffles.
This isn’t something cheaper materials will be able to do, so investing in this product is definitely worth it!
Watch Out For…
Just like with any cooking utensil, cast iron waffle makers can be dangerous because they can become seriously hot!
The plates and handles reach a very high heat because of cast iron’s ability to heat to those extreme temperatures and maintain them so well.
So, when choosing a product, we recommend one that already has heat-proof handles or simply use a thick oven mitt or kitchen cloth.
Also, be careful when opening the pan to remove the waffles. Cast iron is heavy and you might end up dropping them. Always use two hands when using these products.
Make sure to not touch the pan when you are done make waffles until it has completely cooled down. Heated cast iron retains heat for a long time and won’t cool instantly.
Types Of Cast Iron Waffle Makers
The type of cast iron waffle maker you choose will depend on the type of waffles you want to make. There are mainly two types of waffles, each classified by its thickness. These include Belgium waffles and “traditional waffles”.
Belgium waffles are very thick and fluffy waffles that have very large pockets compared to regular (traditional) waffles. They also tend to have a very crispy exterior that traditional waffles lack.
This beautiful design is why people absolutely love them. They can hold more toppings, syrups, ice cream, and whipped cream.
Traditional waffles are usually much thinner, denser, and have a very rich flavor.
There is however another type of waffle that is less-known, or that a lot of people don’t realize classifies as a waffle. These are extremely thin waffles that are sometimes even rolled into waffle cones or cannoli-like tubes.
When it comes to the waffle irons specifically, they aren’t classified in different ways.
Sometimes an iron will be labeled as a “Belgium waffle iron”, but more often than not it is up to you to determine whether or not the size and shape works for your purpose.
There are many different shapes and sizes of waffle iron on the market today. They even vary in thickness so that you can create nice fluffy thick Belgium waffles, dense and tasty traditional waffles, as well as thin waffle sheets.
The most common waffle iron shape is round; however, rectangular waffle irons and square ones are also very popular.
Then, of course, you do find the occasional funky iron that can be heart-shaped or even have bubble-shaped pockets.
The last type of waffle iron we want to briefly mention is called Krumkake. This one is very similar to the thin sheets of waffles but is a traditional Norwegian waffle-like cookie that can also be shaped.
These are the waffle irons that have all of the beautiful and sometimes even complex designs that get imprinted into the waffle cookie.
Krumkake is usually left plain and dusted with powdered sugar or filled with whipped cream or other fillings and sold around the festive season.
There are two main components to look at when searching for your perfect cast iron waffle maker. This includes how you want to use it (what type of waffle you want to make with it), and the durability of the product.
This is pretty easy to determine as you already probably have a use in mind. If you want to make Belgium waffles, you need to look for a nice and thick waffle iron design.
If you are simply looking to make traditional Sunday waffles, then any regular waffle iron will work just fine – even a Belgium waffle maker will do the trick.
But, if you want to make waffle cones or Krumkake, then you need that specialized waffle iron that can make those flat sheets. Krumkake waffles have to have some design on them, otherwise, they’re just plain flat waffles.
You can also think about where you want to use your waffle maker, but considering it is made from cast iron and is non-electric like we have already mentioned, you can use it virtually everywhere.
We would however recommend buying more rustic-looking waffle irons if you are planning on using them outdoors. This is merely for the fact that you don’t want a beautiful enamel-coated waffle iron to wear and tear outdoors.
We have already discussed the many benefits of cast irons’ durability. Cast iron is one of the strongest and most durable cooking materials you will find in the world.
It can withstand extremely high heat, doesn’t scratch, is highly durable, and is a naturally non-stick material.
So, what are the other factors to consider in terms of the durability of waffle makers? The only other thing we would look at is the hinges and handles.
Sometimes very weak hinges are used to attach the two sides and they are often the first to break in cheap cast iron waffle makers.
The same goes for the handles. I they aren’t made from the same piece of cast iron the body of the iron is, the durability decreases.
Wooden handles are always nice to have seeing as they are semi-heat proof; however, they can come loose after a while if poorly attached.
So, the best way to determine whether your product will be a durable one is to look at other reviews. Of course, there will be very bad ones, as with any product, but look at the majority ruling and make a decision based on that.
The 11 Best Cast Iron Waffle Makers
After some research and weighing up the pros and cons of many different products, we have put together 11 of our favorite cast iron waffle makers! You are guaranteed to find one that will meet your needs!
|1.||HAWOK Cast Iron Waffle Maker||Best overall cast iron waffle maker|
|2.||Rome Industries Old Fashioned Waffle Cast Iron||Sturdy, classic build|
|3.||Chuck Wagon Waffle Iron||Long handle for safety|
|4.||Cast Iron Belgium Waffle Maker||Lightweight|
|5.||Lehmans Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Waffle Maker||Comes pre-seasoned|
|6.||Texsport Outdoor Cast Iron Waffle Maker||Sturdy wooden handles|
|7.||HAWOK Cast Iron Heart Shaped Waffle Maker||Makes heart-shaped waffles|
|8.||HAWOK Cast Iron Square Waffle Maker||Compact design|
|9.||Bethany Krumkake Iron Waffle Maker||Beautiful design|
|10.||HAWOK Heart-Shaped Cast Iron Waffle Maker||Comes with cloth handle covers|
|11.||NordicWare Cast Aluminum Stovetop Belgium Waffle Iron||Great compact option|
1. HAWOK Cast Iron Waffle Maker
At the top of our list, we have an extremely simply designed, but very effective, traditional round waffle maker.
It is measured at 6.7 inches in diameter which will make the perfect classic-sized waffles.
It has been designed with a classic honeycomb pattern and already has a 4-section divider.
What we especially love about the design of the waffle iron, is that the hinge system is a hook-in hinge, meaning that there aren’t any mechanisms that can break off or come loose.
Plus, the entire product has been made from one piece of material, making it extra durable.
The handles also have a convenient hole so that you can hang it up, saving some cupboard and drawer space.
One thing to keep in mind is that this cast iron waffle maker has not been pre-seasoned, but there are very clear instructions included that will guide you through the process.
2. Rome Industries Old Fashioned Waffle Cast Iron
This is another classic cast iron waffle maker that will make perfect traditional waffles.
This is arguably one of the best outdoor cast iron waffle makers you can buy.
It also measures 6.7 inches in diameter and is about 1 inch thick.
This waffle iron, however, doesn’t have very long handles so you will need to work around that, especially when using on an open flame.
You can either use heat-resistant silicone handle covers, a thick kitchen towel, or oven mitts.
3. Chuck Wagon Waffle Iron
This is a perfect all-rounder waffle iron that is perfectly suited for both outdoor and indoor uses.
This is all thanks to its very long handle that will put some distance between you and those burning hot coals or gas flame.
The handles are also screw-in handles, making cleaning, transportation, and storage very convenient. And, it also has the classic clip-in hinge mechanism that makes this a very durable product.
All-in-all, this product will make delicious traditional waffles that are slightly larger than average.
4. Cast Iron Belgium Waffle Maker
This is a very thick waffle iron as its original intended purpose is to make stuffed waffles.
However, this waffle maker will make perfect Belgium waffles.
This waffle maker heats quickly as it is made from cast aluminum. Now, we know that it isn’t the same as pure cast-iron, but we just had to include it in our list seeing as this is a multi-purpose tool.
It still has all of the benefits of cast iron, is durable, non-stick, and is lightweight because of the material blend. It has been designed with a buckle hinge system making it easy to disassemble and clean.
5. Lehmans Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Waffle Maker
What makes this one of the better traditional waffle makers is that it has already been pre-seasoned.
This is merely a convenience aspect, but the rest of the product also has some very good features.
This cast iron waffle maker has all the benefits of strong cast iron material like durability, being naturally non-stick, and being able to handle high temperatures.
This waffle iron has specifically been designed for open flames and outdoor uses.
It has a 7-inch diameter, a classic honeycomb pattern, and has 4 divisions inside. This waffle iron will make perfect waffles for breakfast, lunch, and even dinner!
And, you can even cook on the flat outside surface, making this a versatile product as well, especially when camping.
6. Texsport Outdoor Cast Iron Waffle Maker
We love this product!
It not only has the normal waffle maker part but also comes with a cast iron stand that will help the waffle iron sit flat on any terrain.
It also gives some distance between the iron and direct heat so that you can more easily control the pace at which your waffles bake.
Other than that, the cast iron waffle maker is made with two very thick and sturdy wooden handles that will make it easy to handle.
The hinge system is a ball joint mechanism that has its pros and cons. Luckily, this is a good quality product so this system won’t give you any problems. And, it’s easy to assemble and disassemble for cleaning and storage.
7. HAWOK Cast Iron Heart Shaped Waffle Maker
Of course, we have to include a heart-shaped cast iron waffle maker!
This is another great and high-quality product from HAWOK.
This waffle maker makes 5 mini heart-shaped waffles that are perfect for mother’s day, a birthday, anniversary, or Valentine’s day.
It is made from cast iron that has already been pre-seasoned, also making it very convenient to use. The handles are short compared to make other products, so you have to use some sort of heat protection for your hands.
However, the short handles also provide sturdiness to your product and make it more compact for storage and transport.
8. HAWOK Cast Iron Square Waffle Maker
This square waffle iron allows you to make something different compared to sometimes boring round waffles.
It measures 13 inches by 7.3 inches and makes beautiful traditional waffles.
This lightweight product is made from pre-seasoned cast iron and has a very compact design with short handles.
Now while the shorter handles do provide many advantages (like extra sturdiness) you do need either heat-proof handle covers or oven mitts.
Included in the set are three brushed that will make cleaning this product much easier! You get a stainless steel wire brush, a nylon wire brush, and a brass wire brush.
These different materials will help you clean in different ways, ultimately ensuring you have a long-lasting product.
9. Bethany Krumkake Iron Waffle Maker
While this isn’t necessarily an authentic krumkake maker, it is pretty close to the real thing and at a fraction of the cost.
This krumkake maker has an extremely beautiful square design that will make fantastic cannoli roles and waffle cones.
It has two very solid and thick handles that are made from wood to make it easier to handle the intense heat.
And it has also been designed with a ball-joint hinge system, making it easy to disassemble and clean.
It also comes with a flat base plate so you can more easily control the speed at which the krumkake cooks and ensure that it is level on the heat source.
10. HAWOK Heart-Shaped Cast Iron Waffle Maker
This is another heart-shaped waffle maker but includes some fun additions.
This set includes the cast iron waffle maker, a pair of thick cloth handle covers, and a silicone pastry brush with a beautiful acacia handle.
This makes the perfect gift or starter kit for Valentine’s Day breakfast!
This product has also been pre-seasoned and comes with seasoning instructions.
It is perfect for both indoor and outdoor uses and is overall a lightweight product.
11. NordicWare Cast Aluminum Stovetop Belgium Waffle Iron
This is another product made from a blend of cast iron and aluminum.
The reason we have included this product in our top picks is that there aren’t many stovetop square waffle makers.
This one however is one of the best for both indoor and outdoor uses. It has a clip-in hinge system making it very easy to clean and transport. It is a relatively compact product that makes 7.25-inch waffles – perfect for any occasion.
And, this range of square waffle iron also includes different sizes and shapes including the egg waffle pan and the mini waffle griddle.
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