5 Surprising Ways to Use Your Waffle Iron: Beyond Breakfast

Most of us have a waffle iron somewhere in our kitchen. It’s likely stashed in the back of a cabinet with your other single-use appliances. It sits there gathering dust, until someone requests waffles one lazy Sunday and you drag it out. Then you promptly forget about it for the next eight months (or year, or two years).

Or maybe you’re a waffle aficionado, and you do use your waffle iron often, and you can’t imagine breakfast without a crisp, golden stack doused in maple syrup.

Whichever camp you fall into, I’m here to change the way you think about a waffle iron.

Full disclosure: I used to live in a world in which waffle irons were strictly for waffles. But then I discovered a brilliant, life-altering truth: a waffle iron is just a teeny, tiny oven!

Your waffle iron can do everything from toast to bake to griddle. It’s like a much cooler version of a panini press. I’m not the only one to realize this glorious fact; there are entire blogs out there dedicated to the art of waffling.

A waffle iron not only heats and cooks your food, but it gives you those lovely little indentations, which create extra crispiness and crunch on the exterior of waffled foods, and serve to soak up sauces, butter, maple syrup, and more (just like the nooks and crannies of an English muffin).

Today I’ll show you a few of my favorite things to waffle, but please, consider this an open invitation to experiment. I can’t think of very many things that won’t waffle. I’d love you to try it for yourself and tell me what worked and what didn’t!

Some of my past successes include waffled falafel, waffled calzones, waffled French toast, waffled zucchini fritters, and waffled omelets.

You can waffle chocolate chip cookie dough or even cake batter. I regularly use a waffle iron to make quesadillas and even simple buttered toast.

A few notes before we dive in. First, a good waffle iron is essential. A double waffle iron like this Belgian machine is useful for making deep-dish waffled foods. If you want something more simple, the KitchenAid iron is top of the line, or try this Croquade waffle maker which has nifty interchangeable plates!

Next, be sure to spray your waffle iron very well. Cleaning a waffle iron is no fun, and this ensures your foods won’t stick.

Another way to prevent mess is to be careful not to overfill. Always start with less batter or dough than you think you need.

When baking anything that would traditionally be baked in an oven (brownies, cookies, and so on), don’t peek! These foods tend to stick more and need to be fully baked before you lift the lid.

Fire up your waffle iron, and let’s begin!

 

Classic Buttermilk Waffles in a Waffle Iron

Waffle Iron Tricks via @kingarthurflour Let’s start with the obvious: waffles! My favorite quick and easy recipe is our Classic Buttermilk Waffle recipe. It yields a light, delicate, and crisp waffle that’s easy to turn savory (just omit the sugar). The recipe calls for an optional 1/4 cup of almond flour, which I recommend. The almond flour adds a bit of nuttiness and texture.

Other fantastic recipes include our Best Waffles Ever, Belgian-Style Yeast Waffles, and Classic Sourdough Waffles.

 

Hash Browns in a Waffle Iron

Waffle Iron Tricks via @kingarthurflour

Next up, let’s transform another breakfast classic: hash browns. If you’re already making waffles for breakfast, you should definitely add hash browns to the menu.

I often waffle my hash browns for a quick dinner (top them with a fried or poached egg and some wilted greens for a heartier meal). Just grate your potatoes, wring out as much liquid as possible, and season them with salt and pepper. Press them into your waffle iron in a thick layer and cook until crisp and brown.

Hot sauce optional, but recommended.

 

Doughnuts in a Waffle Iron

Waffle Iron Tricks via @kingarthurflour

If you love doughnuts, but don’t feel like messing about with a doughnut pan or fryer, pull out your waffle iron.

Doughnut batter performs surprisingly well in a waffle iron. It bakes up into a puffy, light disc with a wonderfully crunchy top. I used our Buttermilk Doughnut Mix, which worked like a charm. Sure, it’s not shaped in a circle, but it tastes just the same.

For the full doughnut experience, drizzle glaze on top (this Boiled Cider Glaze recipe is fantastic) or dip your doughnut waffle into chocolate ganache and sprinkles.

 

Grilled Cheese in a Waffle Iron

Waffle Iron Tricks via @kingarthurflour

As I mentioned, you can think of a waffle iron as really just a textured (read: more awesome) panini press. Thus, it should come as no surprise that your waffle iron is ideal for grilled cheese sandwiches.

Just spray your waffle iron, place one slice of bread down, and top with your favorite cheeses. Place the second slice of bread on top, close the iron, and cook until the cheese is melted.

To take your grilled cheese to the next level, spread some mayonnaise on the outside of each slice of bread. It’ll get extra crisp and golden.

 

Brownies in a Waffle Iron

Waffle Iron Tricks via @kingarthurflour

I saved the best for last: brownies. One of the nicest things about a waffle iron is how much time it saves you, especially when you’re baking a single serving. Sometimes you just want a brownie, and you want it right away!

Brownies are easy to make in a waffle iron: Just ladle in your batter, close the lid, and cook until baked through.

You don’t need to turn the oven on, or dirty a baking pan, or even make an entire batch.

Any brownie recipe works, and the waffle iron gives you lots of deliciously crunchy brownie edges, which is the best part. NB: The same secret holds for muffin recipes; the waffle iron basically yields one giant crisp muffin top.

If you’re prone to sweets craving, I suggest making a batch of your favorite cookie dough and portioning it out into individual scoops. Freeze the scoops, and when you want a warm cookie, just heat up your waffle iron and bake off one scoop!Waffle Iron Tricks via @kingarthurflourNow dust off your waffle iron and restore it to a place of pride in your kitchen. Let the waffling commence!

 

About

Posie grew up on a farm in Maryland and spent her summers in Vermont. As an editor for King Arthur and Sift magazine, she feels lucky to bake every day and connect through writing. She loves homemade bread warm from the oven, raw milk cream, ...

comments

  1. Olivia Morrissette

    Holy cow! Last fall I bought your Cuisinart Belgian waffle iron, and with just the standard waffles, we thought we were in heaven. These ideas are wonderful! I can’t wait to try the hash browns and the grilled cheese sandwiches. Women are creative!

    I’ve got to start crawling these blogs.

    Reply
  2. Diane

    I put slices of battered eggplant. Fit as many as you can at one time. They cook really evenly and completely because of the waffle pattern. However, it takes patience to do enough for a meal for a several people.

    Reply
  3. Twoimps

    This is a great article as I love my All-Clad Belgian waffle iron and I’d never thought to use it for savory dishes and other desserts. Given that you can’t “wash” waffle iron like a pan, any tips for cleaning the deep nooks and crannies to prevent delicate items such as Belgian waffles picking up onion or other favors from savory dishes? Also, All-Clad advises against using non-stick cooking sprays and the waffle iron never needs it for waffles, they always release. Will regular oil brushed on lightly work?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      It may help to use a soft toothbrush to swipe away any savory crumbs from your waffle iron surface. Once the waffle iron has completely cooled you can also wipe with a damp cloth. Brush on flavorless vegetable oil on the grid at the start of your waffle adventure to to keep those waffles from sticking to the grid. Happy baking! Irene@KAF

  4. thomas

    You can throw bread stuffing in as well. Use it as bread for a post-Turkey day sandwich. Potato filling works well also as long as it isn’t too wet.

    Reply
    1. sandy

      We always roast a turkey in late Winter and since it is so snowy and cold here in PA I did it this week. I did the whole Thanksgiving menu with lots of bread stuffing. I love it. So for lunch today I put a pile of leftover bread stuffing in the waffle iron, closed the lid and waited. It was delicious. Nice and crispy on the outside, but the center was soft and moist. Really a great way to reheat stuffing without it drying out. Tonight I am going to make “stuffing waffles” and top them with chopped turkey in hot gravy.

  5. Cheryl

    May be a repeat since I didn’t read every comment, but another favorite use for my waffle iron is cornbread. Just make cornbread batter a bit thinner than usual to pour into waffle iron. Top cornbread waffles with butter and honey (or maple syrup). Yummy!

    Reply

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