There are several common varieties of Waffle makers available. You can easily find Italian, Belgian, American, German, and European-style waffle makers online and in kitchen appliance stores. So what is the difference between all of these different names? Is one waffle maker better than another? How do the waffles turn out?
Today we’re going to answer all of these questions to clear up all of the confusion around waffle makers and what makes each country’s waffle iron different.
Italian Waffle Makers
Italian waffle makers may produce the most beautiful waffles. And they’re quite unlike the large, thick and fluffy waffles you might imagine digging into for breakfast. Italian waffles, called pizzelle, are more like thin wafer cookies. They’re golden blonde in color with a crisp, thin texture that breaks easily. They also have beautiful decorative patterns like snowflakes, thanks to the waffle maker.
Italian waffle makers can make up to four pizzelle at a time, making them ideal for large gatherings. And another great thing about Italian waffles is that they don’t have to be consumed fresh off the press, like other waffle styles. Rather, many Italians treat pizzelle like cookies. They can be stored and enjoyed later and dunked in hot coffee or tea. The batter itself is often flavored with anise for a slight licorice flavor.
You’ll often find pizzelle served around the holidays in Italian and elsewhere, so this is more of a specialty waffle maker rather than your everyday option.
Belgian Waffle Makers
Quite the opposite of the delicate Italian waffles, Belgian waffles are large, with deep square indentations for fluffy and airy waffles. You can find square or round Belgian waffle makers, depending on your preference. The most advanced versions even have a flipping capability to ensure totally even cooking.
Belgian waffles are best eaten hot, straight off of the waffle iron. They’re often dusted with sweet toppings like powdered sugar, chocolate drizzle, and whipped cream. You can make soft, doughy waffles with a Belgian waffle maker or leave the batter to cook for longer and make firm, stiff treats that you can hold in your hand. In Belgium, this firmer version of waffles is often sold as street food covered in all kinds of toppings.
American Waffle Makers
American-style waffle makers are modded after Belgian waffle irons. Like traditional Belgian waffle makers, American versions produce thick and fluffy waffles with deep indents. They tend to be a bit thinner and crispier with a soft and fluffy interior, compared to stiffer and heartier Belgian waffles.
If you like to meet somewhere between thin, crisp Italian pizzelle and a filling and hearty Belgian waffle, the American-style waffle maker is a happy medium.
German Waffle Makers
German waffle makers tend to showcase the best of German engineering. They’re sturdy, high-quality, and long-lasting kitchen appliances that produce thick, crusty waffles. German waffle makers tend to be on the pricier side, but they’ll last a lifetime, so they’re great for the regular waffle maker.
If you love a golden-edged, crisp waffle with plenty of grooves to catch syrup and other toppings than a German waffle maker can be an excellent investment.
As for the difference between German waffles and other nations’ treats, these tend to be sweeter and may be flavored with things like chocolate.
European Waffle Makers
A product described as a European-style waffle maker is usually referring to a Belgian waffle maker. These appliances produce the signature fluffy, square-dimpled sweet waffles common in the Netherlands, France, and elsewhere in Europe. They’re often enjoyed as a snack, rather than breakfast as they might be in America. These makers are high-quality and produce thick waffles that can be square, rectangular or round.
Best Waffle Recipes to Try
Once you’ve found the best waffle maker for your needs and tastes, put it to good use with one of these delicious waffle recipes:
- Serious Eats’ Greatest Waffle Recipe Ever
- Dark Chocolate Cake Waffles
- Pizzelle Recipe
In conclusion, the differences between the most common kinds of waffle makers are not huge, and choosing the best waffle maker for your kitchen comes down to how much you want to spend and the kind of waffle you love best. If it’s thin, crispy and nutty, then an Italian-style pizzelle maker is perfect for you. On the other hand, if you’re more into giant, fluffy waffles made for drizzling with maple syrup, go with an American maker. Finally, if you like a sturdy, hand-held waffle to fill you up and satisfy your sweet tooth, opt for a Belgian waffle maker. Whichever one you choose, you truly can’t go wrong.
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