How to Clean a Waffle Maker

Cleaning and maintaining your waffle maker doesn't need to be a pain

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hand lifting lid to waffle maker with cooked waffle inside Photo: Arve Bettum/Getty Images

The most important test results in our waffle maker ratings are how each model cooks and browns waffles. But since we know that people generally loathe using kitchen appliances that take even more time to clean than to operate, we assess waffle makers for ease of use, too. “That includes whether there are seams and crevices that batter can get stuck in,” says Tara Casaregola, a CR test engineer who oversees our waffle-maker tests.

Here, CR shares advice on choosing a well-designed waffle maker and offers tips to make waffle maker cleanup a breeze and keep your machine in tip-top shape.

What to Look for in an Easy-to-Clean Waffle Maker

Here are some features that make cleaning easy.

  • Nonstick cooking plates: They help prevent the batter from sticking.
  • Removable grid plates: They make for easier cleaning—some are even dishwasher-safe.
  • Drip tray: They prevent batter overflow from messing up the sides of the waffle maker and your kitchen counter.
  • Smooth exterior: The fewer the crevices, the fewer the areas for runaway batter to ooze into.
  • Batter cup: They let you measure out a precise amount of batter for the waffle maker, to avoid overflow in the first place.

How to Clean Your Waffle Maker

Even if your waffle maker aces CR’s ease-of-use test, grease, batter, and crumbs are unavoidable when making waffles. Here’s how to clean your appliance after each use and a few tips for minimizing messes before you start cooking.

Batter-proof your countertop. Before you get started cooking, place a sheet of aluminum foil or parchment underneath the waffle maker to catch batter droppings and crumbs. Once you’re all done, simply toss out the soiled sheet.

Protect the nonstick coating. Anything sharp or abrasive runs the risk of scratching your waffle maker’s nonstick coating, which will then turn into a sticky spot. Skip the metal utensils and instead use a wooden chopstick to get underneath a waffle to lift it out when it’s done cooking.

Avoid over-greasing and nonstick aerosol sprays. The directions in most waffle maker manuals recommend oiling the grids with a greased paper towel before the first use. After that, you shouldn’t need to oil the plates again as you cook; too much grease will end up oozing out beyond the grid and potentially into crevices, or worse, the controls. Nonstick cooking sprays contain chemicals that burn onto the plates and ruin the nonstick coating.

MORE ON WAFFLE MAKERS

Let the waffle maker cool slightly before cleaning. It’s easier to clean when the appliance is still warm, but make sure it’s not hot. Use a clean pastry brush to brush away crumbs from the plates, and wipe down the exterior and interior with a damp paper towel.

Steam clean the waffle maker. Once you’re done cooking, unplug the waffle maker and layer a few damp (not dripping wet!) paper towels on the bottom plate and close the lid. Let it sit while you eat and the residual heat will help transfer all the gunk onto the paper towels and prevent crusting.

Spot-clean stubborn spots. While the waffle maker is still slightly warm, use a Q-tip dipped in soapy water to scrub out any leftover grime in the wells. If batter got stuck in any tight crevices or on the exterior of the waffle maker or around the controls, use a toothpick to scrape it out.

Wipe down fixed parts. If you cannot remove the grid plates, wipe them clean with a damp paper towel; do not soak any parts of the waffle maker.

Know your capacity. If you find yourself cleaning up a huge waffle mess, take the time to check the capacity of your waffle maker and measure out the exact amount of batter every time. And if waffles regularly stick, you might need to add more fat to the batter.

3 Top Waffle Makers From CR’s Tests

These produce evenly browned waffles and are easy to clean (listed alphabetically).


Headshot of Perry Santanachote, editor with the Home editorial team at Consumer Reports

Perry Santanachote

I cover the intersection of people, products, and sustainability, and try to provide humorous but useful advice for everyday living. I love to dive deep into how things work, and debunking myths might be my favorite pastime. But what I aim to be above all else is a guiding voice while you're shopping, telling you what's a value, what's a rip-off, and what's just right for you and your family.