Waffle makers make wonderful treats but present very specific cleaning challenges. You deal with a very hot surface and plenty of small grooves that require detailed care. Always review your manual before tackling a serious waffle maker clean up.
Nonstick Waffle Maker Care
The enemies of nonstick cookware are generally using the wrong tools and cleaning with abrasives. Be sure to start with a bit of oil in the cooking process.
Never immerse an electric waffle maker in water.
Even nonstick waffle makers need oil, at least for the first batch of waffles. Use an oil misting bottle or a pastry brush for this application.
Once you've enjoyed your waffles, knock the crumbs off the waffle maker and consider using a soft brush to clear away any stuck bits of batter. If there's a lot to clean away, double check your recipes to make sure you used enough butter.
You can spray down the remaining batter with water and reheat the iron to steam away the stuck bits, or coat them in cooking oil and brush them away once the oil has soaked through.
You never want to use anything pointy or sharp to clean up the crevices in your waffle maker; this will damage the nonstick coating and lead to more difficult clean-up in the future.
Cast Iron Waffle Maker Care
Cast iron kitchen tools have two enemies: corrosion and the loss of their "season" or non-stick coating.
Oil your cast iron waffle maker before cooking, wipe it down with a paper towel or a damp cloth once it's cooled, and avoid soap at all costs!
You can also clean cast iron with a bit of steam; if your waffle iron is heavily coated in congealed batter, add water to the grid and heat it. The steam will help release the batter; be prepared to re-season the waffle maker at this point.
You can season your cast iron waffle maker on the stove top. This takes using a low setting on your cooktop and come careful monitoring.
How To Keep Waffles From Sticking
1. Add Oil Before Cooking
Use a spray-on oil, not an aerosol non-stick cooking spray, to apply the oil before cooking your waffles. This will give you a nice even coating of oil without the residue that can burn on or discolor your waffle maker.
2. Let Things Cool Down
There's no point in risking a burn to clean up your waffle maker once you've enjoyed your waffles. However, you don't want to let batter congeal on the tool. Use a dry paper towel to knock off any crumbs and wipe away excess oil.
3. Keep The Oil Under Control
If oil is pooling in the crevices, experts with The Spruce recommends wrapping the end of a chopstick in a paper towel, dipping this tool in a bit of white vinegar, and running this through the grid.
4. Make Sure The Waffle Iron Is Completely Dry
Whether your waffle iron is cast iron or non-stick, you want to let it dry completely before storing it. Use plenty of paper towels to wipe down all the crevices and grooves, and let it air dry for a time.
5. Use A Recipe With Plenty Of Fat
Waffles are not the time to cook low-fat; if your waffle recipe doesn't contain enough butter to release, the caramelization of the sugar in the recipe can weld the waffle iron shut and leave you with a huge mess to clean up.
Waffles are a delicious combination of sugar, fat, flour and heat. The batter needs to contain enough fat to help in the releasing process and prevent sticking.
Oiling your waffle maker is important, but your recipe needs to work with you. Be decadent with the butter for delicious waffles and an easy clean-up.