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My waffle iron sucks but I can't get a new one. Help me troubleshoot?

  • l

Hey everyone,

My waffle iron is terrible. OR I am just terrible at using it. It is an older (5-7 years?) Black & Decker 4-in-1 Wafflemaker. Has the sandwich, grill, and griddle attachments, too.

Anyway, every time I make waffles, they stick to death and when I cook 'em and I think they are done, I open it up and it's ripped into two pieces, stuck on each side. I always end up just making pancakes with the rest.

I have tried adding a load of oil, greasing generously. I have waited much longer in case they needed longer cooking, and much shorter for same reasons. I've tried different waffle recipes. I just think it might be the iron.

Any advice at all? I can't afford to go out and buy another waffle iron, but I really would like some homemade waffles!

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  1. Ive had that issue before where the waffle splits open and nothing is inside. That happened when I was using a mix that was supposed to be just for Belgian waffles. I switched to the cheap store-brand complete pancake/waffle mix and started spraying each side of the machine with Pam before each waffle... no problems since!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Njchicaa

      Hmm, I definitely don't want to use a mix (and I don't use Pam), but I've always oiled my grates. I'm glad you've found success though!

      1. re: ls150

        Instead of Pam I have used one of those sprayers you fill with your own oil. I used peanut, but you can use whatever you want.

        Mine never stick any more. It seems the maker needs seasoning if it is not non-stick. After using it a few times it started to stick much less often.

        1. re: travelerjjm

          That is what I use already. Never would use Pam!

    2. I had that same model for like 30 years and didn't have that problem, but as it was such an old version maybe it wasn't identical. I finally got rid of it when I couldn't stop stuff from sticking but that took a long time. If I oil it's very lightly. not with PAM but with one of those oil sprayers you fill yourself. If stuff starts sticking on these because the finish is going, or maybe gunked up with cooked on oil, I'm not sure adding lots of oil really helps anything.

      Perhaps experiment with the amount of batter you use. No matter what wafflemaker I have the best results when using as much as possible without it going out the sides when it starts to cook. Not enough batter might in splitting like that. Always tricky to get right. If you don't measure now I suggest actually measuring what you are putting in for a given recipe, then sticking to that if you find success.

      (After trying and quickly dumping a new cheapy, now the happy owner of a Caphalon No-Peek.)

      1 Reply
      1. re: snippet

        The finish definitely isn't going - I've only used it a handful of times (without success). I tried lightly oiling it, but definitely never use Pam. I have an oil sprayer, too, and I've also tried a pastry brush to get into the grooves. I'd love a new one but.... I can't afford it. Maybe I'm destined to be waffle free. I'll try adding more batter, too. Thanks!

      2. Pam and waffle mix work for me. IIRC, waffle batter has more oil than pancake batter.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Alan408

          I and not sure what IIRC means, but I've tried different recipes, and none are low fat, so I'm not sure! But that's good to know.

          1. re: ls150

            IIRC = If I Remember Correctly

        2. I had an old iron that stuck. I found that I had to clean it meticulously with a toothbrush. A couple of times to get all the stuck batter off. Then when I made the batter, I include 2 tablespoons of oil in the batter (which gives me 4 big waffles.) I also spray the iron, and I measure each serving of batter so that it doesn't squirt out the sides and cause it to stick.

          It also has to be cooked fully, so that it doesn't rip apart when you open it. Timing is key, and I always watch the steam come out. When that has subsided, I know I'm close to being done.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Heidi cooks and bakes

            Thanks Heidi. Maybe I am not waiting long enough. How long does it take on yours? I know each maker is different, but it's been so long since I last tried I haven't thought about the steam thing.

            1. re: ls150

              It's not so much a time thing. You have to watch the waffle, and you'll see the steam coming out the sides. After a few minutes, it will start subsiding. I let it go for another minute or so, before trying to open the iron and seeing how done it is. Make a couple of batches just for practice. The batter is cheap enough! And keep your stop watch going, and take good notes so you'll remember what worked the next time you make waffles. I always keep my notes right with my iron, so I never have to wonder what worked out the best the last time I made them.

              1. re: Heidi cooks and bakes

                Thanks for the tips. My batter is not cheap, unfortunately, but I would still dig it out and eat it :)

          2. IMO, Heidi cooks and bakes is on the right track. The waffle iron needs to be impeccably clean. Then it needs to be seasoned by heating it to its highest temperature and brushing oil throughout the grate surfaces and cooling it before wiping excess oil away.
            You don't list your waffle batter recipe but if it doesn't include vegetable oil it should.
            Beat the eggs well (with a bit of the milk) before introducing them to the batter (little chunks of egg throughout the batter will stick to the grates) and be certain that your waffle iron is hot when the batter is spooned onto the grates. Wipe a small amount of oil on the grate after the iron is heated and before spooning in the batter. Learn the characteristics of your waffle iron/baker/maker so that you can establish a standard cooking to that you know it will be done when you lift the lid.
            If you have a teflon or other coated grate surface, ignore all of this.

            3 Replies
            1. re: todao

              The wafflemaker in question is (allegedly) nonstick.

              That is a good point about the oil. If you're making your own recipe make sure it's a waffle batter and not a pancake batter, though I'm not sure if that will affect the sticking qualities or just the texture of the waffle. Usually waffle batter is thicker with more fat, I think the extra fat in the batter is intended more for crisping than not sticking, but it can't hurt.

              1. re: snippet

                I have used waffle specific recipes, but that is good to know. I do like crispy-on-the-outside waffles, so that isn't a problem to make sure there is enough fat in there. Thanks!

              2. re: todao

                Thanks! I used a pastry brush and will make sure I get it in the grates. It is a "nonstick" version, but sticks nonetheless.

              3. I know you say you can't afford a new waffle iron, but what about a used one. I have always had the best luck with waffle irons from the early 70's. Before they would ground the plugs and before they would lower the wattage used for "safety" reasons. I know these aren't as kid friendly, but they do make a better waffle b/c they will get hotter and stay hotter than current models.

                Check your local thrift store and give an old iron new life!

                1 Reply
                1. re: dynomiitej

                  Thanks! I wrote this below, but I wish I could. Unfortunately, I can't, as I deal with celiac disease and a food allergy.

                2. You have to heat the iron a long time, then add the oil. If you add it before you heat it, your batter will stick. If you're already doing this, try a sturdier flour, like whole wheat or oat flour, in your batter. Cook it a little longer than you usually do. It has to form a crust on both sides in order to release, so you may not be waiting long enough.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Isolda

                    Thanks. I do use high-protein flours, so I can make sure I have more of that. I will cook it longer and perhaps I was adding the oil too early! I don't recall when I did or what I tried. I didn't think of that. Thank you!

                  2. Waffle irons (nice modern ones) are all over the yard sales and thrift shops. I bet you can find one for under $5.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Querencia

                      Thanks! I wish I could. Unfortunately, used is out (especially for a waffle iron), as I deal with celiac disease and a food allergy.

                      1. re: ls150

                        Just a thought - but you've mentioned you're dealing with celiac - that means no wheat flour, correct? My aunt has had to adjust lots of recipes since she was diagnosed, including some additives to get her gluten-free flours to act properly in baking. Would you mind sharing your batter recipe? I'm wondering if you've got an additive that's the culprit?

                        1. re: tacosandbeer

                          I haven't tried recently so I am not sure what recipes I have used. It's been over a year, at least... I've just been craving waffles lately. I'm quite familiar with gluten-free baking/flour combining (my livelihood is an allergen-free baker), so usually I can adjust recipes fine. However, if she has a recipe to share, I could give it a whirl! Thanks!

                    2. Hi, Is150:

                      Four rules:
                      1. Preheat for at least 10 minutes before starting;
                      2. Very clean;
                      3. Well-oiled; and
                      4. Patience.

                      The Patience part can be tough. As someone else here has counseled, wait--AND TIME--until you no longer see steam coming out. If it's a little underdone do another, and give it an extra 15 seconds. Repeat until you get the degree of doneness you want. After you have the time dialed in, you're (and your waffles) are golden.

                      These kind of exercises are best done when there's no pressure--ideally by yourself.

                      Also, count yourself lucky... My waffle iron *is* iron, from about 1875, and getting both sides hot enough and for the correct time is not easy.


                      1 Reply
                      1. Waffles are moist creatures. Let the exterior get a crunch or crust to it before pulling. Your iron is old but not ancient. Much of the non-stick qualities present when new are probably gone. Unlike the flat accessory plates you describe, the waffle plates are full of corners, 4 for each pocket. Plenty of opportunity for sticking, especially if there is some minute residue left in those same corners after cleaning. Oil liberally (margarine is good) and raise the temp if possible. We experience that on occasion with our Vitantonio. Open slowly to see if done; if it starts to separate, we close the lid for another minute or so. Good crunch, moist middle, no separation.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: dcrb

                          I can't raise the temperature, unfortunately, there is only one setting. And I do oil liberally. Thanks though, I'll wait longer.

                        2. Is150,

                          There is an American company, C. Palmer Mfg in Penn that has been making products for 65 years and electric waffle irons for 40 years right here in the USofA. I do not have any experience with them, but their site, rather spartan, does show both uncoated and non-stick coated waffle makers. The waffle makers are cast aluminum, I think.

                          Anyway, it might be worth looking into.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: dcrb

                            Thanks! I will keep that in mind if I can ever afford something new.

                          2. My issues are solved - I have lots of things to try. Thanks for all of your answers!

                            1. I have a Sunbeam CG-1 from 1950. Uncoated aluminum grids, and they have been well seasoned over the decades-never scrubbed/washed, just wiped off. The waffles fall out of the grids when opened.

                              Even with food allergies, the grids can be cleaned on used equipment. We had to clean equipment constantly at the Jelly Belly Candy Co after running peanut butter beans through them.

                              1. Hi All,

                                I am planning to start a small cafe and gonna sell Belgian Waffles.
                                Please suggest me brands/waffle machines I shall look for for my commercial purpose.

                                1. I don't make waffles that often. My iron is a square thing from a yard sale... I'm SURE i didn't spend more than $5 for it. Don't recall make but it was CLEAN and works great. Takes a LONG time to come up to temp... not like that's wrong, it just does. I wait till it's HOT before a spritz of cooking spray and first waffle.

                                  Have an ANCIENT on in back of kitchen cabinet that I grew up with. It's round with a little temp gauge on top. Was taught you HAD to wait till little arrow got to the right place. Once batter in, the lid would rise very slightly as batter started cooking. When you STOPPED seeming steam coming out, was time to TRY to check. GENTLY lift lid... if it resisted, it wasn't ready. I imaging it still works though probably wouldn't till I had cord replaced... cloth-covered but not frayed at all after over 60 years.

                                  Personally, I'd recommend checking out yard sales or thrift shops for a suitable replacement until you can upgrade. You just might find a keeper for cheaper!?!

                                  1. I know you said you can't afford a new one, but is there any chance at all you could afford this one (it is cheap, and you can probably find it even cheaper elsewhere or wait for amazon's price to drop to around $16)?
                                    If you think about it, the price of failed waffles is quickly going to add up to $16 or so, since you say your batter is expensive.

                                    I use a traditional cast iron waffle iron, not that particular one, but I had problems with waffles sticking exactly as you have. The key for me was seasoning and more heat. Since you can't season your nonstick iron, perhaps the key is just more heat. I'm not sure how you would accomplish that with an electric iron that only has one setting.