Professional 180° cast-iron waffle maker
Waffle iron held over a fire in Pieter Bruegel's The Fight Between Carnival and Lent, 1559

A waffle iron or waffle maker is a kitchen utensil used to cook waffles between two hinged metal plates. Both plates have gridded indentations to shape the waffle from the batter or dough placed between them. The plates are heated and the iron is closed while the waffle bakes. Waffles are a quick bread with a light and sweet flavor, similar to pancakes. Their appearance is much harder to achieve than a pancake's without a waffle iron.[1] Similar technology is employed to bake wafers,[2] and several other snacks including kue gapit, a waffle-shaped but crunchy Indonesian snack which can be made with both sweet and savoury flavours.[3]


The oublies baked by this early waffle iron were much thinner and wafer-like than modern-day waffles.[2]

Waffle irons were common in France as early as the 12th or 13th century, and became widespread in the Netherlands and the rest of Europe from the 14th century. Secular waffle irons developed alongside host presses, a similar but religious tool used to produce sacramental bread.[4] The earliest waffle irons had shallow indentations suited to baking unleavened wafers, and might better be described as wafer irons or wafer presses.[note 1] Waffle irons gained deeper indentations as leavening agents were introduced into recipes.[2][5] There is evidence of primitive waffle irons in Sweden and Norway in Viking Age women's burials.[4]

Host press used to bake sacramental bread inscribed with religious symbols. Host presses like this developed alongside early waffle irons.

Waffle irons were originally constructed of two hinged iron plates connected to two long, wooden handles. The plates were often made to imprint elaborate patterns on the waffle, including coats of arms, landscapes, or religious symbols. Waffles would be held at a distance and baked over the hearth fire.[6]

In 1869, American Cornelius Swartwout patented the stove-top waffle iron. While waffle irons of sorts may have existed since the 1400s, Swarthout intended to perfect the design by adding a handle and a hinge that swiveled in a cast-iron collar,[7][8][9] allowing the waffle-maker to flip the iron without danger of slippage or burns.[10] In 1891 John Kliembach, a German immigrant living in Shamokin, Pennsylvania, became a traveling salesman of waffles after fashioning an iron for the Mansion House Hotel. Kliembach sold waffles for a penny each or ten cents for a dozen.[11][self-published source] This was popular at the Chicago World's Fair. In 1911, General Electric produced a prototype electric waffle iron, and production began around 1918.[11] Later, as the waffle iron became more prevalent, its appearance was improved.[11]


Traditional waffle irons are attached to tongs with wooden handles and held over an open flame, or set on a stove. Most modern waffle irons are self-contained tabletop household appliances using electric heating elements controlled by internal thermostats. Electric irons can come with either removable or non-removable plates.[12] Professional waffle irons are usually made of uncoated cast iron, whereas domestic models, particularly cast aluminum ones, are often Teflon coated. Many have a light that goes off when the iron reaches a set temperature.

Some waffle makers produce a very thin waffle, and can be used for making waffle cones or Pizzelle. While there is no set standard for waffle shapes or thicknesses, models that produce the most common shapes and thicknesses are often labeled as "traditional" or "classic". Models that make thicker and larger pocketed waffles are often labeled as "Belgian". In the US, the most common criteria for "Belgian waffles" are their thickness and pocket size, although they are also distinguished by using a base that typically includes yeasted batter and pearl sugar.[13]

Stroopwafels are thin, round waffle cookie made from two layers of sweet baked dough held together by caramel filling.These delicious snacks consist of two thin waffles with a layer of caramel syrup in the middle.[14] [15] They are a well-known Dutch treat, popular throughout the Netherlands and the former Dutch Empire,[citation needed] and exported abroad.


See also


  1. ^ In many European languages, the names for waffles and wafers are the same, along with the irons used to bake them, e.g., German Waffel and Waffeleisen.


  1. ^ Mifflin, Mariette. "Waffle Maker - Definition and Use". The Spruce. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Eschner, Kat. "These Beautiful Medieval Wafer Presses Are Where Waffles Come From". Smithsonian Magazine.
  3. ^ Ida Romlah (4 August 2014). "Terus Berinovasi dengan Rasa Kue Gapit" [Always Innovating with Flavors of Kue Gapit]. Kompas (in Indonesian). Archived from the original on 17 June 2015. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  4. ^ a b Ernst Thiele (1968). "Waffeleisen und Waffelgebäck. Geschichte, Stilentwicklung, Ikonographie." [Waffle irons and waffle pastries]. Kunstgeschichte des Backwerks (in German).
  5. ^ Wells, Jeff (24 August 2016). "From Wafel Wafers to Belgian Breakfasts: A Brief History of Waffles". Mental Floss. Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  6. ^ Helene Siegel (1 September 1996). Totally pancakes and waffles cookbook. Random House Digital, Inc. ISBN 978-0-89087-804-0. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  7. ^ Who was who in America: a companion biographical reference work to Who's who in America. Marquis-Who's Who. 1967. p. 58. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  8. ^ "Cornelius Swartwout: Inventor of the Waffle Iron". The Swarthout Family. Mark Swarthout. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  9. ^ US patent 94043, Cornelius Swartwout, "Waffle-iron", issued 1869-08-24 
  10. ^ Rushing, Erin. "Waffle Iron Patented". Unbound. Smithsonian Library. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  11. ^ a b c George, William (2003). Antique Electric Waffle Irons 1900-1960: A History of the Appliance Industry in 20th Century America. Trafford Publishing. p. 13. ISBN 9781553956327. (For the GE 1911 model description, p. 74, click here)
  12. ^ "Step-by-Step Guide on How to Clean a Waffle Maker". Beatmykitchen. 20 April 2018. Retrieved 24 January 2024.
  13. ^ Purvis, Kathleen (17 May 2011). "What's the difference between a regular waffle and a Belgium waffle?". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 6 February 2023.
  14. ^ "What Makes Daelmans Stroopwafels So Unique?". Rima's Blog. 9 March 2023.
  15. ^ Stroopwafel. Van Dale Taalweb. Retrieved on 2 January 2008. (in Dutch) Archived 18 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine