Recipe

Because the culinary arts have come too far for us to limit our waffle makers to basic batters.

For as long as it’s been around, the humble waffle has been doing God’s work: feeding crowds on the streets of Belgium, entertaining at American brunches, and blessing the world with a miracle food that’s crisp, fluffy, and filling all at once. I’m by no means anti-pancake, but I really believe that waffles are and always will be the superior sweet breakfast food.

Now, being the self-proclaimed waffle enthusiast that I am, it’s almost criminal for me to have left the waffle maker I got this past Christmas untouched for over a month. With the rising popularity of mochi waffles, croffles, and other innovative takes on the classic gridded carb, I thought it’d be fitting to break in my new waffle maker with some of these fun spin-offs. Here’s a ranking of five random foods I’ve thrown in my waffle maker and tips on how to make the most of this underrated appliance.

1. Kimchi cheese rice ball

Remi Tateishi

Yes, I know I made a point about waffles being the best sweet breakfast, but the title of winning waffle across all of my random creations goes to this savory item. Sauteed kimchi, charred pork belly, and shredded mozzarella stuffed into a rice ball and waffled till crisp—how could you resist?

This dish wins out against all others in this list because it highlights the best of what a waffle maker has to offer. In my experience, pan-frying rice can require either excessive amounts of oil or time. Waffling, however, achieves a truly crispy exterior in minutes without any additional oil.

#SpoonTip: Try using fried rice as a base for your rice ball to maximize on flavor!

2. Kiri mochi

Remi Tateishi

When pressed in a waffle maker, these hard blocks of instant rice cake soften and transform into a snack so satisfying in its textural complexity. I’m partial to chewy textures, and I love the way this waffle’s crunchy edges give way to a chewy middle.

Kiri mochi itself is relatively flavorless, making it the perfect canvas for all sorts of toppings. For this test kitchen experiment, I topped my waffled mochi with kinako (roasted soybean powder) and honey.

#SpoonTip: Keep a close eye on the kiri mochi as it cooks in your waffle maker. If left inside for too long, the mochi can get hard and lose its characteristic chew.

3. Frozen croissant

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Remi Tateishi

Caramelized sugar meets buttery layers. The croffle—a portmanteau for the words “croissant” and “waffle”—is a culinary invention that deserves all the hype it has seen on social media. While a frozen croissant cannot fully capture the flakiness and beauty of a fresh cafe croffle, it’s a quick and easy way to get a taste of the real thing at home.

#SpoonTip: Don’t forget to roll the uncooked croissant in sugar. Otherwise, you’ll be missing out on the sweet crust that makes croffles so addicting!

4. Frozen tater tots

Remi Tateishi

The bag that these frozen tater tots came in said to bake them for 20 minutes, but the waffle maker exceeds all expectations once again. In less than five minutes, the tater tots fused into a crispy potato waffle with a taste and texture reminiscent of the beloved McDonald’s hash brown.

I do love how this waffle creation tasted, but it’s low on this ranking due to the lack of originality. You’d be hard-pressed to find a bag of frozen tater tots that doesn’t taste good, so the fact that waffled tater tots turned out delicious isn’t groundbreaking.

5. Eggs

Remi Tateishi

Eggs are a morning staple, so it only felt right to include a crossover of two iconic breakfast items: omelettes and waffles. While the waffled omelette turned out surprisingly fluffy, I feel like it really only finds its appeal in the novelty of having a lattice design.

It takes more effort to clean a waffle maker, and waffling your eggs is honestly a less rewarding use of your time than just frying or fluffing them to perfection in a pan. However, if you’ll already be using your waffle maker for something else, I’d say it’s worth it to throw some eggs in there too—you’ll still get a pretty decent omelette out of it.

And with that, we have our completed ranking of random waffled foods! The point of this test kitchen experiment was really to showcase the versatility of the waffle maker. So, here’s to celebrating one of my favorite kitchen appliances and all the good food it brings to the table!