How to Make Waffles on the Stove: A Quick Guide for Beginners

There is something so satisfying about making things the good-old fashioned way even if modern appliances are close at hand. That sentiment applies for complex projects like furniture making, to something as simple as waffles.

Stovetop waffle making offers an alternative to electric waffle makers, and it allows you to make waffles the way you and your family likes it. Better yet, it allows you to cook this fluffy and crispy breakfast staple even in off-grid situations.

This guide aims to provide beginners with a comprehensive understanding of how to make waffles with a stovetop waffle maker. We’ll also discuss how to choose the best stovetop waffle irons, instructions on their usage and maintenance, and solutions to common waffle-making challenges.

Types of Stovetop Waffle Irons

Stovetop waffle makers consist of two plates hinged together, designed to be heated directly by a stove’s burner. These plates can be either round or square and feature a distinctive grid pattern that gives waffles their characteristic shape and texture. They vary in design and material, each offering a unique experience in waffle making.

American vs. Belgian Waffles

Generally, there are two types of waffles: Belgian and American.

Belgian waffles are thicker and fluffier of the two owing to its yeasted batter. This is why waffle irons that are specifically designed for the Belgian variant tend to be deeper and have bigger grids. This style is perfect for waffles that are fluffy inside and crispy outside, capable of holding generous amounts of syrup and toppings.

Meanwhile, American waffles tend to be thinner with smaller, shallower pockets. Hence, the waffle irons for this type tend to be shallower as well. They are preferred for creating waffles with a crispier texture, ideal for those who enjoy a lighter, crunchier waffle.

Since you would not have the luxury of interchangeable plates later on, you should choose which style you prefer from the start.

Cast Iron vs. Cast Aluminum

Stovetop waffle irons are typically made from either cast iron or cast aluminum, each having unique benefits and disadvantages.

Cast iron excels at retaining and distributing heat consistently. This helps achieve even browning, as long as proper pre-heating procedures are observed. Moreover, it has a natural non-stick layer called the seasoning, which helps prevent the batter from sticking by the time it needs to be removed from the waffle iron. Therein lies the primary drawback of cast iron cookware – its seasoning needs to be maintained. Moreover, cast iron waffle irons are heavier and take longer to heat up compared to its cast aluminum alternative.

As for cast aluminum, it is lighter and more user-friendly than cast iron. It is coated with Teflon, a synthetic material that gives it its non-stick properties. While this does not have the same maintenance requirements as cast iron’s seasoning, it is much more brittle and prone to flaking off especially when prodded with metal utensils, and this poses health risks when ingested.

It should go without saying that I’m a little bit biased towards cast iron cookware (I mean, come on…look at the name of the website.) But with all of that taken into account, my recommendation here is to buy a cast iron waffle maker.

How to Use a Stovetop Waffle Iron

Using a stovetop waffle iron is very straightforward, and you’ll get the hang of it in a few batches. However, as with pancakes, the first few ones will turn out a bit weird, so don’t get discouraged!

Note: This is not a recipe article. We’re only after the technique here, so feel free to use any waffle recipe you’d like.

  • Preheat the Iron – Begin by placing the waffle iron on the stove over medium heat. Heat both sides evenly by flipping the iron every few minutes. To test readiness, sprinkle a few drops of water on it; they should sizzle upon contact.
  • Grease the Iron – Before adding the batter, lightly brush both sides of the iron with oil or melted butter. This step is crucial to prevent sticking, especially for cast iron irons.
  • Pour the Batter – Pour the batter into the center of the iron, ensuring not to overfill as it will expand when cooking.
  • Cook the Waffles: Close the iron and cook for about 2-3 minutes before flipping to the other side. Cook the second side for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the waffles are golden brown. Adjust the cooking time based on the iron and stove type, as well as the desired crispiness.
  • Remove and Serve – carefully open the iron and remove the waffle. Serve immediately with your preferred toppings.

How to Clean a Stovetop Waffle Iron

Cleaning a stovetop waffle iron properly is essential for its upkeep.

For cast aluminum waffle makers, it just needs to be cleaned with soap and a soft sponge. However, avoid scrubbing with abrasive materials that could scratch off its Teflon coating.

Cast iron waffle makers require a little bit more work.

First off: yes, you can use soap on cast iron, but make sure to use a chainmail scrubber or a stiff brush to remove stuck food particles on the surface. Wipe the iron dry with a towel.

Next, you have to heat the iron on the stove to make sure that it is bone dry – any bit of moisture on the surface will cause cast iron to rust. Once it is completely dry, you should wipe the surface with oil (I use canola) to protect it from moisture during storage. After that, you’re done!

How to Correct Common Problems with Stovetop Waffle Making

Stovetop waffle making can present some challenges, but most issues are easily solvable with a few adjustments:


Undercooked waffles are usually due to low heat or insufficient cooking time. Ensure the waffle iron is fully preheated before adding the batter, and consider cooking at a slightly higher temperature for a crisper exterior.

One visual cue you should look out for is steam: if steam is profusely coming out from the iron, it likely means that the waffles are still undercooked. You should open the waffle maker once the volume of steam slows down significantly.

Uneven heating

Unevenly cooked waffles can be due to inconsistent heat distribution. To counter this, regularly rotate the waffle iron while cooking. For gas stoves, ensure the flame is centered and not favoring one side. On electric stoves, a heat diffuser can aid in distributing the heat more evenly.

Waffles are sticking

Sticking can be a common issue, especially with new or improperly seasoned cast iron waffle irons. Ensure your iron is well-seasoned and greased before each use. If the batter sticks, it might also indicate undercooking; let the waffles cook a bit longer to develop a non-stick crust. Additionally, check if your batter has enough fat, as this helps in preventing sticking.

Overcooking or burning

If waffles are burning or becoming too crisp, lower the heat and reduce the cooking time. Monitoring the waffles closely during cooking and making incremental adjustments to the heat can prevent overcooking.


Success in stovetop waffle making often requires practice and familiarity with the specific iron used. Challenges encountered during the initial attempts are normal and part of the learning process. This guide aims to equip beginners with the necessary knowledge and skills to confidently make waffles on the stove.

To delve deeper into cast iron cooking, check out the Cult of Cast Iron blog for valuable insights and tips.

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