Everything you need to know about the Stovetop Cast Iron Belgian Waffle Maker
Everyone loves a scrumptious hot waffle, but have you ever wondered about the history of the cast iron waffle maker?
Many professional chefs today prefer the old-fashioned waffle maker made of cast iron over electric, Teflon ones. For cooking performance, safety and durability, cast iron is far superior and much tougher than the modern Teflon waffle maker, which has become popular for the average household.
These old fashioned waffle irons are the old school, stovetop ones that your grandparents used to use! Yes, they are making a comeback!
Stovetop Waffle Iron Origins
The ancient Greeks designed the first utensil to make waffles. They called it an obleios. This comprised of two heated iron plates into which they would pour the batter. This was perhaps the first stovetop waffle iron of its kind.
For making waffles, the simple design worked, but came with a high risk of skin burns due to the intensely high heat that cast iron is capable of holding.
Then in the middle ages, waffle makers appeared in all shapes and sizes, until an enterprising American named Cornelius Swarthout bought the first patented stovetop waffle iron to the market in 1869 that was safe to use as a stovetop waffle maker.
In the early 20th century, General Electric and Westinghouse created a waffle maker with a basic heating element. Technology at that time was limited, so this was a bold move forward. As technology developed, advance in the design and effectiveness of waffle makers improved radically in the early 1950s.
As demand for consumer products increased post war, the old-fashioned cast iron waffle maker gradually began to resemble modern waffle makers but cast iron remained popular for the many benefits that it brings.
Later in the article, we will outline these benefits for you.
Today, You can have the benefits of both worlds. You can buy an inexpensive electric waffle maker, a cast iron waffle iron to take with you on your camping trips, geeky aluminum waffle irons, and even ceramic waffle irons.
For a more detailed article on the differences between “waffle makers” and “waffle irons”, read this article.
History of cast iron
China invented cast iron in 5th Century BC. They used molds to create pots, pagodas and weapons, and strong cutting blades for plows. Cast iron was cheaper to use than iron, so quickly became a popular resource.
Things you can do with a cast iron waffle maker that you can’t do with an electric waffle maker
No electricity, no problem!
You’ll no longer need electricity to cook your waffles. This may not be a big deal, but it will be a lot of fun when you go camping or if you have a fire pit or grill outside.
Make waffles on the grill
We love to grill out in the summer time. Now, we’re no longer restricted to lunch or dinner, we can do breakfast outside with our cast iron Belgian waffle maker.
Cook on high heat without fear
Cast iron can better tolerate high heat whereas Teflon is better suited for cooking quick food like eggs, or food that covers the entire surface of the plates or pan.
Since cast iron maintains heat well, there is less risk of the food burning. More importantly, you can set a cast iron waffle maker to high heat, knowing that it will not release toxic fumes as a Teflon coated waffle maker would do at high heat.
Burning Teflon generates a lot of smoke, which has a strong plastic type of smell. It will burn and sting your eyes and can cause issues if inhaled.
Doesn’t kill your pets, seriously!
Cooking with Teflon at high heat can even cause pet birds to become sick and die! Teflon has never been proven to be harmful to humans, but if it can hurt small animals like birds, then there may be some harmful effects to larger living beings like humans. There are no such concerns with cast iron.
Easy to clean
There’s no need to use harsh chemicals or additives. There’s no need to even put it in the dishwasher. Often, all you need to do is just scrap off any old food particle and you’re done!
Will last FOREVER!
With no moving parts, no electric parts, and nothing plastic on them, cast iron cookware will last you forever. You can’t break this stuff even if you tried.
Things that you need to watch out for when using a cast iron waffle maker
It gets hot!
The plates and handle of a cast iron waffle maker can get VERY hot. It holds heat for a long time so even though you might have used it an a hour ago, chances are it’s still hot!
For some of these products, design of the product casing may protect you from potential burning from the outside of the waffle maker, but be careful not to touch the hot plates before, during or after use.
Do not touch until they are cool. You can test this by placing your hand a few inches above. If the plates are still hot, you will feel the heat rising up to your hand.
I was cooking eggs in a cast iron pan and after I was done, I made the mistake of picking up my cast iron pan with my bare hand! I didn’t burn myself too bad, but unfortunately, I dropped my cast iron pan on my glass top stove and cracked it. That was an expensive mistake!
It’s seasoned to provide a non-stick surface
The beauty of cast iron is that it easily becomes non-stick. Before using your cast iron waffle maker, use a little oil on the surface. It may also help to use the pan with only oil on it. This will help with the cooking and create a non-stick surface that will cook your waffles to perfection.
I prefer to use Avocado oil because of it’s ability to withstand extremely high heat.
It is heavy
Cast iron is heavy and built to last, but be aware of the extra weight as you are moving the waffle maker around the kitchen. Lift with both hands and place down gently on a working surface.
Pros of cast iron
Teflon can be highly toxic at high heat. If it overheats, it can burn and create highly toxic fumes. Cast iron does not burn and does not release any fumes even at extraordinary high heat.
You can take your cast iron cookware and bake it in the oven, turn up the heat all the way on the stovetop, and even put it in an outdoor fire. It will withstand anything.
Professional chefs use Cast Iron Belgian Waffle Makers. They’re built to last, cast iron is durable and can take a fair amount of abuse without falling apart and, as we have mentioned before, can tolerate extreme high heat.
Not only that, but it will last generations!
You use less oil
Cast iron has excellent non-stick properties if seasoned well with oil before use. Just a small amount of oil will go a long way with a cast iron waffle maker. For health purposes, using less oil means you are reducing your fat intake when cooking. If using saturated fats, this can be a big health bonus.
Stops food from burning
If seasoned well, cast iron will not burn your food. No matter how high the heat, cast iron does not have hot spots. It maintains a steady cooking temperature throughout.
For super tasty waffles, it is good to know that your waffle mixture will be cooked evenly. Cast iron plates hold heat and keep your waffles hot as you prepare yummy toppings.
You won’t see burned spots mixed with under-cooked spots like you tend to see with electric waffle irons.
Easy to clean and maintain
After use, just clean with a non-abrasive sponge. For awkward spots, you can use a soft toothbrush. Some models have removable plates that are dishwasher friendly, but please check the read this article before cleaning your waffle iron.
Clean as soon as possible after use, before butter, oil or batter dries out on the plates.
This article does a particularly great job of explaining how to clean a cast iron waffle maker.
Cast iron is virtually indestructible, but surprisingly low cost to buy and, with a little care, will last you a long time.
Modern Teflon coated products can be dangerous for our health. Cast iron presents no potential risk of toxicity. Indeed, using cast iron can actually increase your iron intake as the food absorbs iron during use.
This is especially true for pregnant women. Anemia, which is low iron in the blood, is a common health problem among pregnant women. It’s interesting to note that cast iron can fortify food with up to 80% more iron.
This means that if you’re anemic, you might be able to forego iron pills if you cook with cast iron cookware.
Cons of cast iron
Cast iron is heavy, so take care when moving your waffle maker around the kitchen. It also radiates a lot of heat during cooking and will retain heat for a considerable time after use.
During and after use, make sure that you put your cast iron waffle maker in a safe place away from toddlers or pets until the plates have cooled.
Believe it or not, it can rust if it’s not properly taken care of! Still, even if it rusts, it can be reclaimed and used again if properly cleaned.
Once cooled, store your waffle maker in a safe place so that children or pets cannot pull it off a work surface. Remember, this is heavy cookware!
Cast Iron or Cast Aluminum – What’s the difference?
Cast Iron is very heavy, whereas cast aluminum is much, much lighter and easier to handle.
Cast iron is impossible to scratch, cast aluminum will scratch.
Cast iron retains and spreads heat much better than cast aluminum.
Rome’s #1100 Old Fashioned Waffle Iron, Cast Iron
This waffle maker is a small but mighty piece of cookware! It’s made out of completely raw cast iron. That means that it will appear sliver until it’s properly seasoned. It’s currently at an unbeatable price on Amazon.
It’s one of the more inexpensive waffle makers on Amazon right now and considering it’s cast iron, the deal can’t be beat.
This bakes a Belgian waffle approximately 6 inches in diameter and about a half inch thick. It comes with detailed instructions on seasoning it, so follow them!
This Rome’s Old Fashioned Waffle Iron has 3.7/5 stars on over 570 customer reviews on Amazon.
- Easy to use!
- Firepit, campsite, and grill ready
- Comes unseasoned
- Comes with a protective parrafin wax that MUST be taken off before use
- You need a towel, oven mitts, or a heat resistant handl
NordicWare 15040 Cast Aluminum Stovetop Belgium Waffle Iron
This NordicWare Cast Aluminum stovetop Belgian waffle maker is not technically cast iron, it’s cast aluminum. Cast aluminum is significantly lighter than cast iron although not as durable.
Still, this waffle iron doesn’t disappoint. It makes think Belgian waffles that will hold all the syrup and toppings that your heart desires. It comes apart easy and has a plastic handle to keep you from burning yourself!
It has a 4.2/5 stars on over 640 customer reviews on Amazon. Although it’s important to note that the total number of customer reviews are for an entire line of NordicWare products, not just this cast aluminum waffle pan.
- Very light
- Heat resistant plastic handle
- Super easy to clean
- Thick Belgian waffles
- NO seasoning required
- Built in drip tray
- Campfire, grill, and fire pit ready!
- Contains PTFE – one of the chemicals found in Teflon
- Cast aluminum isn’t as durable when compared to cast iron
Useful UH-CI194 Old Fashioned Cast iron Stove Top Waffle Iron
This Useful Old Fashioned Stove Top Waffle Iron really is useful, and also well rated. It boasts 4.1/5 stars on over 60 customer reviews on Amazon. It’s definitely well liked!
It’s perfect for stovetop or campfire use, although the handle is a little short for a big campfire! It has strong interlocking hinges that also separate for easy cleaning.
It does come pre-seasoned and ready to go!
- Comes seasoned and ready to cook
- Campfire, stovetop, grill, and fire pit ready!
- On the smaller side
- Short handle make is difficult to cook with
These are two other waffle irons that are worth of mention!
Both of these waffle irons are specifically designed with campers in mind. The Coleman Waffle Iron is made of aluminum cast iron and the Rome Chuck wagon one is made of Cast iron.
The Coleman Waffle Iron
Rome Chuck Wagon Waffle Iron
There is nothing better than making your waffles the old-fashioned way with a cast iron waffle maker. As we have explained , the benefits are numerous but not least of all that you can expect a superior taste and quality from your waffles. You will save money by buying a product with excellent durability that will cook your waffles like a Pro.