12 Dishes You Can (And Should) Make In Your Waffle Maker

Whipping up a batch of waffles can be a great way to start the day. However, you can only make waffles so many times before you start getting tired of them. This can leave many people wondering why they bothered spending money to buy a waffle maker if it is going to just sit on a shelf collecting dust more often than not. If you're starting to question your decision to buy a waffle maker, stop. 

Despite the name, you can actually use a waffle maker for a lot more than just making waffles. From other delicious breakfasts, quick and easy main meals, and scrumptious desserts, your waffle maker can do a lot more than you think. Ready to discover some of these other uses that will leave you wondering why you ever doubted the value of your waffle iron? Well, pull your waffle maker off of the shelf, dust it off, and keep reading.

Grilled cheese

The hot irons of a waffle maker make it an excellent tool for cooking a delicious grilled cheese sandwich without having to turn on the stove. When you close the waffle maker, it will work like a panini press, delivering heat to both sides of the sandwich at the same time. The result is a nice and crispy outside with an ooey gooey, cheesy center. And, the best part? Instead of two flat pieces of bread, your sandwich will be waffled with all the little crevices, giving it some extra texture. You could even turn your grilled cheese sandwich into a knife-and-fork meal and serve it with some warm mustard, marinara sauce, or even barbecue sauce to take advantage of how great the nooks and crannies are for holding sauce.

Making a grilled cheese sandwich on a waffle maker is simple, probably even easier than cooking it on the stovetop. Simply butter both sides of your bread, place the cheese between the two slices, put the sandwich on the waffle maker, and close the lid. Every waffle maker is different, so you'll want to keep an eye on the progress of your sandwich, but it should be ready to enjoy within a few minutes.

Fried rice waffles

As you're thinking about other things you could possibly cook in your waffle maker, chances are that fried rice isn't one of them. However, your waffle maker can actually be the perfect tool to help you cook up a delicious twist to this traditional dish: fried rice waffles. To make fried rice, mix together cooked rice, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and your favorite veggies. After heating the waffle iron, brush it with some oil and scoop the rice mixture into the center of the waffle maker. You'll want it to spread most of the way to the edge. Then, close the waffle maker and let it cook for a few minutes. Once the fried rice waffle is a nice golden brown color, it will be done and ready to enjoy.

A waffle maker can also help you reheat leftover fried rice. Starting with cold rice will help ensure that it turns out extra crispy and delicious. When making your own recipe, just pour the rice into the middle of the waffle maker and gently close the lid. The thinner the layer of rice, the crispier it will get.

Pizza pockets

If you're looking for a quick, easy, and delicious dinner or lunch idea, why not try making pizza pockets in your waffle maker? You'll just need a package of refrigerated biscuits or pizza crust (cut to the size/shape of your waffle maker), pizza sauce, cheese, and your favorite toppings. The twist for this pizza recipe is that your ingredients are going to be inside between the layers of crust, almost like a calzone.

Assemble your mini pizzas by spreading sauce over one piece of the pizza crust. Then add the cheese, the toppings of your choice, and the second piece of the crust. Use cooking spray to grease both sides of a preheated waffle maker, and put your pizza picket on the iron. Close the lid for a few minutes to heat it up and melt the cheese, then remove and enjoy. While you can make larger pizza pockets with a full-size waffle maker, you might want to try making mini pizza pockets with a smaller waffle iron. This way, everyone can build their own pizza to their liking.

Omelets

Waffles aren't the only breakfast food you can make using a waffle maker. This small kitchen appliance can also help you create delicious, made-to-order omelets. Begin by whisking the eggs, cheese, bacon, ham, and/or veggies together in a bowl. You'll want to make sure any meats are already cooked and that the veggies you add cook quickly and are cut into smaller pieces — spinach, mushrooms, and bell peppers are all good options. After the waffle iron is heated, pour the omelet filling over the middle and close the lid. The trick to this recipe idea will be determining the ideal number of eggs to use to fill up most of the waffle maker without creating a dripping mess down the sides and onto your counter. This may take some experimentation and will depend on the size of the waffle maker you're using and how many other ingredients you're adding to the eggs.

If you're looking for an even easier way to cook an egg in your waffle iron, you can simply crack the egg directly over the (greased) iron and let it cook for about a minute and a half. Once cooked, put a slice of cheese over the egg (if desired) and leave it on the open waffle maker for another 30 seconds or so until the cheese melts. Use this to make a quick breakfast sandwich, or enjoy it as a carb-free option.

Brownies

The next time you're craving a little something sweet but don't want to make a whole pan of brownies, try making individual-sized ones in a mini waffle maker. Beyond the flexibility to make smaller portions, with a waffle maker, that dessert you're craving will be done cooking much faster than it would take for a full tray to bake in the oven. The nooks and crannies on the waffle maker will leave you with textured, cakey, and absolutely delicious brownies.

There are so many different ways you can enjoy these waffled treats. Of course, they'll taste just fine by themselves. Who doesn't love a good brownie? Another idea would be to make little waffle brownie sundaes. Top your brownie with a scoop of ice cream, some whipped cream, hot fudge, sprinkles, and, of course, a maraschino cherry. If you have a few brownies left over, use them to make a layered trifle with strawberries, whipped cream, and other ingredients that you have on hand.

Falafel

Falafel is a dish that comes from the Middle East. It is made with chickpeas and various herbs and spices. Traditionally, the chickpea mixture is rolled into patties or balls and then fried. However, there is nothing saying that you can't make falafel in your waffle maker. Call it a falafel waffle, if you will — now try saying that three times fast.

After combining all of the ingredients for your favorite falafel recipe (ideally in a food processor to ensure the mixture is nice and smooth), heat up your waffle maker. Once hot, coat both plates with oil and then add a scoop of the falafel mixture. The exact bake time will vary based on how much filling you add and the type of waffle maker you have, but you should expect your falafel waffle to finish cooking within 5 to 10 minutes. Once cooked, you can snack on the falafel plain or add it to a pita along with some hummus to make a tasty sandwich.

Banana bread

Banana bread is another unexpected item that you can actually cook in a waffle maker. If you've made banana bread before, you know that one of the most difficult things to do is wait for it to finish cooking in the oven before you can dig in and get that heavenly first taste. One of the best things about cooking banana bread in a waffle maker is that it will be finished in just minutes, not the hour that it can take for it to cook in the oven.

Simply prepare your favorite banana bread batter. Then, instead of pouring it all into a loaf pan, heat up your waffle maker. Brush a little oil on both the top and bottom plates and add batter to the iron. Add about the same amount of batter as you would when preparing waffles (fill each well about ¾ of the way). Then, close the lid to let it cook for approximately 5 minutes (depending on your model, the cook time may vary by a few minutes either way). Once the waffled bread has finished cooking, remove it and enjoy. You could also place the waffled pieces in a warm oven while you make more if you're serving others.

Quesadilla

Using a waffle maker to cook a quesadilla is actually a pretty logical choice if you think about it. The two hot irons of the waffle maker will crisp up the tortilla and melt the cheese on the inside. You won't have to stand over a pan or griddle and worry about flipping your quesadilla to ensure that both sides are evenly cooked.

Simply assemble your quesadilla — either full-size or half-size, depending on how large your waffle maker is — and carefully transfer it to the bottom iron plate. Close the waffle maker and give it a few minutes to crisp up the tortillas, melt the cheese, and heat up any toppings you add. You could make a traditional cheese or chicken and cheese quesadilla or try making some breakfast quesadillas with eggs, cheese, sausage, mushrooms, and peppers. Once you give it a try, you'll surely want to keep experimenting with different recipes.

Cookies

Fresh-baked cookies in the waffle maker? Ooooh, yes, please! This idea will work best using a mini waffle maker, though you could certainly try using a full-size one to make a giant waffle cookie to decorate for a special occasion. If you just feel like one or two cookies, this waffle maker hack will save you from heating up the oven and making a full tray.

Instead, just buy a package of pre-made cookie dough and put one of the little squares on your waffle maker. Close the lid and let it cook for about 2 ½ minutes. Once the time has passed, unplug the waffle maker or turn it off. Let the cookie sit undisturbed for approximately one more minute. This will let it firm up enough to remove without it falling apart. When you're ready to take it out, use a nylon spatula or the edge of a dull knife to lift it and transfer it to a cooling rack.

Hash browns

If you like homemade hash browns, this next waffle maker idea is for you. Try making your own hash brown waffle patties to serve with your bacon and eggs for a real breakfast treat. You'll only need a few ingredients, including shredded potatoes, eggs, and a few seasonings of your choice. After shredding the potatoes, soak them in cool water and rinse them to remove as much starch as possible. Roll the potatoes in a dish towel to remove the excess liquid, then mix them with your selected eggs and seasonings. Preheat your waffle maker, brush some oil on the plates, and scoop some of the hash brown mixture onto the center. Close the lid and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until the top and edges are golden.

You could also use these waffled hash browns as a carb-free bread for a breakfast sandwich. Make two and fill them with an egg patty, some cheese, and some bacon. That should definitely fill you up and get you ready to take on whatever the day throws at you.

Cinnamon rolls

A package of refrigerated cinnamon rolls makes it possible to prepare a quick yet delicious breakfast for yourself and others. If you're getting tired of always making your cinnamon rolls the same way, you're in luck. Next time you're craving cinnamon rolls or looking for a sweet breakfast or brunch item, try cooking them in your waffle iron.

Simply place the cinnamon roll in the middle of the waffle iron and close the lid. There's no need to unroll it or do anything else to it. Let it bake for 3 to 5 minutes, and transfer it to a plate before drizzling on the icing. If you have a full-size waffle maker, place about three cinnamon rolls in the center before pressing down the lid and letting them cook. You can even make some extra icing to make your cinnamon waffles even sweeter by mixing the icing that comes in the package with some milk, powdered sugar, and vanilla.

Crab cakes

If crab cakes are something you only order from a seafood restaurant because you've always assumed that they're too difficult to cook at home, get ready for your thinking to change. Believe it or not, you can actually cook crab cakes in your waffle maker. It doesn't get much easier than that, does it?

One note when preparing crab cakes in a waffle maker: You won't want to follow a recipe that calls for breading the cakes. Breaded crab cakes won't cook properly in the waffle iron because the breadcrumbs are likely to get burned in the time it takes for the crab to heat up. Instead, you can make a healthier, non-breaded crab cake that will be every bit as delicious. After mixing the ingredients for your favorite crab cake recipe, make small patties (using about ½ cup of the crab mixture for each patty). Place the patty onto an oiled and preheated waffle iron, gently close the lid, and let it cook for about three minutes. Consider preparing a nice rémoulade or tartar sauce to serve with your crab cakes.

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