How To Know Your Waffles Are Done If Your Iron's Indicator Is Broken

Crispy on the outside and utterly fluffy on the inside, waffles are a feel-good food with limitless potential. Drizzle them in maple syrup, layer a handful of strawberries on top, or serve them with a side of fried turkey, there's no singular way to enjoy a waffle. As long as you have a waffle iron, nothing is holding you back from crafting the textured treat — unless your iron's indicator is on the fritz. Rather than swap to slinging pancakes, you can still use your waffle iron easily if you follow this simple trick.

With origins reaching as far back as Ancient Greece, Smithsonian Magazine shares that while devices to make waffles have long since existed, it wasn't until the late 19th century that an American inventor by the name of Cornelius Swartwout revolutionized the waffle iron, adding elements like a handle to prevent the humble home cook from burning themselves. Waffle irons can even serve other purposes like pressing the perfect panini by taking the sweetly leavened dough to the next level. Well worth the investment, even with an ill-functioning indicator light, this is what you need to look out for when whipping up a waffle.

Steam says it all

The purpose of a waffle maker's indicator light is to remove any guesswork as to when the batter inside has finished cooking. It also eliminates the risk of destroying a waffle by prematurely opening the plates as it cooks. Although this feature undoubtedly plays a huge role in producing crispy and golden waffles, there's another surefire way to guarantee greatness without relying solely on a flashing light.

Starting with a hot (and greased) iron, many agree that it's best to pay attention to steam, should you be dealing with a faulty indicator light. After about five minutes, Consumer Reports shares that the appliance will often stop steaming, signaling that the waffle is ready to be removed. Naturally, should there be some resistance when trying to open the lid, the waffle might need to continue cooking for another few seconds. Based on these clues, you can adjust how long waffles need to be cooked. But, there's more.

Another helpful tip when ensuring waffles cook correctly is to learn just how much batter should be added to the iron. Depending on the model and make, a waffle iron might need as little as 1/3 cup of batter or as much as 3/4 of a cup. Figuring out exactly how much to spoon onto the iron will lead to perfectly round waffles, in addition to more consistent cook times. What can we say? Wonderful waffles are a matter of trial and error!