5 Waffle Iron Hacks

5 unexpected ways to use your waffle maker

The Belgians love waffles. Leslie Knope loves waffles. And we don't blame them—we never turn down a warm, fluffy waffle, whether it's supporting fried chicken or covered in a pool of maple syrup.

But a waffle maker tends to be just another piece of kitchen equipment that takes up counter space. Instead of letting it sit there and accumulate waffle-shaped dust bunnies, put your waffle maker into overdrive. From early morning to late-night snack, use your iron to put the griddled stamp of approval on these five otherwise-ordinary dishes.

Breakfast: Why stop at a lonely waffle for breakfast when you can make your entire meal in the iron? Start by waffling hash browns, which you can pick up with your hands like a giant waffle chip, then move on to a double-sided fried egg. Proceed to bacon if you're into that kind of thing (we are) and stuff it all between two waffles for a breakfast sandwich of champions.

Lunch: The panini maker is no match for the waffle iron—vertical and horizontal griddle marks just can't be beat. It's a serious grilled cheese game changer, creating pockets of molten cheese that burn your mouth in the best way possible. We're also a fan of the waffled Nutella Fluffernutter, which creates a grid of mini gooey peanut butter s'mores that we feel comfortable calling lunch. When in doubt, follow the golden rule: If it can sandwich, it can waffle.

Dinner: Take your favorite hamburger (or turkey or veggie burger) blend, form it into a thin patty and waffle away. Double the heat source means half the cooking time, and you'll never have to deal with that pesky flip. Plus, since the finished product is thinner and crispier than a regulation-size patty, it's perfectly acceptable to rock the triple hamburger.

Dessert: Imagine a chocolate waffle. Now imagine a chocolate brownie waffle. You get crispy edge pieces and a fudgy center in every bite (that's why they created those specialized edge pans, after all). All you have to do is pour your favorite batter (or boxed mix, no shame) into the waffle iron and let it cook. Pile on ice cream afterward for a warm brownie waffle à la mode and watch as it melts into the pockets.

Late Night: Sometimes you want cookies, and you want them now. Even (especially) if that means at midnight. The next time you crave a cookie (which, if you're anything like us, is every night), switch on your waffle maker. The dough will be ready by the time the iron's hot, or you can use refrigerated cookie dough in a pinch.