As a teenager, I ate a lot of frozen waffles, the easiest food option my mind could handle. This is because my mom, being a Vietnamese mother, did not know how to make pancakes, and she hardly had time to make me eggs. Most mornings, my parents were heading out the door to work by the time I trundled down the stairs.
These days, as a working mom, I alternate between serving cereal, waffles, and toast. My kids do not mind at all, as anything drizzled with butter and/or maple syrup wins them over. Even if you don’t have kids, frozen waffles are one of those things that really do save a lot of time in the morning. But which ones are the best?
Frozen waffles have an interesting backstory, and while Eggo has long held an apparent monopoly on the frozen breakfast aisle, there are plenty of other contenders on the shelves. Along with my team of excellent test tasters (also known as my kids, along with my partner), I tried out ten different brands of store-bought frozen waffles.
I should disclose here that when you judge food products with children who can never stop eating, you’re bound to get some honest feedback. (See breakfast sausages). That said, we evaluated the following ten brands according to very basic criteria:
- Fluffiness. Does it look fluffy in its frozen state and cooked state? This was very important to my kids—don’t ask me why. But I’d have to agree with them. Biting into a quality waffle should present you with the feeling of sinking your teeth into a mound of cheesecake or a stack of perfect French toast.
- Crispness. This goes against what I’d just said above, but bear with me. The waffle’s exterior should be in sharp contrast to its fluffy innards. Does it have a nice crisp to it? Is there a distinct golden color? Both textures should be accounted for.
- Flavor. For the purposes of this test, we tried only homestyle or buttermilk waffles without maple syrup (I was given a lot of guff for this, but I stood firm). I wanted to make sure we were all judging the product itself, not any additions that might take away from or distract from its true taste.
Without further ado, here are the waffles, ranked from worst to best.