Waffle makers are incredible kitchen appliances that make some awesome sweet and savoury treats. However, much like any kitchen appliance, they require regular cleaning in order to create delicious waffles and to prevent any damage to the appliance.
If you find that your waffle maker is smoking during the cooking process there may be something wrong. However, it’s important to determine whether this is smoke or steam.
Steam will be released from the waffle maker as part of the normal process of cooking a waffle. Typically, a waffle batter will have some water or milk in it, and as that liquid boils off, steam will be produced. Typically, this will happen a lot at the start of the cooking process, and a little less throughout the rest of the cook.
This is normal, and shouldn’t concern you. That said, the steam will, of course, be hot, so avoid touching it with your bare skin.
Smoke can be generated when there’s leftover cooking materials left on the waffle iron. As the iron heats, those leftover bits of food will heat, and they may catch fire. At that point, they will smoke until they have completely burned off.
This is a fairly common occurrence, as the unique shape of waffle irons can make them a little difficult to clean. They have a large number of divots, which can be difficult to reliably clean every time, especially if you’re putting the iron or plates into a dishwasher.
What To Do If Your Waffle Maker Smokes
If your waffle maker smokes, immediately unplug it or take it off the heat. When it has fully cooled, it will need to be thoroughly cleaned in order to remove any burned-on leftover food.
After the iron is completely cool, fill a basin with hot, soapy water. Then, using some kind of rigid object to scrape the surface of the iron, try to remove as much food as you can. I use a small plastic scraper that I picked up to qualify for free shipping a million years ago, and it does the trick wonderfully!
Try to get an implement that is thin enough to get deep into the nooks and crannies of your waffle iron while also avoiding using a metal implement.
If you use a metal implement, you’ll be set for a bad time. If the waffle plates have a nonstick coating in this case, then you can very easily remove it by scraping a little too hard.
Of course, this is bad, but it isn’t the end of the world. As anyone who regularly makes waffles will tell you: the non-stick is in the batter, rather than the iron.
If your waffle doesn’t have a non-stick coating, then you could actually be scraping little iron flakes onto the iron itself. This is understandably bad, and I think we can all agree that avoiding small pieces of metal in our food would be a wise choice.
How To Prevent Your Waffle Maker From Smoking
The only way to prevent your waffle maker from smoking is to regularly clean it.
In our house, we have a monthly kitchen deep-clean day. Typically, I’ll get up, put my headphones on to binge a podcast, and clean the kitchen for several hours. It’s a long and laborious task, but it’s worth it.
One of the items on my list that day is minor maintenance work on our more finicky pots and pans, one of which is the waffle iron! The cleaning process for the iron is fairly simple, but it’s worth making sure to do every step to completion, that’s how you’ll maintain a useful kitchen tool. In order to clean my waffle iron, I:
- Give it a gentle wipe down all over with kitchen paper, just to remove any looser bits of batter or oil that have accumulated on it.
- Use a small plastic scraper to trace the pattern of the waffle iron, removing any stuck bits of batter as I go.
- Use a sponge and some hot soapy water to thoroughly clean the iron, removing any leftover crumbs of batter, as well as giving it a simple, thorough clean.
- Completely dry the iron with a towel, before heating it over a low flame for ten minutes or so to ensure it’s completely dry.
- Let it cool, and return it to the cupboard.
By taking regular care of your waffle iron like this, you’ll make sure that it virtually never smokes, and that you’ll be able to keep it (and keep using it) for many years.