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Unlike Carly Rae Jepsen, a waffle maker is no one-hit wonder. Thanks to its distinctive honeycombed surface, the breakfast gadget is like a panini press, mini grill, and toaster oven all in one—and that means it can cook much more than waffles.

So take out the stepstool and pull your waffle maker down from the top shelf. We found 27 recipes to prove it deserves a permanent place on your countertop. And when you can start the day with a crispy omelet, whip up quesadillas for lunch, snack on kale chips, enjoy eggplant parm for dinner, and top it all off with cream cheese-glazed snickerdoodles—all made in this one appliance—you won’t regret letting it take up prime real estate in your kitchen.

Breakfast

Clean Eating Waffle Iron Omelets Photo: The Gracious Pantry

1. Clean Eating Waffle Iron Omelets

Made from six simple ingredients, this is more like an omelet than a waffle—and oh so good. Top with extras like tomatoes, avocados, or cheese (or all three), and you’ve got a breakfast that will stay with you thanks to the protein and fats.

2. Pumpkin French Toast Waffles

Take French toast and make it 10 times better letting it soak up a pumpkin and spice mixture and pressing it in a waffle maker. It’ll turn out soft and ready to drizzle with your fave syrup. (Pure maple is a soul mate for this dish.) And with just a few steps, you’ll be eating these in less time than it takes to get ready and head to brunch.

3. Collard Stuffed Cornbread Waffles With Chipotle Syrup

Nothing screams “Southern” like collards and cornbread. Paired together and spiced with chipotle, these greens-stuffed waffles are good for any Sunday brunch or supper. If you’re not a fan of collards, substitute another leafy green. Kale and spinach contain more iron, but all three greens contain good amounts of vitamin A, C, and K.

4. Frittaffle

It’s a frittata. It’s a waffle. No, it’s a frittaffle! While it may not become the next wildly crazed food trend, this fusion combines eggs with veggies, bacon, and cheese for a real breakfast pleasure. It takes a little time, but who can resist the mini, colorful bites?

5. Pumpkin Spice Sweet Potato Noodle Waffles

On the spiralizer trend like us? Then bring it to the morning. (And if not, you can make this by using a basic peeler too!) Sweet potato “noodles” soften up in a pan, then combine with pumpkin pie spice and eggs before taking a trip to the waffle maker for an easy meal that provides more than 100 percent of your daily vitamin A.

6. Waffled Hash Browns

How do you make the classic a.m. side even better? You waffle it. Chances are, you have all the ingredients in your kitchen right now to make these. Nice and crispy, you can take it to the next level by experimenting with different spices like oregano, hot pepper flakes, or curry.

Main Dishes

Waffled Polenta Photo: Julie's Jazz

7. Waffled Polenta

Italian grandmothers may not approve of premade polenta, but it sure beats stirring a pot of cornmeal for half an hour. Slice up a tube and crisp the pieces in a waffler maker, then top with sautéed tomatoes and zucchini and some Parmesan for a meal so colorful and tasty, grandmas just might forgive us.

8. Chicken, Broccoli, and Cheddar Potato Waffles

Turn Sunday’s chicken and mashed potato dinner into a completely different meal during the week. Mix the two with cooked broccoli (or other veggies in the fridge), cheese, flour, egg, and some spices, then waffle it up! It’ll remind you of your mom’s best casserole—minus the canned condensed soup and overcooked rice.

9. Strawberry Jam Grilled Cheese

This anything-but-ordinary grilled cheese comes with a sweet surprise. The flavor combos go beyond the cheddar and strawberry jam used by this blogger. Try Havarti and apple butter, pepper jack and tomato chutney, Gruyere and orange marmalade, Brie and fig jam... you get the picture.

10. Crab Cake Waffles

When there’s no time for a beach vacation, make these crab cakes instead. (They may not make you tan, but they’re a heck of a lot cheaper than a trip.) The coconut and almond flours stand in for a gluten-free way to bind the cakes. And they’re ready in far less time than it takes to pack a suitcase.

11. Healthy Eggplant Parmesan

We certainly try to eat our veggies—and if topping them with a little cheese now and then helps us down more produce, we think that’s a-OK. Especially in this case since pulling out the waffle maker instead of the deep fryer means no need for oil. Plus, this recipe is faster and the iron creates just the right sized pockets for sopping up all that marinara sauce.

Kimchi Fried Rice Waffles Photo: Miss Hangry Pants

12. Kimchi Fried Rice Waffles

Skip the takeout and enjoy this Asian dish at home, where you can control the spice. If you don’t have homemade kimchi, be sure to buy a quality brand (read: no funky preservatives). All of the spices may boost metabolism, and the probiotics can help keep your digestive system running smoothly.

13. Waffle Iron Quesadillas

Perfect for a quick snack or simple meal, this recipe is effortless and versatile. Not having to use a skillet means there’s no need to flip, which also means one side doesn’t get crispier (OK, charred) than the other. We like using whole-wheat tortillas and garnishing with guacamole instead of sour cream.

14. Waffled Falafel

While there are plenty of oven-baked solutions, this waffled falafel delivers with a crispy, fried-like texture. At first glance, this recipe may seem to have a lot of ingredients, but it’s mostly pantry staples that are all tossed together. The chickpeas provide fiber and some protein for satisfaction, while the parsley may help keep your brain sharp.

15. Waffle-Iron Ham and Cheese Paninis

Ham and cheese are good friends. And pressed and grilled together and you get “everything a sandwich aspires to be,” as this blogger says. The delightfully delicious duo is teamed up with baby arugula, sweet Vidalia onion, and Dijon mustard. Five minutes later, you get toasty, melty perfection.

16. Paleo Pepperoni Pizza Waffles

It’s not delivery—and it doesn’t look like a pizza. Yet it tastes like one! The magic happens when you combine plantain (banana’s cousin that has almost 40 percent more potassium per gram), egg, tomato paste, seasonings, nutritional yeast, and pepperoni (omit for vegetarians) into a batter and cook in the waffle iron. Dip into warmed pizza sauce and think of it as Italian fondue.

Sides, Snacks, and Appetizers

Caribbean Shrimp Stuffed Waffle Pops and Mango Cilantro Photo: Snappy Gourmet

17. Caribbean Shrimp Stuffed Waffle Pops and Mango Cilantro Dip

If it’s not a party without shrimp cocktail, try this island twist. Jalapeño peppers and Caribbean seasoning give the crustacean a spicy kick while the yogurt-based dip provides a cooling, fruity relief.

18. Waffled Zucchini-Parmesan Fritters

We’ve introduced you to zucchini muffins, zucchini lasagna, and zucchini noodles. Now meet zucchini-parmesan fritters: A healthier alternative to the pan-fried version that’s just as tasty and crispy, and even more delicious.

19. Crispy Waffled Sesame Kale

Forget the oven (or a dehydrator) for making kale chips. Yes, your trusty waffle maker can cook these too. (Seriously, what can’t it do?!) Sesame oil adds a nutty flavor and has been shown to lower high cholesterol—perhaps even more so than olive oil does Olive and sesame oil effect on lipid profile in hypercholesterolemic patients, which better? Namayandeh S.M., Kaseb F., Lesan S. International Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2013 Sep;4(9):1059-62. .

20. Mashed Potato, Cheddar, and Chive Waffles

Like the best loaded baked potato, this recipe calls for melted cheddar cheese and a sprinkle of chives. You can use leftover mashed potatoes or whip up some from scratch. Bonus: The waffles turn out lighter than expected and can easily transform into a Benedict-like main dish when topped with an egg.

Desserts

Mini Ice Cream Waffle Sandwiches Photo: Flourishing Foodie

21. Mini Ice Cream Waffle Sandwiches

Nothing against cookie ice cream sandwiches, but using waffles as the outsides brings a nutty taste to the handheld dessert. Even better, this recipe adds a super easy berry topping, which puts the weirdly, “unmeltable” store brand sandwiches in their place. (And don’t worry, these will be eaten too quickly to melt.)

22. Waffle Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Because any recipe with chocolate chunks is worth trying, this dessert is pretty much a guaranteed winner. And just like the traditional oven-baked version, these cookies are optimal for dunking. Be sure to let them cool so they crisp up.

23. Maple Bacon Wonuts

Making its debut last spring in Chicago, the wonutthe waffle doughnutis the cronut’s cousin. Crispy, chewy, and downright heavenly, the wonut is a treat worth waiting in line for. Luckily, making it at home means you’ll only have to wait for the waffle maker to buzz. Not a bacon fan? Top with icing and sprinkles like a traditional doughnut instead.

24. Snickerdoodle Waffle Cookies With Cream Cheese Glaze

Butter, sugar, vanilla, cinnamonthis dough has everything you’d expect from a snickerdoodle recipe. Topped with a cream cheese glaze, this cookie is cooked in 2 minutes. Now that’s dangerous. We recommend calling in backup support (a.k.a. friends) so you don’t accidentally eat all of them.

25. Waffle Brownies

They’re two kinds of brownie eaters: those that covet the corner piece and those that dive straight into the gooey center. For the crust-cravers, this recipe is for you. As this blogger describes it, “it’s all crunchy edge bits.” Don’t omit the coffee or the salt—both are needed for a rich chocolate flavor. Top with berries, Greek yogurt, ice cream—let your imagine (and taste buds) run wild.

26. 3-Minute Churros

There’s just something about the smell of hot dough coated in cinnamon sugar that’s absolutely addicting. This simplified churro recipe is made with frozen puff pastry. Dip (or slather) them in the spicy, cinnamon-y Mexican hot chocolate sauce for an indulgent, finger-licking treat.

27. Chocolate Waffle Cookies

Any cookie that meets Martha’s standards must be exceptional—or exceptionally pain-in-the-butt to make, right? Luckily, these are easy to make and will disappear in seconds once you present them to friends. They turn out a bit cake-y, so they soak up the chocolate icing. Chocolate chips and topping? We’re sold.

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