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Welcome to Chow with Me, where Chowhound’s executive editor Hana Asbrink shares all of the irresistible things she’s cooking, eating, reading, buying, and more. Today: The best heart-shaped waffle maker for brunch success.

If I’m being honest, I’m not much of a going-out-for-brunch person. I love eggs, Bloody Marys—the whole bit—but the lines and waits? I can do without. Since becoming parents, my husband and I have taken to more regularly treating ourselves (and our friends) to low-key brunch gatherings at home where more often than not, savory, cheesy waffles are the star.

I have shared my family’s love of savory waffles before, and it turns out, guests flip over these, too. No offense to the fluffy Belgian waffle or the classic, square American one, but we prefer the thinner, crisper waffle more commonly found in Sweden; and it’s made possible by our trusty Kalorik heart-shaped waffle iron (which just looks like a slimmer version of a Belgian waffle maker). This $20 workhorse has delivered endless waffle joy over the years, and I wholly recommend it if you’re a fan of waffles-as-vehicles-for-savory-toppings, or just plain waffles, period.

Kalorik Red Metallic Heart Shape Waffle Maker, $19.99 at Walmart

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The Kalorik (what a name, I know) waffle maker has two 7-inch heart-shaped waffle plates with a non-stick coating, making it very easy-to-clean, decorate stainless steel plates, and an adjustable temperature knob. It is extremely simple to operate:

  • Plug the waffle maker in and the indicator light will turn red to let you know it’s on. Set the temperature control knob to your desired setting, “Min” to “Max.”
  • Once the ready light turns green, pour about a ladleful of your favorite cheesy waffle batter, being careful not to take the batter all the way to the edge.
  • Press the lid down and wait until the green indicator light goes out.
  • Check for golden brown doneness (if you prefer yours more done, you might have to wait another minute or two).
  • Remove carefully and enjoy with all the delicious “waffle bar” fixings your heart desires. We personally love putting out crisped bacon, lox and other smoked fish, crème fraîche, dill, thinly sliced red onions, roe, and plenty of lemon wedges.

 Related: The Best Way to Cook Bacon Is Actually the Easiest

By the way, in case you’re wondering how we manage a larger quantity of waffles for a larger group and just one waffle maker, we start making waffles sooner, and keep them warm and crispy by placing them on a cooling rack placed atop a baking sheet in a low 200°F to 250°F oven.

Related ContentWhat Else Can You Cook in a Waffle Iron, Anyway?

Once you’re done cooking off the batter, unplug the iron, wipe the nonstick plates down with a wet paper towel (talk about easy cleaning), and leave to cool off completely before storing it away upright or flat.

There’s nothing more satisfying than a slow start to your weekends. Next time you’re making breakfast or brunch plans, skip the crowds and opt for a waffle spread that you can take your sweet time prepping for in your own kitchen, sipping all the coffee you want, starting the morning of. You’ll have the best little affordable waffle maker ready for service.

Photo credit: Hana Asbrink

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