If you typically pass the freezer section of the grocery store and ignore the stacks of frozen waffles, you’re definitely not alone. I don’t think I’ve paid frozen waffles any mind since I was maybe 12 years old. But back in the day, they were my quick breakfast of choice before school, especially since I was constantly running late. My zero period teacher can confirm this.
Because back-to-school season is now in full swing — and I’ve continued to be a chronically late adult — I thought it was time to revisit this childhood favorite. But I truly wasn’t prepared for the amount of brands I’d have to choose from. We’ve moved so far beyond Eggos y’all — there are protein waffles, gluten-free waffles, chickpea waffles, and multigrain waffles. My brain was very overwhelmed (and also glad that kids have so many options these days). To keep things short and sweet, I went with nine different brands, all with a range of attributes.
Here’s a closer look without me in my waffle tower.
Okay, now onto the taste test. Because I’m a woman of ~science~, I made sure the waffles were all toasted at 350ºF for 12 minutes in the oven and put them through a series of tests. In my opinion, letting them all toast in the oven at the same time and at a controlled temperature delivers more consistency than sticking them in the toaster one by one.
Now, without further ado, these were my favorite waffles across a few specific categories — along with my #1 overall pick. (And my way-too-in-depth thoughts about each frozen waffle brand.)
🏆 BEST GLUTEN-FREE: Banza Homestyle Waffles
Pre-Toast Test — I wouldn’t have guessed these were gluten-free just by looking at them. I even double-checked the box to make sure. While the weight, texture, and color were all very impressive, what won me over was the smell.
Toast Test — Oh man, did these make my kitchen smell amazing and the outside got perfectly crispy. At this point, I had really high hopes. But, unfortunately, it’s hard to completely mask the bean-y taste of chickpeas.
Syrup Test — Since I wasn’t in love with the flavor of these chickpea waffles, I was really curious to see if a hefty drizzle of syrup would amp them up. I did have high hopes for zero leakage but, because they’re gluten-free, I was afraid they’d get soggy.
🏆 BEST ADDED-PROTEIN: Kodiak Power Waffles
Pre-Toast Test — The color of these alone impressed me. They practically looked like they’d already been toasted, not to mention they smelled amazing. I also loved that I could actually see some texture on them and that they weren’t completely smooth.
Toast Test — Again, the color on these was just incredible. Not only did the ridges get nice and toasty, but so did the pockets. Which, if you can tell from the photo, doesn’t happen very often. No shocker here, but they smelled even better coming out of the oven.
Syrup Test — Honestly, I could (and did) eat these plain. They’re just sweet enough that I felt like syrup wasn’t entirely necessary, but, of course, the test must go on. I was also curious to see if they would stay as crispy.
🏆 BEST WHOLE-GRAIN — Trader Joe’s
Pre-Toast Test — Once again, I’m so surprised by how different these waffles looked from the rest, especially in size — they were probably the smallest of the bunch. I did really love the dark, toasty color that the whole grains gave them.
Toast Test — I honestly have very few complaints, this was a solid waffle. It got really crispy, but beyond that, it was just SO fluffy on the inside.
Syrup Test — I was a little worried for these guys, I’m not gonna lie. The ridges didn’t have much structure to them and the waffle felt really light despite being pretty thick.
🏆 BEST CRISPINESS (EVEN WITH SYRUP): Great Value Homestyle Waffles
Pre-Toast Test — I’ll admit, these didn’t really catch my eye pre-toast. They definitely had some decent color on them, but nothing too toasty-looking. But I will say that they felt sturdy, I think because the ridges between the pockets were thick and the pockets themselves didn’t sink super deep.
Toast Test — Just as I suspected, these toasted really really well and actually ended up being one of the crispiest waffles. The thickness also made it so that the inside stayed decently fluffy.
Syrup Test — Because these got so crispy, I had high hopes that they would handle syrup. I also feel like they definitely needed the additional sweetness — they’re not something I would munch on plain.
🏆🥇 BEST OVERALL — Annie’s Organic Homestyle Waffles
Pre-Toast Test — At first, these didn’t look all that exciting to me. I liked the texture of them, but they almost felt too light. They also had a bit of an artificial vanilla smell to them and I was afraid that the first bite would be overly sweet.
Toast Test — I have never been proven so wrong in my life. The crispiness on these waffles was unlike any of the others — they were so light and airy without compromising on that crunch factor. And the taste? The furthest thing from cardboard.
Syrup Test — The box itself says, “So tasty you could skip the syrup!” and I wholeheartedly agree. Similar to Kodiak, these felt like they already peaked as-is. I was also worried that because the texture was so airy, the waffle would get super weighed down by a syrup drizzle.
If you got to the end of this, you’re a real trooper — I can’t believe I said this would be short and sweet. Let me know how you feel about these rankings in the comments below! And if you have any creative ideas for using up nine boxes of waffles, I’m all ears.