what grease for a waffle iron?

I’m a bachelor who knows little about cooking but I love waffles on a Saturday morning. I have a great electric double waffle iron from the Forties that looks great and one doesn’t go cold while a cook a second. It’s more intricate than today’s appliances, has a base and temperature gauges and is composed of ten or twelve pieces that don’t come apart.

Obviously it predates Teflon and waffles tend to stick. The corrugated pattern makes it impossible to extract them and it takes ten minutes to clean and try again.
I had been using cooking spray but it gets all over and collects in various crevices, bonds to the chrome etc. I just spent about two hours scrubbing the thing clean with oven cleaner and don’t want to do that again. I don’t think it would respond well to soaking - cloth insulation and all that.

Apparently the oil in the waffle mix (Krusteaz, just add water and oil) isn’t enough to prevent sticking. How can I grease the iron neatly with a minimum of cleanup afterward?

Put vegetable oil or melted butter in a small bowl. Brush on with a basting brush.

I’d suggest fatty bacon as a good choice. As a bachelor, you should have some handy ;), it can be heated to a high temp without burning – better than butter, and you can rub the fatty slab into reasonably narrow crevices. Do you have any pics you can post online of this '40’s device? I’d like to see the pieces.

Pam spray works well if you don’t mind ignoring the dire warnings not to spray it on a hot surface.
You also need to put some oil in the batter.

This seems like it has to be cast iron. When properly seasoned, cast iron cooking surfaces are remarkably unsticky. Maybe you should actually be washing it less, in the manner of a cast iron skillet.


Pam spray

Vegetarian. No bacon.

Pam spray is what caused the mess that I’m trying to get away from. Two tablespoons of oil are part of the recipe.

I’m a bachelor and not that meticulous about cleaning. On their own, waffles don’t leave much residue and knowing that cast iron should be seasoned by now, I initially tried cooking without grease. Didn’t work.

Don’t have a basting brush but the butter/oil idea sounds like it’s worth pursuing. Thanks!

Lightly brush on vegetable oil every other waffle or so.

There’s your problem. Don’t do that. Wipe it out with a paper towel, and it is good. It should be all black and greasy looking.

Definitely be sure you’ve seasoned the cast iron. Let good quality vegetable oil soak in, and then bake it in, in the oven. Palm oil or coconut oil are favored for seasoning cast iron cookware, but any will do. And never scrub it clean, or you’ll have to re-season again. You’ll find tips for seasoning cast iron cookware online. How you’ll adapt them to the pieces you have is what you’ll have to figure out on your own.

Now, you may also want to work on your batter. Maybe this store bought stuff assumes you can butter the cooking surface better than your apparatus is capable of. You could try to make your batter from scratch. Don’t run away, you’re already doing most of the work. Measure out flour, add an equal amount of liquid, 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder per cup of flour, a tablespoon of oil, that’s it – bam, pancake batter. Add one egg for extra richness. If your liquid is acid, like buttermilk, or citrus juice, or beer (yum) add 1/4 tsp baking soda. Once I’d heard of this, I’m astounded that I’d ever bought pancake mix – no one ever mentioned: equal parts flour and liquid are pancake batter.

It’s not that impressive an appliance. Knapp-Monarch, not a high-end brand. Refurbished $100+, but there’s one on eBay for $10 now and Etsy is selling a nice one for $60. I got it as a gift about ten years ago, no idea what they paid.

I works well though, and looks good on the counter. All steel, Detroit-quality chrome.
From the days when America knew how to build things.


A prettier picture of the one on Etsy


2nd. When you finally get it seasoned and it is dropping the waffles cleanly, just put a paper towel between the grids before you store it. If you can find a plastic two tined carving fork with the correct tine spacing, it makes a good tool for scraping out oopsies, and persuading lightly stuck waffles to come off.

I’d expect to have a bit of trouble the first 2-3 batches till the iron gets seasoned. Also, preheat it so it is smoking hot before you put the first waffle in.

On the bacon fat thing: My dad used to put bacon in the waffles. He would precook the bacon a bit, then cook it into the waffles. But if you do this, you need to make one or two plain waffles afterward to soak out all the bacon fat, and it is best if you use the iron regularly…Sunday breakfast was waffles the whole time I was growing up. When my dad died, my mom would get the iron out when I would visit, and the rancid bacon grease was an issue.

I had to use the oven cleaner because there was spray gook burned into the housing and in the gaps between all the pieces. The whole thing was stocky because the spray goes all over and the appliance can’t be cleaned easily. I The griddle itself was reasonably clean.

I’ll try seasoning it. Been unemployed for three years and can’t afford mixing from scratch, always running out of one or another ingredient. I was trying to be aloof but seven bucks of waffle mix, tap water and a bottle of oil feeds me for a month.

We do a good bit of shopping at Cash & Carry, a restaurant supply joint that’s open to the public. Their prices on butter, half & half, and some other stuff can’t be beat! Recently a couple of cans of Vegalene Waffle Off spray. The name makes me giggle, but the stuff works like a dream!