I Taste-Tested 9 Frozen Waffle Brands As Someone Who Lived Off Of Them As A Kid, And I’m Shocked By My First Choice

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.

Leslie Knope from Parks and Rec eating a waffle in a hospital bed

Not that anyone asked, but the Cinnamon Toast Eggos were my go-to.

NBC / Via giphy.com

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.

Claudia posing with boxes of waffles

I was also kind of shocked to see the variation between each box: the number of waffles per pack ranged from six to ten. In my case, this was perfectly split between all nine brands — three had six waffles, three had eight, and three had ten.

Claudia Santos

Here's a closer look without me in my waffle tower.

boxes of waffles on a table

The brands I grabbed were:


Trader Joe'swhole grain

Whole Foods 365organic, homestyle

Banzaprotein, gluten-free, homestyle

Annie'sorganic, homestyle, whole grain

Kodiakprotein, buttermilk + vanilla, whole grain

Great Valuehomestyle


Kashiprotein, buttermilk + vanilla, whole grain

As you can see, there's a lot of variation here. To keep everything relatively consistent, I wanted to make sure to go for homestyle waffles whenever I could. If a brand didn't have homestyle or any other "plain" variety (like Kodiak and Kashi), I went with the closest to plain I could find. The way I see it, it's easier to compare a plain waffle to vanilla than to blueberry.

I also wanted to purposefully try a range of options from gluten-free to protein to whole grain since I didn't rank these from worst to best and instead judged them individually.

Claudia Santos

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.

untoasted waffles laid out on a cutting board

Here's how I broke everything down:

The pre-toast test: Obviously I'm not eating anything at this stage, but before I even toasted the waffles, I took note of things like the smell, color, and texture.

The toast test: After toasting, I judged how crispy each waffle got and, of course, tasted them.

The syrup test: This is arguably my favorite one. After taking a bite (or two) of the plain waffle, I tasted it again with a generous drizzle of maple syrup to see not only if it tasted better, but also if it maintained its texture.

Claudia Santos

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

a box of banza waffles

Who knew you could do so much with a chickpea?! Well, apparently Banza knows because they've been cranking out chickpea products around the clock. While I do have some qualms with their newest venture into waffles, I found this to be a great gluten-free option, especially when it came to texture. They also nailed it with the cute packaging.

Claudia Santos

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.

untoasted waffles on a cutting board

I swear these smelled like a diner waffle — it was almost as if they were already infused with maple and butter. As I mentioned, the texture was definitely impressive. I'm usually nervous that anything gluten-free is just going to completely fall apart, but these felt like they would stand the toast test.

Claudia Santos

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.

toasted waffles on a cutting board

I was so confused as I was eating these and kept taking multiple bites to figure out where I stood. There was definitely that buttery, mapley flavor to them, but you could still tell they were made out of beans from the first bite. And while the outside was crispy, the inside was a little on the dry side. It even split in two directly down the middle as I was eating it.

Claudia Santos

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.

a banza waffle with maple syrup

I'm happy to report that syrup helped (and was necessary). I wasn't really shocked given that any time I eat chickpea pasta, I need to pair it with a flavorful enough sauce to at least somewhat mask the bean-y taste. And, to my surprise, the crispiness actually held up for a while which feels like a pretty big win. If you can look past the beans and have maple syrup at the ready, I really do think this is a great gluten-free option.

Claudia Santos

🏆 BEST ADDED-PROTEIN: Kodiak Power Waffles

a box of kodiak frozen waffles

Making something protein-packed is super tricky since, more often than not, it ends up tasting dry and chalky. But I gotta say, Kodiak nailed it. Even their packaging was super sturdy and didn't get completely crushed like the others (seriously, we have to do something about these flimsy waffle boxes).

Claudia Santos

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.

untoasted waffles on a cutting board

Since these were buttermilk and vanilla flavored, it's no surprise that they smelled like a dream pre-toast. What I loved the most though is that the vanilla in them didn't smell artificial, which doesn't happen often with vanilla-flavored foods. They also had some weight to them and were one of the thickest waffles I tried.

Claudia Santos

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.

toasted waffles on a cutting board

The outside of these got plenty crispy while the inside stayed super fluffy (probably thanks to the buttermilk). Just like I found in the pre-toast test, the vanilla flavor was subtle and added just the right level of sweetness. They were so good that I completely forgot I was eating a protein waffle.

Claudia Santos

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.

a kodiak waffle with syrup drizzled on

You can tell how much I enjoyed this plain just by the sheer amount of bites taken before I even got to the syrup test. While syrup still made these taste great, I firmly believe they have enough sweetness that you could skip it. Unfortunately, the crispy outside also started to get a little soggy after a few minutes of sitting out. With that being said, they definitely could benefit from a pat of salted butter. Bottom line: if you want to drench these in syrup, make sure you eat them immediately.

Claudia Santos

🏆 BEST WHOLE-GRAIN — Trader Joe's

a box of trader joe's whole grain waffles

I feel like whole-grain waffles are always seen as the lesser waffle of the bunch due to the "healthy" aspect of it all. But these pleasantly surprised me on all fronts, even if they're not the waffles I'd find myself grabbing very often. Maybe if I'm feeling like I'm low on whole grains one day.

Claudia Santos

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.

untoasted waffles on a cutting board

The pockets on these were very shallow and most closely resembled Great Value out of all of the different brands. I did like (and was simultaneously worried flavor-wise) that I could see the whole grains — the whole waffle was speckled. There was a slight buttery/toasty smell to them, but nothing that stood out too much.

Claudia Santos

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.

toasted waffles on a cutting board

The fluff on these really sold me and the outside was crispy without being too crispy like some other whole-grain waffles. There wasn't too much sweetness, but still a little butteriness. Since Trader Joe's isn't advertising them as a super flavorful waffle, I didn't really mind this.

Claudia Santos

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.

a trader joe's waffle with maple syrup

I just knew there would be leakage, and I was absolutely right. It wasn't an enormous amount, but it still compromised the crispiness. Despite them not being super sturdy, they tasted amazing with a syrup pour since it got through to that fluffy interior. If you're trying to get some grains and fiber in your diet, these are an amazing option.

Claudia Santos

🏆 BEST CRISPINESS (EVEN WITH SYRUP): Great Value Homestyle Waffles

a box of great value homestyle waffles

If you're ever strolling through Walmart, wondering what to grab for an easy breakfast, definitely do not discount these waffles! Not only are they incredibly budget-friendly (a box of 10 is only $2.26), but their texture is top notch.

Claudia Santos

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.

untoasted waffles on a cutting board

They pretty much smelled like your classic frozen waffle, that is to say they didn't smell like much. But I'm starting to realize smaller, thicker pockets are the key to crispiness, so I was still hopeful for the toast test.

Claudia Santos

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.

toasted waffles arranged on a cutting board

Even though they did get nice and crispy, these waffles lacked a bit of flavor. But I did get that classic frozen waffle taste from them with maybe even a hint of butteriness.

Claudia Santos

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.

a great value waffles with syrup on it

Not only did syrup compliment these really well, but after letting it sit for about 15 minutes they were STILL crispy. I was actually baffled. So if you have a picky eater at home (or if you're the picky eater) who will only consume waffles with mass amounts of maple syrup, Great Value might just be the one for you.

Claudia Santos

🏆🥇 BEST OVERALL — Annie's Organic Homestyle Waffles

a box of annie's waffles

These right here are an absolute sleeper hit. I never really purchase Annie's products in my day-to-day life, and if it weren't for this taste test, I would've skipped right past them. The texture, taste, syrup-ability — everything about these was as close to perfect as a frozen waffle can get. That lil' bunny knows what it's doing.

Claudia Santos

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.

untoasted waffles on a cutting board

That first smell made me a bit worried these would taste a little like vanilla cardboard. As I mentioned with Kodiak, it's not very often that vanilla-flavored foods strike the right balance with taste (even if this one wasn't advertised as a vanilla waffle.)

Claudia Santos

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.

toasted waffles on a cutting board

The artificial vanilla/syrup flavor I smelled pre-toast mellowed out a lot after toasting, leaving behind a buttery flavor with a nostalgic vanilla taste. Almost like the vanilla you might find in a Funfetti cake, but not overly sweet. The ridges were so airy that I could easily see myself inhaling four to five in one sitting without noticing. In other words, they were really easy to eat.

Claudia Santos

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.

an annie's waffle with syrup

You guys, I do not know what kind of magic Annie's is putting in these. Not that it needs it, but the syrup complimented these SO well. It wasn't overwhelmingly sweet and just soaked in without creating too much leakage (there was a bit, though). The outside did get a little mushy after sitting out, so I recommend eating them immediately. But even if you don't, you'll still be met with a 10/10 waffle experience.

Claudia Santos

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.