Build a Better Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and in my opinion, it’s also the yummiest. Some of my favorite options are French toast, pancakes, and waffles—not to mention savory dishes such as shakshuka and breakfast tacos. This week I’ve gathered everything you need to make better breakfasts at home. I’ve owned our winning waffle maker for years (and so has my mom). Unlike many models, it produces two waffles at a time, each with a crisp, evenly browned exterior and custardy interior. Our best nonstick skillet is a must-have for perfect fried eggs or frittatas. And our highest-rated maple syrup dispenser ensures that syrup lands only where you want it to.
—Carolyn Grillo, Associate Editor, ATK Reviews
Our longtime winner excelled, with uniform, steady heating and good visibility inside the saucepan to monitor browning. Its cup-shaped stay-cool handle was easy to grip, and a helper handle provided another grabbing point when the pan was full. Even after brutal whacking on concrete, this model emerged with only tiny dents inside and one slight dent on the bottom, and it still sat flat on the counter.
This saucepan has the same tri-ply fully-clad construction as our top-rated All-Clad pan, with two layers of stainless steel sandwiched around a layer of aluminum. It performed almost as well, but ran a little fast and hot, so onions browned slightly around the perimeter of the pan. The cooking surface is relatively narrow. The moderately heavy frame was easy to lift and scrape food from, but its handle gets hot during extended cooking. Its shiny interior dulled after cleaning up pilaf, and it suffered more damage in our abuse testing than higher-ranked models.
BUY FOR $90
Featuring a six-point dial for customizing waffle doneness, this waffle maker quickly and consistently turned out two perfect waffles at a time, each with a crisp, evenly browned exterior and custardy interior. With indicator lights on both sides of the waffle maker and a loud audible alert, it was easy to tell when each waffle was done. Weighing nearly 10 pounds and measuring over 20 inches tall with the lid up, this model was by far the biggest and heaviest of those tested—but that extra bulk ensured stability and durability. Two minor flaws: the lack of a removable drip tray and the shortness of the handle, on which hot condensation tended to accumulate.
This lightweight lid helped produce nicely browned onions and evenly cooked eggs, and it was much easier to lift and clean than the heavy cast-iron lid. It contained moisture and messes, and its glass material allowed users to get a good sense of how their food was cooking.
BUY FOR $30
Certified by the SCAA, the updated version of our old favorite (the KBT 741, now also $299) meets time and temperature guidelines with utter consistency. As a result, it produces a “smooth,” “velvety” brew. It’s also intuitive to use. The carafe lost some heat after 2 hours but still kept the coffee above 150 degrees.
Simple to use and SCAA-certified, this brewer produced coffee that was “rich” and “full-flavored.” The thermal carafe is sturdy, double-lined with stainless steel, and kept coffee very hot for up to 3 hours. With a wide opening that we can fit our hand inside, it’s also much easier than most carafes to scrub clean, but there’s no brew-through lid; you must remove the brew basket and screw on a separate lid to keep the coffee hot.
This dispenser’s spring-loaded spout cover worked like a charm. Pushing the lever let us open it any amount from a sliver to fully open, so we could pour neatly and precisely while controlling the flow. Releasing the lever let it slide smoothly and shut completely for no-drip handling. It was easy to fill and clean, too. One quibble: The glass jar isn’t microwave-safe, so we had to heat syrup in a separate vessel and then transfer it. On the plus side, the ridged glass jar stayed comfortable to hold as we replaced the lid, even when the syrup was fairly hot.
The textured surface of this PTFE-free nonstick pan impressed us by producing evenly baked cookies, and its standard size ensured that there was enough space for Parmesan cauliflower to brown nicely. Sticky caramel was no match for the nonstick coating; the caramel-coated popcorn slid off the pan easily. This pan was easy to hand-wash because its coating prevented food from sticking.
This gold-colored muffin tin produced golden-brown muffins, cupcakes, and frittatas, and each item released from this tin’s nonstick coating with ease. There was plenty of space between each cup, so the muffins and cupcakes baked without running into one another. Plus, a 1-inch-wide rim made the tin easy to grab and maneuver into and out of the oven, even while we were wearing bulky oven mitts.
With an ergonomic Santoprene rubber handle and a balanced, lightweight feel, this whisk was like an extension of a hand. It whipped cream and egg whites quickly, thanks to 10 wires that were thin enough to move through the liquid quickly but thick enough to push through heavy mixtures and blend pan sauces to smoothness.
This sturdy, plunger-shaped model was the most precise, quickly topping eggs in about 20 seconds with neat, even breaks due to a lever that had just enough force to punch out a circle without cracking the entire shell.
This round ceramic crock is large enough to comfortably fit 20 utensils. The removable dividers organize the utensils and allow the user to remove one utensil quickly without it getting tangled up in other utensils. A removable silicone mat sits at the bottom of the crock, giving utensils a soft place to land while minimizing noise. Because the crock is dishwasher-safe, it’s supereasy to clean when it inevitably gets splattered with food from the stove. Lastly, it’s offered in a variety of colors to match any kitchen.
This griddle heated quickly and evenly, consistently searing burgers and speedily cooking dish after dish with ease. Its 1-inch-tall sides kept grease safely contained, and its large cooking surface easily fit eight pancakes at a time. We also liked its upright, sturdy handles, which allowed for effortless maneuvering. Its nonstick coating didn't scratch in our durability tests and always rinsed clean with minimal scrubbing.
BUY FOR $184
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