Use A Mini Waffle Maker For Perfect Breakfast Sandwich Bacon

If you have a mini waffle maker that you only use to make mini waffles, or if it's one of those kitchen gadgets that just lurks in the back of a cupboard gathering dust, then you're missing out. The appliance can be used for so many more dishes, both sweet and savory. A waffle iron is the ultimate tool for stress-free omelets, for example; it's also Ina Garten's favorite kitchen tool for the crispiest hash browns. And a mini waffle maker can also be used to make another classic breakfast dish: crispy bacon.

Cooking bacon in a waffle iron isn't a new hack; even Alton Brown recommended the method several years ago. It has the bonus of being able to prepare the meat to your desired level of crispiness, depending on how long you set the timer. It doesn't involve the hands-on time or spluttering mess of standing over a hot stove. And it also means you can save the rendered bacon grease to make another dish — or leave it in the machine ready to cook accompanying waffles or eggs with a deliciously rich savory flavor.

But a mini waffle maker has another advantage over its regular-sized larger sibling. Because of its compact size, it means you can cook exactly the right amount of bacon for a breakfast sandwich in just a few minutes. And not only that — it's the perfect shape to fit in a breakfast roll or bagel, too.

A mini waffle iron makes crispy bacon the perfect size for sandwiches

To make crispy bacon in a mini waffle maker, you'll need to start by preheating it at medium or medium-high and coating it with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Then there are two options for fitting the strips in. You can either fold them so they mold into a neat little shape within the appliance. Alternatively, you can cut the strips in half, so they fit better.

Depending on your particular mini waffle iron and the thickness of the bacon, it should take around five minutes to cook until crispy. But keep an eye on it, and adjust the timing accordingly, giving it an extra minute or two if you need to. If you're worried about uneven cooking, you could even move the meat around halfway through the time, so that any areas that are not fully seared can make contact with the hot metal.

Once the bacon is cooked to your liking, and you've removed it with tongs, a top tip is to let it cool a little before assembling the sandwich. This helps it become even more crispy. Just rest it on a plate, lined with a paper towel if you want to drain any lingering grease, and then you're ready to use it in all sorts of sandwich options.

More ideas to take bacon sandwiches to the next level

While simple crispy bacon always makes a great partner for bread any time of day, whether it's a breakfast BEC bagel or the best BLT sandwich for lunch, there are several ways to elevate it further. Brush the strips with a mixture of Sriracha, lime juice, and black pepper before cooking them in a mini waffle iron (or your preferred way) for a spicy, zingy taste that works perfectly with the salty, fatty bacon. Or try a classic maple glaze for a touch of sweetness.

Experiment with different breads and fillings to heighten the flavors and textures even more. Try layering the crispy bacon with creamy Brie and sweet-sharp red onion relish in a baguette chunk, and toasting it lightly until the cheese is deliciously oozy. Serve the crispy strips in a buttery croissant for an extra-rich brunch treat. Or slip the bacon pieces into soft mini naan rolls spread with cream cheese and spicy tomato sauce for a delightfully different breakfast sandwich; fresh cilantro will make it even more aromatic. 

Sauces and spreads can enhance all kinds of bacon sandwiches. And one of the tastiest ways to use up the fat left in the mini waffle maker is to double the bacon in your BLT with leftover grease aioli. Or try a spicy avocado spread spiked with hot sauce or dried chili, which works well with crunchy bacon and some fresh juicy sliced tomatoes.