Waffle Iron Smelling Bad? 5 Known Causes, With Solutions

Waffle Iron Smelling

If you’re anything like me, you love waffles. It’s not only their delicious taste but also the wonderful aroma they release into the air as they cook that makes them truly remarkable. But what happens when the smell is not pleasant but quite the opposite?

Well, that’s the age-old question.

If your waffle iron is smelling bad, it could be happening for various reasons. From curating materials to burning components, it’s anyone’s guess.

In cases of a bad waffle smell, a detailed list of the most common causes and possible solutions is essential for proper troubleshooting. Below, I’ve prepared a list of the 5 most common causes behind the issue.

Are you ready? Let’s get you back to waffle heaven!

Your Waffle Iron Might Be Smelling Bad Due To…

  • Normal first-time use.
  • Food remains.
  • Too much oil.
  • Overheating.
  • Internal burning.

When troubleshooting a new waffle maker smell, I strongly believe in going from the simplest answer to the most complicated scenario, so let’s dive right in.

#1 First-Time Use

The unpleasant new waffle maker smell could be coming from factory chemicals.

From what I’ve seen, most modern waffle irons are coated with food-grade oil when they’re made at the factory to protect the internal cooking surfaces from damage during transportation.

The oil film stays on your appliance until you first plug it in and use it. Then the temperature rises and starts interacting with the oil, at which point, an unpleasant smell takes over your kitchen. This is completely normal.

In fact, you can even eat the first batch of waffles you prepare on your appliance, but they would probably taste awful. The process is similar to curating a brand-new pan or wok.

Solution: Most waffle iron manufacturers recommend cooking a batch of waffles and letting the process run normally.

Once you’ve thrown the first batch of waffles away, unplug the waffle iron and let it cool down completely. After reaching ambient temperature, you can wipe off any remaining oil film from the cooking surface, and you’re good to go! 

The smell should be gone completely, and no taste should linger on future batches.

#2 Food Remains

Failing to clean your waffle iron could also explain the unpleasant new waffle maker smell.

If you’re constantly running in the morning or simply forgetful, there might be times when you neglect cleaning your waffle iron between batches. This is a big no-no.

Failing to clean your waffle iron frequently will make it harder to scrape off any burnt crumbles or remains from the cooking surface and contaminate your kitchen with unwanted charred smells.

If your waffle iron is smelling bad every time you use it, there’s a very good chance that poor maintenance is to blame.

Solution: Making time to keep your waffle iron clean is very important. I find that setting an alarm on my phone to remember to clean the appliance always helps.

A dirty waffle iron
A waffle iron should be cleaned after every use to remove food particles that can allow bacteria to grow, which causes odor.

#3 You’re Using Too Much Oil

Using too much oil could also explain why there’s an unpleasant smell coming from your new waffle maker.

Unlike Teflon pans and pots, waffle irons need a little oil to prevent sticking.

It doesn’t matter what brand you use, as long as it’s food-grade, but using too much oil can contribute to an unpleasant smell from your waffle iron and even create a safety hazard.

When oil burns beyond its recommended temperature, it releases harmful chemicals into the air that can put your health at risk and wreak havoc all over your kitchen. My usual advice is to keep the oil from reaching extremely high temperatures.

Solution: Use your oil wisely. Before turning on your waffle iron, put only a few drops on the cooking surface and spread it evenly with a napkin. Alternatively, you can use one of those spray cooking oils for better distribution.

#4 Overheating

Overheating in a waffle iron is a thing, and it could explain the bad waffle smell.

Leaving your appliance on and unattended for extended periods can contribute to the accumulation of excessive temperature. And while waffle irons have components designed to prevent overheating (like a thermal fuse), they can only do so much.

If your waffle iron is smelling bad, and you’ve already ruled out all previous possibilities, the smell might come from the appliance’s plastic. Yes, your waffle iron can get hot enough to start melting the casing.

Solution: Be more mindful of how you operate your waffle iron. Even if there’s no burning plastic smell coming from it, letting your waffle iron overheat frequently will significantly reduce its life span.

waffle iron burnt
If the waffle iron overheats frequently, it could start melting some of the internal components, and plastic might begin to break.

#5 Internal burning

If you’ve already checked that none of the other possible causes listed above are responsible for your waffle iron smelling bad, there’s a very high chance that there’s something burning inside your appliance.

In my experience, it’s very easy to tell when the unpleasant smell comes from a burnt electronic, as the smell is very specific.

Letting your waffle iron frequently overheat can lead to other, more severe issues. If you acknowledge overheating or a burnt component to be the case, the smell could be coming from a blown fuse or heating element.

Solution: Depending on how confident you are around waffle iron components, you can either try the repair yourself or call a technician.

If you choose the former, the steps to follow are:

  1. Unplug your waffle iron and let it cool down.
  2. Look for the screws holding the external lid in place to expose the appliance’s guts and remove them.
  3. Find the source of the burning smell (likely the thermal fuse or heating element).
  4. If you have a multimeter, test the components for conductivity.
  5. Replace the components if necessary.

Identifying the burning smell’s source is important to solve your waffle iron’s smell issue and prevent the appliance from overheating or even catching on fire.

Addressing a Waffle Iron Smelling Bad

A smelly waffle iron can kill anyone’s appetite. Addressing the issue is essential to rid your kitchen of unwanted smells and protect yourself and yours from inhaling harmful chemicals and potential fire hazards.

Luckily, more often than not, the solution is very simple, and a few changes in how you use your waffle iron are enough to go back to normal.

Even small things like proper frequent cleaning and adequate oil distribution can do the trick.

Thank you very much for reading. I hope you learned something new and valuable today. If so, please check out our other resources and free guides below and consider subscribing to our newsletter.

 Bon Appétit!


I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more