The jaffle is a type of sandwich that is enclosed with toasted bread. Texturewise, they are known for their crisp exterior and soft heated interior. Flavorwise, they are usually savory but can be sweet as well.
Because the contents of the sandwich are pressed and sealed (unlike a panini, which is only pressed), it’s naturally a great food to eat on the go. You may have seen it or even eaten it at some point in your life not knowing that it had an actual name or a cultural history for that matter.
Although it has been around since the late 1940s, the jaffle has primarily been an Australian food. Back in 2014, a now-defunct Melbourne pop-up literally released its pressed sandwiches by dropping “jafflechutes” from balconies down to hungry pedestrians in Brooklyn, NY. Although it was a fun, creative way to get the word out about these sealed toasted sandwiches to a new market, the hype was short-lived.
In the 2020s, jaffles in the U.S. are primarily homemade sandwiches either referred to as a “pressed sandwich” or simply (and generically) a “grilled cheese.”
Australian vs. South African jaffle
The jaffle was invented in 1949 by an Australian doctor, Ernest Smithers. He created the jaffle iron, which is made up of two concave iron parts connected by a hinge. Current campfire versions look the most similar to the original:
Australian variations can include pretty much anything from savory. This can include
- deli meats
- pork ‘n beans
- mac ‘n cheese
It can also include sweet ingredients like:
- apple pie filling
- hazelnut spread
- fruit compote
In South Africa, this pressed sandwich is shaped like a circular disc rather than a square. It also usually has a hearty savory filling like minced beef or chicken.
Jaffle vs. Toastie
If you’ve ever heard of a “toastie,” you are likely British, Australian or well-traveled. It is the British term for a toasted sandwich. Unlike jaffles, the edges of toasties are not sealed and the contents of the sandwich can be seen around the edges.
Best Jaffle Grills
Electric Sandwich Maker Toaster with Nonstick Plates
Gotham Steel Sandwich Maker
Handheld Sandwich Grill
How to make it
Jaffles are very easy to make as long as you have a proper iron or sandwich maker. Just follow this quick and simple customizable recipe:
- 2 slices sandwich bread (wheat, white, sourdough, etc.)
- 2 slices cheese
- 1 teaspoon mayonnaise
- Heat up your jaffle iron/sandwich maker
- Spread mayo on one side of each slice of bread
- Place cheese between slices of bread (dry side facing in)
- Place sandwich in jaffle iron/sandwich maker (mayo side facing out)
- Heat 1-2 minutes or until golden brown
- Remove jaffle from heat and enjoy!
Feel free to customize ingredients to different types of cheese and add various sandwich meats.
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Kristina Reynolds is the Founder & CEO of Glutto and an alumna of the University of California, San Diego. She writes articles & posts for Glutto Digest with insights from fellow industry experts. Furthermore, she is the author of The Fittest Food Lovers: How EVERY BODY Can be Incredibly Fit and Still Enjoy Food, a collaborative philanthropic book with proceeds going to charities that fight world hunger.