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Waffles are a classic breakfast food. The outsides are a deep, golden brown and have a crunchy texture, while the insides are fluffy and soft. Serve waffles with a scattering of fresh fruit, warm maple or flavored syrup, butter or a combination of toppings. But whether you make them from scratch or use a packaged mix, you need oil to keep waffles from sticking to the pan.

Oiling the Waffle Iron

Some type of oil is needed on a waffle iron. Even if the iron has nonstick coating, the waffles may stick -- especially if you make several at a time. Use nonstick oil spray and lightly coat the inside of the waffle iron. If you you're without nonstick spray, use regular cooking oil. Pour a small amount on a paper towel and wipe it over the cooking surface before the iron heats up.

Adding to the Recipe

Waffle recipes typically call for only a few ingredients -- milk, flour and vanilla. Add at least 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil or cooking oil to the recipe to help smooth out the consistency of the batter and create the crunchy coating on the outside of the waffle. Without oil, waffles are likely to have a soft outside with one-dimensional color.

Read the Owner's Manual

Read the owner's manual before using cooking spray or any type of oil on your waffle iron. The manufacturer may recommend against oiling the inside and, in some cases, using oil may void the warranty because it may break down the nonstick coating. Using lard or a thicker type of lubricant like Crisco works much the same as the oil, but won't damage the coating. Apply a thin layer with a paper towel.

Oil Types

The type of oil depends on your preference. Vegetable oil, corn oil and canola oil are all suitable choices. Just make sure that you use oil intended for cooking. After making the waffles, turn the iron off and let it cool down. Gently wipe down the inside with a dry paper towel to remove excess oil.