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When it comes to special occasion breakfasts I can never decide which route I want to take.
Do I go sweet or savory?
The problem with sweet breakfasts in most restaurants and diners is that it’s always so mediocre and barely worth the indulgence.
I like my French toast, pancakes, and waffles to all have CRISPY edges and soft fluffy insides. Most places don’t get it right and no amount of syrup can save that.
If you know anything about me, it’s that texture is as important as flavor.
So recently I made it my mission to perfect my homemade waffle recipe. I read through about 5 cookbooks and 15 articles all about waffles. Some of the articles dated back 20 years.
Then I got to testing out different ingredients, techniques, tips, and tricks in the kitchen until I landed on what I think are truly the BEST waffles. Without taking too much active time or making a humongous mess.
This classic waffles recipe is so easy to make and your whole family will love them. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and orange juice and enjoy the best waffles.
Ingredients for The Best Waffles Recipe:
- All-Purpose Flour: The base ingredient for this recipe.
- Granulated Sugar: Sweetens and also helps achieve that golden crisp crust.
- Cornstarch: Helps thicken the waffle batter for those perfectly crisp edges.
- Salt: Balances out the sweetness.
- Leavening: This recipe calls for both baking powder and baking soda.
- Buttermilk: Don’t leave out or substitute this ingredient!
- Eggs: 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites create a rich, tender waffle without being too cakey. More on this in the pink box below.
- Vanilla Extract: Helps flavor our waffle batter.
- Butter: Be sure to use unsalted, melted butter. To properly melt butter: Place the butter in a small saucepan set over medium low heat, swirling occasionally, until melted. You can also place the butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring between bursts, until melted.
My hope is that this waffle recipe becomes a staple in your kitchen too!
How to Make Homemade Waffles
Is Waffle Mix the Same As Pancake Mix?
Although similar, pancake and waffle batters should be slightly different. Waffle batter needs to be thicker and with more fat to get crispy edges and fluffy interiors. That’s why you should always make waffles from a waffle recipe and pancakes from a pancake recipe!
How to Make Crispy Waffles
Thick batter = crispy waffles
A thick batter is what allows the waffles to cook enough on the outside that they get golden brown and crispy, but not overdone in the center. For crispy edged waffles with fluffy soft insides, thick batter is key! That’s in part why there’s both cornstarch and buttermilk in this recipe. They are both thickening ingredients.
Waffles should be deeply golden brown when they’re done cooking. Anything less is likely to create limp and soggy waffles. The baking soda, butter, and sugar in this recipe all aid in developing a beautiful golden crisp crust as well.
Don’t let your waffles sit for too long!
The longer the cooked waffles sit at room temperature on a flat surface, the more the condensation from the steam of the heat will soak the waffles. This is how they get soggy. Place the waffles on a rimmed baking sheet in a 250°F oven until ready to serve. If you have one, place a wire rack on the baking sheet to further ensure the waffles stay crisp.
Do you have to use buttermilk in this waffle recipe?
Buttermilk truly does work best in the recipe. You can learn more about the science of buttermilk here. Its thick and viscous texture helps make a thick batter, creating crispy waffles.
The acidity in buttermilk also activates the baking soda in this recipe so the waffles rise and become light and fluffy inside yet crispy and golden brown on the outside. Baking soda aids in browning by elevating the pH level in baked goods.
Lastly, buttermilk also contributes a beautiful tanginess to make a batch of flavorful waffles. For best results, I highly recommend using real buttermilk (no DIY subs).
How to Make Waffles with Fluffy Interior
Whatever you do, don’t over mix the batter!
Once the wet ingredients and dry ingredients meet, gently mix with a rubber spatula until just barely combined. There should be streaks of flour left. Fold in the melted butter afterwards. If you continue mixing too much, you’ll activate more strands of gluten to create tough, dense, or gummy waffles.
No whipped egg whites!
One of the most annoying things in many waffle recipes is the separation of eggs and beating of the egg whites with a mixer. It’s an extra time consuming and dish dirtying step that no one wants to deal with in the morning. Plus it’s been argued that the air whipped into egg whites in waffles just gets pressed out the moment you clamp the two steaming hot sides of the preheated waffle iron together.
Simply by adding in 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites, we’re able to get the best of both worlds. A little bit of richness and tenderness from the whole egg without the mixture turning too eggy. While the moisture and protein in the egg whites helps create structure without going cakey. The result? Waffles with crisp edges but soft, fluffy, custardy interiors.
Why rest waffle batter?
Recently I experimented with allowing my muffin batter to rest overnight before baking. The results were amazing.
I thought I’d try the same thing with this waffle recipe. The thinking is that resting a batter allows the strands of gluten to relax, resulting in a more soft and tender texture. It also allows the starch in the flour to absorb more of the moisture in the mix, thickening the dough or batter. As I mentioned above, thick batter is essential for crispy waffles with soft interiors.
However, unlike most muffin batter, waffles contain both baking soda and baking powder. The former is activated the moment it encounters acidity (buttermilk) in the mixture. Whereas baking powder activates upon encountering moisture then again upon encountering heat. That’s why it’s labeled ‘double acting.’
So I didn’t want to allow the waffle batter to rest overnight and deactivate the baking soda. I found 15 to 30 minutes to be enough time to improve the texture of the waffles!
Traditional vs. Belgian Waffle Cooking Times:
I included batter amounts and cooking times for both traditional square waffles (the thinner ones) and thick Belgian waffles. Please note with any waffle recipe, batter amounts and cooking times are just guidelines. The perfect amount + time will depend on your waffle makers.
Waffle Topping Ideas:
- Whipped cream
- Fresh fruit: strawberries, blueberries, bananas
- Chocolate chips
- Any kind of jams or jellies
- Powdered sugar
- Whipped Cinnamon Pumpkin Butter
- Maple syrup or honey
How to Store Waffles:
Store baked waffles in the freezer. Allow them to cool completely before placing in an airtight container or freezer bags for up to 4 months. You can also store baked waffles in the fridge for a couple days, but I usually prefer freezing to maintain freshness.
How to Reheat Waffles:
Reheat waffles in the toaster oven for a few minutes, until heated through and re-crisped.
More Amazing Breakfast Recipes You NEED!
- Ultra Gooey Cinnamon Rolls (everyone loves these!!)
- The BEST Pancake Recipe (promise!)
- How to Make French Toast (tons of tips!)
- Belgian Liege Waffles (the yeast-raised ones with pearls of sugar)
- How to Make Buttermilk Biscuits (ready in 35 minutes)
- Home Fries (best breakfast potatoes ever!)
- 2 cups (254 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons (20 grams) cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 2 large egg whites
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more butter for serving
- Maple syrup, for serving
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cornstarch, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add the buttermilk, egg, egg whites, and vanilla and stir with a rubber spatula until barely combined. Pour in the melted butter and stir until just combined.
- Cover the batter and let rest for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 250°F. Heat the waffle iron to medium, following the manufacturer's directions.
- For 8-inch square waffles, ladle about 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup batter into each cavity. Be careful not to overfill or you’ll end up with cakey waffles. Close lid of the waffle maker and cook until deeply golden brown on both sides, about 6 minutes or as long as manufacturer specifies.
- For 7-inch Belgian waffles, scoop 1/2 to 3/4 cup batter into each cavity, close the iron and flip. Cook until the waffles are deeply golden brown and crisp on both sides, about 7 minutes.
- Place finished waffles on a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet in the warm oven until ready to serve.
- Don’t lift the lid while cooking. If there’s still noticeable steam coming out of the iron, the waffle isn’t done cooking yet.
Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.