Best Belgian Waffles
The BEST recipe for Belgian Waffles – light and fluffy inside with a crispy outside! Made with buttermilk, these Belgian waffles are delicious plain or piled high with toppings. Time to be a brunch superstar!
Belgian waffles are the extra-special, fancy, high-maintenance member of the breakfast food family.
Pancakes and eggs are quick and easy, but waffles require you to drag out your giant waffle iron. Then there’s the one-at-a-time aspect, meaning someone (probably you, since you’re the one reading the waffle recipe) has to man the waffle iron and churn them out, while everyone else eats.
And then at the end, you have to figure out how to clean the waffle maker.
And yet in spite of, or perhaps because of, all this extra work, Belgian waffles are arguably the best of the breakfast food options. Light and fluffy inside, with crispy little pockets just waiting for a pool of butter or maple syrup.
Somehow, they are absolutely worth it – so, so worth it.
So let’s talk about how we achieve those light and fluffy waffles with crisp pockets.
Ingredients and Substitutions
To make the very best Belgian waffles, you’ll need the following:
- Flour: This recipe is written for all-purpose flour, but to keep it gluten-free, you can substitute in a 1:1 baking mix.
- Baking Powder/Baking Soda: Because of the acid content from the buttermilk, we need to ad a little baking soda, in addition to the baking powder. These leaveners provide the lift that results in thick, fluffy waffles.
- Salt: Use table salt or Morton’s kosher salt. If using Diamond kosher salt, adjust the volume as necessary.
- Buttermilk: Use the thickest, creamiest buttermilk you can find. Real buttemilk will result in a better flavor and texture than a buttermilk substitute, but in a pinch, you can add a little lemon juice to whole milk, let it sit for 5 minutes, and use this instead of the buttermilk.
- Milk: Whole milk provides a better flavor, but any milk or milk substitute can be used.
- Vanilla Extract: Vanilla extract provides a little extra flavor to our waffles.
- Butter: Start by melting the butter and letting it cool before adding the other liquids.
- Eggs: Separate out the yolks from the whites for the eggs. The yolks will go into the batter, while the whites will be whipped to soft peaks.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar is mixed in with whipped egg whites. These waffles aren’t super sweet, so I don’t recommend reducing the sugar even further.
Light and Fluffy Waffles
For the traditionally fluffy inside of Belgian waffles, we need to get some height in our batter.
Traditionally, Belgian waffles were made with yeast, but proofing the batter can take extra time. Nowadays, we use chemical leaveners (i.e., baking powder and baking soda) to keep the waffles tall and fluffy.
Additionally, we’re going to whip the egg whites separately. Whipping the egg whites is the difference between a truly fluffy waffle with a crispy outside and a… slightly chewy waffle.
(In other words, they’re both good, but one has a better texture. If I’m just making weekday waffles for my kids, I don’t whip the egg whites. If I’m making waffles to impress for weekend brunch or company, I always whip the egg whites.)
You can whip egg whites using a mixer, but my absolute favorite way is using the whisk attachment of an immersion blender! It’s fast, easy, and I generally find my immersion blender easier to clean than my stand mixer.
For the best texture, whip the egg whites with sugar — and add the sugar once the egg whites start to get a little foamy. Why does this make a difference? It’s time for my favorite subject… kitchen chemistry!
Sugar interacts with the proteins from the egg whites, which helps make a stable foam. Sugar absorbs water from the eggs, which allows the whipped egg whites to better hold their shape, while also making the foam more elastic, allowing the protein structure to expand and absorb gasses from the leavening agent, providing even more lift.
You’ll also want to mix by hand. Be careful not to overwork it — overmixing will lead to too much gluten formation, forming a tough, chewy waffle.
The Best Waffle Iron
Next, you need a Belgian waffle iron.
For a moderately priced option, I really like this Cuisinart Belgian waffle iron with multiple heat settings, allowing you to customize the crispiness of the waffle. I also like that you pour in the batter and then rotate the waffle iron upside-down, ensuring the top and bottom cook equally. This waffle iron lasted us a solid 10 years, and we used it a lot in that decade!
If you’re willing to splurge on a waffle iron, we recently upgraded to the All Clad waffle iron. It felt like a ridiculous amount to spend on a waffle iron, but it has been worth every penny. It also has 7 different heat settings and a steam vent to allow excess steam to escape (which means a crispier outside).
How to Keep Belgian Waffles Crispy
If you whip the egg whites, your waffles will be nice and crispy as soon as they come out of the waffle iron. But wait 10 minutes, and they start to soften up again!
How you store the hot waffles makes a huge difference. Stacking hot waffles on top traps steam and makes them soggy!
Instead, let each waffle sit in a single layer on a cooling rack, allowing for steam to escape from both the top and bottom.
To keep the waffles warm while you make more, place the ovens directly on an oven rack in a 200 °F oven – this will help crisp the waffles even further!
Freezing and Reheating Instructions
Whenever I make Belgian waffles, I double (or triple!) the batch and fill the freezer for a fast weekday breakfast.
Cool each waffle on a wire rack, then freeze in a single layer on a cookie sheet until frozen. Transfer to a freezer-safe bag and store for up to 3 months.
To reheat, place the waffle directly on an oven rack and bake at 250 °F for 10 minutes.
Toppings for Belgian Waffles
Now the fun part: the toppings! Melted butter or maple syrup are the classic waffle accouterments. Lemon curd (or blueberry curd!) spread on a waffle is quite delicious, and my husband even likes to spread some peanut butter on his. I’d never say no to a waffle drizzled with some salted caramel sauce, either.
My kids love to put chocolate chips and peanut butter chips in theirs – the heat from the waffle melts the chocolate chips.
If you’re feeling extra splurgy, a scoop of ice cream is delicious. The cold ice cream starts to melt against the warm waffle and all those little pockets collect that melty ice cream and.
But my personal favorite: a dollop of freshly whipped cream and some ripe berries. Nice and classic — like a good Belgian waffle.
Recommended Tools to Make Belgian Waffles
- Waffle Iron: This is my favorite waffle iron! It’s pricey, but it heats up evenly, has 7 adjustable settings so you can cook your waffles just the way you like, and churns out perfect waffles every time.
- Mixing Bowl: My favorite set of mixing bowls – all the sizes you need for whisking together the batter and for melting butter.
- Immersion Blender: An immersion blender is my favorite way to whip egg whites (and make the whipped cream you’ll want to pile high on your waffles!)
- Large Scoop: An ice cream scoop is my favorite way to transfer batter from the bowl into the waffle iron. For my waffle iron, I find this 4-tablespoon scoop to be the perfect size and deposits just the right amount of batter.
Tips and Tricks for the Best Homemade Belgian Waffles:
- Whip the egg whites separately and fold in gently by hand. This guarantees a fluffy inside and a crisp outside!
- Don’t overmix the batter. A few small lumps left in the batter are fine.
- Don’t overfill the waffle iron. Too much batter hinders the release of steam, which means the waffle will not rise and will be dense and soggy. Better to err on the side of underfilling than overfilling.
- To make high protein waffles, replace 2/3 cup of the flour with protein powder and add 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt to the batter.
- Waffles are best consumed immediately after cooking but can be placed on a rack in the oven to keep warm until serving.
- To keep waffles crispy, don’t stack them on top of each other to cool. The warmth will steam the waffles, resulting in a soggier texture. Instead, place each waffle on a cooling rack in a single layer or place them directly on an oven rack in an oven set to 200°F.
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- 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (170 grams) buttermilk, room temperature
- 3/4 cup (170 grams) milk, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup (75 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- Start by preheating the waffle iron.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, milk, vanilla extract, melted butter, and egg yolks, stirring until smooth. Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature to prevent the milk or eggs from chilling and solidifying the melted butter.
- Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture, whisking to combine. Do not over-mix; the batter will be lumpy but no streaks of flour should remain.
- Add the egg whites to a bowl and whip, using an immersion blender or a mixer with a whisk attachment. Once the egg whites are foamy, slowly pour the sugar down the edge of the bowl, continuing to whip until medium-stiff peaks form.
- Gently fold the egg whites into the batter until no large streaks of egg whites remain.
- Scoop 1/2 to 3/4 cup batter into the waffle iron, or until achieving the amount necessary to fill individual waffle irons, spreading if necessary. Cook to desired level of doneness as indicated by the waffle iron.
- Serve immediately with your favorite toppings, such as whipped cream, fresh berries, maple syrup, jam, or a dusting of powdered sugar.
- Don't overfill the waffle iron - this prevents the waffles from rising properly and results in dense and soggy waffles.
- Waffles are best served immediately after removing them from the waffle iron. For the best texture, do not stack waffles on top of each other; place them in a single layer on a cooling rack.
- To keep waffles warm, place them in the oven in a single layer at 200 °F.
- Waffles can be frozen for up to 3 months. To reheat, place directly on the rack of a 250 °F oven for 10 minutes.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 240Total Fat: 9.6gCarbohydrates: 31.6gProtein: 6.2g
This Best Homemade Belgian Waffle recipe was originally published in June 2016 and was republished with an updated recipe and additional tips in March 2023.