3 Tips for Making Crispy Waffles

Photography Credit: Emma Christensen

If you, like me, have a true passion for Saturday morning waffles, then you understand the importance of crispiness. Golden, crispy waffles, good. Limp, spiritless waffles, bad.

Here are three tips to guarantee crispy buttermilk waffles every time.

I gave the “crisp factor” a lot of thought as I worked on our recipe for Classic Buttermilk Waffles. Even though the waffles looked beautiful and tasted exactly right, I found that they would lose their crispness within minutes of coming off the waffle iron. This would not do.

The problem is moisture. You need some of it to make sure your waffles are tender, but too much and that extra moisture will quickly soften the waffle’s outer crust. Buttermilk is also a tricky ingredient because it tends to make a heavier batter, which results in less crispy waffles.

Buttermilk Waffles

I have three suggestions that will help.

1. Make sure your waffle iron is hot.

A hot waffle iron makes a huge difference when it comes to crispy waffles, even more than brushing the iron with butter (though that is, of course, delicious). A hot iron means that that the waffles start cooking the instant they hit the griddle.

You should actually hear the batter sizzle on contact. The outer crust will immediately begin to set and crisp. Moisture in the batter quickly turns to steam and evaporates out the sides of the pan. If the iron isn’t hot, none of this happens and the waffles will be soggy and squishy.

To make sure your waffle iron is hot, let it warm for at least five minutes before you start making waffles. Some waffle irons may take longer to heat. Check that it’s ready by flicking a drop of water on the griddle; if it sizzles and evaporates right away, you’re good to go.

2. Swap half the buttermilk for milk.

Milk helps make a thinner, more liquidy waffle batter, which in turn makes lighter and crispier waffles. I’ve found that swapping half the buttermilk for regular milk gives you this lighter texture without sacrificing the rich flavor of the buttermilk. (You can also exchange the buttermilk entirely for milk if you want!)

I prefer using whole milk or 2% milk for the flavor, but you could definitely use skim milk or almond milk if that’s what you have.

3. Bake the finished waffles in the oven.

It seems redundant to cook the waffles in a waffle iron and then bake them a second time in the oven, but this is the best method I know for making waffles with a long-lasting crisp.

Even the best waffle irons can fall short when it comes to steaming off all the moisture during the brief window of cooking time. Putting the waffles in the oven helps keep this evaporation process going without the risk of burning your waffles. As a bonus, it keeps the waffles warm until you’re ready to serve!

Before you start cooking your waffles, preheat your oven to 250F. Place a wire cooling rack inside a baking sheet and place it in the oven. The cooling rack helps lift the waffles off the baking sheet and allows air to circulate on all sides.

As you finish cooking each batch in the waffle iron, transfer the waffles to the oven. Arrange them in a single layer so they crisp evenly and no steam is trapped between layers. Once one round of waffles has crisped for a few minutes, you can stack them to make room for the following batches. Let the waffles crisp for 5 to 10 minutes; much longer and they can start to dry out too much.

Buttermilk Waffles

These three tips have made the big difference in my Saturday morning waffle game recently. Even though I’ve been talking specifically about my buttermilk waffles here, these tips really apply to any (and every) batch you make.

Do you have any tried-and-true tips for guaranteeing crispy waffles?


  1. Elizabeth @ Pineapples and Polka Dots

    Yum!! I agree- crispy is a necessity!

  2. Meme

    You can also throw the softening waffles in a toaster and forego the oven…

  3. Irvin

    My go-to tip is to swap out some of the flour for cornstarch of rice flour or cornmeal (but only if I’m doing overnight yeasted waffles, otherwise the cornmeal is too gritty. It needs time to hydrate overnight). The pure starch of cornstarch or rice flour give the waffles a super crispy edge.

    • Sheila B

      I agree with using the cornstarch. If you swap out about 1/4 of the flour called for with cornstarch, then placing the “done” waffles directly on the oven rack to keep warm while you finish the rest, they’ll stay nice and crispy.

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