When it comes to the holy trinity of griddle-made carbs—French toast, pancakes, and waffles—I am Team Waffle all the way!
And for me, the reigning waffle in the land is the yeasted Belgian waffle. Characteristically taller and thicker with deeper pockets than the average waffle, the Belgian version is the ideal vehicle for syrup, whipped cream, or summertime berries.
What's the Difference Between Belgian and Regular Waffles?
- Belgian waffle batter is traditionally leavened with yeast (like this recipe) but there are recipes out there that just use baking powder and soda.
- They are often served one per person.
- The deeper pockets not only hold more syrup and toppings, but offer more surface area as well! More surface area means more crispiness for me to enjoy!
- You need a special waffle iron, one with deeper pockets. For all the extra goodies!
- Most Belgian waffle batter is lighter and yields a crispier product than a more traditional waffle. The batter expands more because of the yeast, so making Belgian waffles in a traditional waffle iron isn’t recommended.
What Kind of Waffle Maker Is Best?
There are all sorts of Belgian waffle irons out there. My favorite one is the Cuisinart Double Belgian Waffle Maker. I love how it allows you to make two waffles at once, and it rotates, ensuring that both sides of the waffles are evenly brown and crispy.
You’ll need one like this, or another waffle maker with deep wells. If you don't have one or you're not sure if yours is a Belgian waffle maker, err on the side of caution if the wells don't look as deep and use less batter to avoid potential spillover.
Leave the Batter Out Overnight?
There are myriad Belgian waffle recipes out there but the classic I adore is a yeasted one you make the night before. Though it sounds scary to leave a dairy-based batter out on the countertop overnight (No refrigeration! What?!), in truth, the room temperature allows the milk to naturally ferment slightly (like yogurt or buttermilk) and the yeast to develop a complex flavor.
Just make sure to use a large container, as the batter more than doubles in size as it rises overnight.
My Secret Ingredient for the Best Waffles
My version of the yeasted overnight waffles has an addition of cornmeal. Though cornmeal is notoriously gritty, you’ll find that the overnight rest is enough time for the cornmeal, which is all starch and no gluten, to hydrate thoroughly.
This yields an extra crispy waffle without any of the grit. In fact, this Belgian waffle has an almost shatteringly crispy surface without being dry, and a mildly sweet flavor from the cornmeal and addition of brown sugar.
- Though you probably won’t need it with this waffle batter, you can check out our tips for making crispy waffles if crispy waffles are your jam!
How Do I Keep These Warm?
The best way to keep Belgian waffles warm is to serve them immediately to folks, right from the waffle iron! But if you are more civilized and want to serve everyone at the same time, you can preheat your oven to 250°F and place a metal wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet.
As you make each waffle, remove it from the iron and place it directly on the rack on the baking sheet to keep it warm. The wire rack will keep the air circulating around the waffle, ensure that it won’t get soggy, and stay crisp.
What Can I Put on My Belgian Waffles?
Beyond the standard maple or pancake syrups, the possibilities are endless. Here are a few ideas.
- A little dusting of powdered sugar makes them pretty and gives them a tinge of sweetness.
- You can also add a pat of butter on top, though I think these Belgian waffles don’t need any more richness.
- Fresh strawberries, blueberries or blackberries, and stone fruits such as plums, peaches, and cherries, are all great. Whipped cream, of course!
- Try a side of jam or marmalade, or go decadent and add some Nutella or chocolate spread.
- The raspberry sauce from this recipe would be out of this world on a Belgian waffle; so would this butterscotch one!
- I’ve even made ice cream sundaes out of Belgian waffles, serving up a scoop of my favorite chocolate, French vanilla or strawberry ice cream on top, along with chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and a cherry!
What If I Didn’t Make the Batter the Night Before?
If you’re craving waffles and you forgot to make the batter the night before you can still make these Belgian waffles and eat them right away!
Make the batter, omitting the cornmeal, and increase the flour to 2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour. Let it sit at room temperature for an hour instead of overnight, and then proceed with the recipe.
The batter will rise a bit, but won’t be as big as if it had risen overnight. The flavor of the waffle won’t be as complex as an overnight rise. But the waffles will still be great!
What If You Made the Batter, but Can’t Make the Waffles?
Sometimes the best laid plans go awry! If you’ve made your batter the night before and you wake up and realize you can’t make the waffles in the morning, don’t throw the batter away.
- Cover the batter container with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge; it will hold for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
- Bring it back to room temperature when you are ready (about an hour on the counter) and then proceed with the recipe like normal. Breakfast for dinner, anyone?
Storing and Reheating Leftover Belgian Waffles
If, by chance, you have any leftover waffles, you can save them in a resealable plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 3 days—any longer and they tend to dry out.
These leftover waffles warm up remarkably well, crisping back up to the original state. Just warm them in a toaster oven or regular oven at 350°F for 3 to 5 minutes or until they are crispy. You can even pop them in a toaster if you have one that has thick enough slots. Just break the waffles in half or quarters if they are too wide in diameter for your toaster.
These waffles also freeze very well! Let them cool completely, the stack a few of them on top of each other and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Place all your waffle packets in a freezer bag, squeeze out as much air as possible, and freeze for up to a month.
No need to thaw before reheating. Just pop them in the toaster or toaster oven until hot.
Other Waffle Recipes to Try!
- Classic Buttermilk Waffles
- Buckwheat Waffles
- Gingerbread Waffles
- Almond Flour Waffles
- Sweet Potato Waffles with Fried Egg, Bacon, and Scallions
Yeasted Belgian Waffles
- For the waffle batter:
- 1 3/4 cups whole milk
- 2 1/4 teaspoon (7g) active yeast (or 1 package, not fast acting or instant)
- 2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (40g) yellow cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- For topping:
- Powdered sugar, optional
- Maple syrup
- Whipped cream
- Fresh fruit
- Jam or preserves of your choice
Make the batter:
Warm the milk up on the stovetop until it is warm to the touch, but not hot. (This should only take about 5 to 10 seconds on a gas or induction stovetop; an electric will take slightly longer.) Remove from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast and stir to dissolve. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes to proof. You should see a few bubbles form at the top.
Add the flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, and salt to the yeasted milk. Stir with a large spatula, and as the dry ingredients become incorporated into the batter, drizzle the melted butter over the entire mixture, stirring constantly. Stir until all the dry ingredients are absorbed and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
Let the batter rest:
Let the batter sit on the counter overnight, up to 8 hours.
The next day, preheat your waffle iron:
Spray your waffle iron lightly with cooking oil.
Also, preheat your oven to 250°F for the finished waffles. Place a wire metal rack on a rimmed baking sheet and put in the oven—or directly onto the oven rack itself.
Make the waffles:
The batter will have more than doubled in size after resting. Whisk in the eggs and baking soda. This will deflate the batter.
Pour 3/4 cup (or the manufacturer’s suggested amount) of batter into the waffle maker, making sure it fills all the crevices. Close and cook the waffle to your preferred toasty level.
Keep the waffles warm until serving:
Once the waffle is done, move the waffle to the warm oven, on the wire racked baking sheet and repeat the process until all the batter is used and waffles made. Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar, maple syrup on the side, or whatever topping you choose!