Light and crispy waffles make the perfect weekend breakfast treat.
I thought about saying these homemade crispy waffles are my favorite breakfast carb but, I’ve already made that statement about french toast. In fact, if I am being completely honest pancakes, doughnuts, coffee cake, crepes, etc. are all pretty great too. So I guess the truth is I love all breakfast carbs.
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But today I want to talk about waffles. Not just any waffles but thin crispy delicious waffles. Waffles that are so crispy and delicious they can stand up to any topping you can imagine.
What makes these waffles so crispy?
There are several ingredients and techniques that help create crispy waffles.
Cornstarch: The secret unexpected ingredient in these waffles is cornstarch. Cornstarch helps to keep the waffles crisp on the outside and tender on the inside by preventing gluten formation.
Using both baking powder and baking soda help the waffles to rise and brown. For the lightest best tasting waffles, I recommend using both. If we were to use just baking soda alone it would neutralize all of the acids in the buttermilk and we would lose the buttermilk’s tangy flavor. By adding baking powder which adds acidity, some of the buttermilk’s flavor is left behind.
Using a combination of buttermilk and milk creates a thinner batter which helps create a crispier waffle. Buttermilk adds a delicious tang to these waffles but it also thickens the batter. By substituting whole milk for half of the buttermilk you will have all of the delicious flavors of buttermilk while still having a crispy waffle.
This recipe calls for an entire stick of butter. The high-fat content of this recipe helps to create a crispy waffle by frying the batter as it cooks.
How to whip egg whites into soft peaks
Whipping the egg whites separately creates waffles that are light and airy. When whipping egg whites start with room temperature eggs and begin whipping at low speed slowly increasing to high speed.
The friction from the whipping will gently warm the egg whites, allowing their proteins to become more elastic so that they take on more air easily and gain more volume. Adding sugar to your egg whites allows the sugar to interact with the egg white proteins and help stabilize the whipped egg white foam.
Add the sugar in a slow stream at the side of the bowl while whipping the egg whites to avoid deflating the egg whites. Whip the egg whites on high until they reach the soft peak stage. Soft peak stage is reached when the peaks of the egg whites curl slightly when the beaters are lifted.
If you have ever wondered what the difference between soft, firm, and stiff peaks is watch this video from Everyday Food.
Once the egg whites have been whipped to soft peaks gently fold them into the batter. This will create a light airy batter.
How to fold-in egg whites
- First, we want to lighten the batter. Using a rubber spatula, gently mix 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter. This helps to lighten the batter making it easier to work in the remaining egg whites without deflating them.
- Add half of the remaining egg whites to the batter.
- With the blade of your spatula, slice straight down through the middle of the egg whites until you hit the bottom of the bowl.
- Scrape your spatula along the curve of the bowl, gently scooping up the batter and the egg whites. Fold them over on top of the remaining egg whites.
- Give the bowl a quarter-turn and repeat the process. Slice straight down through the middle of the egg whites until you hit the bottom of the bowl. Scrape your spatula along the curve of the bowl, gently scooping up the batter and the egg whites. Fold them over on top of the remaining egg whites.
- Repeat this folding motion until the egg whites have been completely incorporated into the batter. The mixture may still be a bit lumpy and that’s ok. If you continue folding until the batter is 100% smooth the egg whites will start to deflate.
- Add the remaining egg whites and repeat the folding process.
And because sometimes it is easier to learn a new skill by watching someone else first here is a video showing you how to fold egg whites into batter.
1. Waffles with Peanut Butter, Bananas, and Chocolate Chips
2. Waffles with Bananas and Berries
3. Waffles with Pineapple Preserves, Bananas, Coconut, and Almonds
4. Waffles with Yogurt, Berries, and Granola
When I want really crispy waffles I don’t add anything extra to the batter for fear of introducing extra moisture and creating soggy waffles. But that doesn’t mean I am ok with eating boring plain waffles.
There is an endless variety of toppings you can use to customize your waffles. Here are a few of my favorites.
- Cream Cheese
- Ricotta Cheese
- Fresh or Cooked Fruit
- Chocolate Sauce
- Fruit Sauce
- Whipped Cream
- Peanut Butter
- Toasted Nuts
- Breakfast Cereal
- Powdered Sugar
Are there toppings you enjoy that I am missing out on? Please let me know in the comments below.
- Warm the buttermilk before combining it with the melted butter. If you don’t the butter will coagulate and you will be left with small bits of butter that won’t mix with the rest of the ingredients.
- Waffle batter is similar to biscuit and pie dough. The less you handle it the more tender the end result will be. Do not beat your waffle batter. Stir until all of the ingredients are just combined. A few lumps are fine.
- Figure out how much batter your waffle iron will hold so that your waffles are not always overflowing. I own a standard American style waffle iron that holds a 1/2 cup of batter. A larger Belgian style waffle iron will require more batter.
- Use wooden or rubber utensils, not metal, to remove the waffles. This will help prevent scratches and preserve the nonstick surface of the waffle iron. I like these nylon tipped spring-loaded tongs.
Can you freeze waffle batter?
I wouldn’t recommend it. The freezing and thawing process would deflate the whipped egg whites. It would be better to cook the extra batter and freeze the finished waffles.
How long to cook waffles in a waffle maker
My waffle maker has an indicator light that turns green when the waffles are supposedly done. But I don’t think it is very accurate. The best way to tell when your waffles are ready is to wait until steam has almost completely stopped rising out of the waffle maker before lifting the lid.
How to keep waffles crispy and warm
My biggest issue with waffles is that unless you have multiple waffle irons, you can only cook one waffle at a time. When making waffles for multiple people this just doesn’t work. Here’s how to keep waffles warm so that everyone can eat together.
Set your oven to the lowest temperature possible. Place your cooked waffles directly on the oven rack to keep them warm and crispy while you cook the rest of the waffles.
- Allow the waffles to cool completely.
- Place the waffles in a single layer on a wax paper or parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Place the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze for at least a couple of hours.
- Once the waffles are completely frozen, transfer them to an air-tight container or a zip-top bag. Label with the contents and date.
- Waffles can be frozen for up to six months.
- Remove the waffles from the freezer and allow them to defrost in a single layer on the counter for about 10 minutes.
- Oven: Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Place the waffles directly on the oven rack for about 5 minutes.
- Toaster: If the waffles fit in your toaster, toast them on medium to low heat.
If you have a sourdough starter, you will also want to try these sourdough waffles.
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If you like these waffles you might also want to check out my post on how to make delicious french toast.