When it comes to the true genesis of my love for homemade Belgian waffles, I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the brilliant British food writer Felicity Cloake and her recipe for "Perfect Belgian Waffles" from The Guardian. To be entirely honest, I didn't even know if I liked Belgian waffles enough to go to the effort of making them at home until I found her recipe. It is by far my favorite rendition, so I hope that she won't mind my repeating it rather faithfully here. These waffles do require a bit of rising time, since they feature a traditional yeasted batter, rather than the baking powder shortcut that seems to be so prevalent in recipes for Belgian waffles nowadays. But the wait is absolutely worth it, as the difference in flavor is truly unmistakeable. These waffles are gloriously malty with a slight tang that contrasts perfectly with pure maple syrup. Fluffy, yet substantial, they also boast a crisp golden exterior...both substance and beauty, all in one scrumptious package.
When it comes to classic breakfast comfort food, these homemade Belgian waffles rate right up there with buttermilk pancakes.
Ingredients for Homemade Belgian Waffles
- unsalted butter
- whole milk
- active dry yeast
- light brown sugar
- all purpose flour
- kosher salt
- pure maple syrup (for serving)
See recipe card for quantities.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Then transfer it to a small bowl and set aside to cool briefly.
Add the milk to the same saucepan (no need to clean out the trace of melted butter).
Warm the milk until it is between 100℉ and 110℉.
Remove from the heat and add the yeast.
Sprinkle over a generous pinch of brown sugar and stir everything together.
Then set the mixture aside for about 10 minutes, or until the surface is foamy and covered with tiny bubbles.
In the meantime, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cornmeal, and salt in a large bowl.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, and egg.
Then add the milk and yeast mixture to the wet ingredients, whisking briefly to combine.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Mix gently with a spoon or silicone spatula until the batter is thoroughly combined.
Cover the bowl loosely and allow the batter to rise at room temperature for a minimum of one hour or overnight.
Cook according to the instructions for your Belgian waffle iron.
Serve immediately...slathered with lots of butter and maple syrup.
Hint: I end up getting just 3 waffles out of this recipe, although they are admittedly quite generous ones. That said, if you are serving more than 3 adults, I recommend doubling the recipe. And be sure to use a bowl that is large enough to accommodate all that batter as it rises!
I vastly prefer an old fashioned stovetop waffle iron to an electric one when it comes to cooking homemade Belgian waffles. I swear by the popular "Original Stovetop Belgian Waffler" from Nordic Ware. Once you determine the best timing and heat setting for the iron on your particular stove, the waffles turn out beautifully. And it is a total breeze to clean. It is also easily portable, which is wonderful for those occasions when I want to use it at the family wilderness cabin on a propane stove. Last, but not least, it boasts an incredibly slim profile that takes up very little space in my kitchen.
For the best results with my stovetop waffle iron, I follow these simple steps: 1) place the waffle iron over medium heat; 2) preheat for a couple minutes on each side; 2) place about 1 cup of waffle batter in the iron; 3) cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom; 4) flip the iron over and cook for 4 to 5 minutes on the other side; and 5) remove the top half of the waffle iron, and then turn out the waffle onto a plate.
With a little advance planning, this is one of those special recipes that will leave you breathing easy at the breakfast hour...and also looking like you have the mysterious power to conjure up a picture-book waffle almost out of thin air. The secret is simply having the forethought to mix up the batter the night before, and then poof! You have beautiful homemade Belgian waffles practically within the time it takes to heat up your waffle iron and get out the maple syrup.
Looking for more classic breakfast ideas? Try these:
Homemade Belgian Waffles
- Belgian waffle maker (stovetop or electric)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (plus more for serving)
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar (plus a generous pinch for proofing the yeast)
- 1 tablespoon cornmeal
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- pure maple syrup for serving
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Then transfer it to a small bowl and set aside to cool briefly.
- Using the same saucepan (no need to clean out the trace of melted butter), warm the milk until it is between 100℉ and 110℉. Remove from the heat. Stir in the yeast and a generous pinch of brown sugar. Then set the mixture aside for about 10 minutes, or until the surface is foamy and covered with tiny bubbles.
- In the meantime, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cornmeal, and salt in a large bowl.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, and egg. Add the milk and yeast mixture, whisking briefly to combine.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing gently with a spoon or silicone spatula until the batter is thoroughly combined.
- Cover the bowl loosely and allow the batter to rise at room temperature for a minimum of one hour or overnight.
- Cook according to the instructions for your Belgian waffle iron and serve immediately with lots of butter and maple syrup.