25 Waffle Facts and Frequently Asked Questions


Author: Tosh Lubek Published: 8th April 2022

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If you want to know a lot more about waffles but don’t have the time to read through loads of articles, you’re in the right place. I’ve collected together 25 of the most often asked waffle-related questions.

What is a waffle?

A waffle is a quick bread that is made from dough or batter that contains a leavening agent, such as baking soda. The dough or batter is cooked between heated metal plates embossed with a square grid-like pattern of pockets. These pockets help to hold toppings, such as melted butter, syrups, and sauces.

Stack of 6 caramel stroopwafels
A stack of 6 Dutch Stroopwafels with a cinnamon caramel filling

There is no one universal waffle shape or taste since a variety of waffle irons and recipes are used globally. Some waffles are more like firm cookies, like the Dutch Stroopwafel that is thin and filled with cinnamon caramel. Whereas American and Belgian waffles have a much fluffier texture with a crispy exterior.

How long have waffles existed?

Detail of Dutch waffles in the 1559 painting Combat_de_Carnaval_et_Careme
One of the earliest images of waffles from a 1559 Dutch painting

The waffle’s origins date back to ancient Greek times, but the first known recipe is from 1393. The familiar waffle shape was common by the 16th century, since Dutch artist, Pieter Bruegel, included them in a 1559 painting. The word first appeared in English in 1725, in Robert Smith’s Court Cookery.

How many waffles are eaten in America each year?

Pile of many waffles
Americans eat about 885 million frozen waffles each year

More than $221M worth of frozen waffles were sold in the United States in 2021. If each waffle costs 25 cents, that’s 885 million waffles. Since only 37.5% of Americans eat waffles, those who do, eat an average of 7 waffles every year. However, that does not include homemade or restaurant waffles.

Should you let waffle batter sit?

A bowl of waffle batter
A bowl of waffle batter with bubbles of carbon dioxide from the baking soda breaking the surface

tarts as soon as it is moistened. But if a double-action baking soda is used, a second reaction occurs when it is heated during cooking, so some rising can still happen if the batter is allowed to sit.

How long do you cook waffles in a waffle maker?

Waffle cooking time is 4-6 min

Cooking time depends on the waffle maker, temperature setting, and style of waffle (thin or thick). A waffle maker takes about 4-6 minutes to cook a waffle. Thicker Belgian waffles can take 5-8 minutes. Watch for the steam escaping from the sides of the waffle maker, when it subsides your waffle should be ready.

Can you make a waffle without a waffle maker?

Making waffles without a waffle maker in a silicone mold
Make waffles without a waffle maker by using silicone bakeware

You can make waffles without a waffle maker or waffle iron, but it will lack the waffle’s characteristic grid pattern of pockets. For the best results, use a silicone waffle mold and bake in the oven. Alternatively, use a cast iron griddle which will at least create a ridged pattern in the waffles.

Can you use pancake mix for waffles?

Waffles can be made using pancake mix since the ingredients in pancakes and waffles are almost the same. However, to make waffles from pancake mix you will need to add about a 1/3 cup of vegetable oil or melted butter to the packet recipe instructions, and possibly an egg.

How do you grease a waffle iron without spray?

Greasing waffle maker with oil and silicone brush

Some non-stick sprays can cause the formation of a tacky layer on the waffle iron which reduces the effectiveness of the non-stick surface. Instead, pour about a teaspoon of vegetable oil on the bottom plate and spread this across the top and bottom with a silicone pastry brush.

What can I use instead of non-stick spray in a waffle maker?

Bottles of sunflower oil
Vegetable oil is a good option to grease a waffle maker

Instead of non-stick spray, you can grease the cooking plates of your waffle iron using vegetable oil, coconut oil, melted butter, or even Crisco. Apply about a teaspoon of the oil and then use a silicone brush to spread the oil across the grids.

Why does my waffle iron stick?

Long-term use of some non-stick sprays can cause waffle irons to stick. The waffle iron may also stick because there is not enough oil in the batter, or because the iron has been opened too soon.

Can you use olive oil on a waffle iron?

Vegetable oil in a ramakin bowl
A neutral oil like Canola is good for greasing a waffle maker

Although you can use olive oil to grease a waffle iron, there are better choices, that not only have a more neutral flavor but also have a higher smoke point. A good alternative for greasing waffle irons would be Canola oil (oilseed rape oil) which is a neutral oil with a high smoke point.

Is butter or oil better for waffles?

Cubes of butter
Both butter and oil can be used in waffle batter

Butter and oil both work well in waffle recipes. Butter adds flavor but needs to be melted first and has a lower smoke point than many vegetable oils. So, butter may not cope as well as oil in higher temperature waffle makers, causing a little extra browning. Use ghee instead, which is clarified butter.

Are frozen waffles precooked?

Eggo frozen waffles
Frozen waffles are precooked and ready to reheat

Frozen waffles are precooked, if they were not, they would be liquid batter when defrosted. Although they are precooked, do not defrost them before reheating. If you want a crispy waffle instead of a soggy waffle, reheat from frozen, whether that is in an oven, toaster, or air fryer.

Can you eat waffles cold?

Cold waffles
Cold waffles are best reheated in a toaster

You can make waffles and keep them for later. They can be eaten cold but are much better if reheated. Reheating in a toaster will crisp them up while making the middle fluffy again. Avoid reheating in a microwave since the waffles will tend to go a little soggy instead of crispy.

What’s the difference between a waffle and a Belgian waffle?

American and Belgian Waffles
Regular waffle (left). Belgian waffle (right).

Belgian waffles are larger than regular waffles, being about 1½” thick, and have deeper pockets. Belgian waffles are always rectangular while regular waffles can also be round. Finally, Belgian waffles may use yeast and egg whites as the leavening agent, while regular waffles only use baking soda.

What does waffle mean in the UK?

UK flag
What does Waffle – waffling on – a lot of waffle mean in the UK?

In the UK, waffle has two meanings. It is the food item we are familiar with, but waffle also means to speak or write at length without saying much. Someone doing this would be “waffling on”, and banal gossip could be described as “a lot of waffle” because it lacks any substance.  

Why is a waffle called a waffle?

Waffle word cloud

Waffle, comes from the Dutch Wafel, and the earlier middle-Dutch Wafele and 12th century French Walfre, which is also the root of gaufre, the modern French for waffle, and the English wafer. Today’s waffle has its origins in Medieval wafers cooked between metal plates, thus mirroring the linguistic roots.

What country eats the most waffles?

Lady eating a Brussels waffle in Belgium

By population, Belgium is said to eat the most waffles. In Belgium, like in many other parts of Europe, waffles are considered street food. Belgium has about a dozen regional waffle varieties, including Waffle De Liege (Liege Waffles) and Brussels waffle, on which the American Belgian waffle is based.

What types of waffles are there?

Bubble waffle and strawberries
A Hong Kong Bubble Waffle rolled into a cone shape and used to hold fresh strawberries and cream

The types of waffles include American regular and Belgian waffles, Dutch caramel-filled Stroopwafels, Brussels and Liege waffles from Belgium, Hong Kong Bubble waffles, German Bergische waffles, Vietnamese Pandan waffles, various Nordic waffles, Italian Gofri, Hawaiian Waffle Dogs, the waffle on a stick, and more.

What is healthy to put on waffles?

Healthy waffle toppings
Most fruit are healthy choices for waffle toppings

Most fresh fruit and crushed nuts are considered healthy waffle toppings, especially those with a low glycemic index, since the carbs take longer to digest, and you will feel satisfied for longer. Greek yogurt and Icelandic Skyr with zero fat are good substitutes for whipped cream and a little honey would be fine.

Why are there holes in waffles called and what are they for?

Pockets in a waffle
The pockets in waffles can hold toppings like syrup

The holes on waffles are mostly called pockets. They are formed by the square grid-like pattern of the two hot cooking plates that enclose the waffle batter. The pockets maximize the waffle’s ability to hold various toppings, especially liquids like cream, maple syrup, chocolate sauce, and melted butter.

What are thin waffles called?

Thin waffles
Thin American or “regular” waffles

Thin waffles are referred to as American, regular, traditional, or classic waffles. Belgian waffles are a hybrid of American waffles and Brussels waffles that developed in the mid-1960s. Thin waffles, because their pockets are shallow, cannot hold as much liquid toppings as Belgian waffles.

What are the favorite waffle toppings in America?

Waffle with fruit and maple syrup toppings
Maple syrup is the favorite waffle topping of 62% of Americans

According to a survey of 1,000 Americans, the nation’s top 10 waffle toppings are Maple Syrup, Butter, Fresh Fruit, Peanut Butter, Fruit Sauce, Nutella, Chocolate, Honey, Jam/Jelly, and Apple Butter. Maple syrup was chosen by 62% as their favorite waffle topping, which was way ahead of any other topping.

Can you put pancake mix in a waffle maker?

Pancake Mix Pack

Pancake mix can be used in a waffle maker or iron, but with the addition of oil or melted butter. When making up the recommended amount of pancake mix, add a third of a cup of vegetable oil along with any water or milk in the instructions. Alternatively, add 2 tablespoons of oil to 1 cup of mix.

What is the difference between a waffle maker and a waffle iron?

Waffle maker and waffle iron
A waffle iron (left) and waffle maker (right)

These days the terms are used interchangeably to mean an electric kitchen appliance. Strictly speaking, a waffle maker is a kitchen appliance with built-in electric heating elements. But a waffle iron is comprised of two cast iron plates that are connected by a hinge and heated over a fire or stove.

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Sources: 1, 2

Tosh learned how to cook while watching his Polish Mom at home. He also worked in a family-owned restaurant while a student and learned much from the chefs. Cooking has always interested him, especially the hearty Polish recipes he learned from his mother. He has helped create and appeared on cookery shows on radio stations in Scotland.

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