5 Secrets to Crisp, Flavorful Golden Waffles

Super crispy Belgian waffle

Did you ever eat those frozen pre-packaged waffles growing up?

I did.  And I almost can’t believe I did.

They’re quite a far cry from the crisp, thick, flavorful waffles I now make every Saturday for brunch.

Even though my waffle standards started out with the soggy, spongy frozen variety, I’ve gotten very demanding about how a waffle should be, and you should be too.

A waffle should be crisp as heck but a little fluffy in the middle, have good flavor, and also be doused in real maple syrup (though admittedly that last part has nothing to do with technique).

After experimenting with various waffle ingredient combinations, I’ve discovered there are 5 major secrets to a fantastic waffle:

1. Stiff egg whites-
The batter should have stiff egg whites folded into it. When you beat egg whites to stiff peaks, they hold in a TON of air (think about what’s going on with souffles). When you incorporate those airy egg whites into your batter, they make the waffles incredibly light instead of heavy and dense.

secrets to crispy, airy waffles.

2. Cornstarch-I first read about adding cornstarch to waffles after someone sent me Pam Anderson’s recipe, and the thought of adding cornstarch really surprised me. I went in skeptical but after testing it out I was convinced. The addition of cornstarch protects the waffle from getting soggy from cooking steam.

3. Amaretto liqueur (almond liqueur)-I can’t tell you what a difference adding a little amaretto liqueur makes. It makes the waffles much more flavorful and aromatic. If you don’t have amaretto, you really should get some. You can try vanilla extract, but it won’t be as good as amaretto or frangelico (hazelnut liqueur).

4. Buttermilk-Buttermilk is important for the same reason as #3…flavor. We all love substitutes, but be sure to use actual whole milk buttermilk from the store here, not vinegar curdled milk. It will make the waffles taste so much better.

extra crispy waffles

Once the buttermilk amaretto liquid is added to the dry ingredients, it’s time to fold in those stiff egg whites I mentioned earlier:

crispy waffles

And now we’ve come to Secret #5-A Flip Waffle Maker. As good as your waffle recipe may be, if you have a crappy waffle maker, you’re going to get crappy waffles.

I know this because I had one.  One side would get completely burned, while the other side was underdone.

It pained me to do so, but I threw it away and bought this flip waffle maker instead. Flipping the iron after pouring in the batter allows all the liquid to spread out evenly, and the waffle cooks evenly on both sides.

how to make crispy waffles

And of course, it can’t hurt to pour on some maple syrup, dust with a little powdered sugar, and add a little butter on top:

super crispy waffles

Here’s the recipe:

Crisp, Flavorful Waffles

Yield: 6 waffles

Crisp, Flavorful Waffles


  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups whole buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp amaretto liqueur
  • 7.5 oz all-purpose flour (1.5 cups)
  • 2.5 oz cornstarch (1/2 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar


  1. Separate the egg yolks and whites, and beat together the egg yolks, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and amaretto to combine.
  2. Whisk to combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Combine the leftover egg whites with the sugar, and whip to stiff peaks (if you lift the beaters straight out of the egg whites, then invert the beaters, the egg white should stand up on its own as a stiff peak).
  4. Stir the buttermilk liquid into the flour mixture (make sure the batter is still a little lumpy), then fold in the egg whites, being careful not to deflate them.
  5. Pour the batter into a preheated waffle maker and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Enjoy!


Update: With the Presto wafflemaker, you flip the waffle right after pouring in the batter, and leave it like that for the 3-4 minute duration. See your waffle maker's instructions for specific instructions.


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  • avatar Fadia November 24, 2013, 3:30 am

    I don’t know what happened but I followed the recipe as stated and it was a disaster! The batter kept sticking to the machine no matter what I did to try and prevent it. I think the recipe doesn’t have enough of a fat content, but again I don’t know what went wrong. The ones I was able to get off the machine tasted ok but we’re definitely crispy. The recipe needs to be tweaked, as it is, it’s not a good recipe at all.

    • avatar Joanne Ozug November 24, 2013, 9:12 pm

      I’m sorry to hear that Fadia. I make this recipe often (actually made some for brunch yesterday) and haven’t had issues with sticking, so I can’t provide any suggestions to remedy that except to try cooking spray? Hopefully you can find another waffle recipe that works well for your maker and that you enjoy.

      • avatar Jim December 22, 2013, 7:28 am

        I made these today and didn’t have any problems with them sticking. They were definitely light and fluffy. They weren’t sweet enough for me, but I don’t use syrup. My wife uses syrup and thought they were just right…

        • avatar Joanne Ozug December 24, 2013, 9:14 pm

          Glad to hear it Jim! Hope you and your wife enjoy again and again =)

  • avatar Monica December 23, 2013, 10:34 pm

    We tried this recipe this past weekend and it was…..FABULOUS! These are as good,or even better than the ones my family & I always order when have brunch @ our favorite breakfast restaurant! I admit the recipe was easy to prepare & I only had to adjust the cooking time a bit to achieve perfection. Yummy, yummy! I will be making these again on Christmas morning, per request from the hubby & kids! Thank you for sharing the recipe, technique tips & step by step photos. You made making restaurant quality waffles at home a “breeze!”

    • avatar Joanne Ozug December 24, 2013, 9:19 pm

      That’s really wonderful to hear Monica. Hope you enjoy them again on Christmas morning! Happy holidays!

  • avatar Jessie December 31, 2013, 4:41 am

    i’ve made waffles using this recipe today and my oh my, i loved it! Thank you for sharing.

    • avatar Joanne Ozug December 31, 2013, 8:39 am

      Glad you enjoyed the waffles, Jessie. Happy cooking!

  • avatar Abdul M January 1, 2014, 9:14 am

    I’ve tried a half a dozen different recipes, including some professional and highly touted recipes, and you’ve nailed it. This is my go-to recipe for the family and guests. I’ll normally sub almond or vanilla extract for the Amaretto, and I’ll add lemon/orange zest and cinnamon/nutmeg.

    Great find and post. Thanks

    • avatar Joanne Ozug January 3, 2014, 9:38 am

      Hi Abdul, I’m so glad that you and your family enjoy these waffles! Your additions sound wonderful too.

  • avatar Sujata January 4, 2014, 1:04 am

    I could write a best-seller on the number of disastrous Waffle episodes I have had trying out different recipes that I found online. You, Joanne, have thankfully, provided me the epilogue to that book! Thank you! This recipe absolutely nails it and I love the way you have broken down our woes into these 5 simple secrets. Even if I don’t find this recipe again, I will have no problem remembering these tips! Today’s breakfast has been fantastic. I no longer fear the Waffle! :)
    Next on my list of to-do’s is bungee jumping!

    • avatar Joanne Ozug January 6, 2014, 2:38 pm

      Hi Sujata, I’m really happy to hear the waffles turned out really well for you! Enjoy!

  • avatar Jennife January 23, 2014, 9:22 am

    I am allergic to almonds. Do you think vanilla extract would work in place of the amaretto liqueur? I just got a waffle maker and am dying to try some homemade recipes.

    • avatar Joanne Ozug January 31, 2014, 12:57 pm

      Yes that would be fine, you can use less…maybe 1 or 2 tsp of vanilla extract.

  • avatar Therese January 26, 2014, 10:36 am

    We are very excited to be making these this morning. Although we do not have the flip waffle maker you suggest, we do have a heavy duty Cuisinart. We used vanilla as we did not have the liqueur. Bar none – the best waffles I have eve made. Thanks so much for the recipe.

    • avatar Joanne Ozug January 31, 2014, 1:02 pm

      That is so wonderful you enjoyed the waffles so much! Hope you enjoy them again and again!

  • avatar Kevin February 2, 2014, 1:41 am


    I recently purchased a stove top, cast waffle iron. I followed most of your recipe (no Amarretto nor cornstarch. I used melted butter instead of oil), the iron was heated to the suggested temp. Instead of butter or cooking spray, I put cake release on with a brush before pouring in the batter. Tried this a few times. The waffle itself came out great tasting as I was hoping, but no crispiness on the outside at all. Any ideas?

    • avatar Joanne Ozug February 4, 2014, 7:55 pm

      Hi Kevin, I’m glad the waffles tasted nice, but in order to have crispy waffles it is very, very important not to substitute ingredients. It sounds like quite a few major ingredients here were substituted. The amaretto isn’t essential but the cornstarch and oil definitely are. Hope that helps!

  • avatar Meredith February 2, 2014, 9:13 am

    These are delicious! Nice and light and crispy. This will be my “go to” waffle recipe from now on. Yummy!

  • avatar anita chan February 21, 2014, 6:57 pm

    What should I do if I wanted to make banana waffle by using this crispy recipe?

  • avatar Shelly February 24, 2014, 10:40 pm

    Do you ever make these waffles in bulk and freeze them? If so, what is your method for freezing and storing?

    • avatar Joanne Ozug March 1, 2014, 9:38 am

      Hi Shelly, I’ve never done that before but my guess is the waffles would do well frozen. You’d need to reheat them well in the oven to crisp them again.

  • avatar Christy March 9, 2014, 1:53 pm

    Made these today. Made a little tweak and added vanilla instead of amaretto. Cooked up deliciously. Was a huge hit with the husband. Will definitely try this again maybe with fruit! Thanks for sharing!!!!!

    • avatar Joanne Ozug March 13, 2014, 6:47 pm

      That’s wonderful, Christy! Glad you all enjoyed the waffles.

  • avatar Courtney March 16, 2014, 5:38 pm

    Made these waffles today, and hands down, they are the best waffles!!! Fluffed up perfectly and nice and crispy on the outside. Substituted vanilla for the amaretto and coconut oil for the vegetable oil. Do you think there would be a way to add cocoa powder to make chocolate, dessert waffles while maintaining the appropriate consistency?

    • avatar Joanne Ozug March 16, 2014, 8:32 pm

      YAY! Glad to hear that Courtney! And I’m glad those substitutions worked well for you. I’ve actually never put cocoa powder in the batter for these, but will try it next time I make them. I make them often =)

  • avatar Adam March 16, 2014, 9:25 pm

    To save a few steps — and still get the crispy result — just warm the egg, milk and oil to around 100-110 degrees, before adding them to the mix. Then the egg white whipping and cornstarch won’t be necessary (and you can probably flip back to melted butter, which will help with the flavor), because the batter will be loose enough to let the leavening do its job. Also, if you cut the sugar down to 1 1/2 or 2 Tbsp., that will help keep the waffle a good bit crispier.

    Waffles were easy to get crispy back in the old days because no refrigeration meant all your ingredients were generally around room temp or warmer (as they would be, getting prepped near a fire/wood stove to heat the iron), and they all used butter (not oil) . . . where the only way to incorporate it was to melt it. There are some other factors (like density of the iron and the use of yeast vs. chemical leavening), but that was the key. Pam Anderson’s recipe didn’t take that into account, so she had to find workarounds to a not-so-obvious, yet very simple problem.

  • avatar donika@momwhats4dinner March 18, 2014, 5:04 pm

    I tried this recipe over the weekend, turned out wonderful! Mine didn’t turn out as thick but I think its because of my waffle maker. Great recipe, definitely a keeper! Thanks for sharing! ~Donika

  • avatar Gladys March 22, 2014, 2:37 pm

    I just tried this recipe for brunch this morning and they were really good. Thank you very much. I used almond extract instead of amaretto and evaporated milk instead of buttermilk, since I didn’t have those two specific ingredients at home. Definitely will do this recipe again, trying it with the specific ingredients.

    • avatar Joanne Ozug March 27, 2014, 12:22 pm

      Awesome! Glad to hear those substitutes worked!

  • avatar Renee March 22, 2014, 7:44 pm

    I was really excited for your recipe because I have tried many different ones hoping to find The One Recipe that gave me the crispy, airy waffles I have always wanted. I don’t know if I hyped myself up too much, but it definitely did not turn out how I expected.

    I tried making these waffles yesterday and they were an absolute mess. I don’t understand, considering I followed the recipe exactly with no deviation and my meringue was quite stiff by the time I folded it into the batter. I likewise have a flip Belgian waffle maker, but even on the highest setting (and with extra cook time), these didn’t turn out crispy at all. My first waffle came out completely soft and borderline chewy, with nary a bit of crisp to any of its edges. Adjusting the temperature and cook time didn’t help much; the only time they were crispy was when they ended up burnt from overcooking.

    I was rather disappointed by the experience, considering I was expecting fabulously crispy waffles.

    • avatar Joanne Ozug March 27, 2014, 12:26 pm

      Hi Renee, I am sorry to hear these didn’t go well for you, as many have had success with this recipe. From what you described, particularly about being soft and borderline chewy, is that the batter may have been overstirred, resulting in excess gluten in the batter.

  • avatar Kevin April 12, 2014, 10:57 am

    I have a different method and recipe, but really appreciate the corn starch suggestion. Immediate improvement. Thanks very much.


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