If you’ve ever been to an IHOP or Waffle House or stood in line for a continental breakfast, you’ve likely seen the golden behemoths I like to call restaurant-style waffles. Big, pillowy and so very tall, these aren’t the Bisquick waffles you had as a kid (and, frankly, those frozen hockey pucks pale in comparison). With a pat of butter, some maple syrup and a bottomless cup of coffee, these waffles are the highlight of any diner-style breakfast. But I’ve got great news for you: You can make them at home.
Our food editor James Schend knows there’s no need to place an order with Alice for these diner delights. The key to making restaurant-style waffles from scratch is in a few simple steps.
Secret #1: Whip the egg whites
Yes, this sounds like a pain-but trust us, the end result is worth it. Whipped egg whites add extra air to the batter, guaranteeing waffles that’ll rise to their fluffiest potential. Use a handheld or stand mixer to make the job easy.
Secret #2: Break out the pop
We love it when soda pop finds its way into recipes. (Check out this top-rated recipe for CokeCola Cake!) For waffles, we like to use club soda to give the batter extra fluff. Its fizzy carbonation helps waffles rise as they cook.
Secret #3: Use cornstarch
This thickening agent isn’t just for sauces. Replace a portion of the flour with cornstarch to keep the waffle crisp and brown on the outside and tender and fluffy on the inside.
What better way to try out these tips than to whip up a batch of waffles? Try this step-by-step recipe with tips from our Test Kitchen.
How to Make Waffles
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup 2% milk
5 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup cold club soda
Step 1: Combine the wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls
Let’s get crackin’. Begin by separating the eggs. Place the whites into a clean, dry bowl and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, place the egg yolks in a separate small bowl.
Test Kitchen tip: Why the wait? It’s easiest to separate eggs while they’re still cold, but it’s best for egg whites to reach room temp before they’re beaten. Room temperature whites whip to loftier heights.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Into the bowl with the yolks, add the milk, oil, extract and vinegar. Whisk until blended.
Test Kitchen tip: Whisking the dry ingredients together before adding the wet ingredients helps distribute the baking powder. This ensures that the waffles get an even rise. Want to go above and beyond? Use an old-fashioned flour sifter to add the dry ingredients to the bowl, then whisk.
Step 2: Beat the egg whites
Next up, beat the eggs whites-just as if you were making a meringue. Not familiar with the steps? Don’t worry; we’ve got you.
Take out your stand mixer or a hand mixer (or summon some strength and use a handheld whisk). Beat the egg whites continuously until soft peaks form. At this point, the egg whites should slump off of the whisk, forming a gentle peak that slowly falls back into the bowl. Once this happens, you can start adding the sugar. Add it gradually, one tablespoon at a time, and beat until stiff peaks form. At this point, the egg whites will stick to the whisk, forming sturdy peaks similar to whipped cream.
Test Kitchen tip: We know this step sounds fussy, but don’t skip it! Beaten egg whites are essential to giving waffles a texture that’s light but still holds its shape.
Step 3: Combine the wet and dry ingredients
Phew! The hard part is done. We’re almost at the home stretch, so it’s time to turn on the waffle maker.
While the iron is heating up, pour the wet ingredients bowl into the dry ingredients. Stir with a rubber spatula, scraping the walls of the bowl so every last bit gets combined. Next, uncap the club soda and pour it into the mix. Slowly stir the ingredients together.
Test Kitchen tip: For a traditional take, we use plain club soda, but feel free to use any flavor you have on hand to give the waffles a subtle fruit flavor. But be warned: do not use sparkling water as a substitute. They may look alike, but club soda has much more powerful bubbles than sparkling water.
Step 4: Fold in the egg whites
The batter is nearly there; the only step remaining is to fold in the egg whites. Folding is quite different from whisking. Instead of combining ingredients at a breakneck speed, you’ll want to gently incorporate the egg whites into the batter. Using a rubber spatula, gently add the egg whites to the batter. Then, with a deep scooping motion, slowly combine the ingredients, “folding” the batter into itself. Stop when no large blobs of egg white remain.
Test Kitchen tip: Careful folding is critical to avoid deflating the egg whites. The air trapped inside the whites is what gives this waffle its fluffy texture. It’s totally OK if you can still see traces of beaten egg white left in the batter.
Step 5: Cook
Since each waffle iron is different, we suggest cooking the batter according to the manufacturer’s directions. In general, however, you’ll pour a scoop of batter across the iron, close the lid and let it cook. A large waffle typically takes around 5 minutes to cook, and the best way to tell if it’s done is to take a peek. The waffle should be nicely risen and golden brown.
Step 6: Enjoy (or save for later)
Ding-ding! Your big, beautiful waffle is ready to serve. It’s divine with just a pat of butter and a drizzle of maple syrup, or you can treat yourself to a mountain of whipped cream. (Skip the canned stuff and make it from scratch instead!) To take things to the next level, check out our ideas for over-the-top waffle toppings. We cover delicious additions, both savory and sweet.
Our recipe yields roughly a dozen waffles. To ensure the entire batch is warm when it hits the table, place waffles on a baking rack that’s been set on a baking sheet. Then, stick them in an oven set to 200 degrees. This will keep them warm and, better yet, crisp them up a bit. No soggy, lukewarm waffles for your crowd!
Cooking for one? Leftover waffles are easy to freeze (much like these other freezer-friendly foods). Wrap them individually then stick ’em in the freezer for a quick breakfast later in the week. When you’re ready to eat, simply pop one in the toaster or toaster oven to reheat.
Big on brunch? We thought so. Check out our top 10 brunch recipes for more delicious dishes.