Waffles have never tasted so festive! Full of warm holiday spice, these gingerbread waffles with cardamom-vanilla butter are the perfect Christmas morning breakfast.
Why You Need to Make This Recipe
If there’s one occasion that calls for waffles, it’s Christmas morning. But we're talking Christmas here, so not any waffles will do. No, for the most fun and festive Christmas breakfast, we have to go with a big stack of these easy gingerbread waffles with cardamom-vanilla butter and plenty of warm maple syrup for good measure.
Look, I'm not hating on other waffles. I love classic waffles, but we can have those any time of year. While it's still the holidays, I insist on taking full advantage of the season and eating as much gingerbread-flavored treats as possible. Who's with me?
Here's everything we need to make these holiday waffles.
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Dark brown sugar
- Fresh orange zest
- Vanilla extract or paste
So what makes these waffles gingerbread flavored as opposed to your classic buttermilk waffle? Good question. Obviously, ginger is a major player here, but we also include additional warm holiday spices: cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
On top of our spices, we also use molasses, which is a classic gingerbread flavor, along with dark brown sugar. I'm a proponent of dark brown sugar over light brown sugar, but that's even more true with these waffles. Dark brown sugar comes with a more prominent molasses profile that's needed for our gingerbread flavor.
In a pinch, could you use light brown sugar? Sure, your waffles will still turn out, but for best results, go with dark brown sugar.
Let's get into it. As you would expect, you will need a waffle maker for this recipe. I have a Cuisinart square waffle maker, and it works beautifully. The nonstick surface works like a charm, and it has a wide range of heat levels, so you can make your waffles as soft or crispy as you'd like.
To start, we stir together flour, dark brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In another bowl, we mix buttermilk, melted butter, vanilla, egg yolks, molasses and orange zest and add the dry ingredients. I love how orange pairs with ginger, and that touch of zest makes these waffles extra special.
With our dry and wet ingredients prepared, we add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until combined.
Now we just have one more step before we're ready to put the batter on the waffle iron: beat egg whites until they're stiff and fold into the mixture. Whipped egg whites give the waffles a fluffy texture.
From here, we pour the batter into our waffle iron, and within minutes, we have perfectly spiced, delicious gingerbread waffles. Is there a more festive Christmas breakfast? I don't think so.
Can You Make Waffles the Night Before Serving?
With the whipped egg whites and leavening, I don't recommend making our waffle batter the night before serving. That said, we can prepare some elements ahead of time, which still makes for easier entertaining on Christmas morning.
For make-ahead waffles, we mix together the dry ingredients and store in one container and do the same with the wet ingredients in another container. When we're ready for gingerbread waffles the next morning, we beat our egg whites and then proceed as normal.
Expert Tips and FAQs
- Before measuring the buttermilk, give it a good shake.
- To grate the orange zest, I recommend using a microplane grater. It produces a finer texture with more intense flavor.
- I also recommend using that microplane grater to freshly grate nutmeg. The flavor is much richer, and you'll use it all the time around the holidays, like in Buddy the Elf's favorite eggnog.
- If you have a stand mixer, I recommend whipping the egg whites while you prepare the other ingredients for a speedier process.
- When spreading the waffle batter on the iron, it should mostly cover each waffle square or circle, but it doesn't have to completely cover it. Once you put the lid down, it will spread the batter.
For the most jolly holiday breakfast, you'll love these waffles with my cranberry-spice Christmas mimosas. The tart cranberry works beautifully with the fresh orange zest and brightens up our rich, warm spices. My cranberry-apple cider holiday sangria is another delicious brunch option.
I hope you make your Christmas morning extra festive and try these easy gingerbread waffles. Please let me know how you enjoyed this Christmas waffle recipe in the comment section and don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter. You can also catch me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.
Looking for More Holiday Inspiration?
- Maple-braised turkey legs and thighs
- Spiced-brandied cranberry sauce
- Cranberry-apple cider holiday sangria
- Gingerbread simple syrup
- Pumpkin crullers with caramelized maple glaze
For Cardamom-Vanilla Butter
- ½ cup butter softened
- ¾ teaspoon cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
For Gingerbread Waffles
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar packed
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg preferably freshly grated
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 egg yolks
- Zest of an orange
- 1 ¾ cups buttermilk shaken before measuring
- ½ cup molasses
- ½ cup melted butter
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or paste
- 4 egg whites
- Cooking spray
For Cardamom-Vanilla Butter
- Mash together butter, cardamom and vanilla extract until well combined. Set aside.
For Gingerbread Waffles
- Stir together flour, dark brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make sure you stir it well enough to get rid of any large lumps from the brown sugar.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, orange zest, buttermilk, molasses, melted butter and vanilla extract.
- Using a mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. If you have a stand mixer, you can take care of this step first and then prepare the other ingredients to make the process go a little quicker.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until combined. Fold in whipped egg whites.
- Spray the waffle iron with cooking spray and cook according to the unit's directions. Serve with cardamom butter and warm maple syrup. Enjoy!
- Recipe originally posted in December 2018 and republished in December 2020.
- For full tips, please see blog post.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.