Your next brunch isn’t complete without a stack of warm waffles fresh off the iron, but not just any waffle recipe will do. Crisp yet tender and fluffy, these perfect buttermilk waffles boast the most wonderful flavor thanks to a few secret ingredients. After just one bite, you'll instantly fall in love with your new go-to waffles recipe.
Secret Ingredients for Best Waffles
You may be thinking, “Secret ingredients? Aren’t we talking waffles here? What’s so secret about waffle ingredients?”
To start, most waffle recipes call for white sugar, but I swap dark brown sugar instead. Dark brown sugar comes with a richer, more complex flavor from its generous molasses coating, which works perfectly with everyone's favorite maple syrup topping.
As a complement to that warm dark brown sugar, I also add a touch of spice with cinnamon and nutmeg. Not so much that they taste like spiced waffles but just enough that it perks up your tastebuds.
And then we come to our extracts. Yes, I use vanilla extract like most recipes, but almond extract makes an appearance as well. Almond extract gives these waffles a distinct nuttiness that melds nicely with our touch of spice and molasses notes.
With these deep flavors, I like to add a touch of brightness with fresh orange zest. That light acidity with the tangy buttermilk gives us the perfect balance of flavors, making for the most delicious waffles you’ll ever try.
How to Make
We start by mixing together our dry ingredients in a small bowl. This includes flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a separate mixing bowl, we whisk together our buttermilk, dark brown sugar, egg yolks, melted butter, orange zest and extracts.
Now we grab another mixing bowl and beat a few egg whites until stiff peaks form. The egg whites give these waffles that fluffy texture we all love. If you have a stand mixer, you can take care of this step while preparing the other bowls. Just keep an eye on it from time to time.
From here, we add our dry ingredients to our wet ingredients and then fold in our egg whites just until combined. We’re now ready to cook.
Even if using a nonstick waffle iron, I still recommend coating the iron with cooking spray first. We don’t want those beautiful waffles sticking to the iron, and cooking spray ensures our waffles come out easily every time.
When adding our batter to the waffle iron, I like to use a small spatula to help spread the batter. I spread the batter so that it mostly covers the surface area, but it doesn’t need to completely blanket the iron. The waffle iron will take care of pushing the batter to the edges when closed.
Shopping tip: If you need a waffle iron recommendation, I love the one I have from Cuisinart. My waffles always come out perfect on this iron.
Waffle Topping Ideas
These perfect buttermilk waffles are delicious with a generous pour of real maple syrup and plenty of butter, but they're also the perfect canvas for unique toppings. Here are a few of my favorite ideas.
- Roasted strawberries
- Grilled peaches or pineapple rings
- Candied orange slices, ginger or nuts
- Fruit compotes, jams or butters
- Bananas foster curd (see my bananas foster cheesecake for the curd recipe) or your other favorite fruit curd
- Whipped cream with a generous drizzle of chocolate sauce, chocolate chips and homemade bourbon caramel sauce
- Bourbon bacon jam
- Marshmallow fluff
- Nutella or peanut butter
Can You Make Waffles the Night Before Serving?
Because of the whipped egg whites and leavening, I don't recommend making the batter ahead of time. However, we can make some elements the night before serving for easier entertaining.
To do this, we mix together the dry ingredients and store in one container and do the same with the wet ingredients in another container. The next morning, we beat our egg whites and then proceed as normal.
Another option is to make the waffles and keep them warm in a 200-degree oven for 20-30 minutes. While the waffles won’t last all day, this still buys you some time when entertaining.
These buttermilk waffles call for a brunch cocktail. Fortunately for you, I have plenty of those in my back pocket.
For all your brunch needs, I hope you try these perfect buttermilk waffles. They're a guaranteed hit for any waffle lover. Please let me know how you enjoyed this 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 Brunch Ideas?
- Breakfast galette
- Bacon, Gruyere and spinach strata
- Gingerbread waffles with cardamom-vanilla butter
- Chorizo breakfast tacos with chipotle-roasted tomato salsa
- Pumpkin crullers with caramelized maple glaze
Perfect Buttermilk Waffles
- Large mixing bowl
- Waffle iron
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon nutmeg preferably freshly grated
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¾ cups buttermilk shaken before measuring
- 10 tablespoons melted butter
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar packed
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- Zest of an orange
- 4 egg whites
- Toppings of your choice
- Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together buttermilk, melted butter, dark brown sugar, egg yolks, vanilla extract, almond extract and orange zest.
- In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Gently fold in the egg whites just until combined.
- Spray the waffle iron with cooking spray and cook the waffles according to the manufacturer's directions. Serve with desired toppings. Enjoy!
- 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.