Will It Waffle?

53 Irresistible and Unexpected Recipes to Make in a Waffle Iron


By Daniel Shumski

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“This book is pure culinary fun!” —Gale Gand, pastry chef, author, restaurateur, and TV personality

Cooking food on your waffle iron is not just a novelty but an innovation that leads to a great end product, all while giving the cook the bonus pleasure of doing something cool, fun, and vaguely nerdy (or giving a reluctant eater―your child, say―a great reason to dig in). 

Why waffle?
The Ease! Waffled Bacon and Eggs: First, waffle the bacon—fast, crisp, and no burnt edges—then the eggs, for lacy whites and perfect yolks (thanks, bacon fat).

The Melt! Waffled Macaroni and Cheese: Waffled leftover mac ‘n’ cheese is a decadent grilled cheese sandwich—golden, buttery exterior and soft, cheesy insides.

The Dimples! Spaghetti and Waffled Meatballs: That’s right—cook meatballs in a waffle iron and create dimples where the sauce can pool.

The Cool Factor! Waffled Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies: Break out the waffle iron when it’s time for dessert, and make soft, gooey cookies with grid marks. No oven required.

“Dan Shumski’s genius lies in asking not what his waffler can do for him, but what he can stuff into his waffler, and following that question through to all of its delicious conclusions”

—J.Kenji Lopez-Alt (The Food Lab and seriouseats.com)



Part of writing this book was just me in the kitchen with a waffle iron or three. But if that’s all there was to it, I might have gone nuts. So I’m grateful there were other people involved. I owe a debt of gratitude to the chefs named in this book for opening their kitchens to me, going along with my crazy schemes, and even contributing some of their own. My thanks also to readers of Waffleizer and my past blogs who helped this little project gain steam before it jumped from the Internet to the printed page, in particular to those who provided kind words and recipe feedback. (Sometimes those two things even overlapped!) Thanks to my editor, Megan Nicolay; to Liz Davis and the rest of the team at Workman; to Michael Maes and his photography studio; and to my agent, Stacey Glick. Thank you to my mom for her voluminous and valuable feedback; to Bryan Kelly for his endless patience and near-endless willingness to try waffled foodstuffs; to Kathy Skutecki for brainstorming and testing; to Melanie Rheinecker for her keen eye and wise counsel; and to Nicholas Day and Peter Klein for their support and encouragement. I can’t imagine having done this without any of these people. I’m lucky I didn’t have to.


You know how sometimes you go to bed with something on your mind and you think maybe a good night’s sleep will clear your head?

For me, that something was waffles.

Well, really it was anything but waffles. I already knew waffle batter would work in the waffle iron, but I caught little glimpses of other things: a French toast recipe for the waffle iron . . . cookies with a waffle pattern on them . . . waffled bacon. It wasn’t much to go on, but it was enough. I was obsessed. What else would work in the waffle iron?

The idea wouldn’t quit me on its own, so I decided to do something about it. In the proud tradition—well, the tradition—of people with too much time on their hands, I took my obsession to the Internet and created the blog Waffleizer. Once the “Will It Waffle?” question was out there, people were hungry for answers. Suddenly, the humble waffle iron was capable of more than most people had imagined. Once, it was for making waffles. Now it was for making breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between.

Forgotten waffle irons emerged from dusty cabinets. Neglected waffle makers earned permanent space on the counter. A breakfast specialist turned into an all-day multi-tasker. And I heard about it all. People wrote to tell me that I had made them fall in love with their waffle irons all over again. (What had caused the falling out in the first place?) They wrote to tell me they were seriously thinking about getting a waffle iron. (Really? Just seriously thinking about it? How about seriously doing it?) They wrote to suggest recipes.

There’s something about waffle geometry and the transformative power of the waffle iron that turns a recipe into an adventure, and if there’s one thing that’s become clear to me, it’s that I’m not the only one who finds the adventure irresistible.

Waffling is growing. For a long while, after I stopped blogging and while I was working on this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would waffling wane? I needn’t have worried. Waffling did not stop. In fact, it spread.

And yet, there’s still more work to be done. Long maligned as single-purpose appliances, waffle irons have a reputation to overcome and baggage to shed.

Counter space is tight, you say? I hear you. But that is most typically a thing said by people who don’t use their waffle irons because, yes, counter space is too tight for things you don’t use.

Can’t afford to buy a waffle iron, you say? Fair enough. Here’s a thought: You may well know people who have one but do not use it. Quick! Convince them to give it to you before they find this book. (If that doesn’t work, check yard sales, online auctions, for-sale listings, and thrift stores. Or hint a lot around the holidays or your birthday.)

We have a lot of waffling to do. I’m almost done here. Let me leave you with this:

These pages are my answers to the question, “Will it waffle?” But my answers are just the beginning. By the end of this book, you will have the tools you need to continue to experiment and build your own recipes.

Muster your sense of culinary daring. We’re going to see what the waffle iron can do.

Chapter 1

Tools, Techniques, and Recipe Notes

As with any new endeavor, there can be a bit of a learning curve with waffling. The good news is I’ve made many of the waffle messes already so you don’t have to. Plus, there are some tricks of the trade, tools, and techniques that will set you on the fast track to success. Before you jump in, take a few minutes to read about what I’ve learned, consider the merits of various waffle irons, and discover a few pieces of equipment that will help you along.

Waffle Irons

Clearly, the most important (and, quite frankly, mandatory) piece of machinery to have on hand for any of the recipes in this book is a waffle iron.

Let’s get one thing out of the way: When it comes to waffle iron vs. waffle maker, it’s mostly a question of word choice. The exception belongs to old-time contraptions made of cast iron and used to make waffles over open flames and in wood-burning stoves. Those are true waffle irons. The rest could probably go either way. When it comes to terminology, I tend toward “waffle iron” for a simple reason: I am the waffle maker; the machine is the waffle iron.

The two basic categories of waffle iron are the Belgian and the standard. I own six waffle irons. This is something I am not always quick to admit to strangers, but you’re holding this book so I feel like I can tell you. You need only one.

BELGIAN WAFFLE IRON: Belgian waffle irons have deeper and generally fewer divots than the standard kind. While this may mean that your food will come out bearing fewer of the distinctive waffle marks, it also means that the marks that are present will be more pronounced.

STANDARD WAFFLE IRON: The standard waffle iron produces the most divots, but they are shallower than those of Belgian models.

NOVELTY WAFFLE IRON: This category encompasses a wide range of waffle irons, everything from models that produce zoo-animal shapes, to waffle “sticks” with a single row of divots, to a particularly famous cartoon mouse, to the logo of your favorite sports team. The good news is that most of these will probably work with the recipes in this book, though in some cases it may involve some creative shaping to fit the food in the waffle iron.

Whether you use a Belgian or a standard is up to you. Some recipes in this book work slightly differently in each, but all have been tested with both. A few recipes come with notes on preparing them in one kind versus another. Whether Belgian or standard, waffle irons typically come in either round or rectangular shapes. In general, either one will work for the recipes in this book, though the results may of course look different from the photos.

Some waffle irons have temperature controls and some do not. The recipes in this book include recommended temperatures for waffle irons with temperature controls, but you should be able to make the recipes work even without temperature controls—though it may take some experimentation.

Useful Tools

Most waffling doesn’t require any special equipment beyond a waffle iron. There are a few tools that will come in handy, though.

SILICONE SPATULA(S): Silicone withstands the high heat of your waffle iron and avoids the danger of scraping with metal utensils, which can scratch nonstick coatings. Use a spatula to flip and turn hot food. Having two means you can use them as tongs to lift out food from the waffle iron (or, invest in silicone-tipped tongs to pair with your spatula).

SILICONE PASTRY BRUSH(ES): Unlike a traditional brush, which can leave behind boar- or horse-hair bristles in your food, silicone bristles are firmly attached to the brush head. Use a brush to coat food or the waffle iron with butter or oil.

COOLING RACK: Piping-hot food needs air circulating around it so that it can cool quickly and evenly.

SPONGE CLOTH(S): Burnt bits in the crevices of your waffle iron are inevitable. Flexible, thick, reusable sponge cloths let you clean in the corners.

INSTANT-READ DIGITAL THERMOMETER: This comes in handy not just for waffling, but for cooking all kinds of meat, as well as for making jam, candy, and countless other things. If you don’t have one of these, there might be a little guesswork and slicing involved to see whether your food is done.

The Care and Handling of Your Waffle Iron

Waffle irons are fairly foolproof when it comes to making standard breakfast waffles, but when you dabble beyond that, there are special considerations. Before you start, here are a (very) few things to keep in mind.


There’s no doubt, waffling can get messy—as all great experiments/art can. The key is being prepared and taking a few steps beforehand that can make cleanup easier. If you end up with a mess on your hands despite your best efforts, don’t worry. There are some easy ways to clean up your waffle iron and get back in business. Before you waffle, keep the following in mind:

1. Use the nonstick spray or oil recommended in the recipe to ensure the food lifts cleanly from the waffle iron.

2. Lay down newspaper under the waffle iron. If anything spills or overflows, you can clean up by disposing of the newspaper.

A lucky few of you may have waffle irons with removable grids, which make cleanup easier. If not, one of the best methods for cleaning your waffle iron is also the most delicious: Make standard waffles. The first waffle may be a bit of a sacrifice, as leftover food from the last waffling project gets absorbed into the batter. But when you lift out that first waffle, you’ll lift out with it any lingering burnt bits from previous projects. Problem solved. (And if the lingering bits are, say, bacon or sausage, it may be your duty to eat said waffle.)

If making waffles isn’t an option, two methods produce similar results:

1. Make a simple batter from equal parts flour and water and cook it in the waffle iron for 4 to 6 minutes, or until it holds together well enough to be lifted out. Again, any lingering bits get cooked into the batter and are lifted out when it is removed.

2. If you have leftover grease in the waffle iron, you can sacrifice some inexpensive sandwich bread to clean it. Place a few slices in the waffle iron and close the lid. The bread will absorb most of the grease. Then wipe down the grid with a paper towel dampened in a weak vinegar solution (1 cup water mixed with 1 tablespoon white vinegar).

If there are some dry bits of food remaining in the waffle iron, try the following, continuing through the steps until the waffle iron is clean:

1. With the waffle iron off and cooled, stand the machine sideways on newspaper and brush off the crumbs.

2. For getting in the nooks and crannies without scratching a nonstick surface, try poking around with some wooden chop-sticks from your last order of takeout.

3. With the waffle iron off, use a soft toothbrush to scrape up any burnt bits. (Obviously, you’re using either a toothbrush dedicated to this or one belonging to someone you don’t like.) For an extra boost, make a paste of 4 parts baking soda to 1 part water and use the toothbrush to apply.

4. With the waffle iron on low, place a clean, wet dishtowel in the waffle iron for a minute. The steam will help loosen any stuck-on bits.

5. With the waffle iron off, pour a bit of seltzer water on the grid and use paper towels or a dishtowel to wipe clean.


See your waffle iron’s manual for details on safety considerations for your model, but in general remember that the metal surfaces of your waffle iron will get quite hot. Always approach and handle the waffle iron as though it might be hot. Do not store the waffle iron until it has fully cooled.

Recipe Notes

Most of these recipes will work in just about any kind of electric waffle maker, whether Belgian-style or standard, square, round, or heart-shaped. That said, each recipe notes any special considerations for one style of machine or another.

One important note: As mentioned in the Waffle Irons section, not all waffle makers have temperature controls. The recipes include a recommended temperature, but even among waffle makers with temperature controls, the temperatures may vary. If yours doesn’t have temperature settings, don’t worry. The recipes will still work. You may need to keep a close eye on things until you understand how your waffle iron behaves.

With or without temperature controls, there’s one key question to sort out before you begin: How do you know when your waffle iron is preheated and ready to waffle? I’ve seen some waffle irons where a light goes on when they finish preheating, and waffle irons where a light goes off when they finish preheating. Some beep loudly when they come to temperature. Some are silent. The best thing to do is to consult the manual that came with your waffle iron. If that is long gone or so stained in maple syrup as to be illegible, then allow 10 minutes for your waffle iron to preheat.

Needless to say, your waffle iron’s temperature will affect how long it takes for something to cook. So pay attention to the cooking times given in the recipes, but don’t abide by them absolutely. They’re based on tests using various waffle irons but not your waffle iron. More than the estimated time, pay attention to the expected result (and temperature in some cases). If the recipe says the dish is ready when it is golden brown and the cheese is melted, that’s what you’re looking for—regardless of what the timer says.

Lastly, remember that you can’t uncook food. Once it’s burned, it’s burned. Err on the side of caution and check on the early side of the recommended times at first. The more you work with your waffle iron, the more you’ll understand its quirks and tendencies. You might make mistakes along the way, but most of your mistakes will be the best kind of mistakes: edible ones.

Chapter 2

Breakfast and Brunch

Crispy Waffled Bacon and Eggs

Cooking the eggs in the bacon drippings is just one bonus to this method.


  • “Dan Shumski’s genius lies in asking not what his waffler can do for him, but what he can stuff into his waffle, and following that question through to all of its delicious conclusions.”
    —J. Kenji López-Alt, The Food Lab and seriouseats.com

    “Whether curious, rebellious, or short on cooking equipment, readers who try recipes such as waffled chicken fingers and red velvet waffle ice cream sandwiches will delight in discovering whether or not they will waffle as promised…”
    Library Journal

    “WILL IT WAFFLE? Spoiler alert: It will. Cooking everything in a waffle iron turns out to be fun.”
    The New York Times

    “A book about the only food that matters.”

    “Break out the waffle iron!”
    People Magazine

    "Will It Waffle? Why didn't you tell me about this . . . sooner?"
    —Deb Perelman, smittenkitchen.com

    “Pair this book with that waffle iron you never use and some lazy mornings or afternoons for some simple fun in the kitchen.”
    KCRW Good Food
  • “Dan Shumski’s genius lies in asking not what his waffler can do for him, but what he can stuff into his waffle, and following that question through to all of its delicious conclusions.”
    –J. Kenji López-Alt, The Food Lab and seriouseats.com—J. Kenji López-Alt, The Food Lab and seriouseats.com
  • “Whether curious, rebellious, or short on cooking equipment, readers who try recipes such as waffled chicken fingers and red velvet waffle ice cream sandwiches will delight in discovering whether or not they will waffle as promised…”
    --Library JournalLibrary Journal

On Sale
Aug 25, 2014
Page Count
224 pages

Daniel Shumski

Daniel Shumski

About the Author

Daniel Shumski is a writer and editor who has hunted ramen in Tokyo for the Washington Post and tracked down ice cream in Buenos Aires for the Los Angeles Times. Between stints at the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune, he worked for a Midwestern heirloom apple orchard. His first book, Will It Waffle?: 53 Irresistible and Unexpected Recipes to Make in a Waffle Iron, won praise from the New York TimesPeople magazine, and Food52. He lives in Montreal.

Learn more about this author