The combination of a delicate, crispy exterior and a tender, airy interior make these waffles just about as perfect as you can get. But their texture isn’t the only thing that makes them a homerun. The intermingling of butter, vanilla extract and salt in the batter sends the sweet-savory flavor profile into orbit. And, yes, you can make them ahead (see below).

The title says it all. These waffles aren’t just for breakfast and brunch – they’re all-day ready. Along with the typical appearance in the morning hours, these beauties can make a heavenly breakfast-for-dinner special treat as a last-minute weeknight idea or Sunday supper. Here’s an added bonus: the batter comes together quickly with no power tools or complicated techniques needed. All that’s left is to heat your iron and cook them up.

Along with my advice to get to know your waffle iron (in Kitchen Notes, below), you will appreciate a few reminders listed in my Six Steps to Better Baking  - especially #4. 

  • Trust your nose — and your instincts.  Engage all of your senses (sight, smell, touch, taste), and remind yourself that baking takes some patience and sometimes, a little courage to try something new. Trust your instincts – you’ve got good ones!  Translation: If the waffle smells like it’s burning, it likely is burning so take it out of the iron and cook the next one for a shorter time.


As you can imagine, there are endless options – sweet as well as savory - to flavor the batter; so much so, in fact, that we decided to narrow down this recipe to only a few sweet variations (see below). That said, we encourage you to play around with the recipe and explore other sweet variations as well as savory. For the savories, start by skipping the vanilla in the batter altogether. Depending on the flavor profile you are going with, you can add in lemon or orange zest or even a teaspoon or two of brandy. As for fold-in options, how does grated cheddar, chives and crumbled, cooked sausage or diced sauteed apples and scallions along with a little crumbled blue cheese sound? As always, please share what flavors – sweet and/or savory –you used in the comments section of the recipe. We all want to know! And if you haven’t yet, be sure to check out the other 36 installments of Baking Together!


Kitchen Notes


  • Oil AND butter? For waffles with a crispy outside and a tender, flavorful interior, I use a combination of neutral-flavored oil and melted, unsalted butter along with buttermilk and vanilla extract. The oil helps the waffles cook up with a delicate crispy exterior and the butter lends its flavor to these lightly sweetened waffles.
  • Get to know your waffle iron. Waffle irons come in many sizes and shapes, so the amount of batter needed as well as the cooking times will vary. My best advice is to read through the instruction manual and plan on doing a test batch or two. (Don’t forget to mark down your ideal amount and timing so you are ready to go for the next time.) Your early tests might be mishappen or slightly over/under cooked but they will still be delicious. When cooking, resist peeking! Keep the lid closed as long as you can for the best, even cooking.  
  • Brush with oil. Some waffle makers recommend lightly greasing the grids every few waffles to keep them from sticking. If recommended, I suggest using neutral oil instead of butter as the latter will burn. 
  • Make them ahead or hold them in a warm oven. Waffles can be kept warm in a 225°F oven while you finish making the whole batch. Leftover waffles can be cooled completely, stacked, wrapped, and refrigerated for up to 1 day before reheating in a microwave (for soft waffles) or in a toaster/toaster oven (for crisper waffles). They can also be frozen in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag for up to 1 month and pulled out one at a time for a last-minute breakfast or snack.


Flavor variations


Add to the batter along with the buttermilk mixture 1 or up to 1/2 cup of two of the following:

  • 1/3 cup (7/8 ounce) sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) finely chopped nuts
  • 1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) diced ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup (3 ounces) finely chopped or mini chip chocolate (bittersweet, semisweet, or white)