Thursday, July 29, 2010

How To Make Gluten-Free Waffles: A Beginner's Guide

I looked at the calendar today and saw a note I'd written months ago on today's date: July 29th, 2010. One year gluten-free. This is not actually a year from the day I first started eating gluten-free. Rather, it was a year ago today that I stopped eating gluten for the second time, this time with the knowledge that it was a necessary and permanent life change for me. I just reread my post from that day...well, skimmed it really. Reading old posts feels like reading old diary entries; it's somewhat embarrassing and not something I do if I can avoid it. But I was struck by what I wrote. During the three weeks I stuffed gluten into my body in order to get tested for Celiac Disease, I became increasingly despondent and felt unable to handle even the smallest hurdles. On July 29th of last year, I wrote that I was depressed and had cried already once that day. But I also wrote of my hope for myself going forward. I knew by then the effect gluten had on me, and I couldn't wait to get it out of my system. I was ready, I wrote, for my gluten-free life.

Jump ahead a year, and I find my life has changed in ways I never expected. I can't attribute them all to eating gluten-free of course, but I know I would not be here today if I hadn't made that change. Be where? On my way to starting my MS in nutrition at Bastyr University. Preparing to move across the country. Finishing the last of my seven needed science courses (this is a huge one for me, since I was always convinced I could not handle science). Singing to myself in the car, smiling for no reason other than the sight of the bright blue sky, learning to let go, bit by tiny bit. And making waffles. Always, there are waffles. 

Coconut Waffles
Apple Cinnamon Waffles
Quinoa Zucchini Waffles
Savory Potato Waffles


Learning to bake gluten-free can be so trying sometimes that once I discovered how easy waffles were, I began making them regularly and freezing them for a quick breakfast or snack. When I want my bread fix, but don't have the time or energy to make it, waffles are my answer. I have a basic template that I follow, and I've found that within those guidelines, I can play around all I want, and still always come up with a tasty treat. 

(UPDATE 11/26/11: Click here for my updated and improved vegan pancake and waffle guide.)

Here are my rules for making gluten-free waffles: 
  1. Start with 1 cup of a mediumweight flour, such as amaranth, sorghum, or millet. You can use all one type of flour or mix two or more together. For a heartier waffle, try replacing some of the flour with a heavyweight flour such as almond flour or buckwheat.
  2. Add in 3/4 cup of starch, such as tapioca or potato starch. Again, you can use all one kind or do a mix. If you want a lighter waffle, you can increase the starch and decrease the mediumweight flour. For a healthier, whole-grain waffle, increase the flour and decrease the starch. Either way, you should end up with 1 3/4 cups total of flour and starch. 
  3. Add 2 tsp. baking powder and 1/2-1 tsp. salt. Whisk the dry ingredients together. 
  4. For your wet ingredients, you have a lot of options. You want to start with 1/4 cup of pureed fruit, applesauce, oil, or melted butter/Earth Balance. I'm pretty sure yogurt would work well here too, although I haven't tried it myself. If I'm thinking healthy, I go with applesauce or pureed fruit. For savory waffles, I use canola oil. For a richer taste, I would go with melted Earth Balance. 
  5. Next, eggs. I've tried the same recipes with and without an egg, and I barely notice a difference. In fact, in some cases, they taste better without the egg. I add one in for extra protein, but if you want to skip it, go ahead. 
  6. Liquid. You'll need 1 3/4 cup of liquid, although you may need more or less depending on the types of flour you use. You can use water, any type of milk including coconut milk, even fruit juice in some cases. You can use all one or a combination, although if you're using fruit juice, I recommend mixing it with water or coconut milk to dilute the flavor. 
  7. Optional add-ins: If you're planning on drizzling your waffles with maple syrup, they don't need to be that sweet, so 1 Tbsp. of honey/agave nectar/maple syrup should be plenty. You can also skip that and chop up some fresh or dried fruit to add in. Chopped walnuts and pecans, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, even sesame seeds (in a savory waffle) add a nice texture. Play around with spices and herbs: cinnamon is wonderful in a sweet waffle. Fresh dill, basil and garlic powder go well in savory waffles.  
  8. This should make 4-6 servings (2 squares each).

Because that was long, I'll summarize: 
1 cup medium weight flour
3/4 cup starch
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2-1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup applesauce, melted butter, oil, etc.
1 egg (optional)
1 3/4 cup water, milk, fruit juice, etc. (update: start with 1/2 cup liquid and increase by the quarter cup until you reach the consistency you want)
optional: chopped nuts, fruit, seeds, spices, and herbs

Whisk dry ingredients. Whisk wet ingredients into dry. Pour onto (greased) waffle iron. Take off waffle iron. Don't burn your fingers doing so. Enjoy.

Cinnamon Mochi Waffles 

I'm calling these Mochi Waffles because the pureed banana gives them a chewiness that reminds me of mochi, despite the fact that there is no rice flour in this recipe. I was sent a case of POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice to try (thank you!), and I think it adds flavor and depth to the waffles, but if you don't have that, a different juice, such as cranberry or apple juice, would probably work as well.

Mochi Waffles
Print-Friendly Option

1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup amaranth flour
3/4 cup tapioca starch
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup mashed or pureed very ripe banana (about 1/2 large banana)
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice

  1. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. 
  2. Whisk wet ingredients in a separate bowl. 
  3. Whisk wet ingredients into dry. 
  4. Spoon evenly onto waffle iron and cook, in batches, according to the iron's instructions. Be sure to grease your waffle iron first because the banana makes it more likely to stick than other waffles.
Serves 4
(2 squares each)

Best of The Blogosphere: Favorite Gluten-Free Waffle Recipes
Coconut Waffles
Apple Cinnamon Waffles
Quinoa Zucchini Waffles 
Savory Potato Waffles
Quinoa Flake Waffles from Celiac Teen  
Dairy-Free Waffles at The Mommy Bowl  
Belgian Waffles at The Gluten-Free Homemaker 
Dairy-Free Belgian Waffles at Giddy Up Gluten Free

If you have a waffle recipe you love, or if you use these guidelines to make a waffle recipe, you can leave the url for the post in the comments and I'll add your link here.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Food on Fridays, Foodie Friday, Vegetarian Foodie Friday, and Wholesome Whole Foods.


hunterslyonesse said...

Thank you, Iris! I've been wanting to try to make gluten-free pancakes and waffles, but haven't had the gumption to try. I like the how to and ratios you gave. It will help a lot since I like to experiment!

saxifrage said...

One word: yum! I miss having a waffle maker... it's been quite some time since I ate a freshly prepared one (long before my GF days began!).

And I'm glad you were able to take some time to reflect; it's a beautiful thing when you take the time to examine where you're at with regard to where you've been, and you realize that in your life, things are only getting better ;-)

Jenn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) said...

Those waffles look delicious! I haven't tried very much GF baking, but these recipes sure inspire me to. :)


ellie rose said...

Wow thanks so much Iris! This is the perfect guide, just what I needed! I always worry since I can never find soughum flour and I don't know if that matters, but now I can try it without
Thanks again! xx

Alea said...

This is a brilliant tutorial! I love to play with ingredients, so I really appreciate the guidelines you laid out.

Juanita said...

Those look really professional! Apple-ishness and cinnamon are a fave combo of mine. We don't really do "waffles made with waffle irons" here in SA, but we do make flapjacks, and your first recipe looks like it'll translate nicely to the pan i.t.o. its stick-together-ableness (yay potato starch). Looking forward to trying it out!

Deanna said...

Must be a waffle kind of time - I posted a recipe just last week. It's fairly similar to yours, even!

briogusto said...

It has been a busy year for you! I think you have been brave, and from all I can tell, have handled your changes with a wonderful poise and grace.

I can't wait to hear about your time at Bastyr (and to talk about it when we MEET UP! Seattle's only about 2.5 hrs away!).


Deanna said...

I also failed to say Happy 1 year anniversary! That's a big deal! Congratulations!

Valerie @ City|Life|Eats said...

Great tutorial. I am wondering how amaranth and teff might play together, since those are the flours I have handy in those weights. Must try this out.

Iris said...

Valerie, teff is the one flour I haven't had great results with in waffles (they turned out bitter), but I've seen a lot of teff waffle recipes, so I'm sure it can be done with the right recipe.

April@The 21st Century Housewife said...

So glad being gluten free has worked out so well for you :) Although I'm not, I have to say your waffles sounds wonderful!! Thanks for sharing them.

Chelsey said...

Give me waffles! Or what I need is an actual waffle maker. Your recipe looks scrumptious (or should I say recipes). I bought some frozen gf waffles that are pretty good, but nothing beats those hot off the press freshies. Can I come over for breakfast?!!!

Iris said...

Of course, Chelsey! I think we should invite Lauren and her pancakes too!

Melodie said...

Oh my goodness I am in waffle heaven here. Thanks so much for linking up at Vegetarian Foodie Fridays I hope you'll come again!

gfe--gluten free easily said...

What a fabulous tutorial, Iris! Love that second photo. Huge congrats on your one-year anniversary and the gains it's brought you, as well as all the other great stuff in your life! ;-)


Stephanie said...

Can you believe that I have never made waffles?! I know crazy! I got a waffle iron as a wedding gift over 5 years ago and it is still in the box in a tub in our new home. I think I need to open that and get started... thanks for your wisdom!

Much love!

Tasty Eats At Home said...

Congrats on 1 year. It's such a big journey, isn't it? Great to look back on how your life has changed in that year, and what you're moving towards!

Aubree Cherie said...


Seriously. I can't look at these fabulous recipes and not do anything about it anymore. I'm going to keep my eyes open for sales!

I specifically am dying to try the apple cinnamon ones. Any of them look fantastic though. *sigh*

~Aubree Cherie

WendyGK said...

Our last waffle maker died after many, many uses. You've convinced me that I need another one. Congrats again on winning my giveaway. Your package is on its way.

Linda said...

Congratulations on your 1 year anniversary. I love waffles and having a basic recipe like that is a great idea. Here's my favorite waffle recipe:

Ricki said...

Great, great tips--and I love recipes like this, where so many items can be adapted! Your waffles look perfect, too. :)

Maddy said...

Hi Iris, Thanks so very, very much for posting those ratios! I tried making waffles tonight with 1 cup sorghum flour, 1 cup tapioca starch, 1/4 cup applesauce, 1 3/4 cup vanilla coconut milk, and a dash of vanilla and cinnamon (with the remaining ingredients in the amounts you listed in your basic recipe).

I was pleased to see that they browned and baked well and were crispy -- in short, they behaved like "real" waffles. Taste was a little bland before I added maple syrup, but of course they tasted great after :) Next time I'll experiment more with additives. The taste and texture were both much better than a couple of commercial GF mixes I tried last weekend!

Iris said...

@Maddy, thanks so much for your comment! I'm glad you enjoyed them! Maybe try adding in some grated apple or mashed banana for extra flavor?

catering Fort Lauderdale said...

Sharing your recipe for gluten free waffles sure is a very good move to spread the awareness. Especially these days, it is important to eat healthy. Children and adults alike should be eating right. Glad to hear that avoiding gluten in your diet has been a positive life change for you.

Anonymous said...

I used sorghum flour and almond flour, egg replacer, Almond milk and coconut flour, honey. Unfortunalely they got stuck to the waffle maker, but the parts what came of tasted pretty good. Any tips what I could have done wrong. Could it be the sorghum flour, because I made waffles with almond flour already before and they came out fine?

Iris said...

Anon, that's a good question. Without knowing all the ingredients and amounts, I can't really say, but if you want to e-mail me your recipe, I can take a look at it. When I wrote this post, I had never used almond or coconut flour before, and after using them, I realize they work pretty differently from most other flours. Almond flour requires A LOT less liquid, so that could have been the problem. But again, it's hard to say without seeing all the ingredients and amounts. Also, I've never had a problem just leaving out the egg, so you might try it without the egg replacer and it could work fine.

Adrienne @ Whole New Mom said...

I will have to try this, Iris. I have had so many waffle recipes flop. I almost always use only whole grains and no eggs - I wonder which one is creating the problem? They stick like crazy and I end up giving up in frustration and making pancakes. Which do you think is the problem? Is one of your recipes a shoe in? Have you ever made them whole grain? One person said it was the eggs and I needed to use a flax sub as I typically use an MYO egg replacer. Ugh.

glutwin said...

Could you possibly recommend a certain type of waffle-maker?...I need to purchase a new my old one was given away..and I really want to try your gf creations!..

Here in France, we have a choice between a fairly shallow cavity-type...a deep cavity Belgian Waffle-type...heart-shaped "round" wafflers..silicone "put in the oven to bake" type waffles....and the Kitchen Aid "pro-type" which turns the waffle (it is round)??...So many choices!!...

My old one had the deep Belgian cavities..but does a certain type affect the texture/taste in a more positive/different way?...Thanks in advance for any insight!

Iris said...

Glutwin- I don't know too much about different waffle makers. I have a Cuisinart round waffle maker.

Also, instead of using this recipe, go to my updated post. You'll find the tweaked recipe there works even better, and lots of comments there to give you advice.


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