The Difference Between Waffles and Pancakes

The Difference Between Waffles and Pancakes


If there’s a big, fat lie in waffledom, it’s that good waffles can be made from pancake batter. Sure, pancakes and waffles both contain eggs, flour and leavening, and they’re both served for breakfast. But differences abound.

— Pancakes may be brown on the outside, but they’re floppy, soft and spongy, with an interior that looks a lot like cake.

— Waffles, on the other hand, are crisp on the outside and light on the inside, like beignets, funnel cakes, hush puppies or doughnuts. In short, waffles are fried, only instead of being immersed in hot oil, they are encased in hot-oil-covered metal.

A few points about waffle batter:

Waffle batter contains a higher percentage of sugar (for caramelization) than pancake.

Waffle batter includes a bit more fat (for a crisp exterior) than pancake.

Even with all of this knowledge concentrate, I don’t think one breakfast item is better than the other, so make both:

34 Comments

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  1. 1
    K

    I just bought a belgian waffle maker and used pancake batter to make the waffles. They came out delicious, crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside.

  2. 2
    Maz

    I’m now confused – I live in the uk and an American friend gave me a pack of USA pancake/waffle mix, the only difference in added ingredients is the amount- doesn’t say add sugar for waffles?!?!?!? So u lovely ppl from USA, can u just tell me pls if I should add sugar b4 I pour it into my waffle machine? Or just start from scratch and make my own waffle mixture – if so, any recipes would be very helpful.
    Many thanks
    Xx

  3. 7
    Charles

    Waffles and pancakes are truly different. I have eaten waffles for years at Denny’s and today I had one that was awful (or, is that offal?). Anyway, the mixes are not interchangeable. Try making a “fluffy” pancake on a waffle iron and you will taste the difference.

  4. 10
    NorthernExposure

    Brilliant. Just what I needed from my favorite source. (Renea, work on those critical thinking skills.)

  5. 11
    Renea

    This stuff everybody should already know or find it out easily!!! I wanted to know the difference but y’all just talked about waffles !!!

    ~SO DISAPPOINTED

    • 12
      Meghan

      Ok Renea – how about this.

      Pancake batter has a lower percentage of sugar than waffle batter, thus pancakes will be less caramelized.
      Pancake batter has a little bit less fat than waffle batter, thus pancakes are softer while waffles are crispier.

  6. 14
    Chelse

    This is very nicely done. Though it was written all about the common since of the matter (Things we already know or could EASILY find out.) .

  7. 15
    Paul T Huxford

    i too was disappointed. i really want to know the difference between cake batter and waffle batter. you see this company sold me some mix that was suppose to be sweet cake donut mix. it is our waffle company. well i know what cake donuts are suppose to look and taste like and was pretty made when these tasted and looked like waffles. LOL and i paid 20.00 more a case for something i could have just made out of the mix they was already selling me lol

  8. 17
    jayant

    Although you provided a lot of information but as being a chef I didn’t find any technical difference that I was looking for…..but a good try by the author

    • 22
      pip

      Have you not made hash browns or other things in a waffle iron? Definitely not a uni-tasker. Especially if you want something with crispy edges.

    • 25
      Meghan

      Waffle Irons are excellent for brownies and cornbread – lots of crispy edges. You have to time it differently, it is not just a “wait for the beep” type of thing.
      My absolute favourite Thanksgiving leftover is to mix chopped turkey and veg into dressing/stuffing. I add about one egg per batch (if I’m filling the iron once, one egg; filling the iron twice, two eggs). Lots of butter on the iron and for my model it is about two waffle cycles. Meanwhile heat up leftover cranberry sauce with maple syrup. Yum!
      My sister likes to make French Toast – extra thick sliced bread, really soak in custard, and give the lid a good squish.

  9. 26
    suzi

    If I were to want to substitute the pastry and all purpose flours for a low carb flour; what would you recommend? Or a combination of flours e.g. coconut and almond etc. I realize its gluten we looking for, but can a good substitute not be found?

  10. 30
    Amy

    I recently made liege waffles with Belgian pearl sugar on a very heavy cast iron waffle iron. I’m pretty sure I was in heaven. No need for butter or syrup, they were perfect on their own!

  11. 31
    Natalie

    @Sam – every Belgian waffle recipe I’ve tried has been more of a dough than a batter and they have pearls of sugar in them. The sugar pearls carmalize on the outside forming a thin shell around the waffle and they crystallize on the inside creating little bits of deliciousness. I’ve tried a few different recipes but none have been as good as the one I had on the streets of Brussels.
    @Alton, do you have a good recipe for traditional Belgian Waffles?!?!

    • 33
      mike

      The apple slice has some cinnamon sugar sprinkled on it, and microwaved for about 15 seconds, so it’s cooked through by the time the pancake is cooked.

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