freshly made waffles, a stack

How to Create the Perfect Waffle Batter Consistency (+ Orange Zest Waffle Recipe)

Orange zest is an ingredient I tended to leave out of a recipe since I often didn’t have oranges in the house. However, once I learned how to make my own orange zest extract, it’s more of a staple in my kitchen. As a result, I add it to lots of things all the time. And even though orange zest extract isn’t always as powerful as fresh orange extract, it surely spices things up. The extra flavour dimension really works!

Recently, I was working on making waffles again and thus came up with the combination of orange zest and waffles. It’s a great combination. In the meantime I’ve been perfecting my waffle making skills some more and know better now what type of waffle batter consistency to look for. Whereas previously we learned we can make waffles without flipping the waffle iron (I previously thought this wasn’t possible), this time we’ll learn about the batter consistency of a waffle!

These two posts combined should give you the fundamentals of some proper waffle making skills.

Waffle & pancake batters

With a waffle iron it’s super easy to make your own waffles, without a box, just from regular staples in your kitchen. Making waffles is actually quite similar to making pancakes. It’s easy to vary recipes, as long as you know what to look for in a batter. These batters are quite liquid and easier to make than most doughs for the simple reasons that wisking together the ingredients is enough to make the batter. There is not specific order of adding ingredients, there’s not a certain amount of whisking that you should (or shouldn’t do).

Just add the dry ingredients, mix, add the liquid ingredients and mix again! You could even add everything at once and it will probably still turn out fine (doing it in two steps is easier, especially when it comes to larger quantities).

Waffle batter consistencies

For thick American-style pancakes the batter we’re looking for tends to be a little thick, but it should still be able to flow into a flat pancake where it’s poured in a pan. It should also be pourable. Equal amounts of flour & milk tend to work well to get a good consistency and the slightly thick American style pancake. For French crepes on the other hand the batter should be very liquid, you should be able to pour it in a very thin layer.

For waffles I discovered that the batter should be slightly thicker than that of pancakes. The waffle iron itself will push the batter down, it doesn’t have to do so by itself. The fact that it’s slightly thicker will also give a more flluffy, airy pancake. Whereas for a pancake it’s really hard to properly bake both sides of a pancakes, that’s a lot easier for a waffle since the iron heats from both sides. Also, this slightly thicker batter will give a more fluffy pancake due to two other reasons:

  1. A very liquid batter will make it easy for air bubbles to escape. So instead of the leavening agent pushing the batter upwards, it air will just escape.
  2. Not a lot of water can evaporate during waffle baking since the moisture is caught within the waffle iron. That will make it more dense and less airy.

Dough for making waffles?

I’ve seen waffles being made from a doughy like consistency, instead of a batter. If I’m correct that was in Belgium and they seem to understand waffle making quite well. It’s something I’ll try out in the future for sure. I assume that those doughs contain some fat that will melt during baking (thus soften the dough) and that the force of the waffle iron is enough to spread it out.

Waffles made with a great waffle batter with the consistency we were looking for.

Does waffle batter require butter?

No and yes. No, you can make perfectly fine waffles without any oil or butter inside. However, the tendency of the waffles to stick to the waffle iron will be higher. Adding a little butter to the batter will prevent that. If you don’t want butter (or margarine or oil) in your waffles, there’s two other options: lightly grease the waffle iron in between batches or add a little bit of fat just before making the last waffle. That will help clean the iron and make sure it releases perfectly fine!

How to add inclusions to a waffle batter?

If the things you’d like to put into waffles don’t affect the waffle batter (nut pieces, raisins, some coconut flakes) adding some is just fine. Make sure you don’t overdo it, so for 150g of flour, you might want to add 25g of inclusions. If you see you’ve added too much causing it to affect the batter consistency, add some more milk (if it’s become too dry) or flour (if it’s become too liquid).

Inclusions that might release of lot of moisture (mostly fruits) might require a little less liquid in the waffles. If the fruit however, doesn’t really release a lot of moisture (or only very locally), no need to adjust the batter.

If in doubt, make a plain waffle first to see how the batter behaves, add the inclusions, make another waffle. Compare the plain with the filled waffle and correct from there. Good luck!

Orange zest waffles

These waffles don’t have to be flipped, but they do contain some great flavours. The recipe was inspired by the Farmers Girl Kitchen blog of whom I used the recipe to get started. She calls them hot cross waffles, since the spices are based on the English hot cross buns. However, I would probably call them orange zest waffles, since I’m not that used to hot cross buns.

freshly made waffles, a stack

Hot cross waffles

Yield: 6 medium sized waffles
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This recipe consists of a basic recipe with a bunch of optional ingredients. You can add none or all of the optional ingredients.


  • 150g flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 15g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 160 ml milk


  • lemon & orange zest (1/4 of an orange a/o lemon - or use 1 tsp of extract of both)
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spices (approximately equal amounts of cinnamon, ginger, cloves)
  • 25g raisins (soak the raisins in some water for 15 minutes or longer)
  • 20g melted butter (main function of the butter is to prevent it from sticking to the waffle iron, no butter at all will make it more prone to sticking, you can also make your waffles without any butter and add a few grams of oil or liquid margarine to the last portion to clean the waffle iron, worked great for me)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder + optional dry ingredients)
  2. Add all liquid ingredients, except for the milk (thus, egg + optional wet ingredients such as butter & extracts), whisk it through. The batter will still be very dry.
  3. Add almost all the milk and whisk through until all the clumps are gone.
  4. Mix in the rest of the milk. The batter should still be quite thick.
  5. Take a waffle iron and choose the appropriate temperature settings (I used 3/4 heat), this differs per waffle iron.
  6. Fill the waffle iron and bake the waffles until they're a golden brown.

Another tip for orange zest. Have you ever tried minced meat spiced with cinnamon and, yes, orange zest (extract)! It’s a great combination I found in the book Greek by George Calombaris. It really lifts up the meat!

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    • Hi Louise,

      Thanks for your question! There’s a few things that might be going on:

      • Is your waffle iron heating your waffle from both sides? Is it working properly?
      • Is your waffle iron one that has to be flipped? For instance, if you’re using a waffle iron on the stove, you will need to flip it to ensure both sides are hot enough
      • Once you’ve checked that and everything is fine, have you filled your iron enough? It is important that you fill the iron with enough batter that the batter touches both sides of the iron. If it doesn’t touch one side, it won’t brown and heat enough. Your batter will expand when you poor it into the iron, so don’t fill it up completely, but enough for the expanded waffle to touch the top.
      • Hope that helps!

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