Since first messing with waffle iron a couple of summers ago, I’ve become a bit obsessed with making a perfect waffle. I logically know there’s no such thing—in art and food and the art of food, everything is subjective—but I keep trying.
My cornmeal waffles are pretty good and so are my mix-and-go vegan oatmeal waffles, but my Sour Cream Waffles are outstanding. They’re my favorites of the bunch—super easy, with no whipping of egg whites and perfect ratios of crispness and fluff every time. I am really proud of that recipe and honestly didn’t think I could do better, until I started fiddling with these Yeasted Oatmeal Waffles a year ago. I began with Marion Cunningham’s Yeast-Raised Waffles one day, and then somehow a bag of oats got involved, and many Saturday morning breakfasts later, here we are. These are my new gold standard.
Yeasted Oatmeal Waffles are fluffy inside, crispy outside, and have a surprisingly complex, borderline-savory flavor profile on their own (but pair incredibly well with maple syrup). They don’t really taste whole grain, which is shocking as oats are the primary ingredient. Oh, and if you use gluten-free rolled oats, they’re naturally gluten-free, too. No unusual flours required—just a blender and some time.
If you’re scratching your head at the “yeasted” part of this recipe, wondering why you’d ever put yeast in waffles when baking powder and baking soda seem to do just fine…well, that’s fair. But the thing is, the yeast doesn’t just do lifting here; it adds flavor, too. By blending the batter up the night before and then letting it rise in the refrigerator, you’re allowing that yeast to start fermenting, and that results in deep, rich, slightly sour, nearly-savory flavor that simply can’t happen with a regular mix-and-go waffle recipe. It’s divine.
After a chilly night’s rest, the batter will have puffed and firmed up a bit in the fridge, just like any other yeast-based overnight recipe. You should know that it won’t look particularly nice, but that’s okay because we’re not after beautiful batter—we’re here for gorgeous waffles! When your iron is hot, whisk some eggs, water and baking soda into the chilled batter, and then get waffling.
This part, you know how to do. Pour the batter in, close the iron, and let it do its thing until the steam dissipates. Don’t let any built-in green lights tell you what to do; the lack of steam will be your signal that your waffles are perfectly crisp outside and light inside!
The recipe is written to make enough waffles for 4-6 people, but…like…good luck sharing them. This is a recipe to double and freeze for a rainy day, when you just need a good waffle. Because these, y’all? They’re good waffles. Easy, whole grain, gluten-free, crispy, fluffy and oh-so-delicious—I’m going to go ahead and say it: they’re my new gold standard. And they just might be yours, too.
Yeasted Oatmeal Waffles
about 24 4-inch waffles
The night before:
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
2 2/3 cups old-fashioned oats (certified gluten-free for gluten-free)
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 cups milk of choice (I used whole)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
The next morning:
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup lukewarm water
melted butter or cooking spray, for waffle iron
pure maple syrup
fresh seasonal fruit
The night before, proof the yeast. In a small bowl, stir together warm water and sugar until sugar has dissolved. Sprinkle yeast over the top and let sit until bubbly, 5-10 minutes. If your yeast doesn’t foam or bubble, it’s dead. Get new yeast and start again.
Add yeast mixture to a blender, followed by oats, salt, milk and melted butter. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. This takes my blender about 2 minutes.
Pour mixture into a medium mixing bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, a minimum of 8 and up to 24 hours. The batter should double in volume, but may collapse slightly when you move the bowl.
The next morning, preheat the waffle iron. Preheat oven to 200F. Place a cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet.
Uncover refrigerated batter. Whisk in baking soda and eggs, followed by water. Batter may have some visible oat bits—this is normal and will not affect texture.
Grease waffle iron with melted butter or cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cup of the waffle batter into each well of the iron and close the top. Let cook until steam dissipates and the waffles are turning golden, about 6-7 minutes.
Transfer cooked waffles to the prepared rack-over-pan and place in the oven to keep warm. Re-grease the waffle iron and cook remaining batter.
Serve waffles with butter, warmed maple syrup, and seasonal fruit, if desired. Enjoy immediately.
Leftovers may be layered with parchment, placed in a freezer bag, and frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat in the toaster.