Flour, Milk, Sugar, Eggs, Salt, Vanilla. The many varieties of waffles comes from the additives to the batter, or toppings added when served. Other than that, they are basically the same.
The batter should have regularity similar to gravy. This may call for more or less of the milk called for in the recipe. Only experience will tell you when it looks right. Don't worry though; you will still get good waffles. They just may be a little thin if your batter is too thin. And if too thick, they will be a little chewy, but still good.
Many recipes call for a little oil in the batter. Some do not. You should always put about 1/2 tablespoon of oil (cooking oil/vegetable oil) in your batter. It helps develop the outer crust. It does not matter if you make your waffles crisp and crusty or if you cook them soft like pancakes, the oil is needed.
DO NOT BEAT THE BATTER VIGOROUSLY! This makes tough, chewy waffles. Gently stir the batter only long enough to thoroughly moisten the dry ingredients. Do not worry about the small lumps in the batter. You will never know they were there after the waffles are cooked.
Your Waffle Iron (Griddle):
This may seem to be a "no brainer", but I have seen so many people pour their batter in a waffle iron that they turned on 1 minute earlier. The batter will not rise properly in an iron that is not fully up to temp. You will get heavy, flat waffles. Most waffle irons today have lights that tell you when the iron has reached cooking temperature. If you do not have such lights on your waffle iron, be sure to allow it to heat up at least ten minutes.
Manufacturers of waffle irons direct you not to use cooking spray on your iron. Yes, I know, it is suitable and it seems to work well to prevent sticking, but the manufacturer’s state that, over time, spray will damage the non-stick surface of your griddle. Instead, you should use a vegetable oil (Crisco works well). Just take a basting brush or a paper towel and cover the surface lightly with oil. Your waffle iron will last much longer and Crisco seems to make a better crust on the waffles.
Vanilla and Sugar:
Unless you are making some exotic, jalapeno waffle, always add a touch of sugar and a little vanilla to your batter. Many recipes do not list sugar or vanilla in their ingredients. But it will add that little extra "something" you can not identify...and it is so good.
No matter what kind of waffles you are making, always add beaten egg whites. You can add the yolks or not, but beaten egg whites are necessary to light waffles. The egg whites should be beaten until stiff (like whipped cream) and then gently folded into the batter as the last step.
Check our recipes and use these few easy tips and your next waffles will be the "best" waffles.