Tips & Techniques

Genius Crispy, Fluffy (Vegan) Waffles with a Very Strange Secret Ingredient

April 27, 2016

Moms, listen up: This recipe will avenge every time your kids scoffed when you mixed in the healthy cereal with the sugary stuff, every time you enforced the TV rules, every time you made an unpopular decision about lima beans or BB guns or bedtime and stuck with it. I'm just going to say it: You were right.

And non-moms, stick around—you'll get some really great waffles out of it (and another good reason to call your mother).

As controversial as sneaking healthy ingredients into junky kid-foods may be (I've been known to throw stones myself), parents need to do what they need to do. And, in at least this one case, doing the unthinkable in the name of health led to a totally genius result.

Shop the Story

The unthinkable? Emptying an entire package of tofu into the waffle batter.

"This is a variation on the tofu waffles that my dear friend Shanti's mother would make us when we had sleepovers," Hannah Kirshner wrote when she published this recipe on her site Sweets and Bitters in 2013, "to get a little more protein into our growing tweenage bodies."

At the time, Shanti's mother would simply purée the tofu with soy milk and add it to Snoqualmie Falls pancake and waffle mix, and Kirshner says that you could do the same in any pancake or waffle recipe, replacing the liquid with liquified tofu.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Instead of coconut oil, I used ground flax seed and sprouted grain pancake and waffle mix (we have followed the Forks over Knives program for over 6 years, and one of the important tenets is no added oils). Yummy!”
— Cheryl J.

Or you could follow her tested and perfected recipe. Here's why you should:

Thanks to coconut oil, a little bit of sugar, and a little bit of lemon, the waffles taste well-toasted, lightly sweet, and faintly tangy in the manner of buttermilk or overnight yeasted waffles, and nothing like tofu, despite the fact that it's something like 60% of their genetic makeup.

But the sheer volume of tofu does miraculous things for their texture—the crust is crisp and sturdy, the interior is fluffy and a bit creamy without tasting raw or tofu-ish, and they have a slight, satisfying chew.

And unlike when you go out to brunch and receive but one flimsy Belgian waffle that obviously requires a side omelette, tofu waffles act like real food. Two will take care of you for the better part of the day. Not that you'll stop there.

Got a genius recipe to share—from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected]. Thank you to our Assistant Editor Caroline Lange for this one!

Photos by Bobbi Lin

Listen & Subscribe

From our new podcast network, The Genius Recipe Tapes is lifelong Genius hunter Kristen Miglore’s 10-year-strong column in audio form, featuring all the uncut gems from the weekly column and video series. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts so you don’t miss out.

Listen & Subscribe

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Chad
  • Joan Dorman Thomas
    Joan Dorman Thomas
  • Cheryl Jones Moore
    Cheryl Jones Moore
  • Melbeto
  • Suzy's Mom
    Suzy's Mom
I'm an ex-economist, lifelong-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007, before returning to the land of Dutch Crunch bread and tri-tip barbecues in 2020. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."


Chad May 13, 2016
What's the average number of waffles produced from this recipe as written?
Joan D. May 2, 2016
Obviously this is not healthy unless you use organic tofu.
Ignacio O. May 3, 2016
Cheryl J. May 1, 2016
These made delicious waffles! Thanks for the inspiration! I order the organic silken tofu by Mori Nu by the 12-pack and always have it on hand. Instead of coconut oil, I used ground flax seed and sprouted grain pancake and waffle mix (we have followed the Forks over Knives program for over 6 years, and one of the important tenets is no added oils). Yummy!
Melbeto May 1, 2016
I made these this morning on a regular waffle iron. My computer was so far away from my work space that I put in 1/2 tsp baking powder by mistake. When they were a little flat I realized I must have done something wrong. Plus, they were a bit pale. I added 1/2 tsp more baking powder and a tsp honey plus 1 tsp yoghurt and presto...nicely browned, crispy, and fluffy. We aren't that much for coconut oil so next time I think I will try a less flavorful one. But the lemon and tofu made a really nice waffle. Thank you! Always looking for more protein for the vegetarians in the family! I will make these again.
suziqcu October 20, 2019
I have found refined coconut oil does not taste "Coconutty" vs raw coconut oil.
Cheryl J. May 1, 2016
Try this link for some better information:
Janis D. May 1, 2016
Thank you! Also
suziqcu October 20, 2019 appears to have much scientific evidence based facts and I've been relying on it as a new vegan.
Suzy's M. May 1, 2016
A question: Belgium waffle maker or the thin kind? Or will it work for either?
Coco E. May 1, 2016
Just checking, because it is confusing to me too. Isn't almost all soy now genetically modified? And it seems it can be dangerous to consume, for women especially?(I hate when modern life wrecks beautiful childhood memories....)
priya May 1, 2016
if you buy organic tofu, it wont be
Carol April 29, 2016
What a great idea! I blended 12 oz of tofu with milk and a bit of water, then added it to my regular whole wheat waffle mix. Everyone liked it, including my picky four year old. I love the idea of adding protein to things he likes already!
Alexandra S. April 27, 2016
Very much looking forward to making these for my son, who loves waffles (your other Genius waffle recipe is the only recipe we make) and who is a peanut and needs every calorie he can get. These look so easy, too!
Jay April 27, 2016
That's a pretty lofty claim, Elisa. Got any peer-reviewed research to back it up?
Elisa L. April 30, 2016
Sure do, try this:
A real eye opener.
Janis D. May 1, 2016
ANd here is a more balanced sci making money off it:
Janis D. May 1, 2016
I hate my computer...And here is a more balanced scientific article from a source NOT making money off of it... .
Hannah May 1, 2016
So in short, you don't.
Andrea May 1, 2016
why do we as a society keep perpetuating these pointless and disproven myths
Elisa L. April 27, 2016
Soy is not a healthier add. Soy should not be consumed unless it has been fermented....period.
Andreas D. May 1, 2016
Thank you. Any recipe that tries and position soy as a healthy ingredient should be viewed with a healthy dose of suspicion.
priya May 1, 2016
you can also find sprouted tofu
Cate A. September 5, 2016
Guess it's a good thing tofu = fermented soy then huh?
Matt January 28, 2017
There's no solid data to suggest this claim is true. You should go to your public library and peruse through some peer reviewed literature of soy and phytoestrogens' effect on humans. Spoiler: there isn't a significant connection.
Andreea April 27, 2016
I'm a little bit suspicious of the claim that these don't taste of tofu at all given that they otherwise don't seem to have much flavour in them but will try them out over the weekend with a generous teaspoon of vanilla paste, we're always on the look out for a great vegan waffle recipe.