A Sort of Sweet, Sort of Savory, Multipurpose Waffle Recipe

Every cook should have a list of truly reliable recipes. These should be recipes that you know will turn out well consistently. They should make your family and friends happy. They should taste very, very good. Ideally, a few of these should be simple and straightforward: Dishes you can put together with pantry staples and without much time or fuss or mess.

Photo by Posie Harwood

For me, these sour cream cornmeal waffles fit the bill. Not only are they ridiculously quick and easy to whisk together (one bowl! no resting time!), they're delicious and satisfying. Sweet but not too sweet, you could just as easily serve them for dessert with ice cream as you could for breakfast on a lazy weekend morning. You could even leave out some of the sugar, add some herbs or spices, and make them savory as a base for roast chicken, or use its pieces as bread in a turkey sandwich.

I don't think one can have too many good waffle recipes. I have a few that I love: the classic overnight yeasted recipe, the very airy Genius recipe, the sweet almond paste-infused recipe, and so on.

Photo by Posie Harwood

What makes this particular recipe so good? First of all, it's wonderfully delicate and light. The waffles freeze beautifully, so you can keep a batch on hand and toast one (or two or three) as you want. The sour cream gives the batter a little tang and more flavor than most waffles. Cornmeal adds some texture. (You don't need to use cornmeal, but I like the slight crunch and texture it gives to the waffles. I prefer to use a more finely ground cornmeal, but a coarser one would work, just know that it'll give you more "grit.") For more complexity of flavor, I sweeten the waffles with half granulated sugar and half malted milk powder. Malted milk powder gives pancakes and waffles a distinctive sweetness that is reminiscent of diner-style pancakes. If you can't find it, use all sugar.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • homesweethomela
  • Byjiminy
  • Posie (Harwood) Brien
    Posie (Harwood) Brien
I like warm homemade bread slathered with fresh raw milk butter, ice cream in all seasons, the smell of garlic in olive oil, and sugar snap peas fresh off the vine.


homesweethomela November 20, 2019
for the malted milk powder, do you use diastatic or nondiastatic?? just learning about malted milk powder so i'm learning to decipher which is best to use for specific purposes.
Posie (. November 20, 2019
Actually for this recipe I use malted milk powder which is different than both! It’s sweetened. Non diastatic might work? But not diastatic which is what you want for bagels and breads.
Byjiminy May 9, 2017
Wow, I didn't know you could make a crunchy waffle with no butter!