Our Favorite Outside-the-Box Waffle Topping Ideas

Definitely waffle over these ideas!

October 11, 2019
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Whether you’re gearing up for a long weekend or looking to spice up a regular day, waffles are an ideal breakfast treat. Classic toppings such as butter, syrup and fruit have their place on the table, but whether your tastes skew savory or sweet, there are plenty of other ways to jazz up your morning (or evening!) waffle. Get inspired with these waffle toppings, then set up a waffle topping bar and get ready to spread, dip and drizzle till your heart’s content. Your move, pancakes.

To spread, schmear and slather

Butter is a classic waffle-topper but it’s even better to make compound sweet butter, like Katie’s Sweet Fruit Compound Butter, infused with blackberry jam and fresh mint, or Jeff’s Sweet and Hot Maple-Cinnamon Compound Butter, kicked up with red pepper flakes. Then there are the fruit butters, like this seasonally on-point Homemade Apple Butter or Trisha’s creamy apple-butter-yogurt.

Peanut, almond and cashew butters add a creamy protein boost, plus they melt nicely into the grooves when slathered onto a warm waffle. There are plenty of great jarred versions on store shelves but try making your own nut butter, and you’ll never look back. Master this Basic Almond Butter recipe, then riff with different nuts and flavor add-ins, like this Vanilla-Coconut Cashew Butter. Get your chocolate fix with Giada’s Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Spread.

Cream cheese isn’t just for bagels. Your favorite schmear also lays a smooth foundation to your morning waffle. Channel your favorite New York deli with Ina’s smoked salmon spread, or instead of whipped cream cheese, try making your own cheese spread like homemade ricotta cheese.

To spoon, scatter and sprinkle

Toppings such as fruit, nuts and granola add another layer of flavor and texture to your treasure trove of toppings. Sneak in a serving of fruit by spooning Trisha’s Rainbow Fruit Salsa, Bobby’s sautéed cider apples, roasted pears or Ellie’s Blueberry Compote on top. For crunch, try scattering your waffle with a handful of coconut flakes, toasted nuts or homemade granola. Take things firmly into dessert territory with a sprinkling of mini chocolate chips or rainbow confetti.

To drizzle, dip and dollop

When it comes to maple syrup, buy the best pure maple syrup that you can afford (there’s a lot of imitation stuff out there!). You can also get creative and make your own syrups, like Ree’s orange-vanilla syrup, which she pairs with fruit salad, or Bobby’s ginger syrup, a perfect complement to tropical fruit salad (we’ll get to fruit as a topping in a minute).

Anything that you’d drizzle over pancakes, you can add to waffles. Try Ree’s blueberry syrup, an Amaretto syrup or this easy strawberry syrup recipe, which calls for strawberry jelly and elderflower liqueur (fancy!). You can also mine the ice cream topping aisle for inspiration—whip up your own Homemade Chocolate Syrup, Homemade Butterscotch Sauce or Hot Fudge Sauce, then take your waffle a la mode while you’re at it.

A wreath of whipped cream is always a nice finish, but you can up the ante by making your own or infusing it with citrus, as in Bobby’s lemon-ricotta-cream-topped waffles (pictured). A dollop of yogurt works well too, particularly when combined with one of our other favorite sweet toppers, honey. Try Ina’s vanilla-bean-spiked honey-vanilla yogurt or Bobby’s raspberry-honey yogurt.

To take things savory

You don’t always need to think sweet when it comes to your waffle masterpieces. Chicken-and-waffles are a brunch classic, and we love how the buttermilk-brined chicken in this Fried Chicken and Waffles recipe makes it extra juicy (don’t forget hot sauce and honey for drizzling). This croque madame-inspired waffle (pictured up top) — the base has Gruyère and ham folded into the batter—is crowned with a perfect runny-yolk fried egg that’s cooked on the waffle iron for extra-crispy edges.

Who says waffles are only for morning meals? Damaris’ Semolina and Sun-Dried Tomato Waffle-Pizzas are the ultimate weeknight dinner hack, while Valerie’s "Everything" Savory Potato Waffles with Smoked Salmon could double as a cocktail-party-ready hors d’oeuvre.

Food Network Kitchen’s Paleo Pumpkin Waffles.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz

Matt Armendariz

Waffle recipe inspo

And while you’re at it, don’t sleep on a great waffle recipe. Here are a few favorites.

These Classic Crispy Waffles call for basic pantry ingredients like flour, baking soda, sugar and eggs, which means you can whip up golden-crisp waffles anytime.

Live your best breakfast of champions life with these heart-healthy Multigrain Waffles, made with a trio of grains including whole wheat pastry flour, cornmeal and rolled oats.

Double-down on the savory factor by mastering this savory waffle recipe and riffing on it with add-in combinations like smoked salmon and chives or goat cheese and kale.

Ina’s thick Overnight Belgian Waffles are destined for leisurely weekend breakfasts, and their sturdy shape makes them ideal for piling on the toppings.

If you’re craving a certain famous waffle-centric chain’s signature dish, try recreating them at home with our Almost-Famous Pecan Waffles.

These Whole-Wheat Vegan Waffles are so crisp and airy that you’d never guess that they’re dairy- and egg-free.

Pumpkin puree gives these Paleo Pumpkin Waffles (pictured) their deep flavor, while coconut flour and coconut oil keep ‘em paleo-friendly.

Crisp and Airy Gluten-Free Waffles, made with rice, chickpea flour and tapioca flours, live up to their name thanks to the addition of egg whites.

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