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What is the difference between a Belgian waffle and a regular waffle?

Belgian waffles and regular waffles are both delicious breakfast treats, but they have some key differences in terms of ingredients, texture, taste, and preparation method. Understanding the differences can help you decide which type of waffle to enjoy depending on your preferences.


The main ingredients in both Belgian and regular waffles are very similar. They both contain:

  • Flour – Usually all-purpose flour, sometimes combined with cake flour or bread flour
  • Eggs
  • Milk or buttermilk
  • Leavening agents like baking powder, baking soda, or yeast
  • Sugar
  • Butter or oil

However, there are some key differences in the specific ingredients used:

Ingredient Belgian Waffle Regular Waffle
Flour Bread flour or combination of bread and cake flours All-purpose flour
Eggs More egg whites are used resulting in a lighter texture Usually whole eggs are used
Sugar Granulated sugar Granulated sugar or small amount of brown sugar
Butter/Oil Melted butter Vegetable oil or melted butter
Milk Buttermilk Milk or buttermilk

As you can see, Belgian waffles tend to use more egg whites, bread flour, granulated sugar, melted butter, and buttermilk. This gives them their signature light and crispy texture.


The texture is one of the most noticeable differences between Belgian and regular waffles. Belgian waffles have a crispy, airy exterior with larger pockets compared to regular waffles. They are lighter and fluffier inside as well. The pockets are perfect for trapping delicious syrups and toppings.

Regular waffles have a denser, more cakelike texture both inside and out. They don’t get quite as crispy on the outside. The pockets also tend to be smaller and more tightly packed together.


In terms of flavor, Belgian waffles tend to taste sweeter, crisper, and have more of a buttery richness from being made with melted butter. Regular waffles often have more of a neutral, breadlike taste. But both can taste delicious when served with maple syrup, fruit, whipped cream, or other favorite toppings.

Preparation Method

Both types of waffles are cooked on a waffle iron to give them their iconic honeycomb shape. However, commercial waffle irons used for Belgian waffles are specially engineered to produce a thinner, crispier waffle. They heat to higher temperatures and have deeper grids to allow for larger air pockets. Residential Belgian waffle makers aim to mimic these commercial irons as closely as possible.

Regular waffle irons for home use don’t get as hot or have as deep of grids, resulting in a softer, thicker waffle. So the equipment used also impacts the final texture.

Serving Styles

While both types of waffles can be served for breakfast or dessert, Belgian and regular waffles lend themselves to different serving styles:

  • Belgian waffles – Best served straight from the iron so they stay crispy. Often dusted with powdered sugar and served with fruit, whipped cream, ice cream, or syrup on the side.
  • Regular waffles – Can be served straight from the iron or kept warm in a waffle maker. Often directly topped with butter and syrup or other sweet toppings that seep into the pockets.


Belgian waffles trace their origins to the Brussels region of Belgium in the early 19th century. Street vendors began selling crispy, fluffy waffles made in special irons with deeper grids. The style became popular at world’s fairs and was brought to America by immigrant families.

Regular American-style waffles evolved from various European waffle traditions. They were adapted to use ingredients more readily available in America and appeal to local tastes. The electric waffle iron was invented in the US in the late 1800s, helping popularize waffles for breakfast.


While both are delicious, Belgian waffles and regular waffles have distinct differences. Belgian waffles are crisper, lighter, sweeter, and have larger air pockets compared to denser, tighter regular waffles. The ingredients, preparation method, texture, taste, and best serving styles also differ between the two varieties. Knowing these differences lets you choose the perfect waffle type to enjoy whether for breakfast or dessert.