Whether served in the Belgian way as street food with powdered sugar, or the American way with syrup and butter, or something else entirely, waffles are a delicious and simple food that has been beloved for many years.
National Waffle Day is the ideal time to enjoy everything to do with this unique and yummy treat!
History of National Waffle Day
Ancient Greece offered the predecessor to waffles by roasting flat cakes between two hot metal plates that were attached to long wooden handles and placed in the oven or over a fire.
By the 15th century, the Dutch in Holland were forming rectangular plates with grid patterns that were used to make waffles. The grid pattern was likely created for practical purposes, as it allowed the batter to cook more quickly and evenly than a flat cake might.
At the time, waffles were likely less sweet than they are today, as sugar was in limited supply, though they may have been sweetened with honey. It was probably the Dutch influence that brought the idea of the waffle to the New World in the early 1600s.
The word “waffle” is believed to have Dutch (wafel), French (walfre) and Frankish (wafla) linguistic influences. The word first appeared in print in English in a cookbook in the early 18th century.
Even after crossing the ocean, waffles remained popular in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. Eventually, in the 19th century, waffles changed from street vendor food in Paris to a food that was predominantly made at home. The introduction of GE’s electric waffle maker in 1918 made it even easier for families to make waffles in their own kitchens at home.
National Waffle Day is celebrated in the United States as a nod to the day of a US patent for a waffle iron. In 1869, a US patent for a modern, stovetop version of a grid waffle maker was earned by Cornelious Swartwout from New York. That happened on August 24, which is why National Waffle Day is celebrated on this day in the US each year.
While it’s not yet a major holiday that is sanctioned by the government, National Waffle Day continues to grow in popularity as people with deep affection for waffles have a chance to celebrate and show appreciation for them!
National Waffle Day Timeline
Pilgrims bring waffles to the New World
Stopping in Holland on their way to the Americas, Pilgrims learn about waffles, which are later popularized by the Dutch in New Amsterdam (New York).
The term “waffle” appears in print
In a Court Cookery book by Robert Smith, the word “waffle” makes its debut in print.
Waffle iron is patented in New York
Cornelius Swartwout patents his stovetop waffle iron design on August 24.
Eggo waffles are introduced in the US
This frozen convenience food is created by Frank Dorsa and they are first called Froffles – a mix of “frozen” and “waffles”.
Belgian Waffles are showcased in the US
Technically, these were supposed to be called “Brussels Waffles” but when they make their appearance at the World’s Fair in Seattle, the name is changed.
How to Celebrate National Waffle Day
Waffles are a great reason to celebrate! Enjoy National Waffle Day with some of these fun ideas, whether participating on your own or with family and friends:
Make Waffles at Home
As long as a waffle iron is available, making waffles is a fairly simple kitchen activity. Even the kids can get involved with stirring the batter! The most basic ingredients go into waffle recipes, typically including flour, sugar, baking soda, eggs, milk, oil and vanilla extract. Of course, some people like to take things a bit further by adding a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg into the batter.
Once the waffle iron is hot, it’s easy to pour the batter onto the grid, close the lid, and let them cook. Once they are golden brown and fluffy, remove them with a fork. Pile up the toppings, like maple syrup, berries and whipped cream. Enjoy!
Go Out for Waffles
Celebrate National Waffle Day by grabbing a friend or some family members and heading to a waffle restaurant! Perhaps some of the places that serve waffles will even be offering special deals and discounts in honor of the day. Try out some of these places that are well-known for their waffles:
- Waffle House. Sure, these establishments are often found on the side of the highway and the service might be a bit rough around the edges. But the name is Waffle House, after all, so it seems like the right place to spend celebrating National Waffle Day.
- International House of Pancakes. Don’t let the name fool you, the waffles at this place are super tasty.
- First Watch. With more than 400 locations in the US, this breakfast chain has grown rapidly in recent years. Order up a Belgian waffle that is served with a tasty pitcher of warm berry compote.
- Denny’s. With locations in 14 countries worldwide, Denny’s is a favorite. Enjoy the Belgian Waffle Slam that includes a waffle, fried eggs, bacon, and sausage links.
Head to Belgium for their Famous Waffles
For the serious waffles lovers in the world, one amazing place to celebrate National Waffle Day is Belgium, specifically the capital city of Brussels. This city filled with international influences is easily walkable and there’s much to see. Plus, waffles are a standard here!
Instead of serving waffles the American way on a plate with syrup, waffles in Brussels are street food. They can be found at various cafes and vendors who make them fresh, pop some powdered sugar or Nutella on them, place them in paper and send you out the door with them. It’s a delightful treat to carry and munch on while touring the city!
Get Creative with Waffles
Sure, waffles are a classic treat that are beloved all over the world. But National Waffle Day might just be the time to get a bit more adventurous with waffles. Consider some of these recipe ideas for a unique twist:
- Parmesan & Parsley Savory Waffles. Most people think of waffles as sweet, but this style offers a different take altogether. The batter includes sea salt, black pepper, Parmesan cheese and parsley. Serve with slices of bacon and top with more grated cheese.
- Guinness Waffles with Irish Whiskey Cream. With Guinness stout used directly in the batter, this recipe is a dream. Garnish with mint and candied pecans and top with cream infused with Irish whiskey for a delightfully Irish twist.
- Sweet Potato Waffles. Make waffles healthier and super tasty by adding pureed sweet potato to them, plus a bit of cheese and some jalapenos are in the batter also. Top with baked cheese shards and a dollop of sour cream on a bed of arugula.
National Waffle Day FAQs
Should waffles be crispy?
Though they are a bit crispy on the outside, waffles should be somewhat soft on the inside.
Where did chicken and waffles originate?
Following along with the vibe of the jazz era, chicken and waffles may have originated at the Wells Supper Club in Harlem, New York, in the 1930s.
How to make waffles?
Using waffle batter, pour a portion onto the hot waffle iron. Close the iron, let it cook until the light goes off, and then enjoy!
What are waffles made of?
Waffle recipes vary, but usually include sugar, flour, eggs, milk, oil and baking soda.
Are waffles healthy?
Sadly, waffles aren’t super healthy as they are basically made up of carbs and sugars. Made at home, they can be healthier, though, with just a few tweaks.