Recipes

cornbread waffles

American breakfasts are predominantly sweet: yogurts with fruit sauces and overnight oats with more fruit sauces and lattes with caramel syrup and whipped cream and our secret household love, that flaky cereal with the dried strawberries, but most especially the baked goods, muffins and quickbreads and cinnamon buns. I love them all but more Saturdays than not, I wake up craving something savory I can plop a wobbly egg on top of and it’s for this reason that knew the second I saw cornbread waffles in Joy Wilson’s, aka Joy The Baker’s, new brunch cookbook that they’d be the first thing I was going to make.


making cornbread waffles

Brunch has become a cultural punching bag over the last several years — “The meal brings out the worst in restaurants and their patrons. ‘Chefs bury the dregs of the week’s dinners under rich sauces, arranging them in curious combinations.'” “Less satisfying than the two things it purports to replace.” — but this, like most food things people like to complain about, are bothersome at restaurants. At home, brunch is everything: loosely scheduled and relaxed, exactly the way weekends should be, and pretty much anything you like to eat can be easily reformatted for a lazy midday meal.

seriously cute waffle

Joy’s book is a ray of sunshine because it gets this — bright cocktails and smoothies, omelet wheels, banana bread granola, gooey buns and praline bacon — but I also love that it’s not entirely predictable, you know, like those derided brunch menus. There’s salad in there, something I wish more brunch menus included as an oasis from all the fried and smothered stuff, and in a nod to her adopted home of New Orleans, a Cajun Soufflé and a Muffaletta Brunch Salad and yes, stunning, pillowy overnight beignets that are going to happen next.

cornbread waffles

For this weekend though, these cornbread waffles are a no-brainer: they take 5 minutes to assemble, the batter briefly rests while you brew the coffee, and cook just as quickly. They go sweet or savory — finished with bananas and maple syrup or with hot honey and a piece of fried chicken teetering on top; you could add some cheddar, jalapeños and a salsa-topped egg if you’re inviting me over and you never want me to leave or you can do as we did, classic-style with crispy bacon, salt, pepper, chives and a poached egg.

cornbread waffles, my way

Previously

One year ago: Sesame Soba and Ribboned Omelet Salad and Eggs in Purgatory, Puttanesca-Style
Two years ago: Potatoes with Soft Eggs and Bacon Vinaigrette and The Consolation Prize (A Mocktail)
Three years ago: Sizzling Chicken Fajitas
Four years ago: Chocolate Hazelnut Macaroon Torte
Six years ago: Soft Eggs with Buttery Herb-Gruyere Toasts
Five years ago: Oat and Maple Syrup Scones
Seven years ago: Spinach and Chickpeas and Bakewell Tart
Eight years ago: Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Cornbread and Cream Cheese Pound Cake + Strawberry Coulis
Nine years ago: Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake and Pasta with Cauliflower Walnuts and Feta
Ten! years ago: Lighter-Than-Air Chocolate Cake

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Magic Apple-Plum Cobbler
1.5 Years Ago: Oat and Wheat Sandwich Bread
2.5 Years Ago: Cucumber Lemonade and Sunken Apple and Honey Cake
3.5 Years Ago: Frico Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Miso Sweet Potato and Broccoli Bowl
4.5 Years Ago: Homemade Wheat Thins

Cornbread Waffles


Can you make these as pancakes is something someone usually asks when I share a waffle recipe. I didn’t check this time, however, I can tell you with authority that these are the most excellent cornmeal pancakes in the world, plush and ungritty but still crisp.

I made these in a Belgian-style waffle iron (I’m like a broken record, guys, but I’m still obsessed with this one because removable, dishwasher-safe plates) but I think they’d be just fine in a standard, shallower one.

Joy called for 2 tablespoons honey but I skipped it, wanting fully savory waffles. I did not skip the suggested tablespoon of molasses and hope you do not. It adds the faintest hint of sweetness and a real nuanced flavor.


  • 3/4 cup (100 grams) coarse yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup (100 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) molasses
  • 1 cup (235 ml) buttermilk, well-shaken
  • 4 tablespoons (55 grams) melted unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg

Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the bottom of a medium bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk molasses, butter, buttermilk and egg until combined. Pour into dry ingredients and stir to combine. Let batter rest for 10 minutes. Use this time to place a oven-safe cooling rack over a tray and heat oven to 200 degrees. Heat waffle iron according to manufacturer’s instructions; I found a medium heat just fine here.

Brush waffle iron with melted butter or coat with nonstick spray. Ladle in waffle batter, 1/4 cup at a time. (It makes 4 or so -inch finished waffles, cute ones made for an egg on top.) Cook until lightly browned and carefully transfer to rack in oven. They’ll crisp as they set. Repeat with remaining batter. You should get 8 waffles out of this, ideal for 2 per person.

Waffles keep well for 4 days in fridge and longer in freezer. Waffles re-crisp and come back to life in a warm oven.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New here? You might want to check out the comment guidelines before chiming in.

71 comments on cornbread waffles

  1. eslarsen85

    I really need these with avocado and salsa. This cookbook should be showing up at my house today and now I am even more excited!!

  2. Charlotte in Toronto

    I love the crunch of cornmeal. I’ve made those cornmeal pancakes and really like them, but I’ll bet it gets extra crunchy in waffles because there is more surface area that comes in contact with the cooking surface. I have a waffle iron that sorely underused si this gives me a reason to bust it out. Thank you for this!

  3. Lauren

    This is the perfect underlayment for so many things! Poached eggs are my favorite, so this will be a “no-brainer” for me. Your delicious egg salad on top would not hit a wrong note either I expect. Yikes, the possibilities are really endless. Great idea. Cutest children in the universe too…that hair of Anna’s is delightfully highlighted in this shot, as is Jacob’s cute smile and tender heart. How do you tear yourself away from the camera, they are both so delightfully photogenic.

  4. JP

    Just made a big pot of split pea and ham soup and wonder if this might be a nice change from cornbread for dipping? I just might have to try it and see!
    I happen to love anything breakfast/brunch, but we usually go with the sort of savory thing we had this morning: cheese omelet, fried potatoes, and toast. I add hot cocoa for my sweet tooth. Thank you for a great savory idea with these waffles.

  5. Read this post this morning, and immediately ran to the kitchen to make them. Ended up adding a diced jalapeño and maybe half a cup of grated cheddar to the batter, and topping them with bacon, a poached egg, avocado, cilantro and thinly sliced radishes, because why not gild the lily on a Saturday morning?

  6. JanetP

    These look fantastic! I was just in Phoenix last week and had jalepeno cornbread waffles, quelle coincidence. Those were made to be served with BBQ pork and coleslaw, but I prefer the poached egg idea.

  7. JP

    I made these tonight, with a regular 4 square waffle iron and got 3 waffles or 12 squares. They were easy to make, and I even used buttermilk powder and water rather than buttermilk because that is what I always have on hand. Mine were a bit darker than yours and quite crispy. As I wrote in a comment above, I served them with bowls of split pea and ham soup without any embellishments. The waffles made yummy dunkers and we both thought that they were a quick and different take on cornbread. The molasses did come through in a good way. I bet sorghum syrup would also be delicious too. Thanks again!

  8. Sarah C

    I live in New Mexico, where we do things like this with blue cornmeal (sacred to one of the local tribes and super yummy) and then stud it with roasted chopped green chile and maybe a sprinkle of cheese. Oh, now I’ve made myself hungry.

    1. deb

      I had no idea! I had intended to post this earlier in the week and had run out of time, figured Saturday morning was as good of a time as any! Obviously, it was fated.

  9. Antarctic K

    Culture punching bag indeed. It’s kind of ironic that you posted this, since it reflects my thoughts on brunch quite well. As an adult, I do not like sweets hardly, especially for morning eats. However my brunch drama over waffles no less was brought on by my mother in law, who created an epic fight between my husband and I, and tensions for years remaining between he and I. At any rate, all is better now once he was finally in a place to see what was going on with her, but she came over for brunch right before I left. I had been dreading it, and I think so had he, because we knew she’d pull her passive aggressive stunts again. At any rate I was thinking about just skipping food altogether, or trying to politely choke one down. Then something occurred to me.

    Chili.

    I had chili in the fridge. I also had cheese and avocadoes. AND eggs. So I did let him make me one of his sweet ones, but I slathered a boat load of chili on it with toppings and a fried egg. So funny, but it clammed her right the hell up. Waffles would not necessarily be my vehicle for mowing that kind of grub down, but I tell you, it was really super yummy. I got all of it down but a bite.

    I’m really hoping that I can con my husband into making me savory waffles like these. I’m not one of those folks that will go out of my way to make waffles for my own intents, but something like this with some chili on it would be killer!

    Anyway, a story for your Sunday morning.

    ~cheers

  10. kathryn

    These were amazing! After reading some comments I made them and we ate them creamed chipped beef with an egg on top. The family loved them. They ate the leftovers plain also. A really great recipe. I will definitely make again and try with bean soup as dippers as another person suggested. Thank you! love it.

  11. I’m in the savory breakfast fan club for sure! And waffles trump pancakes, it seems this recipe is something to be made later (or maybe sooner) this week…with poached eggs…yes!

  12. Meg

    I agree about savory breakfast. I always like the idea of sweet for breakfast – if I have plans to go to brunch in the morning, I’ll think to myself “mmm I’m going to get pancakes tomorrow!” And then literally every time I order eggs instead.

    1. Trushna

      I’m the same! Drooling over the thought of blueberry pancakes slathered in syrup, and every single time when I’m at the table, I go for the savory option instead (eggs, burger, salad, etc.)

  13. Rachel M

    My husband lugged this waffle maker from Chicago back to Bermuda for me on Deb’s recommendation! So worth it – easy to clean and makes very appealing crisp round waffles.

  14. Laurie

    Thanks so much for another great recipe. I just read this on a Monday morning after making Lemon Blueberry Waffles last night. Spring must be waffle season! My family and I want to thank you for doing all the research on waffle makers. Because of you I found my beloved Cuisinart Griddler with removable waffle plates. I use that machine all the time and the removable plates are wonderful. I used to avoid making waffles because cleaning the waffle iron was such a pain. That is definitely not the case anymore. I can’t wait to try this recipe out. Thanks!

  15. sparkgrrl658

    yum! the comments are loaded with good ideas, too. i really should just flippin’ buy a waffle iron already.

    also? that dried strawberries cereal is a total weakness of mine, too. i don’t even buy it (or any other cereal) anymore, it’s that bad haha! funny as i was just thinking about it yesterday – our favorite bubble tea place has a milk tea that tastes like cereal milk (supposedly taro & london fog tea combined), to which i added strawberry popping boba to and was in heaven.

  16. Vicky Lynn

    Cornbread waffles are amazing. About 20 years ago, I first heard about chicken and waffles. I had no idea what it was and the idea that it was simply fried chicken and waffles was a bit too easy for me. But it sounded really good. I brainstormed and made cornbread waffles using a recipe in a Betty Crocker cookbook, sauteed chicken, onions, garlic, mushrooms, and peppers and made a pan luscious pan sauce. Served the chicken on top of the waffles and poured the sauce over all. It was so incredibly far from what chicken and waffles really is. But it was still mighty tasty.

    1. meredith

      There are multiple versions of chicken and waffles…..fried chicken and a waffle is the southern version. Roast or poached chicken on top of a waffle smothered in gravy is the PA Dutch version.

  17. I was up early yesterday and decided to surprise my family with a full breakfast. These fit the bill and were fantastic! I followed the recipe with the exception of using 2 TBSP honey in place of the molasses. Topped with crispy bacon, a drizzle of maple, and a poached egg. absolutely delicous!

  18. Allison Wolf

    Do you think I could use whole wheat flour instead of AP? I have your clack bean ragout cooking away as we speak, and I’d love to have these waffles alongside!

  19. sabrina

    I sub’d buckwheat flour for all-purpose to make them for a gluten-free friend. They worked just fine though I (personally) missed the chew of the gluten. I reduced the leavening by 20% for altitude but the batter was still almost alarmingly puffy. Not sure if it’s GF related or that I usually make yeasted waffles and forgot how quick breads look. I’d probably decrease the leavening another 5-10% next time anyway.

  20. Jessica

    I made these last night with chili and they were really tasty. They came together so quickly! I used 1/2 tbs honey and 1/2 tbs molasses as I was a bit nervous about using the whole tablespoon of molasses (I should have trusted you, 1/2 tbs really wasn’t even noticeable).

    I got exactly 8 waffles that were all a bit bigger in diameter than yours from using a non-Belgian waffle maker. I’ll be remaking asap with fried chicken.

  21. I am a huge fan of Joy the Baker. As a rule, however, I avoid anything sweet before around 4 p.m. or else I will be on a sugar rampage all day. I read someplace that in America (and frankly also in France) breakfast has become dessert. Not good. Sugar begets more sugar.
    That said, a little excess on one day of one weekend is OK, especially if it involves friends and good conversation. So YES to cornbread waffles (or muffins or whatever) if it’s something exceptional.

  22. Grace

    I keep regular cornmeal in my pantry, would this work ok? Any ideas about adjustments that might be needed due to using regular grind CM? Thanks, Deb

  23. Wow! This looks absolutely amazing! Unfortunately I think molasses might be a little bit difficult to find here in Sweden, because I’ve never heard of it before but I will give it a try :D

  24. Katey

    The batter had a fascinating texture! I don’t cook a lot, so I found the stiff foaminess intriguing and a little worrisome…But they turned out so delicious!

  25. Never in my life have I made cornbread waffles. Life as I know it has changed! The over-easy egg on top? YES. I have a bottle of molasses & buttermilk to use up and a waffle maker just itching to be used again (because, you know, it’s been like 5 minutes)!

    I look forward to making this and checking back with you!

  26. Meena Banasiak

    I served these tonight with some chicken tenders (plus ketchup on the side for the kids and Frank’s Red Hot Sauce for my husband and me). The waffles tasted just like hush puppies! A great, quick dinner – thank you!

  27. lizskidmore

    Cornbread and waffles have a perfect love child: the cornbread waffle. I followed the recipe exactly, except mom-brain ensued at the store and I forgot the molasses (D’oh!) but substituted honey (still delicious). Served with chicken strips for the kids/hubby and vegetarian sausage for myself, and we all had a little maple syrup but next time I want to go all-in savory…thinking they would an awesome side with white beans and ham. Go Deb, 99.9% of the time you never disappoint.

  28. Wow, these sound great for a brunch! I can’t do the jalapeños, however I was thinking several options for the family. Have a brunch bar with eggs, fruit, chicken tenders, bacon, sausage for the granddaughter who doesn’t eat bacon, etc. Love it.

  29. Song

    Can I used soured milk instead of buttermilk? It’s super late and I don’t want to have to go out into the dark and cold to find buttermilk…

  30. Laurie

    These are great! I made these last night and they were a big hit. I made them gluten free by using King Arthur gluten free flour and adding 1/2 tsp of xantham gum. They were delicious! Thanks to you and Joy for a great post and recipe!

  31. spiralstyle

    Made these for breakfast today. I sweetened with just the molasses and topped with poached eggs. Delicious!! This recipe is a keeper.

  32. Shirly

    I made this and the family loved it! Crisp on the outside and lovely soft texture in the inside. Wondering if I can make these a bit healthier by cutting down on the amount of butter? Thoughts Deb?

  33. Julia

    I used fine cornmeal as that was what I had in the cupboard and they turned out not so great, kind of dry. But I loved the flavour so will definitely make these with coarse cornmeal. Maybe if you use fine cornmeal you need more liquid?

  34. Pat Winship

    Unfortunately, my mama would rise from her grave and smack me if I ever, ever dared to put something sweet in my cornbread!