The Interesting History of Waffles

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Waffles have been a beloved breakfast staple for centuries by many around the world. With its warm, crunchy outside texture, soft interior, honeycombed-like shape, and irresistible aroma that wafts throughout the room, this delectable treat has become a favorite. 

Today, waffles are enjoyed in many different ways. Some people love to put melted butter, maple syrup, and chocolate, while others prefer honey, fruit, whipped cream, or even ice cream as toppings. Some also enjoy savory dishes like fried chicken on the sides. 

But have you ever wondered about the origins of waffles?

What if I tell you this delectable treat has a rich history dating back centuries?

Yes. You read that right!

Food experts believe that waffles have been around for a long time, dating back to ancient Greece.

Where Waffles Began

In ancient times, Greeks used to cook flat cakes called “obelios” between two metal plates fixed to long wooden handles over an open fire. This is the very first waffle iron, similar to the modern-day waffle iron we have now.

These cakes mainly consisted of flour, milk or water, and sometimes eggs. They became popular throughout medieval Europe, eventually known as “wafers.”

However, it wasn’t until the 13th century that waffles really began to take shape. Dutch bakers began to make waffles with a lighter batter and added yeast and eggs to create a fluffy, crispy texture. 

Artisans also began engraving the metal irons with a variety of designs, including family crests, landscapes, and religious imagery.

Waffle Irons

When the Crusaders returned from their expeditions, they introduced new spices like cinnamon and ginger. These new flavors were mixed with cream, honey, butter, and leavening agents into the batter. This resulted in a unique, thicker waffle with a flavor resembling a modern waffle. 

In Medieval Europe, the Catholic Church made oublies, flat wafers made of grain flour and water, as a final symbolic blessing. These waffles were drawn with religious symbols such as crosses and Biblical scenes. 

The term waffle has its roots in the word wafer, referring to the thin, crisp cakes commonly consumed during Christian fasts and used in Communion.

The first recorded waffle recipe appeared in an anonymous manuscript of a French medieval guidebook, Le Ménagier de Paris, in 1393. The recipe included eggs, salt, wine, and flour, but no leavening agent was specified. Experts suggest that the dough was likely leavened by yeast present in the wine or the air.

The recipe consists of four variations, but all are based on the first one: Beat eggs in a bowl, add salt and wine, and mix in flour. Gradually fill two irons at a time with the dough, using the amount of a cheese slice as a guide. Close the iron and cook both sides. If the dough sticks to the iron, use a cloth soaked in oil or grease to coat the iron. 

The other three variations describe how to add cheese to the batter, whether placing it between two layers of dough or mixing it in.

Waffle Irons

During the 15th century, Dutch waffle makers began using rectangular plates with the shallow grid design commonly associated with waffles today.

Making Waffles. Basile de Loose. Public Domain

At first, waffle irons were only found in the homes of the wealthy, and professional kitchens often prepared these delicacies.

Waffles in the New World

Waffles were introduced to America in the 17th century by Dutch immigrants who settled in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. However, printed waffle recipes only became available in the early to mid-1700s.

Still Life with Waffles Georg Flegel, 17th century, Public Domain

The modern spelling of “waffle” with two f’s was established then. This may be due to the spelling in Robert Smith’s cookbook, Court Cookery, which was first published in 1725. 

Robert Smith, Court Cookery, 1725

Thomas Jefferson later introduced long-handled waffle irons and modern waffle recipes to the US around 1790. 

On August 24, 1869, Cornelius Swartwout from Troy, NY, was granted a patent for a waffle iron. This is why August 24 is now recognized as National Waffle Day. 

In 1911, the first commercial electric waffle iron was introduced by General Electric. And by the 1930s, waffle irons had become a common appliance in American kitchens. 

Waffles have evolved and can now be enjoyed in various ways, such as syrup, butter, fruit, or even as a savory dish. Despite their long history, waffles remain a beloved breakfast food for many people.

Before I end my post, here’s a simple waffle recipe you can try on August 24 to celebrate National Waffle Day!


– 2 cups all-purpose flour

– 4 teaspoons baking powder

– 1 teaspoon salt

– 2 tablespoons white sugar

– 1 ½ cups warm milk

– 2 egg

– 3 tablespoons butter, melted

– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat your waffle maker.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Then set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Then, stir in the milk, butter, and vanilla.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. The batter should be slightly lumpy.

5. Grease the preheated waffle maker with cooking spray or butter.

6. Pour enough batter into the waffle maker.

7. Cook the waffles until they are golden brown and crispy.

8. Serve with your favorite toppings such as syrup, butter, or fruit. You can also try whipped cream, ice cream, or honey!

Now, enjoy your delicious homemade waffles!

What are your thoughts about this? Have you made a waffle before? Do you have your go-to waffle recipe to share? Please comment below with your answers.

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