Making waffles without the use of oil is pretty unheard of, but oil-free waffles are indeed possible and completely delicious! This recipe works for both classic (small well) and Belgium (large well) waffle irons.
While I have seen many no-oil waffle recipes, the “no-oil” usually applies to the batter, not the waffle iron. Most cooks still spray or rub their waffle iron with a little cooking oil. But I don’t want oil in my batter or on the surface of my waffles. The addition of almond butter in this recipe helps to keep the waffles from sticking, but you may want to consider the below tips for greater success.
2 cups non-dairy milk (plus extra to thin batter between making waffles)
3 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped (2 ounces)
2 tablespoons almond butter
1½ cups rolled oats
½ cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1. Place the milk, dates, and almond butter into a small bowl and set aside so that the dates can soften (at least 15 minutes).
2. Grind the oats into a fine flour using a blender before transferring to a large bowl. Add the cornmeal, baking powder, and cinnamon to the oat flour, and mix with a fork.
3. Plug in your waffle maker and heat it on the medium setting (3 or 4).
4. Transfer the milk, dates, and almond butter to a blender, and blend on high until smooth. Pour this into the bowl of dry ingredients, and mix with a fork until all of the dry ingredients have been blended in (adding a little non-dairy milk as needed to thin).
5. When the waffle iron is heated and ready, pour about a half-cup of batter into the center for classic waffles and 1 cup for Belgium (no oil is needed on the irons) and close the lid. Cook until the indicator light shows that they are done. All waffle irons will vary slightly, but 1 to 2 minutes should be plenty for classic and around 5 minutes for Belgium (see below for waffle baking tips.) I find that if I leave the waffle in for 30 to 60 seconds after the “done” light comes on, it’s easier to get out and is nice and crispy. If the lid won’t come up, give it a good tug; if it starts to separate, put it back down and then be ready with a fork to help it out after cooking a bit longer.
6. Serve immediately. Top with chopped fruit and pure maple syrup or Date Syrup.
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 2 to 4 minutes per waffle
Makes: 8 six-inch classic waffles or 4 Belgium waffles.
Tips for Successful No-Oil Waffles
Use a waffle iron with a “non-stick” coating: Use a non-stick waffle iron that preferably has never been oiled before (since the oily residue may encourage sticking). If you have an iron that is non-stick but it’s old, consider buying a new one. I’m not a waffle iron expert, but this is the one I bought recently and it’s worked pretty well. If you have a suggestion for another good waffle iron, please leave it in the comments below.
How to set the heat: Set the heat at medium or medium-high. Each waffle maker is different, so experiment with the heat setting that works for your waffle iron. Mine has 5 heat settings (5 is hottest), and I find that settling it at 3-4 works well.
Start with a small test waffle: For the first waffle, start with a small amount of batter in the center to gauge the heat setting and “removability factor,” then proceed with the remaining waffles using more batter.
Lifting the lid after cooking: When the “done” light comes on, lift the lid (beware of escaping steam). If it just doesn’t want to open yet, give it another 30 seconds to a minute then try again. Even when the waffles are done, sometimes the lid still requires a firm tug to get it to separate from the waffle since we are not using oil. Slightly over-baked waffles are preferable to under-baked (which can result in a gooey, sticking mess).
Helping the waffle out: Always be prepared with a fork to gently help release the waffle from the irons, especially if there is excessive sticking. (Don’t use a plastic fork, since it will melt onto the iron; use metal but be careful not to scratch the surface.)
What if they separate? If the waffle sticks and the halves come apart totally or in parts, gently ease the waffle off the iron and put the halves back together; they will still taste great. Disasters can usually be avoided if you open the lid gradually (but firmly) at first and use your fork to help it. Never just yank the lid open.
Have patience: Find the amount of batter and the heat setting that works best for you and your waffle iron, and make a note for next time.
Note: To achieve a better no-oil, non-stick waffle, I updated my original waffle recipe in November 2013 (all original comments were deleted).
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