It doesn’t get better than that: homemade cast iron sourdough waffles. They are easy to make, delicious, and perfect for all your favorite toppings!
Cast iron sourdough waffles are not only so delicious they are also a great way to slow down.
Waffles don’t necessarily stand out as a healthy food but by adding sourdough to the better you can definitely upgrade them. You see, sourdough is not only for baking sourdough bread!
Of course, you can use any waffle iron you have but for me, it’s always fun to bring out my heirloom cast iron waffle maker that I inherited from my grandparents. They are a great breakfast treat or any time you’re craving waffles. Did you know that Germans typically eat waffles in the afternoon with coffee or tea?
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Why cast iron?
Nowadays, most people know and have electric waffle makers. They come in a dizzying array of shapes, styles, and price ranges. Interestingly enough, the majority is of the non-stick kind.
However, there are many health concerns with non-stick. Thus, in our kitchen, we don’t have any non-stick (sometimes called Teflon) cookware.
Before the advent of non-stick, every waffle iron was actually made of cast iron! Cast iron waffle makers have been around since the 9th century (source). It wasn’t until modern times that non-stick waffle irons became available.
How to properly use a cast iron waffle maker
It is so easy, though, to bake perfect waffles in cast iron! The key to making them come out easily is to
- first heat the iron
- then add your oil
- and only then add the batter
Yes, it is that simple! A cast iron waffle maker works perfectly in our somewhat minimalist kitchen. And what a joy to be using this heirloom piece that I found in my grandparents’ attic! I absolutely love using antique and vintage items!
Your sourdough starter
Obviously, you need a sourdough starter. You may already have one happily living in your kitchen. If not, check out my step-by-step tutorial guide on how to make your own sourdough starter.
If you have one already you probably have it happily living on your kitchen counter. If you are new to sourdough baking, I recommend you check out my super simple way to maintain your sourdough starter.
What you need to make these cast iron sourdough waffles:
- Sourdough starter: you can use either fed, active sourdough starter or your sourdough discard
- Flour: I use regular all-purpose flour
- Buttermilk: I love how buttermilk gives it a bit of an added tangy flavor
- Egg: this helps the batter hold
- Butter: adding melted butter to the batter really makes the taste shine
- Optional sugar: depending on your toppings you may or not want to add sugar
How to make your cast iron sourdough waffles
Make the batter:
- In a medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Stir very well.
- Add the flour and sugar, if you are using it, and mix to combine.
- If you prefer, you can let this dough rest at room temperature for a proper fermentation process. However, you can make the waffles right away, too.
Preheating and greasing the cast iron waffle maker
When you’re ready to make your waffles, you need to start heating your cast iron waffle maker over medium heat. Cast iron takes a bit longer to heat but retains heat better, longer, and more evenly.
Alternatively, you can preheat your waffle iron over low heat while you are mixing the batter.
Once your iron is hot, you need to grease it. I like avocado oil for its high smoke point. Clarified butter (with the milk solids removed) works well, too. I am not a fan of non-stick spray but that’s just my personal opinion.
Baking the sourdough waffles
- Allow the oil to become hot.
- Add your batter to the waffle iron. You need to eyeball the amount depending on the size of your waffle iron. Close the lid and wait.
Waiting is key! It’s tempting to want to open the waffle iron too soon. That will result in your waffle breaking apart. Every few minutes you can test by carefully attempting to lift the lid. If there’s any resistance, the waffles need a bit longer. Don’t forget to flip the waffle iron so that it heats evenly from both sides.
You’ll know that the waffles are done when you can lift the top part and the waffles are not sticking to the iron. They will also be golden brown on both sides!
Substitutions and variations:
Here are some ideas to make this recipe more flexible:
- Flour: feel free to substitute the white flour with whole wheat flour, spelt flour, einkorn flour, or even gluten-free flour (to make completely gluten-free waffles, make sure to use a gluten-free sourdough starter).
- Buttermilk: you can absolutely use regular milk or any plant-based milk in this recipe.
- Egg: I am using a whole egg but you can use either 2 egg yolks or 2 egg whites in this recipe.
- Butter: while I prefer making and using my own butter you can also use another fat such as avocado oil, coconut oil, or your preferred oil
- Sugar: I don’t like my sourdough waffles very sweet but you can definitely adjust the amount of sugar. You can also use brown sugar.
- Leavening: While you will get perfectly fluffy waffles with this recipe, you can always add a teaspoon of baking soda or baking powder to the batter to make them even fluffier.
- Other flavors and spices: you might like to add a teaspoon of vanilla extract, lemon zest, or cinnamon
How to serve your cast iron sourdough waffles:
You might have a favorite way to serve and eat waffles. However, here are some different ways to enjoy them:
- add a dollop of soft butter and drizzle them with maple syrup
- eat them with fresh fruit such as fresh blueberries or strawberries
- you can also sprinkle them with chocolate chips
Frequently asked questions:
Do I have to use sourdough for these waffles?
No, you can absolutely make regular waffles with this recipe. In that case, add another ½ cup of flour and ⅓ cup of milk.
How do you keep the sourdough waffles warm?
You can set your oven to a low temperature, about 200˚F, place them on a plate or platter and keep them warm in the oven.
Can you reheat these waffles?
Yes, you can either place them on a wire rack and reheat them in the oven at about 200˚F or pop them in your toaster oven for a few minutes.
Can I keep the sourdough waffles for later?
Yes, you can keep them at room temperature for about one day. To reheat them, follow the steps above. If you’d like to store them longer, you can place them in a ziplock bag with some parchment paper in between the individual waffles. Then either reheat them in the oven or your toaster oven.
Can I also make pancakes with this recipe?
Yes, you can use this batter to make sourdough pancakes. You can even make them in your cast iron skillet!
Cast Iron Sourdough Waffles
- 1 cup sourdough starter
- ¾ cup flour whole grain or white, wheat or Einkorn
- ½ cup buttermilk or regular milk
- 1 whole egg
- 2 TBSP melted butter
- 1 TBSP sugar optional
- oil for greasing the waffle iron I prefer avocado oil
- Have your fed sourdough starter ready.
- In a medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients.
- Add the flour and sugar, if using. You can use this batter immediately or let it sit (ideally overnight).
- When you're ready to make your waffles, preheat your cast iron waffle maker over medium heat.
- Once your waffle iron is hot, grease it with oil. Allow the oil to become hot.
- Add your batter to the waffle iron. Bake your waffle, flipping the waffle iron after a few minutes. Resist the temptation to try to lift the upper part too soon. When the waffles are done, they will not stick and come out easily.
- Keep warm until ready to eat. Serve with a dollop of soft butter and maple syrup of your favorite toppings.
- Feel free to use cow’s milk or any plant-based milk instead of buttermilk.
- To make gluten-free waffles, you can use a GF sourdough starter and GF flour mix.