Vanilla Bean Waffles

Vanilla Bean Waffles | Cake Over Steak

Move over, pancakes – you’ve been replaced. Waffles have stolen the place in my heart that used to be heavily occupied by pancakes. (Sorry, Dad! I’ll still make you some.) 

Vanilla Bean Waffles | Cake Over Steak

Pancakes used to be my favorite breakfast food to make. It started in middle school with my BFF Abbey, during our weekly sleepovers and what we referred to as the “Rock and Roll Cafe.” You guys – we were so much fun. Just picture it: two middle school girls whipping up crazy amounts of chocolate chip pancakes on a Saturday morning (after a Friday evening viewing of Gilmore Girls, of course) while rocking out to oldies music on the radio (Beatles, The Four Tops, etc.). Now flash forward about ten years and picture a 24-year old girl simultaneously making a batch of waffles and cleaning the kitchen while rocking out to Miley Cyrus on a Tuesday evening. Progress? Maybe. Basically the same. Slightly bigger pants.

Vanilla Bean Waffles | Cake Over Steak

First of all, I’m a texture person. Pancakes are wonderful in all of their light and fluffy glory, but that gets a little boring after a while, hence the need for a side of breakfast sausage or crispy bacon to mingle with the maple syrup on your plate. Waffles have that nice balance of a crispy exterior and fluffy center, at least if it’s a good waffle. My current obsession with waffles has been well-documented on my Cake Over Steak Tumblr. (Top favorites include Overnight Oat Waffles, Pumpkin Cornbread Waffles, and Rye Waffles.) I just love being able to leisurely make them on a weekday evening, and then eat them every morning for breakfast throughout the week to follow. It feels so luxurious to eat a waffle on a weekday morning, don’t you think?

Vanilla Bean Waffles | Cake Over Steak

BUT. If you have never tried a “yeasted” waffle, then you might not be living life properly. Marion Cunningham’s famous yeasted waffles have been discussed all over the Internet, and for good reason. They’re amazing. You have to think ahead a bit with these because they must rise overnight. Or if you look at it another way, you can do the bulk of the work necessary for weekend morning waffles on a Friday or Saturday night, and that’s always a good thing, especially if you’re hosting a brunch with friends or something. You could probably get away with starting these in the morning and then making waffles for dinner. If you have kids in your house (or other humans), they might appreciate that.

Vanilla Bean Waffles | Cake Over Steak

If you’re a fan of a very present yeast flavor in things like bread and beer, you will love these waffles. That flavor is not shy in yeasted waffles, so if you’re not a fan, you might want to steer clear and stick with regular waffles. However, I urge you to try it because it adds something wonderful. They develop that crispy crust, but the inside is almost custardy, like the inside of a popover. For my version, I’ve jazzed her recipe up a bit with coconut oil, light brown sugar, and lots of vanilla (both bean and extract). The vanilla flavor is not as strong as you might expect, as it has to compete with the yeast flavor. Feel free to add more vanilla if you want, either using two beans or throwing in more extract. Either way, I think the vanilla definitely adds a little somethin’-somethin’ to these that would not be there without it.

Vanilla Bean Waffles | Cake Over Steak

The first time I tested this recipe I wasn’t sure if I was happy with it or not, but then my good friend Stanley tried some. Granted, he’s easy to please with food, but he would not stop talking about these waffles, and asking me to make them whenever he was in town for the weekend. That’s when I realized that maybe I had something after all. I’ve made them a few more times with some tweaks, and each time Robert and I declare them to be some of the best darn waffles we’ve ever had or made. Plus, Robert doesn’t let me give them away very easily, so that’s always a good sign.

Vanilla Bean Waffles | Cake Over Steak

Vanilla Bean Waffles

Yield: about 13 6-inch waffles


  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 packet (or 2.25 tsp) active dry yeast
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 4 oz. or 115 grams coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. light brown sugar
  • 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp. vanilla extract, separated
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda


  1. In a large bowl combine the warm water with the yeast, and let it sit for 15 minutes.
  2. In a small saucepan, begin to warm the milk on medium-low heat. Scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean into the milk and also throw in the bean itself. Continue to warm the milk, stirring occasionally, until small bubbles form by the edges, or until it reaches about 110°F, and then take it off the heat.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the salt, sugar and flour in a medium bowl.
  4. Add the milk, melted coconut oil, 1 tsp. vanilla extract and flour mixture to the bowl with the yeast. (Include the vanilla bean as well - you will discard it later.) Mix to combine, and then cover with plastic wrap and let it sit out at room temperature overnight, or about 8-12 hours.
  5. In the morning, whisk together the eggs, baking soda, and 3 tsp. vanilla extract. Add that to the batter just until combined. Discard the vanilla bean pods.
  6. Warm up your waffle iron. When it is ready, spray the iron with baking spray (I like to use spray coconut oil) and use about 1/3 cup of batter per waffle. Be careful not to overfill, or it might spill out of your waffle iron. I use this waffle iron, and these worked well on setting #4.
  7. As the waffles finish, place them in a warm oven on a wire rack on a baking sheet to stay warm. The wire rack is key to keeping them crisp; otherwise they will steam and become soggy.
  8. If serving later, let them cool on a wire rack at room temperature before storing in the refrigerator. To reheat, place in a 325°F oven for about 7 minutes.


adapted from Marion Cunningham's yeasted waffles

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Photos by Robert Cornelius
Prints of my illustrations are available in my Etsy and Society6 shops.


  1. Norrie says

    These sound like you need to make them HERE in Watkins Glen!!!!!! Of course, I DO have to have the pancakes you made that one time too…..perhaps for our traditional “Sunday Brunch Before You Guys Head Home”!!

    • Sara says

      Haha, yes Norrie – I’ll have to make these for you guys. And my dad still keeps requesting those pancakes! I will be making them for him soon.

  2. says

    Seriously Sara, your illustrations are awesome. :) I’m gonna check out your Etsy shop when I’m done here. Do you happen to do freelance illustration projects for website design? I’m looking at re-vamping my blog and I really dig your style, so I wanted to ask! But back to waffles– YES! I have been utterly obsessed with waffles lately. I just made some coconut lemon waffles that took me several attempts to get it perfect. I keep hearing about these yeasted waffles and I really need to give them a try! Do you think they might convert well into gluten-free or whole wheat flour land? Hm…

    • Sara says

      Thank you, Stephanie! I definitely do freelance work – I don’t have a ton of time for it, so I have to be a little picky when accepting projects. But if you’re interested, just shoot me an email and we can discuss things. :-) As for the waffles, you HAVE to try them! I’m sure these would work fine with a gluten-free all purpose blend … as for other flours and such, I’m not totally sure. I haven’t experimented much with gluten free baking yet. If you figure it out, please let me know!

  3. says

    I have not lived life properly. First, there was egg in a hole, now yeasted waffles. What a week! I’ll make these soon and report back (although I’m pretty sure I’ll fall for them in an instance). Love your illustration more than ever!

    Sending you lots of good vibes,

    • Sara says

      Haha, Sini! I’m glad I could help out this week with your life-living. Now I’ll have to make your sweet bread from today’s post and we could call it even. :-)

    • Sara says

      Honestly, for a “single purpose” kitchen appliance, I feel like a waffle-maker is indispensable. I will never go without one for the rest of my life now; I love it too much. Also, I highly recommend the one I have – it’s cheap but it’s a total workhorse and cranks out gorgeous waffles like a charm in about 2 minutes flat. Take the plunge!

    • Sara says

      Haha okay, Mom. Maybe for Dad’s pancake brunch we can have waffles AND pancakes and just be crazy!!!

  4. Ludi says

    I just listened to Joy The Baker podcast_I’ve been listening to it for over a year now, and when I heard about you and this blog I immediately drop by: I’m from Italy and a real freak for sweet treat, now thinking about starting a blog of my own; I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your work of art and the contents of the blog. You’re a real inspiration!

    • Sara says

      Thank you, Ludi! That means so much. My advice to you would be that if you want to start a blog, just do it! Don’t wait 2-3 years like I did. :-D It can be a lot of work, but it is SO MUCH FUN.

      • Ludi says

        Thanks for your advice, that gives me even more energy to do it! I’ll keep following you and thanks again for being such an inspiration. good luck for everything!

  5. says

    Ermegerd. So I remember finding your blog awhile back (love the name) and I don’t know how I dropped off following it, but so happy to find you again!! (thanks for the tweet :)) I pretty much just fell in love with you after reading this. The whole Gilmore Girl sleepover waffles the next morning thing…so into that. And I see your 24-year old self and raise you some pearl sugar-stuffed CHALLAH waffles (thanks Molly Yeh) and rocking out to Emblem 3 (ohnodidIjustsaythatoutloud).

    As much as I love pancakes, I agree that they are somewhat texturally monotonous. I like to try to fight that with bananas/nuts/chocolate and stuff but UGH yes waffles are just like, the king of texture. And THESE WAFFLES! I tried the version I saw on Smitten Kitchen and my batter kind of separated overnight–did yours? Like there was sort of a foamy layer up top and then watery stuff underneath. They were still exactly as you described (crispy outside, custardy inside), but I was slightly worried!

    Okay ending my essay now. Excellent post!

    • Sara says

      Welcome back, Erika! I actually bought pearl sugar after reading Molly’s post … so her waffles are very high on my to-do list. And that Chloe song is so catchy!!! I’d be right there with ya.

      As for the separation of the waffles – that DID happen to me. I just rolled with it and mixed it all back in. No biggie. I figured it’s kind of like when bread (or whatever) dough rises and it gets a little crusty on top? I don’t know. I’m not a scientist. But they tasted fine!

      Thanks again for revisiting! :-)

      • says

        Okay good. I feel much better about the waffles! (I’ve been secretly worried I fed my boyfriend dentrimentally fermented batter!)

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