12 Best Savory Toppings For Breakfast-For-Dinner Styled Waffles
Pancakes are perfectly respectable. There’s nothing quite like welcoming in the weekend with some Saturday morning pancakes, smothered in syrup and served with a side of sausage links and a pile of that oh-so-delicious, crispy, crunchy, delectable bacon. But waffles? Waffles are pancakes … squared.
They’re made so much better by their light, fluffy texture and the deep pockets perfect for catching pools of sweet, sweet, syrup. And here’s the thing: They’re not just for breakfast.
If you’re not pulling out the waffle iron for dinner, you’re missing out in a big way. It’s not that odd, after all. There are all different kinds of waffles from Belgian and Brussels to varieties like potato and even chickpea waffles. It’s even possible to make mac and cheese in a waffle iron, and given that the best part of mac and cheese are those slightly crunchy bits, well, it’s a guaranteed win, right? But that’s far from the only option that you have for making dinner much, much more fun with the addition of waffles, and here’s the thing: Dinner can get boring. It’s easy to get in a rut, so let’s talk about how to mix things up while — in many cases — still serving your family all their favorites … reimagined.
There are plenty of cuts of pork, but it’s no secret that pork chops can be a bit, well, difficult. They’re the cut of dinners from the 1970s, they can be so dry that it seems like you’ll lose a tooth before you finish, and they’re kind of … blah. But, that doesn’t have to be the case.
First, let’s talk about those pork chops. Opt for cooking them sous vide, and you’ll be shocked at just how delectable a pork chop can be. It can be as simple as slicing and serving on top of a light and fluffy waffle — but we’re not done quite yet, because there are a few things you can do to make this the perfect combination of sweet and savory.
Pork chops are perfect for waffles because they’re a brilliant example of a hearty meal that combines the best of both worlds. Pork goes great with applesauce, and we’re not talking about the kind from a jar: It’s super easy to make your own sweet, spicy, cinnamon-filled applesauce. Given that our recipe includes maple syrup, well, that just ties the whole thing together already. But there’s no reason to just settle for the applesauce. Cook your pork chops with a sauce that includes pineapple, oranges, or even chutney, and you’ll have the perfect — and low-fat — topping for your favorite waffles.
Chili cheese fries are a great way to use up the last bit of chili (or, let’s be honest, they’re a great reason to make chili in the first place). If they’re a favorite in your home, consider switching it up with chili waffles. If anything, they might just surpass chili cheese fries as a favorite, for one simple reason: Leaving the waffles in the waffle iron for just a few extra seconds will help accent the waffle crust that’s going to stand up to the moisture of chili better than all but the very best of fries.
Pro tip? Opt for adding a dash of alcohol to your chili for a truly delicious pub-food experience in the comfort of your own home. Also, don’t make regular waffles — serve this up on cornbread waffles. We know, right?
Don’t be afraid to mix it up with the chili, either. A thicker chili is going to work better when it’s served on top of a waffle, so don’t forget to add a kick of flavor with more non-liquid ingredients, too. Add a dash of cocoa powder (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it), or instant coffee, and here’s a trick for getting the perfect texture: Reach for the cornmeal. It will act as a thickening agent that’ll help make sure those dollops of chili stay where they’re scooped. Add a pile of cheese, spoon on some sour cream, and dig in!
Italian sausage with fried onions and peppers
Italian sausage can be a great alternative to hamburgers and hot dogs, especially when August rolls around and backyard cookouts are getting a little same-old. They’re great, too, not only because they’re something a little different from the norm, but they’re absolutely brilliant with some garden-grown (or farmers market) fresh peppers. Green (and red and yellow) peppers and onions, sliced and fried, then topping Italian sausage on a roll? It’s the sort of thing that you can do during the winter, between the fresh produce and the patties on the grill, it hits a little differently in the summertime.
Looking for something even more unique? Swap out that roll for a single waffle, and pile on the sliced sausage and that healthy helping of fried peppers and onions. These don’t have to be your typical, old-school vegetables, either. Add some garlic and oregano, and slice in some fresh jalapenos for some added kick. The pockets in the waffles will catch all the flavorful drippings from the fried vegetables, and you can be sure that not a drop will be wasted.
Pulled pork and coleslaw
It’s no secret that low and slow is the secret to incredible pulled pork, along with having a smoker. Don’t have that kind of set-up? Don’t worry! Grab a pork shoulder and a handful of ingredients you already have at home, and you can easily mimic the conditions of a smoker with a crock pot. Who doesn’t love it when they come home from work and the heavy lifting for dinner is already done?
All that’s left to do is make the waffles, because what better way to up your pulled pork sandwich game than to serve it on a waffle? There’s a benefit here, too. Really, really good pulled pork is juicy, and it’s usually slathered in BBQ sauce. All that liquid can make all but the best rolls fall apart and become, well, let’s just call it "texturally questionable." And that’s an easy way to ruin all the hard work that goes into pulled pork.
Opt for waffles — on the top and bottom, or in an open-faced sandwich sort of way — and you’ll find them holding up much better than most grocery store rolls. That’ll still be true even when you add the coleslaw, because what’s pulled pork without coleslaw? Make it in the morning when you set the pork to cooking, and allow the flavors to meld throughout the day. It’ll be ready and waiting when you get home, and you’ll also get one of the best things about pulled pork: leftovers.
Sausage and gravy
Jimmy Dean sausage and country gravy might be the stuff of breakfast, and if you add waffles, you’ll have a hearty meal that’s definitely big enough for dinner. While that’s a completely legitimate option, it’s not all we’re talking about here. There are a ton of different ways to mix up the idea of serving sausages and gravy for dinner, and once you envision sopping up your favorite gravy with those crunchy-on-the-inside, fluffy-on-the-outside waffles? That’s what we’re talking about.
There are a seemingly infinite set of combinations here, but let’s give some examples. Start with a hearty onion gravy, then reach for the British bangers or the German bratwurst. While we’re on the subject of bratwurst, what about serving them sliced on top of a waffle, and drizzled in a beer or mushroom gravy? (With a lager on the side, of course.) What about an andouille or chorizo sausage, with some Southern-style tomato gravy? Cook up some fresh chicken sausage, then add your favorite chicken gravy over the top.
One of the great things about this is how little it takes in planning. The ingredients for many gravies are things that are likely in your kitchen already, and that makes this a great way to use up that bag of mystery sausage that’s in the back of the freezer. If you’re not quite sure what it is, thaw it to find out, whip up some waffles, choose a gravy, and you have a no-waste meal that looks like you had planned all along.
Steak and eggs
Here’s a fun fact: Steak and eggs has been the breakfast of choice for astronauts since "astronaut" was a viable occupation for every single child to aspire to at some time in their childhood. For those few lucky enough to make it through rigorous training, steak and eggs remain the go-to before blast-off.
It’s so valuable as a breakfast for the same reason serving slices of steak atop a waffle and alongside eggs — made in whatever way is the family favorite — is a great dinner option. This high-protein meal was renowned for keeping astronauts going until their next meal, and that’s what many of us want from dinner, too. Trying to cut out that night-time snacking? Tired of waking up to a growling stomach? Wanting to avoid those 1 a.m. trips to rummage through the fridge? Serve up a dinner that’s going to keep you going through breakfast.
This is a great time to serve up some fried or poached eggs with running yolks because your waffle is going to soak up all that goodness. Spear a piece of steak on top of that yolk-filled waffle, add a dash of your favorite hot sauce, and dinner is served.
Kielbasa is a traditional Polish sausage, and it’s delicious. Here’s the thing, though: Bigger and thicker than a hot dog, many typical grocery store buns just aren’t up for it. They’ll split, fall apart, and just plain don’t work. Fortunately, there’s a super easy way to get your carbs alongside some incredible kielbasa — not to mention all the traditional toppings that go along with it.
That, of course, is to serve it on top of a waffle. A slice of kielbasa and a bite of waffle will be better than what you’re going to get if you just grab any of those commercially-produced rolls off the shelf, especially if you like your kielbasa with traditional toppings. Add a slather of sauerkraut onto that boring old roll, and it’s no secret that it’s a struggle to eat. Not so with waffles.
Not a fan of sauerkraut? That’s perfectly understandable. Fortunately, kielbasa can be served alongside other options that also go great on a waffle. Add coleslaw, a mix of fried peppers and onions, applesauce, or a savory chutney. And, if you prefer to keep things simple, just opt for mustard.
Mac and cheese
Some days just demand comfort food, and what’s more comforting than mac and cheese? Since we all know that it’s impossible to make just one meal’s worth of mac and cheese, that means there are always leftovers. And, let’s be honest — it’s never quite the same the second time around.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do with it that will make your leftovers almost as good as the first time around. You can, of course, make waffles with mac n’ cheese, and it’s a brilliant use for that waffle iron. The crust you’ll get is unmissable, but we’re talking about toppings right now. You can absolutely use mac and cheese as waffle toppings, too, and here’s how.
Grilled cheese is another go-to comfort food, and we all know that bread can make or break a good grilled cheese. If it’s too soft or spongey, it turns from a delicious sandwich to a waste of cheese, but that’s not going to happen if you opt for replacing that bread with a waffle. Take one waffle, add a dollop of mac and cheese, top with the other waffle, and heat (in a pan or waffle iron) until the cheese is ooey and gooey. Make this a full dinner-sized meal by serving it with a bowl of tomato soup on the side.
A hamburger and all your favorite toppings
Ever cook up some delicious, juicy hamburgers, only to put it on a roll, serve it up, and have things go terribly wrong? If the roll is too hard, the burger can shoot right out the other side, but if it’s too soft, it’ll just dissolve into bread pudding … and not the good kind. There’s also the possibility that once you stack everything on it — a thick slice of tomato, some jalapeno peppers, maybe some crispy bacon — it’s just going to be too big to easily and comfortably eat. Enjoying a burger shouldn’t be hard work.
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to fix all of this. And you guessed it — by using a waffle. While you might opt for sandwiching that burger between two waffles, there’s actually a better way. Think of it as sort of an open-faced hot sandwich. Put the burger on top of the waffle where it can absorb all those delicious juices as you cut it, pile on other hot toppings, and — if you like — leave some of the cold toppings on the side for dipping. Love those first few bites of a burger, when the mayo and the mustard are still cold? Cut a slice of burger, a square of waffle, and dip!
This is where those pockets can come in super handy, too. Fill them with bacon crumbles, melt some cheese over the top, and then add your burger.
Curry is an incredibly versatile dish, and the wonderful thing about it is its sheer variety. Whether that means something with a coconut base or a tomato one, something super spicy or incredibly mild, or something that traces a history back to Japanese, Thai, or Indian cuisine, there’s a curry out there that everyone will love.
For all the variations in curry, there are a few things that generally carry through between varieties. In addition to being served alongside rice, flatbreads are also incredibly popular. Soaking up all that flavorful curry with the bread served alongside it is possibly one of the best parts … although honestly, everything about curry is amazing. If you’re craving curry but are out of naan, don’t worry — waffles are actually a pretty amazing substitute.
On one hand, serving a heaping bowl of curry alongside a standard sort of waffle is perfectly acceptable, and it will do a wonderful job of soaking up all that goodness. You can opt to go all out, though, and add things like curry powder, cayenne pepper, and other traditional seasonings to your waffle batter. Also, if you’ve ever wanted to experiment with chickpea waffles, this is the perfect way to do it.
It’s no secret that Taco Tuesdays are one of the things that help us get through the week because let’s face it — the week is pretty long and, many times, pretty stressful. Taco Tuesday doesn’t have to be just about tacos, though — at least not in the traditional sense. It’s the perfect time to mix it up with nachos or burritos, and there’s nothing that says tacos need to be super traditional. What about giving those tortillas a pass and opting for waffles instead?
Think of it as a cross between nachos, taco pizza, and tacos, because it turns out that waffles are a pretty ideal vehicle for all your favorite Taco Tuesday treats. Reach for the pasta bowls, add a waffle, and pile on your taco meat and all your favorite toppings. Who doesn’t love queso? Liquidy cheese takes tacos to the next level, but by the time the meal’s winding down, it’s not as hot as it was, and it’s gone from amazing to just kind of ok. Fill all the waffle pockets with the cheese, then add the meat, and it’ll be hot all the way until you take that last bite.
Salsa, cheese, olives, jalapenos, don’t forget the pico de gallo, and since you’re mixing it up and making it not quite authentic anyway, here’s another pro tip: Don’t forget the bacon!
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No discussion of savory waffles would be complete without the classic chicken and waffles. It’s no secret that this dish is what can make anyone a believer in the idea that waffles are just as great for dinner as they are for breakfast, and that’s because it has everything anyone needs to set their taste buds ablaze. There’s the sweet syrup, the crunch of the fried chicken, the burst of savory seasonings, and the simple fact that when everyone loves every single ingredient, sometimes the old saying applies: The sum really is greater than the parts.
While there’s no consensus on who gets credit for inventing this culinary masterpiece, we can all agree that it’s amazing. But, it can be a challenge to make at home, because fried chicken isn’t the easiest — or cleanest, or fastest — thing to make for dinner. Still, there are plenty of shortcuts. Reach for the country-fried chicken strips in the freezer, or opt for freshly breaded patties from the grocery store. There’s nothing wrong with making this a little healthier, too: Use grilled chicken, and you’ll still have a perfectly respectable version.
There’s more good news, too: If you’re looking for a way to use all those Thanksgiving leftovers, opt for breading slices of turkey in a flour-and-buttermilk coating, frying it, and serving it up with syrup and waffles. Add a dollop of stuffing and cranberry on the side, and you might find it’s so good, these leftovers can be better than the original meal.