Not Martha

Gaufres de Liege, the waffle that has made me forget about all others

Belgian sugar waffle, detail of caramelized sugar exterior

I have come down with a cold, so yesterday I amused myself by making Gaufres de Liege, known to me as Belgian sugar waffles. These are amazing, and have left me uninterested in most all other waffles. They are made from a yeast dough and studded with big coarse sugar that melts and caramelizes as it cooks. They are so, so good.

I had my first one of these at Arosa cafe here in Seattle. (If you live in Seattle you can read more about Arosa’s two locations and Hans, whom everybody loves, here at Voracious.) Even when not fresh (I brought it home and heated in the oven for a moment) it was delicious. I tracked down a recipe over at The Kitchn and had a go.

First I needed to find pearl sugar (though the recipe calls for turbinado sugar and only pearl sugar “if you choose”). I know I’d seen it in the Scandinavian Specialties import store in Ballard, the stuff I had seen resembles the large, opaque salt you see on soft pretzels. I ended up finding some at my nearest Red Apple Market:

Lars Belgian Pearl Sugar box

This brand had two kinds, Swedish Pearl Sugar (like described above) and this Belgian Pearl Sugar which is far larger than I was expecting:

large sugar crystals in my hand

But, right there on the back of the box is a recipe for Belgian Sugar Waffles:

back of the Lars sugar box

I don’t know if you need sugar this large, but it certainly seemed to work well. You can also find this Lars Own Belgian Pearl Sugar at Amazon, along with hail sugar, the small kind, which is sold by Chef Shop (whose physical location just happens to be in Seattle). You can also find the Lars Swedish sized pear sugar occasionally at Ikea.

dough showing process of mixing in sugar crystals

The recipe calls for 140 grams of sugar, which for me worked out to just over 3/4 cup, but I didn’t use all of it because the dough seemed so crammed with sugar.

dough showing process of mixing in sugar crystals

You divide the dough into 12 parts, let them rise a bit more and put them in your waffle maker:

dough in a waffle maker, showing odd shape

These aren’t meant to fill the space in your waffle maker, they are meant to be oddly shaped. The sugar bits melt, so if you have an older waffle maker you might want to use that one:

dough in a waffle maker, showing melting sugar

Here is my DIRE WARNING. The molten sugar bits will burn your fingers when you remove them from the waffle maker. So don’t pluck them from the waffle maker with your bare fingers (ow ow ow stupid ow), and don’t lift them from the waffle maker with tongs but place your bare hand protectively beneath it as the hot sugar will drip onto your lower hand (unexpected ow). Use tongs to pluck it out of the waffle maker, and a spatula beneath to steady it on it’s way to the cooling rack. You have been warned.

Belgian sugar waffle, detail of caramelized sugar exterior

What emerges will be so good you almost won’t mind the amount of work it will be to clean out your waffle maker.

The waffle maker pictured here is on it’s way out and I suspect our next waffle maker will be chosen specifically with Gaufres de Liege in mind. Smaller, deeper squares and with temperature settings. (If you’re wondering what happened to the waffle maker I mentioned earlier, I returned it. It made a disturbing and obviously not right click when one closed it, something was catching and we couldn’t figure out what. Also, it seemed to only under or over cook waffles and for as much as it cost I wasn’t too pleased about that. I’d much rather have the 1/5th of an ottoman that it was worth.)

One last note, the recipe below calls for a low temperature setting for your waffle maker. Mine just has On and Off and yet the waffles turned out just fine. I just checked to see if the outside was dark enough for me, they all seem to have cooked through just fine (I, um, ate half of them so it was a good sample). You can heat them in the toaster, but be aware of the molten sugar warnings above and if you are going to just eat it by hand wrap it in parchment paper instead of a paper towel (which will stick to the caramelized sugar exterior).

Belgian sugar waffle, detail of caramelized sugar exterior

Recipe by Chichi of My Chalkboard Fridge, by way of Doc Doughtery, and was found here at The Kitchn. Presented here with a few notes by Megan from

Gaufres de Liege
makes 12 waffles

  • 6 tablespoons warm milk (no hotter than 110°F)
  • 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups (230 grams) bread flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) unsalted butter, at slightly cooler than room temperature
  • 140 grams turbinado sugar, or pearl sugar if you choose (I went with 3/4 cup. It’s worth seeking out Lars Belgian Pearl Sugar if you can find it.)
  • Cooking spray

Dissolve the sugar in the warm milk; then add the yeast. Make sure that the milk is not too hot, lest it kill the yeast instead of promoting its growth. Place a plate or some kind of cover on top of the bowl with the milk, sugar and yeast. Set aside for about five minutes. When you check on it, the yeast should have bubbled up, looking light brown and spongy.

Meanwhile, mix the sifted bread flour with the cinnamon, vanilla extract, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Pour in the yeast mixture; then add the whole egg and egg yolk. Mix on medium speed until it is fully combined. The dough will be yellow and stiff, yielding only slightly to a poke.

Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest in a warm place for about thirty minutes. (I always find the top of my fridge is the best spot in my house.)

Beat in the butter piece by piece; you do not have to wait for the prior piece to be fully incorporated before adding the next. When the dough has incorporated about half of the butter, the mixture will be like a very thick, somewhat broken-up paste. If you keep engaging the mixer on medium-high speed, the dough will eventually become a cohesive whole, looking smoother and more feeling more elastic. Scrape the sides of the bowl if needed.

Kneading very gently, incorporate the sugar crystals just enough to get them evenly distributed. Work quickly so as not to soften the buttery dough too much.

Divide the dough into a dozen equal pieces, gently forming them into balls.

Place the balls of dough on a cutting board in a warmish place for fifteen minutes or so. During the last two minutes of this resting time, preheat your waffle iron until it is very warm, but not hot.

Spray the griddles with cooking oil. Place each ball of dough in a whole square or section of the waffle iron. (I could fit two in my smallish, round Belgian style waffle maker.) Like regular waffle batter, the dough will start to puff up. Cook the waffles until the surface is golden to dark brown. Be sure that the waffle iron you are using is appropriately deep, or else the interior of the waffle will not be cooked through. If you are using a vintage stovetop waffle iron, flip the iron every thirty to forty seconds, lifting the iron to check the rate of browning. The browning should be gradual to allow the interior to fully develop.

(Be careful when you lift them from the waffle maker! Very hot sugar can drip from the waffles and, trust me, it burns.)

Set the waffles on a cooling rack as they come out of the iron to promote a crispy exterior. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

Any leftover waffles, if they are not dark brown, can be carefully re-cooked in a toaster for approximately thirty to sixty seconds. (Again, beware hot molten sugar.) Leftover waffles may also be kept in an airtight container between sheets of parchment paper, for up to three days.

· comments [88] · 11-20-2009 · categories:food ·

88 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Helen // Jan 13, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    I just made these and they turned out beautifully!
    We have a cheapo Belgian waffle maker (probably from Wal-mart?), and I was able to fit four balls in the iron at the same time. Thanks for the recipe!

  • 2 The Real Deal: Gaufres de Liege > amy a la mode // Jan 28, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    […] This is *very* close to what I remember from our trip to Belgium a couple years back. Extra tips at not Martha. My eternal thanks to Rebekah for posting this recipe! DELICIOUS!! January 28th, 2010 | Tell me […]

  • 3 Suzanne // Jan 30, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Well, I bought a case (CASE) of sugar and was all ready to roll this morning. Everything was going great…and then the dough burned out the motor on my KitchenAid. It was at the point you beat in the butter. With in 5 rotations of trying to beat in the butter the motor gave a horrible roar and died a terrible death. I tried to hand knead the butter in…but it doesn’t look good. Fingers crossed!

  • 4 megan // Jan 30, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Suzanne – Oh no, that is awful! I hope Kitchenaid will repair your mixer.

  • 5 Michelle // Feb 1, 2010 at 7:40 am

    I was an exchange student in Belgium and this makes me miss it terribly. FYI, we used to make them the night before and take them as a snack the following day. They’re good even cold. I am going to have to make these!

  • 6 oregoncoastgirl // Mar 9, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Portlanders can find both Lar’s Own Belgian (big) & Swedish (small) Pearl sugars @ Zupan’s. I’ve read a couple of places that Whole Foods carried it; I tried 3 stores & none had it.

    Waiting for my dough to rise right now….

  • 7 Valerie // Apr 18, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    I tried this recipe this morning when friends came for brunch. I suggest removing the cinnamon (I don’t remember cinnamon in the ones I ate in Belgium). I have pearl sugar from Belgium – it’s perfect (the sugar is about the size of a pea). Next time I will make the night before (before adding the butter and pearl sugar) to get more gluten to form – I want them to be more chewy, less bready. Still delicious!

  • 8 megan // Apr 18, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Valerie – The yes/no cinnamon thing is often debated. All of the ones I’ve had here have the cinnamon. In the article on Voracious that I linked to above he also doesn’t remember cinnamon in the ones he ate as an exchange student but says:

    “The cinnamon that Hans’s wife adds to the dough seems an American twist to me, but this Belgian waffle fan site and the official Fraternity of the Liégois Waffle both say cinnamon is perfectly correct. Nostalgia is not always the best judge of authenticity.”

    I agree with you about letting more gluten form, please do let me know if leaving them overnight does the trick.

  • 9 abi // May 14, 2010 at 5:49 am

    Be still my heart! I just stumbled upon your blog and this recipe and it’s made my day! I was lucky enough to have these waffles much by accident while IN Liege, Belgium!! Little did we know. They were completely dipped and coated in divine dark Belgian chocolate, and I’ve never quite recovered :) Thank you SO much for sharing! I can’t wait to make them for myself!

  • 10 Kristen // May 14, 2010 at 9:42 am

    I’ve eaten them, too, in Liege over 10 years ago and they were fanTAStic! I was never much of a waffle person (more of a pancake girl) but these changed my mind forever. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at recreating them…THANKS so much for the recipe!

  • 11 The Purple Foodie // May 17, 2010 at 8:17 am

    I have some peal ugar from ikea as well but the crystals are much smaller! anyhow, I’m so glad for this nudge by you and deb. now I just have to use it instead of saving up!

  • 12 anyway . . . about Quebec, « The Story of Myla // Aug 16, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    […] One word: Gaufres. […]

  • 13 Marc // Oct 31, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Thank you for the info.
    Could anyone please suggest a great iron for making Gaufres de Liege/Belgian Sugar Waffles ?
    Many thanks,

  • 14 Lisa // Jan 1, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Love, love, love these waffles. Got addicted to them on a month long work assignment in Brussels.
    My great waffle iron for these babies…

    Nordic Ware Belgian Waffle maker at Target. It’s a stove top model, so works well if you have gas flame. I don’t worry about the sugar sticking, as I can fully submerge this waffle maker — no sparky wire things to go poof when wet.

    It does take a bit of flame watching and testing the first few to make sure you’ve got the heat right. You can also be Alton Brown about it and use an IR thermometer to get the temp right. My other tip about this is when you unload the waffle, and let the ‘bottom’ of the iron get hot – flip it right before you reload – so the top is already hot, and the bottom is starting cool.

  • 15 Anger Burger » Blog Archive » Waffle Battle Fight // Jan 26, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    […] started with Not Martha’s recipe, and will be making some alterations. Because I can’t leave well enough alone, of course, […]

  • 16 Waffle Master // Feb 5, 2011 at 2:13 am

    Here is a little secret for real belgian pearl sugar in the US:
    Don’t go too hard, I don’t want them to be out of stock

  • 17 Joel // Feb 10, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    thanks for this recipes, Martha. But when i tried this recipe, it was good in the beginning (means while it’s just out from the waffle iron) but after sometimes the crispiness was gone. it’s become chewy

  • 18 Jourdan // Feb 14, 2011 at 8:29 am

    I am very interested in embarking on the adventure of liege waffes, but can’t seem to figure out which waffle maker works best. Can anyone share with me what waffle makers they are using.

  • 19 megan // Feb 14, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Jourdan – In my case I used the waffle iron I owned, but the irons used by the restaurants here who make liege waffles are heavy cast iron, create square waffles (though the liege dough keeps it’s own rounded shape) and the grid is often the deep Belgium style as opposed to the more shallow American waffles. Most all irons you’ll find for sale in the US these days make rounded, Belgium style waffles, not an ideal iron for liege waffles made at home. Look for cast iron stovetop models, or older waffle irons if you can find them.

  • 20 olga // Mar 23, 2011 at 11:10 am

    so….i just stumbled upon your blog and have now spent most of the day reading all your posts…
    I am intrigued by these waffles and am wondering two things….
    1. have you used a breadmaker on the dough setting to make this dough? if so, how did it work?
    b. did you try it with turbinado sugar? how did it work?

  • 21 megan // Mar 23, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Olga – I’m afraid I don’t have a breadmaker so I cannot answer you question about that. I did not end up trying it with turbinado sugar. I really really like the effect of the large pockets of sugar though, so I recommend putting effort into finding it if you can. Good luck!

  • 22 Ode to a Waffle | Ghosts and Bubblegum // Aug 26, 2011 at 12:00 am

    […] at Not Martha has crafted a pretty impressive recipe and how-to on making these waffles at home.  You can check that out here. In fact, even she says that this is “the waffle that has made [her] forget all […]

  • 23 Emily Johnston Anderson // Oct 6, 2011 at 8:48 am

    These are INcredibly delicious, thanks for the recipe! I’d become slightly obsessed with having another one of these since my trip to Blue Bottle in the ferry building in SF. I used raw sugar cubes (Begin Say, “La Perruche” brand) which I hammered with a meat pounder a couple of times to break them up, and I loved the more complex flavor — so if you can’t come by the pearl sugar, these make a great subsitute!

  • 24 Claude // Oct 30, 2011 at 5:03 am

    The only pearl sugar to use in making Liege Waffles is the Sucre Perle from Tirlemont the large P4. Anything else simply doesn’t taste the same and certainly won’t have the same effect when cooking. The Belgian sucre perle P4 is designed specifically for the Liege waffles. The Scandinavian sugar is for decoration only and sits on the outside of the finished product. the Belgian sugar stays inside the waffle and melds with the batter also staying crunchy half melted. The final product using the Belgian P4 from Tirlemont is far superior. The Tirlemont sugar is easy enough to purchase on-line from the Also one needs to use the proper 4×6 iron with deep pockets otherwise it simply isn’t the same. :o)

  • 25 Claude // Oct 30, 2011 at 5:06 am

    Oh, just one more thaing – don’t make Liege waffles using a breasdmaker! Please make them by hand. It is a delicate product using fresh yeast.
    It takes a little time to make a good Liege Waffle!

  • 26 Claude // Oct 30, 2011 at 5:11 am

    the true gaufre Liegeoise does not contain cinnamon. I was born in Liege and from early childhood I remember them well! no cinnamon in gaufres de Liege.
    In other sugar waffles cinnamon is used yes but not in Liege waffles.

  • 27 Yvonne // Jan 9, 2012 at 1:57 pm


    I’m from Belgium and I should tell you that the size of the sugar is an absolute must if you want to make real “gaufres de Liège”. I also agree with the other Belgian who left a comment in that there should be NO cinnamon in a true Liège waffle. Bon appétit!!

  • 28 Vafler på belgisk vis. | Siv baker og steiker // Jan 20, 2012 at 1:15 am

    […] Liège vaflene inneholder klumper av perlesukker som krystalliseres under stekingen, og gir vaffelen en sprø, sukret overflate som kan sammenlignes med overflaten til Crème Bruleè  Disse vaflene tilberedes også med smak av vanilje eller kanel, og er den vanligeste vaffelen solgt av gateselgere over hele Belgia. Oppskrift på Liège vaffelen finner du bl.a HER. […]

  • 29 Paige // Jan 20, 2012 at 7:23 am

    Oh, you beautiful, BEAUTIFUL woman. I’m sitting here in my First Hill apartment, quite snowed in indeed, up much before my husband in all likelyhood, left to think of nothing but where we’ll be having breakfast once he wakes. All I want is a pearl sugar waffle from Meander’s Kitchen in West Seattle but that’s…in West Seattle. We ain’t making it there this morning. So I do a little vicarious Googling, and a hit comes up from a site that I love and know is Seattle-based so what the heck! And I see you mention Arosa, and, why, that’s six blocks from my front door! Please be open please be open please be open! I need a waffle.

  • 30 Roberto Berrocal // Jan 24, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I am sorry to say, but these are not the real Gaufres as they are not supposed to have cinnamon. I followed the recipe and they are good but definitely not what they should taste like. I found the real original recipe, here is the link:

    Thanks for posting and trying though!

  • 31 JoshAM // Feb 11, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Hey Megan, I’m trying out this recipe and I had one question: When you say to beat on medium speed, should I be using a dough hook or just the normal beaters I would use for cakes and cookies?

    I used the normal beater, but my KitchenAid was struggling and I’m not sure if it’s right – really sticky.


  • 32 megan // Feb 11, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Josh – It’s been a few years since I made this but for the initial mixing I believe I used the beater, then switched to the dough hook after the first rise and when you incorporate the butter. I have the most basic (least powerful) Kitchenaid mixer and I usually switch to the dough hook when I feel like the mixer is starting to struggle. And yes, the dough was very very sticky. I hope this has helped, they are worth it!

  • 33 JoshAM // Feb 12, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Thanks for the response, Megan! I ended up doing just as you said – I started with the beater but switched to the dough hook when I added the butter.

    I cooked these off this morning for a few friends and they turned out great! I used chopped sugar cubes in lieu of pearl sugar, and only put in about half as much as directed (~70 grams). My only issue was that the sugar refused to stick in the dough, so it kept falling out.

  • 34 Paige // Mar 5, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Actually in Liege we have so many different waffles and yes cinnamon or cannelle as we call it in Belgium is also one of them but you are right the recipe is not the authentic Liege waffle nor is the one linked by Roberto …The Lars sugar is not a Belgian pearl sugar it is Swedish, you need a pearl sugar made in Belgium I get mine here: it is the real thing! I am not saying the recipe are not nice, I am just saying the real one is a very well kept secret, just like the Coca cola secret formula.

  • 35 Pierre // Oct 25, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Anyonek now where I can get a good waffle maker to make authentic gauffre de Liege? Only ones I can find cost nearly $1000!

  • 36 uncouth heathen » Link Dump // Jul 16, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    […] brulee and chocolate varieties.  Well, the lovely Seattle blogger not martha has offered up her recipe for the perfect liege waffle so we can make them ourselves!  YES!  Check it out and make me some waffles.   But not the […]

  • 37 miss waffle lover // Jan 2, 2015 at 8:14 am

    @ Pierre,

    I have preference for the CuisinArt Belgian Waffle Maker. I have tried a few other brands but this is by far the best.

  • 38 SaraK // Feb 6, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    I second miss waffle lover’s recommendation. If you live by Costco, they’re selling the Waring Pro Double Belgian Waffle maker for under $60. Waring Pro is the professional line of Cuisinart – but both brands are great.

    Costco just has a good deal on it.

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