These Copycat Waffle Love Liège Waffles are made from a rich, yeast-based brioche dough with Belgian pearl sugar kneaded into it to create a crunchy, caramelized sweetness around the individual pockets and ridges of each waffle. Top them with Biscoff cookie butter, a big scoop of freshly whipped cream, raspberries and sliced strawberries for an incredible dessert or breakfast treat!
Table of Contents
- What are Belgian liege waffles?
- What You'll Need
- How to Make Liege Waffles
- Tips for Success
- How to Serve
- Waffle Topping Ideas
- Storage Instructions
- Can you freeze these waffles?
- More Sweet Breakfast Recipes Like This
- Copycat Waffle Love Liège Waffles Recipe
- More States I Have Visited in my American Eats Series
Longtime blog readers know that I went to undergrad and law school at BYU in Provo, Utah, which is where I first had liege waffles at the Waffle Love food truck. I fell in love with these delicious Belgian liège waffles that are made with sugar pearls that are even better than regular waffles and topped with all kinds of delicious toppings or enjoyed plain all on their own.
Then we went to Belgium where I tried traditional Belgian waffles in Bruges and Brussels and fell in love with them even more! These really are the best waffles and one of our favorite things to serve at brunches, holiday gatherings, Christmas morning, or other celebrations.
What are Belgian liege waffles?
A Liège waffle (also known as gaufre de liège) is a chewy, dense waffle totally unlike American waffles. Authentic Belgian waffles are made with a brioche-like yeasted dough made with sugar crystals that melt as the waffles cook, leaving a caramelized crunch around the edges of the dough in the deep pockets of the waffle. The waffle dough has a long, slow rise which allows a distinctive flavor to develop that is part of what makes these so good.
You may have heard of or even tried a liège waffle at one of any number of food trucks in foodie meccas like NYC, LA or Provo (maybe Provo is only a foodie mecca for BYU alums but I'm going with it because it really does have an excellent and varied food scene).
As near as I can tell, the Liège waffle craze in the U.S. started around 2007 in New York with a waffle truck called Wafels & Dinges which still serves up both Brussels and Liège waffles in the NY area. Then Waffle de Liège truck started up in 2010 and Waffle Love followed in Provo in 2013. Now there seem to be waffle places in most major cities.
I have tried making copycat Waffle Love Liège waffles over the past few years starting with the recipe on the back of the Belgian pearl sugar box. They were okay, but not quite what I knew they could be. So after more taste-testing on a visit to Utah, I kept trying and finally achieved the best waffles ever!
These Copycat Waffle Love Liège waffles are just like the ones you can get at Waffle Love (or Wafels & Dinges in NY or Waffle de Liege in LA or Bruges in Provo). I've got to give credit to Chef In Training for her Liège waffle post because my research for a better recipe led me to her post which had such a perfect copycat recipe that I can't think of anything that needs to be adapted or changed other than a few clarifications in the instructions.
What You'll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Bread flour - You can make this recipe with all-purpose flour, but it has a chewier texture with bread flour.
- Active dry yeast - I prefer using active dry yeast because it's what I always have on hand, but instant yeast can also be used.
- Vanilla extract
- Brown sugar
- Pearl Sugar - This ingredient is essential in this liege waffle recipe - they create little pockets of crunchy sweetness and some of them melt to create a caramelized coating around the individual pockets and ridges of the waffle. Sometimes called Swedish pearl sugar, but I have most often found it labeled as Belgian pearl sugar.
How to Make Liege Waffles
Start by proofing the yeast in warm milk and water with a little sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or other large bowl until it is foamy.
Add eggs, honey (or maple syrup would be a good substitute) and vanilla, then mixed until combined. Stir in the room temperature butter and brown sugar along with some of the flour. Continue adding more flour, kneading until incorporated.
The dough gets mixed in a stand mixer and then kneaded until it is a nice, smooth ball. Let the dough rise at room temperature for 3 hours.
After raising for 3 hours on the counter, you punch it down and then stick the yeast dough in the refrigerator to slowly rise at a cold temperature for another 6-8 hours (or longer, if you need it).
After the slow rise in the fridge, you knead in the Belgian pearl sugar and divide the dough into small dough balls. The kneading can be tough at first because this dough will be stiff and cold and the sugar pearls are hard. You hands and knuckles might take a slight beating for it, but trust me it's worth it.
Then you press the dough balls in a Belgian waffle maker until they are cooked through and nice and golden brown and crisp on the outside.
Tips for Success
- If you are planning on having these for breakfast, start them the night before. If you want them for dessert, make your dough first thing in the morning and you will be good to go.
- Liège waffles take a little preparation, but none of the steps to make these waffles are difficult and they are completely worth it.
- They are perfect for entertaining because you do the bulk of the work ahead of time. I even get them to the point where I knead in the pearl sugar and divide the dough into individual portions then stick it back in the fridge so that when we are ready for dessert it's just a matter of cooking the waffles, which doesn't take long at all.
It's easier to get your hands on that you might think, too. You can order it on Amazon (affiliate link) or find it at many grocery stores or specialty food stores like Williams-Sonoma or Sur La Table.
Typical American waffles (often referred to as the so-called Belgian waffles that you can get anywhere in the U.S.) are made with a batter that is poured into a waffle maker. Liège waffles are made from a rich, yeast-based brioche dough that raises for an extended period of time to develop a unique flavor, then has Belgian pearl sugar kneaded into it before cooking each waffle in a Belgian waffle iron.
Technically, yes, you could make these after a shorter rise, although with all the butter and eggs in the dough the rise time is longer than average for more yeast doughs. However, the slow, cold rise in the fridge overnight produces a better flavor and texture that is more akin to what we ate while traveling in Belgium.
How to Serve
The Liège waffles are delicious all by themselves, maybe sprinkled with a little powdered sugar, but I'm obsessed with the "Red Wonder" version from Waffle Love where you spread some Biscoff cookie butter over the hot waffle, top it with a big scoop of fresh whipped cream and load on the raspberries and sliced strawberries.
Paul liked the churro version which is just sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. These copycat Waffle Love Liège waffles can be topped any way you want!
Waffle Topping Ideas
- Cookie butter
- Whipped cream
- Cinnamon & sugar
Leftover waffles can be kept on the counter at room temperature for 4-5 days or in the fridge for up to 1 week, although they really are best served fresh.
Can you freeze these waffles?
Yes! They actually freeze really well after cooking them in your waffle iron. I recommend laying them in a single layer on parchment paper and freezing individually for an hour or two first, then transferring to a freezer-safe bag for longer-term storage.
To reheat from frozen, you can either warm your liege waffles in a 350 degree F oven for 10-15 minutes, or use an air fryer if you have one for the best results that crisps up the edges again.
More Sweet Breakfast Recipes Like This
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Copycat Waffle Love Liège Waffles
- ½ cup whole milk lukewarm
- ⅓ cup water lukewarm
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1 ½ Tablespoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 cup salted butter, softened
- 4 cups bread flour
- 1 ½ cups Belgian Pearl Sugar
Sweetened Whipped Cream
- 3 cups heavy whipping cream
- ⅔ cup powdered sugar
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Cookie butter
- Cinnamon & sugar
- Combine the milk, water, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer and stir together. Let the yeast proof for 5 minutes without stirring.
- Add the eggs, honey, vanilla and salt and use the paddle attachment to beat everything together on medium speed until combined.
- Add the brown sugar and softened butter and beat again for with the paddle attachment for 1-2 minutes. The butter will not entirely combine with the other ingredients but don't worry just yet.
- Add in 1 cup of the flour and beat for 2 minutes with the paddle attachment until a smooth batter forms and the butter and flour have combined with the other ingredients. Add another 1 cup of flour and beat until it is incorporated, then switch to the dough hook and add the remaining 2 cups of flour. Knead the waffle dough until it comes together in a smooth ball on the dough hook and is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl.
- Lift the dough from the bowl of the stand mixer and lightly grease the bowl, then return the dough to the bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter at room temperature for about 3 hours to rise, until doubled in size.
- Punch down the dough (literally, just make a fist and stick it way down into the center of the dough), then cover it with plastic wrap again and stick it in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours but anywhere up to 14-16 is fine.
- Heat your waffle iron on it's lowest setting. While the iron is heating, knead the Belgian pearl sugar into the cold waffle dough. This will take some effort as the dough will be quite stiff but don't worry if it all the sugar doesn't seem to want to go into the dough. Just leave it in the bottom of the bowl and after dividing the dough into 10-12 individual portions, you can roll each portion in the remaining sugar to use it all up.
- Shape each portion of dough into a disc and set it on the hot waffle iron. Press the iron down and cook the waffle until golden brown. On my waffle iron, I can cook four waffle at a time and it takes about 4 minutes but you might need to adjust based on your particular waffle iron and heat setting. I do not recommend cooking these on the higher temperature settings of your waffle iron.
- Remove waffles from the waffle iron and top with Biscoff spread, whipped cream and fruit (or whatever toppings you want) or keep warm in a 200 degree oven until ready to serve.
Sweetened Whipped Cream
- In the clean bowl of your stand mixer, beat the heavy whipping cream on high speed with the whisk attachment, gradually adding the sugar and vanilla, until whipped cream forms. You want it more on the stiff side so it should be able to easily hold it's shape and support the weight of berries once it is scooped onto each waffle.
- To store: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat the waffles in an air fryer, toaster oven, or 350ºF oven until they’re warmed through.
- Belgian sugar pearls: You can order this on Amazon (affiliate link) or find it at many grocery stores or specialty food stores like Williams-Sonoma or Sur La Table.
More States I Have Visited in my American Eats Series
Alabama • Alaska • Arizona • Arkansas • California • Colorado • Connecticut • Delaware • Florida • Georgia • Hawaii • Idaho • Illinois • Indiana • Iowa • Kansas • Kentucky • Louisiana • Maine • Maryland • Massachusetts • Michigan • Minnesota • Mississippi • Missouri • Montana • Nebraska • New Jersey • New York • Oregon • Puerto Rico • South Carolina • South Dakota • Texas • Utah • Wisconsin
This post was originally published in March, 2017. The photos and content were updated in August, 2022.