In all honesty, almost anything can be a breakfast food, but there are some classics that cannot be denied their rightful place at the breakfast table. Waffles and pancakes are two must-haves on any breakfast menu—but which one reigns supreme? On the surface there’s not much that separates these two batter-based breakfast items. (Other than, well, the ridged surface of a waffle.) But there’s still plenty of strong preference for one over the other when it comes time to pass the syrup.
If these writers had to choose, one would absolutely leggo that Eggo for a flapjack, while the other would never part with her waffle iron. Where do you land in the waffles versus pancakes debate?
A properly executed waffle (whether Belgian or Eggo toaster-style) is lightly crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Waffles are buttery without being overly mushy like a pancake can get. The key to the waffle’s sturdiness are the signature square indentations where the syrup can sit without immediately soaking into the waffle. This allows for every bite to have some syrup in it without having to drown your plate (unless you’re into that then by all means drown it).
And all that is just about the actual structure of waffles. As a proud brunch bitch, I can confirm that waffles are more versatile than pancakes. A couple weekends ago I had a barbecue pork-stuffed Belgian waffle, and it was a perfect balance of sweet and savory. You couldn’t get that with a flimsy old pancake.
Sure, I’ll admit a waffle requires more equipment in that you can’t just pour the batter into a skillet you already have. You will need to invest in a waffle iron if you want to make them at home, but that one time purchase could yield you many happy mornings. I say it’s worth it. If you really think about it, waffles are like pancakes 2.0. Time to modernize, people.—Angela L. Pagán, staff writer
I’ll admit that I use my waffle iron almost every day. Waffles are wonderful. Like Angela said, they’re sturdy vessels for all manner of toppings, and their crisp exterior gets me closer to God, Nine Inch Nails-style. But my significant experience as an amateur waffle slinger has led me to a possibly controversial conclusion: any sucker can make a decent waffle, but pancakery is a delicate, learned skill. That, in my opinion, elevates the pancake in the most delicious way.
Think about it. I can half-burn my waffle, but a smattering of chocolate chips and a huge glob of peanut butter will fix it right up. Not so for the pancake. A bad pancake is irredeemable, no matter how much syrup you sling on that thing. A bad pancake can be underdone in the middle, overdone on the outside, and hard as a hockey puck, all at the same time. But a good pancake—I’m talking a perfect, diner plate-sized pancake—is the mark of a true breakfast master. Soft and fluffy on the inside; smooth and lightly buttery on the outside, with tiny lacy batter bits tickling the pancake’s edge. You hardly ever see that level of perfection in the natural world. I think that’s something to holler about.—Lillian Stone, staff writer