Belgian Liege Waffles

Baker Bettie Breakfast, Healthy, Pancakes & Waffles, Sweets 21 Comments

Belgian Waffle Recipe (aka Liege Waffles) made with the sweet yeast dough master recipe and an easy and cheaper substitute for pearl sugar! Chewy, yeasty, and crisp and caramelized sugar bits will make these waffles your fast favorite! 

Real Belgian Waffle Recipe, Liege Waffles- Baker Bettie

Have you ever had a real Belgian waffle? Or a liege waffle? If you haven’t, then I need for you to image this: A waffle made from sweet yeast dough. A puffy waffle that is chewy on the inside and crisp on the outside. The flavor is complex in it’s yeastiness. Oh, and then there’s the caramelized sugar. The big hunks of pearl sugar mixed throughout the dough that caramelizes on the outside creating incredible crunchy, crispy, caramelized bits of heaven all throughout the waffle. It is it’s own thing. You can’t even compare them to other kinds of waffles. They are a whole new level of waffle.

Real Belgian Waffle Recipe, Liege Waffles- Baker Bettie

When I started playing around the that basic sweet yeast dough recipe a few weeks ago I added Liege waffles to the list of things I wanted to use it for. I have been wanting to make them for a while. The only problem was the pearl sugar. It is not an easy thing to find here in the states and you can definitely order it online, but I really don’t like creating recipes that require ordering things online. It just isn’t convenient for anyone. And I want my readers to actually make the recipes. Not just look at them and drool. That’s no fun. No fun at all. So I set out to find a way to make these taste like authentic Belgian waffles without the pearl sugar. I was roaming through the baking section at the grocery store when I had an “aha!” moment. Sugar cubes! I snached up a 1 dollar box and set out to make faux pearl sugar! I broke them into smaller but still fairly large pieces of sugar to mix into the dough. It worked like a charm! I actually really loved the inconsistencies in the sizes of the pieces. It creates some really crunchy caramelized bits, and others that are smaller. Total heaven.

Real Belgian Waffle Recipe, Liege Waffles- Baker Bettie

I guess I could get myself into trouble by calling these “Real Belgian Waffles” since I’m not using “real belgian pearl sugar.” And by all means, if you have pearl sugar or want to get some, please do and use it! But trust me! The sugar cubes work so well too! Just remember you don’t want them to be tiny pieces. You want to keep them fairly large. Think about keeping the pieces about 1/4 to 1/5 the size of the actual cube. I put them in a plastic bag and broke them up with a meat mallet being careful not to break them up too much. The pearl sugar (or faux pearl sugar) makes these waffles incredibly sweet and decadent on their own. You really don’t need any toppings for them. Hot right out of the waffle iron is absolute perfection. But we also sprinkled them with a bit of cinnamon sugar and topped with some strawberries. That was tasty too! But I think I prefer these babies plain the best.

Real Belgian Waffle Recipe, Liege Waffles- Baker Bettie

For a detailed tutorial with pictures about making the base dough, check out this post!

4.7 from 3 reviews
Real Belgian Liege Waffles
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 10-12 Waffles
  • ⅔ cup milk
  • 1 package active dry yeast (0.25 oz package or 2¼ tsp)
  • 6 TBSP unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into small pieces
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups plus 2 TBSP all-purpose flour
  • 6 oz sugar cubes, broken into large pieces (or pearl sugar)
  1. Warm the milk to 105-110ºF. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk and let it sit until it begins to get foamy. About 5 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the butter, sugar, salt, and egg.
  3. Fit the mixing bowl onto the mixer with the dough hook. With the mixer on the lowest setting, pour in the milk/yeast mixture and the flour. Increase speed to medium and let the dough knead for about 5 minutes until it forms a soft sticky dough. The mixture will seem quite wet at first, but will form a smooth soft dough once kneaded in the mixer for the full time. If the mixture is too wet after kneading, add more flour 1 TBSP at a time until a soft but sticky dough forms.
  4. Place the dough in a clean bowl with a towel or loose plastic wrap over it and allow to rise to double in size. About 1½ hours.(You can make the dough a day ahead of time. Let it rise and then put it in the refrigerator overnight. Let it sit out for about 20 minutes to take the chill off the next day before mixing in the sugar)
  5. Place the dough back into the mixer fitted with the dough hook and pour in all of the sugar cube pieces (or pearl sugar). Mix until evenly incorporated.
  6. Break the dough into small pieces, about 2½ oz each. You should get about 10-12 pieces.
  7. Heat your waffle iron up. Remember, sugar begins to burn at temps above 350ºF. If your waffle iron doesn't have a temp dial you may have to do trial and error to see the setting that will give you the best caramelization without burning. Most waffle irons heat much hotter than 350. My medium setting was perfect for these, however some other recipes suggest getting your iron hot and then turning it off as the waffle cooks to prevent burning. I had no problems with burning, but test your iron to see what works best.
  8. Remove the waffles from the iron with a spatula (caramelized sugar is really hot!) once the waffle is golden, puffed, and crispy.
  9. Enjoy plain or with cinnamon sugar, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, or your favorite topping!


Easy, Light and Airy, No-Bake Cheesecake
Profiteroles with Coffee Ice Cream and Chocolate Ganache

Comments 21

  1. cookingactress

    SHUT UP!!! Genius. Ahhhhh Kristin you are so smart!!! I actually bought 2 bags of pearl sugar already >_< but I'm totally gonna remember the sugar cube trip for after I run out! (because I'm obviously gonna make TONS of liege wafels :P)

    1. Post
      Baker Bettie

      No YOU shut up! Let me know if you make these and what you think! It’s probably a bad thing to know how to make. Especially after my husband tried them. He will probably want these all the time now.

    1. Post
  2. Jessamine in PDX

    I LOVE liege waffles. I just posted about them not too long ago — I was lucky to find pearl sugar in a grocery store here in Portland. But I had read somewhere online that you could use crushed sugar cubes and I have been dying to try it. Glad to know it works so well! I’m totally trying that next time. Your waffles look delicious!

  3. BakerBettie

    Thank you so much Jessamine! I actually haven't looked too much for the pearl sugar, but I suppose I should try this recipe again the authentic way to see how the broken sugar cubes compares. The sugar cubes are just so much cheaper! It would be hard to justify spending so much fi the result is so great with the cheaper version!

  4. Jenny Smith

    What kind of waffle maker do you have? I don't have one yet…but I DO have the pearl sugar (I have family in Belgium so that was fairly easy to get my hands on) and I'm trying to figure out what kind of waffle maker is the best to use!

  5. BakerBettie

    Honestly Jenny, I have like the cheapest waffle iron you can find at Walmart. The medium setting was perfect and these came out nice and crispy on the outside, but still fluffy in the middle.

    1. Post
      Baker Bettie

      Hi Victoria,

      It isn’t necessary. All of the fermentation (development of flavor from letting the dough rise) happens in the steps prior to splitting the dough up. You could let it rise again, but you will press all of the air out of it in your waffle iron anyway. It might add a tad more of that fermented dough flavor, but it won’t be substantial.

  6. Sean L.

    i like the sugar cube substitution b/c real belgian pearl sugar is quite pricey. we manufacture authentic liege dough for wholesale and it even costs us around $1.30/lb. a key difference though is sugar cubes are made with cane while belgian pearl sugar is made from beets. chemically, it’s a tiny bit different and beet sugar caramelizes faster. if you use cane based sugar, you have to cook it at a slightly higher temperature and for a longer period of time to achieve the same color.

    i would say there a couple tweaks you could make to the recipe. we add the butter after forming the dough and kneading. the reason is the butter impedes the gluten formation and you end up with a less elastic dough. by kneading first and then adding butter, you retain the structure.

    having a waffle iron with a thermostatic control is definitely key. hamilton beach makes a cheap $25 iron that works surprisingly well (we have the specific model on our website). you just set it to the lowest setting and you get an almost perfect 350F. b/c it’s a cheap $25 iron, it could be dedicated to cooking liege waffles at home. you can actually clean the waffle iron with water b/c the sugar just melts. of course, wait until the iron is completely dry before using again. don’t want to cause a short circuit.

    “Authentic Liege Waffle Dough Wholesale Manufacturer”

  7. Michelle

    Made these yesterday morning. Phenomenal! The only problem I see is that my family isn’t going to be happy with regular waffles again. My husband said these go on the top 10 list of things I have made and I have done quite a bit of cooking over 25 years of marriage! Thanks for the sugar cube trick. Wish I could give more stars.

    1. Post
  8. Odelle Smith

    I’m really wishing to make these, I don’t own a waffle iron…
    Think that they would work in a heavy duty pan used for steaks?
    I’ve got one with ‘grill-markings’ or a couple without any, it would be worth a try don’t you think?
    I’m officially banned from purchasing any further cooking appliances by my O/H as I’ve far too many now & no place left for storage…
    He loves food as much as I do, I make it he eats it no problem!!! lol

    1. Post
      Baker Bettie

      You could definitely try it Odelle and if you do, please report back with the results! Question for you, the pan you are referring to, it doesn’t have a top do it does it? That would be my one concern. Would you be able to flip the waffle over to cook on the other side very easily? I guess you won’t know until you try!

  9. Brittany

    I made the dough tonight and its been rising for an hour. Its not at all sticky and resembles bread dough more than a waffle like dough. I followed the recipe to a T but I’m wondering if my location being high altitude might be affecting the consistency, thoughts? Thanks!

    1. Post
      Baker Bettie

      Hi Brittany! High altitude can affect baking greatly, but this actually IS a bread dough. It won’t be like a waffle batter. Liege waffles are made from a yeasted dough. You can’t pour it. This recipe actually uses my basic sweet yeast dough recipe ( the same I use for cinnamon rolls and other sweet breads ,just studded with pearl sugar and cooked in a waffle iron. That is how you make Liege waffles. Hope they turned out well for you!

  10. Cris

    I lived in belgium for a few months and am totally going to try your recipe… i hadn’t found the pearl sugar which is why i never tried to make them yet, so I am very psyched to see your substitute….. but nothing in the world is better on these babies than nutella…. i can guarantee you that!

    1. Post
      Baker Bettie

      You can definitely make this without a stand mixer, but I wouldn’t use a hand mixer. Follow all of the steps by mixing together in a large bowl with a spoon and then knead by hand either in the bowl or on a clean work surface. You will need to knead for a good amount of time, about 8-10 minutes, until the dough is elastic and smooth. Then knead the pearl sugar in.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe: