Belgian Liege Waffles

Belgian Liege waffles are a style of waffle made with yeast dough and pearl sugar. This style of waffle results in a chewy and puffy yeasted waffle with caramelized bits of sugar on the surface. Follow this step-by-step tutorial to make the best Liege waffles! 

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Belgian Liege Waffle Recipe Overview

Skill Level: Intermediate | Techniques Used: Modified Straight Dough Method | Components Used: Basic Sweet Yeast Dough, Homemade Pearl Sugar

If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating a Belgian Liege waffle then this is your next must make recipe! Liege waffles are a style of waffle made with a yeast dough rather than a batter like standard American waffles. The yeast dough is mixed with a very coarse sugar called pearl sugar which caramelizes on the outside of the waffle.

For this recipe, I like to use my basic sweet yeast dough. This easy yeast dough results in waffles that are puffy and chewy with the perfect amount of crispiness on the outside and tenderness on the inside. You can also opt to make your own pearl sugar for this recipe if you are unable to find real Belgian pearl sugar.

Difference Between Liege Waffles and Regular Belgian Waffles

The meaning of the term “Belgian waffle” has been skewed over time. Originally, Belgian style waffles refered to yeast-leavened waffles that were cooked in a style of waffle iron that has deeper pockets than American style waffles.

Brussels style Belgian waffles are made with a yeast-leavened batter and are very crisp and light. In contrast, Liege style Belgian waffles are made with a yeast-leavened dough, instead of a batter, that is mixed with pear sugar. Liege waffles are richer, puffier, and chewier than Brussels style.

However, it is common in America to refer to any waffle made with a waffle iron that has deep pockets as a “Belgian waffle”.

How to Make Liege Waffles

To make Liege waffles we are using my master sweet yeast dough recipe. This yeast dough is very easy to make and will give us very flavorful waffles that are thick and puffy! The method used to make this yeast dough is the Modified Straight Dough Method.

Pearl sugar will also be added to this basic dough. Pearl sugar can be purchased online or you can make your own pearl sugar substitute by breaking up sugar cubes into smaller pieces.

Step 1: Hydrate the Yeast.

Warm the milk to about 110 F (43 F) and mix the yeast into the milk. I like to use quick-rise yeast because it works so quickly, but active dry yeast can also be used.

Step 2: Mix the Butter, Sugar, Salt, and Eggs

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the melted butter, sugar, and salt. Add one egg at a time and mix to combine.

Step 3: Add the Flour

Add the flour into the mixing bowl and stir with a spoon or a spatula until a shaggy dough forms.

Step 4: Knead the Dough

You can knead this dough by hand or use a stand mixer with a dough hook. Knead until a smooth and elastic dough forms, about 8 minutes by hand or 6 minutes at medium/high speed in the stand mixer. You may need to add a little more flour, but the dough will become less sticky as it is kneaded.

Step 5: Ferment the Dough

Move the dough to a clean bowl and lightly spray it with oil. Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature until double in size. This will take about 30-45 minutes if you used quick-rise yeast and an hour+ if you used active dry yeast.

Step 5: Deflate the Dough

Firmly press in the center of the risen dough. Bring the sides of the dough into the middle to deflate the air.

Step 6: Knead in the Pearl Sugar

Press the dough out on a work surface and add the pearl sugar. Knead the pearl sugar into the dough until evenly distrubuted. Alternatively, you can knead it in a stand mixer.

Step 7: Divide and Rest the Dough

Split the dough evenly into twelve pieces and place a piece of plastic wrap over them to rest for 10 minutes. This is a good time to heat up your waffle iron.

Step 8: Cook the Waffles

These waffles can be cooked in a Belgian style waffle iron with deep pockets or a standard waffle iron. I have this Cuisinart waffle iron and they still get very puffy in it.

The key to cooking these waffles is to find the setting on your waffle iron that is hot enough to caramelize the sugar but not so hot that it will burn the sugar. This is going to be different on every waffle iron. My suggestion is to start at a low heat and gradually increase the temperature until you find the setting that caramelizes the sugar. The first few likely won’t caramelize, but they will still be delicious!

Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

  • Be very cautious to start the waffle iron at a low temp until you find the setting that will caramelize. Cleaning burned sugar from the waffle iron is extremely difficult.
  • These waffles can be made ahead and stored in the freezer in a ziplock bag for up to 3 months. To refresh, heat in a 250F (120 C) oven or toaster oven until warmed through.
  • Top these Liege waffles with any number of toppings. My favorite is a simple sprinkling of cinnamon-sugar but real whipped cream, nutella, or fresh berries would all be delicious as well!

Belgian Liege Waffle Ingredient Functions

  • Milk is the main moisture in the yeast dough and helps create richness.
  • Yeast leavens the dough, making the waffles puffy, and adds flavor.
  • Butter adds richness and keeps the inside of the waffles soft.
  • Sugar adds sweetness and gives the yeast more food to feed on.
  • Eggs create tenderness and additional richness in the waffles.
  • Flour is the main structure of the waffle.
  • Pearl sugar caramelizes in the waffle iron adding sweetness, depth of flavor, and texture.

Belgian Liege Waffles

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

5 / 5 ()
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  • 1 cup (8 fl oz, 237 ml) whole milk (lower fat milk can be substituted)
  • 1 package (0.25 oz, 7 gr, or 2 1/2 tsp) active dry or quick rise yeast
  • 1/4 cup (1.75 oz, 49 gr) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (5 1/2 TBSP, 2.6oz, 73gr) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 tsp (6 gr) Morton kosher salt or table salt (use 2 1/2 tsp if using Diamond kosher)
  • 4 cups (17oz, 476gr) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (8 oz, 224 gr) pearl sugar or homemade pearl sugar


  1. HYDRATE THE YEAST: Warm the milk to 110-115 F (43-46 C). This can be done on the stove top or in the microwave. It should take about 30-45 seconds in the microwave. Make sure the milk is not too hot or it will kill the yeast. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and stir together.
  2. COMBINE THE BUTTER, SUGAR, SALT, & EGGS: In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the cooled butter, sugar, and salt with a spoon or a rubber spatula.
  3. ADD THE MILK/YEAST: Stir in the milk/yeast mixture.
  4. ADD THE FLOUR: Stir in the flour until it is hydrated. The dough will be shaggy at this point.
  5. KNEAD: This dough can be kneaded by hand or with the dough hook of a stand mixer. If kneading by hand, lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough for about 8 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. The dough will be very sticky to start, but will become less sticky as it is kneaded. If kneading in the stand mixer, knead at medium/high speed for about 6 minutes, stopping about halfway through to scrape the bottom of the bowl.
  6. FERMENT: Transfer the dough to a clean bowl. Lightly spray the dough with oil and cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap. Let the dough ferment at room temperature until double in size. This will take about 30-45 minutes if you used quick rise yeast and 1-2 hours if active dry yeast was used. A warm spot will speed up the fermentation time.
  7. PUNCHING: Deflate the air out of the dough by pressing down on it in the center and bringing the edges of the dough over the top.
  8. ADD THE PEARL SUGAR: Flatten the dough out on a lightly floured work surface and add the pearl sugar. Knead the pearl sugar into the dough until evenly distrubted. Alternatively, you can knead the sugar into the dough in a stand mixer with a dough hook.
  9. DIVIDE AND REST THE DOUGH: Divide the dough into roughly 12 pieces and cover with a piece of plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes while the waffle iron heats up.
  10. COOK THE WAFFLES: All waffle irons are different so start your iron on a low temperature. Increase the temperature a little at a time to find the setting that will caramelize your sugar. Spray the iron with non-stick spray and put a piece of dough in the center of the waffle iron and close it. The waffle will puff up as it cooks. Cook until golden brown.
  11. MAKE AHEAD: You can keep the waffles warm in a 200 F (95 C) oven. Uneaten waffles can be stored in the freezer in a ziplock bag for up to 3 months. Rewarm in a 250 F (120 C) oven until warmed through.
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44 comments on “Belgian Liege Waffles”

  1. 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)
    • 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.
  2. These sound like the best waffles ever. I need to find me some of this pearl sugar. Pinned.
    • They really a whole new level of waffle. IHOP ain't got nothing on these! Although, I would totally eat an IHOP waffle right now. Haha.
      • Can you like make this just in an iron pan? I mean is there anything I can use to improvise? I don't really need the presentation of it but more importantly is to just make em and eat 'em.
  3. 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!
  4. 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!
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. So the dough doesn't need a second rise after you split it into small pieces?
    • 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.
  8. 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"
  9. 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.

    Rating: 5
  10. 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
    • 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!
  11. 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!
    • 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!
    • I think this Is a VERY long Recipe not to be mean or anything. but she should make an short simple waffle resipe!
  12. 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!
  13. Unfortunately, I don't have a stand mixer.. Would hand mixing work instead??
    • 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.
  14. Hi! :) For some odd reason the yeast didn't foam while in the warm milk. Never happened with water. I wonder if the fact that i accidentally boiled it and then waited for it to cool down had anything to do with it. Used that mixture anyway and 30 min in, the dough dosent seem to rise. Any idea why?
  15. Love the easy recipe but the waffle came out pretty dense. I even tried to really flattened the ball before putting in the iron but it didn't seemed to help. Can you? :)
  16. Mine are waaaay too stiff too and I added about 1/4 cup more milk. Is it possible the flour should be 2 rather than 3 cups? Thank you.
  17. Oh. my. HEAVEN. These sound more amazing than I could have ever possibly imagined!! <3 I am definitely making these soon. I'll be sure to tell people about this awesome site.
  18. Genius on your part to substitute sugar cubes for pearl sugar. I just bought some today-very pricey-it was $8 for 12 oz. Too much. I'm going to try this and hopefully it won't be too much of a difference in taste. Thank you.
  19. I made these the other day. Don't know what to think-the batter remained heavy and it didn't rise at all. I did refrigerate them and cut into pieces the next morning. There were no instructions on how to handle the dough before putting them in the waffle iron. Do you shape them into large dough balls and just use the waffle iron to flatten them out? I was pressing down pretty hard on my waffle iron top and not sure if that was the right thing to do. The taste was pretty darned good though-our kids said it was very close to the food truck waffles. The iron was a bear to clean with the carmelized sugar all over the place. We did do a blind food taste with the broken sugar cubes and the pearl sugar. They were very close and worth it to save on the very expensive price of the Belgian pearl sugar. I'll give it another try.
  20. Just returned from a week in Belgium and was excited to try out this recipe. It's OK but the waffles came out more like bread. Tasty but not the same consistency as I had on my trip. It might be in how the dough was handled or the flour used. Not sure.
  21. Can I prepare this dough up in a bread machine?
  22. Any comments suggestions as to why our dough isn't rising?
    • Is your kitchen very cold? Yeast needs a warm environment to rise. It is also possible that your liquid was too hot and you may have killed the yeast. If it is the former, I often turn my oven on 200 F, then shut it off and put my dough in the oven with the door open to give it some warmth.
  23. Dear Baker Bettie. I made your waffles not once, but twice. It came out beautifully looking the first time, but tasting terrible. I thought may be I forgot to put something or did something wrong. Tried the second time, even worse. It looks picture perfect, just like on your photos, but bland doughy taste sent the whole batch to the trash can.
  24. Hi Baker Bettie! Can't wait to make these Boxing Day morning with my new waffle iron I'm getting for Christmas! Just wondering how long the dough can last in the fridge? Say, if I made it the night of 24/12, would it still be ok by 26/12?
  25. I think more butter and less yeast would be necessary to make these traditional. Didn't bake up very nicely vs. others I have tried.
  26. I live in the Cincinnati area where we get to enjoy Taste of Belgium restaurant. I intended to buy some waffles to bring home yesterday at an art show. I totally forgot and was so sad I decided to find a recipe and try it myself. These are AWESOME! I even used skim milk and they're still fantastic. I do have one question...any suggestions on how to best store them? Thank you!
  27. Hi, these waffles look great and I want to surprise my husband one morning with these but the rising process is a bit long for morning breakfast...can I make the dough the night before and refrigerate until the morning? If that's possible, is there any more steps I need to take in the morning, like kneading it more? Thanks
  28. There are several recipes for DIY pear sugar that is as cheap as 3/4 c sugar! Try it! You're welcome!
  29. Just out of curiosity, why do you specify not to use rapid rise yeast?
  30. When I have dough to rise I simply place it in the cold oven with a damp towel over it. I have never had a problem. Also it sounds like some of you guys may have put your yeast in the milk while it was too hot. Also I purchased pearl suger from sur la table. Though pricy I bought 2 so I can make these these twice. Was going to make these last weekend but hurricane Irma changed my plans on that. I will try this weekend as luckily I had no damage. Hope this helps.
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