Warm spices, brown sugar, and molasses make this gingerbread waffles recipe festive and perfect for Christmas brunch or breakfasts all holiday season long.
For those of you who love the flavor of gingerbread and want an excuse to be able to eat it for breakfast, this waffle recipe is for you!
These waffles are crispy outside, fluffy inside, sweetened with molasses and brown sugar, and aromatic with gingerbread spices. And to make them extra special, we whip up a quick homemade spiced cranberry syrup to drizzle on top.
They're full of festive flavor, but don't wait for Christmas morning to make them! Gingerbread waffles are lovely for a holiday brunch, or you can meal prep them and freeze them for a quick breakfast all winter long.
Gingerbread Waffles Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions
In this section I explain the ingredients and give substitution ideas where applicable. For the full recipe (including the ingredient amounts), see the recipe card below.
Spiced Cranberry Syrup Ingredients
- Water - or you can use apple juice, apple cider, or orange juice
- Fresh cranberries - frozen cranberries will work fine too
- Sugar - granulated white sugar
- Cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and cloves - these warm spices add a ton of Christmasy flavor to our cranberry syrup; if you don't have all these spices on hand you can just use 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon instead
- Salt - just a pinch of salt enhances the flavor
Gingerbread Waffles Ingredients
- Unsalted butter - or you can substitute with 4 tablespoons of a neutral-flavored oil, such as canola oil or vegetable oil
- Milk - I use whole milk, but you can use any type of milk you have on hand
- Light brown sugar - this is our main sweetener; brown sugar adds rich notes of molasses and caramel
- Molasses - for true gingerbread flavor, we add molasses in addition to brown sugar
- Egg - acts as a binder and helps with the perfect texture
- Vanilla extract - for depth; you can omit the vanilla in this recipe if you don't have it on hand
- Flour - all-purpose flour is the base of our waffles
- Cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and cloves - this blend of warm spices creates a warm gingerbread flavor and mirrors the spice blend we use in the cranberry syrup; if you like the peppery bite of real gingerbread, feel free to add ⅛ teaspoon black pepper as well
- Baking powder and baking soda - leavening agents that help create the perfect fluffy waffles
- Salt - a natural flavor enhancer
How to Make Cranberry Syrup
- Add all ingredients to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cover the saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and let it cook for 10 minutes.
- After that, lightly mash the cranberries with a potato masher, leaving some whole.
How to Make Gingerbread Waffles From Scratch
- Whisk together the butter, milk, brown sugar, molasses, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, salt, baking soda, allspice, and cloves.
- Whisk to combine and be careful not to over-mix, a few lumps are fine.
- Preheat your waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Spray the inside with nonstick cooking spray or brush it with coconut oil or clarified butter. Add the waffle batter.
- Cook until crispy. (Your waffle iron's instructions should say what setting to use to reach your desired level of crispness.)
You can make gingerbread waffle batter and keep it covered in the fridge for up to 2 days before making waffles. The flavor develops, and the waffles are even better if you let the batter rest at least overnight in the fridge.
This is another reason why this recipe is perfect for holiday mornings; you can whip up the batter the night before (or a couple days before), and just cook up the waffles in the morning of the big day!
Once they're cool, store waffles wrapped in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
When I freeze waffles, I like to wrap each in freezer paper and place them in a plastic zip-top freezer bag. That way you can thaw them one serving at a time for weekday breakfasts.
Another way to freeze waffles is to flash-freeze them. To do so, arrange the waffles on a baking tray so they're not touching, and pop them in the freezer until they're frozen solid; after that, put them into a plastic zip-top bag in the freezer. Because they're pre-frozen (aka flash-frozen), the waffles won't stick to each other and you can just grab them out one at a time as you need them!
There are a few different ways you can reheat waffles:
- Air fryer. The air fryer is my favorite way to reheat waffles because they get really crispy. I reheat them at 375F for about 4 to 5 minutes, flipping them once halfway through.
- Oven. The oven is another good method for reheating waffles. To do so, preheat the oven to 350F, put the waffles in a single layer on a baking tray, cover with foil, and reheat until warm, about 10 to 15 minutes. (This method is my preference when I'm reheating multiple servings).
- Microwave. The good old trusty microwave will also work for reheating waffles! Personally, the microwave is not my favorite method because the waffles lose their crispness. The flavor is still delicious though!
Gingerbread Waffles Recipe FAQs
What Can You Add to Waffles?
There are so many different things you can add to waffles, either in the batter or on top when you're serving them.
Here are a few ideas of what you can mix into the batter of these festive gingerbread waffles:
- Up to 1 cup of peeled and diced apple
- Up to ⅔ cup of milk, dark, or white chocolate chips
- Up to ⅔ cup of chopped nuts, such as walnuts or pecans
And here are some different things you serve on top of these waffles when you're about to serve them:
- Cranberry syrup (I include the recipe for cranberry waffle syrup along with the gingerbread waffles recipe in the recipe card below)
- Sugared cranberries
- Warm maple syrup or spiced brown butter maple syrup
- Lingonberry jam
- Powdered sugar
- Whipped cream
- Chocolate chips
What Pairs Well with Waffles?
Waffles are great on their own for a quick breakfast, or served as part of a larger brunch with other dishes. Here are a few ideas of what to pair with waffles for a special brunch:
- Scrambled eggs (or eggs cooked any way you like)
- Breakfast meat, such as bacon or sausage (this chicken breakfast sausage recipe is a favorite here!)
- Potato hash or hash browns
- Fruit salad
More Gingerbread Breakfast Recipes Perfect for Christmas Morning
Gingerbread Waffles Recipe with Cranberry Syrup
Spiced Cranberry Syrup:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup light brown sugar lightly packed
- ¼ cup blackstrap molasses
- 1 large egg
- ½ tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
For the Spiced Cranberry Syrup:
- Add all ingredients to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cover the saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and let it cook for 10 minutes. After that, lightly mash the cranberries with a potato masher, leaving some whole. Set aside.
For the Gingerbread Waffles:
- Whisk together the butter, milk, brown sugar, molasses, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, salt, baking soda, allspice, and cloves, and whisk to combine (be careful not to over-mix, a few lumps are fine).
- Preheat your waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Spray the inside with nonstick cooking spray or brush it with coconut oil or clarified butter. Add the waffle batter and cook until crispy.
- Serve the waffles along with the spiced cranberry syrup to drizzle on top.
- Make-Ahead: These waffles are even better if you make the batter the night before and let it chill in the fridge overnight before making it into waffles. You can make the spiced cranberry syrup up to 2 weeks ahead and store it covered in the fridge.
- Storage: Once the waffles are cooked and cooled, you can keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Reheating: If you have an air fryer, this is my favorite method for reheating waffles because they get nice and crispy. I reheat them at 375F for about 4 to 5 minutes, flipping them once halfway through. Otherwise, you can also reheat waffles in the microwave.
- Recipe Yield and Serving Size: My waffle maker makes 4-inch square waffles, and I get exactly 10 waffles out of this recipe, which is 5 servings with 2 waffles per serving.