Are Waffles Vegan? (Frozen Waffles, Waffle Mix, Eggos, Belgian)


Are waffles vegan? Are eggos vegan? Are belgian waffles vegan?

Waffles are a popular breakfast food made from leavened batter cooked between two heated plates that have been patterned to yield a characteristic surface impression. They differ from pancakes in both the composition of the batter, as well as the method in which they’re cooked.

Are they vegan? Traditional waffle recipes tend not to be vegan. Most contain egg white to help achieve certain textural properties. However, food manufacturers have a few vegan-friendly ingredients that can be used in place of non-vegan ingredients, so there are several vegan waffles on the market these days.

Further, pancake mixes are often used to make homemade waffles. They just come with the dry ingredients, and I’d imagine some leave out powdered egg whites—with the idea that the consumer will be adding eggs to the mixture. I personally haven’t run across very many vegan pancake mixes, but I’m sure some are out there.

Why Most Waffles Are Not Considered Vegan

This isn’t to say that all waffles are non-vegan. But, unlike traditional bread, they don’t come standard as vegan. When you go to a restaurant, you can assume, for the most part, that the warm yeast bread that the server brings to the table is vegan-friendly.

But, when it comes to waffles, you can’t extend the same courtesy. Quite the opposite. You can be sure that any waffles you encounter in restaurants are not suitable for vegan consumption.

Waffles Are a Type of Quick Bread

Quick breads are the type of bread products that are prepared without using yeast as a leavener. The batter or dough is cooked immediately upon mixing, and is leavened with the help of water (via steam) and chemical leaveners like baking soda and baking powder.

Quick breads can be made by:1

  • Pour batters—these include waffles as well as pancakes, crepes, and popovers.
  • Drop batters—muffins, hushpuppies, coffee cakes, quick tea breads, and dumplings.
  • Unleavened doughs (steam-leavened really)—tortillas, chapatis, crisp flatbreads, biscuits, scones, and matzo.

Quick breads are not always non-vegan, but they usually make use of certain products like egg.

Eggs contain water which helps leaven via steam, and they also help form a cohesive network to add structural integrity to the end product. Gluten takes time to form, and since quick breads are cooked immediately, it’s helpful to have the proteins in egg to help replace the functions of gluten.

In fact, gluten development is seen as undesirable when making quick breads. For this reason, batters are supposed to be mixed just until the dry ingredients have had a chance to moisten.2

Pour batters can be thick or thin, and waffles are made with a thin pour batter.2

Pour batters are usually made with a ratio of around 2/3 to 1 cup of liquid per 1 cup of flour, so that they’re liquid enough to be poured into waffle irons, or onto skillets, etc.3

Most Waffles Contain Egg

So, egg tends to be used in quick batters in general. But, waffles (specifically) use egg to achieve the desired texture. It’s often suggested that one fold beaten egg whites into waffle batter in order to add extra lightness and crispiness.4

Eggs are used for a number of reasons in baked goods. They contribute to flavor, color, and thickening, emulsification, and stabilization of ingredients.5

Emulsification is achieved with the lecithin content of egg yolks. Lecithin is a compound that helps ingredients mix by attracting both water and fat molecules.6

Binding is achieved with the high protein content of eggs. During cooking, the high heat coagulates the eggs’ protein, which allows the protein to act as an adhesive, binding the other ingredients together.

When cooked, the proteins in the mixture firm and stabilize, which provides structural strength.5,7

Many Waffles Contain Milk Derivatives

A lot of people wonder what the fundamental difference is between waffles and pancakes, other than the characteristic waffle pattern that results from the waffle iron. The main difference comes down to the use of certain ingredients.

Butter

Waffles and pancakes are both considered quick breads, and have much of the same ingredients, but waffles are made from a pour batter containing more fat. For this reason, waffles are often made with butter.

So, when real butter is used (as opposed to margarine), it renders the waffle non-vegan.

Buttermilk

Buttermilk may not contain actual butter, but it is milk. It has a tangy after taste and is a favorite for use in both pancakes and waffles.

Milk Derivatives

Then, there are the milk additives that you have to contend with when searching for vegan-friendly waffles. These pop up everywhere in processed food products.

The food industry processes milk into several specific ingredients that are often added to processed foods.8

The proteins in milk are probably the most common. Milk proteins offer a few useful properties and are often used to boost nutritional profile.

Caseinates (the most abundant proteins in milk) contribute to stabilization and emulsification.  Whey proteins (the second most abundant protein in milk) assist with gelling in certain food products and are often used to provide a nice smooth mouthfeel.

Overall, milk derivatives contribute to processed foods by increasing moisture, protein content, foaming, flavor, texture, and mixing ability.9

Whey protein is common in commercial waffles.

For example, Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle Waffles contain:10

  • Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Folic Acid)
  • Water
  • Vegetable Oil (Soybean, Palm, and/or Canola Oil)
  • Eggs
  • Leavening (Baking Soda, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate)
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Whey
  • Soy Lecithin
  • Yellow 5, Yellow 6
  • Beta-Carotene (for Color)
  • Vitamins and Minerals (Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Reduced Iron, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, and Vitamin B12

Are Belgian Waffles Vegan?

There are a few variations of the traditional waffle. One such variation is the Belgian waffle that uses a slightly modified recipe and a special waffle iron. Belgium actually has over a dozen regional varieties.11

Are they vegan? The traditional Belgian waffle recipe is not typically vegan. Like most waffle varieties, it tends to use animal fat (e.g. butter) and egg. But, there are some vegan-friendly Belgian waffle mixes available.

One example is Krusteaz Light & Crispy Belgian Supreme Waffle Mix.

These contain:12

  • Enriched Bleached Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Malted Barley Flour)
  • Sugar
  • Baking Soda
  • Maltodextrin
  • Sodium Aluminum Phosphate
  • Monocalcium Phosphate
  • Salt
  • Dextrose
  • Soybean Oil
  • Isolated Soy Protein
  • Natural Flavor

Are Eggos Vegan?

Eggo is probably the most popular brand of frozen waffles. It’s owned by Kelloggs and is sold in North America. They have tons of varieties now including homestyle, miniature, buttermilk, vanilla bliss, brown sugar and cinnamon, chocolate chip, and several fruit flavors like cherry, blueberry, and strawberry.13

Are they vegan? No, Eggo waffles are not vegan. They all contain egg in some form or another (hence, the name Eggo), and most contain milk.

Because they were known for their egg flavor, customers started calling them “Eggos” until the name eventually became synonymous with the food product.14

Commercial Vegan Waffles

So, now that we know that waffles are usually non-vegan, we’ll now look at a few commercial waffles that are accidentally vegan.

Nature’s Path Homestyle Waffle

Ingredients include:19

  • Water
  • Brown Rice Flour
  • Potato Starch
  • Corn Flour
  • Soy Oil
  • Tapioca Starch
  • Cane Sugar
  • Potato Flour
  • Soy Lecithin
  • Leavening Agent (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, and Monocalcium Phosphate)
  • Pear Juice Concentrate
  • Natural Vanilla Flavor
  • Sea salt.

Trader Joe’s Wheat Free Toaster Waffles

Ingredients for these include:20

  • Water
  • Potato Starch
  • Corn Starch
    Sweet Rice Flour
  • Canola and/or Soybean Oil
  • Brown Rice Flour
  • Evaporated Cane Sugar (Naturally Milled Cane Sugar)
  • Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Monocalcium Phosphate)
  • Potato Flour
  • Fruit Juice Sweetener (Pineapple, Pear, Peach)
  • Soy Lecithin
  • Sea Salt

Vans Waffles

These are amazing! My favorite for sure. These are some of the only vegan-friendly frozen waffles on the market. Remember, most waffles contain egg. So, pre-made waffles without egg are hard to come by.

Many are advertised as vegan, but some do contain honey and milk products.

I was disappointed to find the chocolate chip variety to contain milk products. But, sprinkle a few non-dairy chocolate chips on any of the below and you’re in business.

Vans Organic Original

Ingredients contain:15

  • Water
  • Organic Whole Wheat Flour
  • Organic Unbleached Wheat Flour
  • Organic Soybean Oil
  • Organic Oat Fiber
  • Organic Cane Sugar
  • Organic Soy Lecithin
  • Baking Powder (Baking Soda, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate)
  • Organic Malt Extract
  • Sea Salt
  • Organic Guar Gum
  • Organic Caramel Color
Vans Power Grains Original

Ingredients include:16

  • Water
  • Enriched Flour (Unbleached Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid)
  • Van’s Power Grains Mix (Whole Wheat Flour, Cracked Red Wheat, Steel Cut Oats, Millet, and Brown Rice)
  • Wheat Protein Isolate
  • Non-GMO Expeller Pressed Canola Oil
  • Cane Sugar
  • Vital Wheat Gluten
  • Baking Powder (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda, Rice Flour, Monocalcium Phosphate)
  • Calcium Carbonate
  • Cinnamon
  • Oat Fiber
  • Soy Lecithin
  • Natural Flavor
Vans Gluten-Free Ancient Grains

These contain:17

  • Water
  • Van’s Foods Gluten-Free Whole Grain Mix (Brown Rice Flour, Millet, Teff, Buckwheat, Sorghum, Amaranth, Quinoa)
  • Tapioca Starch
  • Non-GMO Expeller Pressed Canola Oil
  • Inulin
  • Potato Starch
  • Cane Sugar
  • Rice Bran
  • Baking Powder (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda, Rice Flour, Monocalcium Phosphate)
  • Van’s Natural Fruit Juice Blend (Pineapple, Peach and Pear Juice Concentrates)
  • Flaxseed
  • Sunflower Lecithin and/or Soy Lecithin
  • Cinnamon
  • Calcium Carbonate
  • Rice Flour
  • Guar Gum
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Sea Salt
Vans Organic Blueberry Waffles

Ingredients include:18

  • Water
  • Organic Whole Wheat Flour
  • Organic Unbleached Wheat Flour
  • Organic Soybean Oil
  • Organic Cane Sugar
  • Organic Oat Fiber
  • Organic Soy Lecithin
  • Baking Powder (Baking Soda, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate)
  • Organic Malt Extract
  • Sea Salt
  • Organic Natural Flavors
  • Organic Potato Starch
  • Organic Powdered Blueberries and Blackberries
  • Organic Sunflower Oil
  • Organic Guar Gum
  • Organic Caramel Color

What About Waffle Mix?

It turns out, there aren’t that many waffle mixes on the market, vegan or otherwise. That’s because pancake mixes are typically used to make homemade waffles. The difference is that, in making waffles, you’re usually instructed to add a certain number of eggs or egg whties and a fat source like butter.

Most pancake batters contain milk or egg in one form or another, and few qualify as vegan-friendly. However, the Belgian waffle mix mentioned above is perfectly suitable for vegans. It’s one of the only pancake/waffle mixes suitable for vegan consumption.

If you want a list of vegan-friendly pancake mixes, check out the article on pancakes.Opens in a new tab.

Well, that wraps it up for waffles. Thanks for reading.

You may also want to check out the following related articles:

References

  1. Understanding Food: Principles and Preparation (Page 407-408). Amy Brown – Wadsworth Cengage Learning – 2011
  2. Understanding Food: Principles and Preparation (Page 408). Amy Brown – Wadsworth Cengage Learning – 2011
  3. Understanding Food: Principles and Preparation (Page 384). Amy Brown – Wadsworth Cengage Learning – 2011
  4. Understanding Food: Principles and Preparation (Page 409). Amy Brown – Wadsworth Cengage Learning – 2011
  5. Understanding Food: Principles and Preparation (Page 254). Amy Brown – Wadsworth Cengage Learning – 2011
  6. Anton M, and G Gandemer. Composition, solubility, and emulsifying properties of granules and plasma of egg yolk. Journal of Food Science 62(3):484–487, 1997.
  7. Understanding Food: Principles and Preparation (Page 256). Amy Brown – Wadsworth Cengage Learning – 2011
  8. Chandan R. Dairy-Based Ingredients. Eagen Press, 1997.
  9. Understanding Food: Principles and Preparation (Page 210). Amy Brown – Wadsworth Cengage Learning – 2011
  10. Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle Waffles, 40 Count, 49.3 Oz Masmith- Ute – https://www.walmart.com/ip/Kellogg-s-Eggo-Homestyle-Waffles-40-count-49-3-oz/21838820
  11. “Les Gaufres Belges” Archived 2012-08-20 at the Wayback Machine. http://www.gaufresbelges.com/
  12. Krusteaz Light & Crispy Belgian Supreme Waffle Mix, 28 Oz Box. Wifie- Linda- Gohogs – https://www.walmart.com/ip/Krusteaz-Light-Crispy-Belgian-Supreme-Waffle-Mix-28-oz-Box/10307484
  13. Eggo product varieties. https://www.leggomyeggo.com/en_US/products/waffles.html
  14. Stewart, Kimberly Lord (2013). Smith, Andrew (ed.). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Volume 2. Oxford University Press USA. p. 554. ISBN 9780199734962.
  15. Organic Waffles Original Original IBI Data – https://www.vansfoods.com/our-products/organic-totally-original-waffles
  16. Power Grains® Waffles Original Original IBI Data – https://www.vansfoods.com/our-products/power-grains-waffles
  17. Gluten Free Waffles Ancient Grains IBI Data – https://www.vansfoods.com/our-products/gf-ancient-grains-waffles
  18. Organic Waffles Blueberry Organic Waffles Blueberry IBI Data – https://www.vansfoods.com/our-products/organic-blueberry-waffles
  19. Homestyle Waffle. https://www.naturespath.com/en-us/products/natures-path-foods/homestyle-waffle/
  20. Trader Joe’s Wheat Free Waffles. https://www.fooducate.com/product/Trader%20Joe%20s%20Wheat%20Free%20Toaster%20Waffles/24481560-2DF5-11E0-A55F-1231380C180E

Drew Davis

Hi! I'm Drew and this is the place where I nerd out about vegan and plant-based diets. I have a BS in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Alabama and have taken dozens of classes in areas like organic and biochemistry, food science, medical nutrition therapy, nutritional genomics, and vegetarian diets. I'm still learning every day, and on this blog, I'll be sharing everything I discover about vegan diets as I go.

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