Yup, it's totally possible!
I don't own a waffle iron. I don't have the room for it, and even if I did, I suspect it's the sort of gadget I would never pull out as I remember that they can be a bit of a pain to clean (we had one growing up--it's probably still laying unused in one of my mom's cabinets).
But, I do like waffles! Those crispy nooks and crannies filled with butter and syrup--amazing! A few months ago, I heard someone mention that Jamie Oliver has a recipe for "griddle pan waffles."
This totally blew my mind. "You can make waffles on a griddle pan?!"
I immediately started searching online in an effort to find the much-lauded recipe. All I could find were links referencing it, but no actual recipe. Not even a photo!
It turns out that Channel 4 (the network in the UK that airs Jamie's program) apparently only has the rights to post Jamie Oliver recipes for about 30 days after his show originally airs, then they have to remove it from the site.
At which point, all his recipe links take you to this:
Or they could have at least found a photo of Jamie looking a bit less smug and slightly more disappointed. Something like this:
Clearly they've missed an opportunity there.
Anyway, I decided that I didn't need Jamie's recipe. I would figure it out on my own.
I started out by asking myself an important question:
"Alejandra, what is the difference between a pancake and a waffle?"
The answer? Crispy ridges!
Think about it---the batter is typically the same, the center is soft and airy, it's the final shape that makes it different. A waffle is nothing if not a celebration of crispy edges, which I figured could easily be achieved on a stove-top grill pan. (Not a griddle--I don't know what the heck Jamie had in mind, but I'm pretty sure his super-top-secret recipe just makes waffle-batter pancakes.)
But I digress...
I made a simple buttermilk waffle batter and got to work testing methods. Here is how you do it:
Prepare your waffle batter (recipe below): you want something a bit thicker than pancake batter.
Preheat your grill pan on medium heat until it gets nice and hot. Brush the center of the pan where you will cook your waffle with a good high-heat oil. I recommend coconut oil, but grapeseed or canola oil also works well. You can also use clarified butter.
Pour a 1/2 cup of batter in the center of your pan, letting it spread into a circle. Lower the heat on your grill pan and let it cook on low for about 3-4 minutes. This part is key--you can't rush the cooking so that the waffle has time to develop the crisp ridges and cook the center without burning. DON'T RUSH THIS PART! If you rush them, you're just going to get weird pancakes and weird pancakes is not what we're after here.
Once the edges start to look dry and the bottom has turned golden and crispy (lift an edge to take a peek), you can flip it. The easiest way I've found is to bring your spatula in from the side so that its edge is parallel to the ridges in the grill pan (see photo above). Bring it under the edge, lift, and slowly work the spatula under the entire waffle.
Flip it and press down slightly with your spatula. You would never do this with a pancake, but here you really want to get those nice ridges. Let cook another 2-4 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.
Continue with the rest of your batter making as many waffles as you need.
Are these going to be exactly like the waffles you get out of the waffle iron? No, of course not. I'm not a crazy magician lady! BUT...they really do taste like waffles, and you do get enough of that crispy edge to satisfy any cravings. Just be patient and let them crisp up. It takes a bit of trial and effort, but I promise they're totally worth it!
And yes, you can use whatever your favorite waffle recipe is with this method. Including Bisquick. I won't judge.
That's a lie.
I will judge you a little bit if you use Bisquick, but I'll keep it to myself.
Now go! Waffle on!
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Grill Pan Waffles Recipe
Makes 5 6-inch grill pan waffles. (this batter recipe also works for pancakes)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or just use all all-purpose)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons raw sugar (or substitute granulated white sugar)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups buttermillk or plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon apple cider or white vinegar
Coconut, grapeseed, canola, or clarified butter, for cooking.
Preheat your grill pan on medium heat. Prepare a wire cooling rack on the side.
Whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, kosher salt, and sugar. In a separate container (I just do it right in my measuring cup for ease!) whisk together the eggs, vanilla, buttermilk, and vinegar. Pour the wet into the dry and stir gently until fully combined and no dry spots remain (you will have some lumps; that's good.)
Brush your grill pan with the oil, and ladle half a cup of batter into the center. Lower heat to low. Let cook 3-4 minutes until crisp, then gently use a spatula to life and flip (see method as described in the post above). Cook an additional 3 minutes, then remove and let cool on a wire rack. Repeat with rest of batter.