How do you keep vegan gluten free waffles from sticking?

Making vegan gluten free waffles can seem intimidating. Without eggs or wheat flour to bind and give structure, you may worry your waffles will turn into a sticky mess that refuses to release from the waffle iron. However, with the right ingredients and techniques, it is possible to make crisp, delicious vegan gluten free waffles that practically slide themselves out of the waffle maker.

The keys are choosing flours with some binding capabilities, adding ingredients for crispness, thoroughly preheating your waffle maker, using non-stick cooking spray or oil, and resisting the urge to open the waffle maker prematurely. Follow these tips and you will be enjoying restaurant-quality vegan gluten free waffles in no time.

What causes waffles to stick?

Waffles tend to stick when there is not enough structure or crispness built into the batter. Traditional waffle recipes rely on eggs and wheat flour to provide this structure. Without these binding ingredients, vegan and gluten free batters can become dense and gluey in the waffle maker. Additionally, failing to properly preheat the waffle maker and prep the surface can cause sticking. Even the best batter will grip and tear if poured into a cold, ungreased waffle iron.

Some key factors that contribute to sticking include:

  • Not allowing the waffle iron to fully preheat. The batter will spread too thinly and bake unevenly if poured into a cold or hot-but-not-quite-hot-enough maker.
  • Pouring too much batter. Overcrowding prevents proper steam circulation.
  • Using flours without much binding ability like coconut or almond flour. These flours can make a delicate batter.
  • Opening the lid too early. This prevents the waffle from fully cooking, setting, and crisping.
  • Forgetting non-stick spray or oil. Even preheated machines need a light coating to prevent sticking.

Fortunately, these pitfalls are easily avoided with the right recipe adjustments and cooking techniques.

Choosing the right flours

When it comes to choosing alternative flours for vegan and gluten free baking, all flours are not created equal. Some plant-based flours contain gums and proteins that mimic the binding capabilities of eggs and gluten. Choosing the right flour or flour blends can give your batter the structure it needs. These vegan gluten free flours provide good binding power:

  • Oat flour: Made from ground oats, this flour contains soluble fiber that provides stretch and structure similar to gluten. Ensure the oats are certified gluten free if needed.
  • Chickpea flour: Also called garbanzo bean flour or besan, this flour made from ground chickpeas contains decent binding power. Use no more than 25% in your blend as it can become dense.
  • Teff flour: An ancient North African cereal grass, teff offers protein, fiber, and complex carbs for binding.
  • Flax meal: High in soluble fiber, flaxseeds assist with binding when ground into meal.
  • Tapioca flour: From the cassava root, tapioca flour gelatinizes during cooking which provides structure.

Some additional considerations when selecting flours:

– Use flours labeled “whole grain” for more fiber, nutrition and binding power vs. refined varieties
– Include a small amount of starch like tapioca, potato, or cornstarch to improve binding and crispness
– Consider using a proprietary gluten free flour blend which combines flours and starches for optimal baking performance

Adding ingredients for crispness

While choosing binding flours is important, you also need to add ingredients that will crisp up and caramelize in the waffle maker for a texture that releases easily. Adding at least one of the following will up your waffle game:

  • Coconut oil: The high oil content crisps up into a nice crust.
  • Non-dairy milk: The lactose helps brown and set the waffle batter.
  • Vanilla extract: The flavor compounds boost browning for extra crisping power.
  • Sugar or syrup: Caramelization equals crisping. Opt for coconut sugar, maple syrup, etc.
  • Cornstarch: This fine starch crisps up nicely during cooking. Substitute up to 1/4 cup per cup of flour.
  • Nutritional yeast: Imparts a savory, nutty flavor while alkalinizing the batter to promote browning.

Avoid large chunks of fruit or veggies which release moisture and make batter soggy. If adding, finely dice any add-ins.

Properly preheating your waffle maker

One of the biggest rookie mistakes is failing to fully preheat your waffle iron before pouring in batter. The waffle maker needs to heat up to the proper temperature in order for the batter to quickly set on the grids and release easily.

Follow your machine’s instructions, but in general aim for 4-8 minutes of preheat time. Set your waffle maker to the highest heat setting. Close the lid and wait for the “ready” indicator light or beep to let you know it’s preheated. Batter poured into a thoroughly heated machine will spread thinly and evenly into all the nooks, cooking evenly for crispy results.

Using non-stick spray or oil

Even if you have a high-quality non-stick waffle maker, it is wise to give it a little extra protection from sticking batter with non-stick cooking spray or oil.

After preheating, hold down the lid and evenly coat the top and bottom grids with canola oil non-stick spray. You can also use coconut oil by holding down the lid and wiping the grids with a small amount of solid coconut oil, letting it melt across the surface. Close the lid until the oil finishes melting.

The small amount of fat prevents sticking issues, while still allowing your vegan waffles to be practically fat-free. Just don’t go overboard or your waffles may get greasy.

Letting waffles cook completely

Patience prevents sticking! It can be tempting to crack the lid and check on waffles before they are fully cooked. However, peeking too soon interrupts the cooking process. Every time you open the machine, heat and steam escapes.

Set a timer and resist the urge to check until your machine signals complete cooking time. This allows waffles to fully set and crisp on the inside. If you take them out prematurely, the center will still be wet, gummy batter that sticks to the grids.

Cooking time varies based on waffle maker. Most take 4-8 minutes to bake vegan gluten free waffles. Let them finish the full cooking time for ideal texture.

Vegan Gluten Free Waffle Ingredients

Now that you know how to prevent sticking, let’s discuss ingredients that work well in vegan gluten free waffle batter. Be sure to use a combination of binding flours plus crisping agents. Here is an example ingredient list:

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups gluten free flour blend (oat, brown rice, tapioca)
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Wet ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water, whisked)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients

Gluten free flour blend: Use a pre-made blend or mix your own combo of flours like oat flour, brown rice flour, chickpea flour, etc. The blend should combine binding flours with lighter flours.

Potato starch: Adds crispness without the strong potato flavor of potato flour. Cornstarch also works.

Coconut sugar: Provides subtle natural sweetness while helping the waffles caramelize.

Baking powder: Leavening agent activates during cooking to lift the waffles. Double acting powder works best.

Salt: Enhances flavor.

Cinnamon: Optional but adds comforting flavor to the batter.

Wet Ingredients

Non-dairy milk: Choose unsweetened to avoid competing with other sweeteners. Soy milk works well thanks to the protein content.

Flax egg: Binds and provides structure in place of eggs. Whisk 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds with 3 tablespoons water and let sit briefly until gelled.

Coconut oil: The solid fat melts during cooking to crisp up the waffle batter. Can substitute vegan butter or mild-flavored oil like avocado.

Apple cider vinegar: Reacts with the baking powder to help waffles rise. Any vinegar works.

Vanilla: Adds flavor and promotes browning. Can use vanilla bean paste for extra flavor.

Steps for Making Vegan Gluten Free Waffles

Once you have your ingredients prepped, follow these steps:

1. Preheat waffle maker to highest setting. Wait for it to fully heat (4-8 minutes usually).

2. Lightly coat hot grids with non-stick spray or coconut oil.

3. Whisk together the dry ingredients in one bowl.

4. Whisk the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl.

5. Make a well in the dry ingredients then pour in the wet ingredients. Fold with a rubber spatula just until combined. Some small lumps are ok. Overmixing makes waffles dense.

6. Pour batter onto the center of bottom grid. Use approximately 1/2 cup batter per standard round waffle, less for smaller machines. Spread into corners evenly.

7. Close lid gently. Do not open lid until complete cooking time.

8. When waffles are finished cooking, use a fork to gently lift and remove them. Repeat with remaining batter.

Be sure to hold finished waffles in a warm oven on low until ready to serve. Top waffles as desired with fruit, coconut whipped cream, nut butter, maple syrup, etc.

Troubleshooting Sticking Waffles

Follow the tips in this guide closely and you should achieve crisp, flaky vegan gluten free waffles. But mistakes happen in any kitchen. Here’s how to troubleshoot if you still end up with stuck waffles:

Waffles Sticking to Top Plate

If batter adheres to the top waffle plate, the likely culprit is under-greasing. Be sure to apply a very light yet thorough non-stick spray or oil coating before pouring in batter. Too much fat can make waffles oily, while too little leads to sticking above.

Waffles Sticking to Bottom Plate

Bottom-sticking issues arise when waffles are underdone in the middle and underside. Reduce the amount of batter slightly and fully preheat your iron to allow for proper thin, even cooking. Cook waffles the full suggested time without peeking. Insufficient baking powder can also prevent lift, so check your leavening agent is still fresh.

Waffles Tearing When Removed

Tearing and ripping occurs when waffles are not fully set. Let them cook a minute or two longer at the end to allow the crust to properly form. If centers are still overly moist and batter-like when cooking time is up, try reducing the non-dairy milk slightly.

Waffles Too Dense and Heavy

Density happens when too much flour is used or when overmixed. Try reducing your flour blend by 2 tablespoons and folding wet and dry ingredients gently. Be sure to include flours that provide binding rather than just delicate flours. Resting the batter for 5-10 minutes before cooking can also improve density issues.

Storing and Reheating Vegan Gluten Free Waffles

One of the bonuses of vegan gluten free waffles is that they keep well after cooking. Here are some storage tips:

– Let waffles cool completely then place in airtight freezer bag or container.

– Store in freezer up to 2-3 months.

– To reheat, place frozen waffles in toaster oven or regular oven at 300°F until warmed through, 5-10 minutes.

– Microwave in 30 second increments if desired, checking for spots that need more time.

– You can also toast reheated waffles for extra crispness.

Enjoy your leftover waffles for breakfast, dessert, or snacks! With the right prep and handling, vegan gluten free waffles stay delicious for multiple meals.

Top 10 Vegan Gluten Free Waffle Recipes

Want even more deliciously crispy and fluffy vegan gluten free waffle options? Here are 10 tasty recipes to try:

Recipe Key Ingredients
1. Pumpkin Spice Waffles Pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup
2. Lemon Blueberry Waffles Lemon zest, fresh blueberries, coconut sugar glaze
3. Carrot Cake Waffles Shredded carrots, raisins, toasted pecans, cream cheese glaze
4. Cornmeal Waffles Stone ground cornmeal, corn kernels, agave nectar
5. Belgian Brown Sugar Waffles Yeast, brown sugar, vanilla bean, coconut oil
6. Banana Oat Waffles Mashed banana, rolled oats, toasted walnuts, cinnamon
7. Confetti Waffles Sprinkles, food coloring, vanilla extract
8. Black Forest Waffles Cocoa powder, cherry jam, coconut whipped cream
9. Funnel Cake Waffles Powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, vanilla ice cream
10. Chocolate Chip Cookie Waffles Mini chocolate chips, brown sugar, vanilla extract

Get creative with mix-ins like fruit, nuts, spices, and more! Part of the fun of vegan and gluten free waffles is discovering new flavor combinations.


Crisp, delicious vegan gluten free waffles are not as difficult to make as you might think. With the right combination of binding flours, added texture-improving ingredients, proper waffle maker preparation, and patience during cooking, you can achieve bakery-style results right at home. Avoid common sticking issues by fully preheating your iron, greasing generously, choosing flours wisely, and resisting the urge to open the lid prematurely. In no time at all, you’ll have a batch of flaky waffles ready for all your favorite toppings. Experiment with fun add-in mix-ins and gluten free flour blends to discover your signature vegan waffle.

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