The Fizzy Ingredient You Need For Fluffy, Restaurant-Worthy Waffles

Are you looking for a way to turn your flat, soggy waffles into fluffy, crispy perfection? As far as homemade breakfast foods go, waffles are relatively easy to make and are always a big hit at family brunches — if they turn out right. The secret to making your go-to waffle recipe extra fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside is one unexpected ingredient: sparkling water. The carbonation in fizzy water creates air pockets in the batter, making your waffles incredibly airy and delicious. 

Sparkling water is the perfect leavening agent for Belgian waffles, which are thicker, taller, and have deeper pockets than regular waffles. Simply add it to your wet ingredients (milk, butter, eggs, and vanilla). In just a few minutes of cooking in the waffle maker, you'll have deliciously airy waffles waiting to be topped with your favorite syrup, ice cream, chocolate chips, or whatever yummy toppings you prefer.

Why does sparkling water make fluffier waffles?

Sparkling water contains carbon dioxide (CO2) gas, which is what gives the drink its fizziness. Carbon dioxide is used as a leavening agent in baking: The gas leavens or lightens the dough by creating pockets of air. For instance, yeast is a leavening agent that releases CO2 when added to bread dough, giving it its fluffy texture when baked. The CO2 released by yeast, baking soda, baking powder, and fizzy water can all add fluff to cakey goods like pancakes, waffles, bread, and cakes. 

The other benefit of using carbonated water is that you don't have to incorporate yeast into your waffle recipe, which takes a couple of hours to make the dough rise. Using baking powder and sparkling water instead will give you the rise you need in your waffles to make them extra tall and airy without having to wait. 

The differences among these waters

Sparkling water, club soda, and seltzer water are often used interchangeably for carbonated water, but they all actually differ in how they're made. Sparkling water is naturally carbonated from a well or spring and contains minerals like calcium, magnesium, and sodium. It's also usually the most expensive of the three. Club soda also contains some minerals that, along with the carbonation, are not naturally occurring and are added by the manufacturer. Seltzer has its carbonation added by the manufacturer as well but does not contain minerals. 

These carbonated waters, particularly sparkling water and seltzer, can be found in numerous flavors, citrus ones like grapefruit, lemon, and lime being some of the more popular varieties. If you want to experiment and add flavor to your waffles, try adding a flavored seltzer to the batter. You can heighten that flavor by adding a topping that complements the flavored seltzer or sparking water you use, like lemon zest, on top of your waffles made with lemon-flavored seltzer.