Vegetable Shortening Is Key To Making Waffle House-Style Waffles

While it's possible to make decent waffles at home, there's just something different about the ones you get at Waffle House. Plenty of copycat recipes exist, but if you've tried any of them before, you probably know that it's surprisingly hard to get the flavor just right. Waffle House does sell a waffle mix, but while the product has positive reviews, according to customers it still doesn't hold a candle to what you get at the restaurant. That's because it isn't just the waffle batter that gives Waffle House waffles their unique characteristics — it's also what's used to grease the waffle iron.

Contrary to what you might assume, it isn't melted butter. Instead, as a Waffle House employee revealed on TikTok, the breakfast chain uses Kaola Gold butter-flavored pan and griddle shortening. In a different TikTok video, another Waffle House employee is seen using White Cap grilling spray instead, a cooking spray produced by the same company, Ventura Foods. As it turns out, shortening plays an important role in the creation of the chain's emblematic dish, including its signature flavor.

How vegetable shortening improves waffles

You might think Waffle House's vegetable shortening works like butter or oil, but it's actually better than either — especially if you prefer the restaurant chain's style of its iconic breakfast treat. This is because it combines the texture-enhancing properties of oil with the flavor-elevating qualities of butter. Using oil to grease a waffle iron is effective at giving waffles a crispy exterior while maintaining a fluffy interior. Unlike butter, it can get hotter without burning because it has a higher smoke point. The downside to oil is that it doesn't give waffles the rich flavor you usually get from butter, which is why the liquid shortening that Waffle House uses is better. It's butter-flavored, yet it can withstand high temperatures like oil. As a result, it produces waffles that have the best qualities of both oil and butter.

If you want to take your waffles to the next level, you can find the shortening Waffle House uses online. However, it's worth noting that in the video, the TikToker shows an older version of the product labeled as Kaola Gold, while newer versions of the product are labeled as Phase Gold. Ventura Foods' listing for the product on Amazon notes that the recipe is the same, so it's only the name that's different.

What else does Waffle House put in its waffles?

Even if you use the same brand of vegetable shortening that Waffle House uses, it isn't a guarantee that your homemade version will taste exactly like the real deal. The secret also lies in the special waffle mix tailored for use in the restaurant. According to the label from a bag being sold on eBay, this mix includes expected ingredients like flour and baking soda, but also powdered buttermilk.

Another Waffle House worker shared on TikTok that this dry mix is added to eggs and half-and-half that have been warmed in a bain-marie (also known as a double boiler), a technique often used to gently heat custards. These details line up with the instructions written on the waffle mix listed on eBay, which also state that the batter should be whipped, then sealed, and chilled overnight before use. If you were to gather the proper ingredients (most importantly, the vegetable shortening) and follow these specific steps, you would likely achieve a closer match to Waffle House waffles.