The Difference Between Waffles And Pancakes

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Breakfast has always been acclaimed as one of the most important meals of the day. Well, we say you can have breakfast for any meal and it’s still just as important! Have your eggs, bacon, sausage, and toast but certainly don’t forget to add waffles or pancakes to your breakfast assortments. 

Pancakes and waffles are some of the best breakfast options available. They can be made so many different ways. You can add toppings or fillings and you can coat them with butter, syrup, and any number of other things that will make them delicious to your own tastes and preferences. 

Are pancakes and waffles the same thing? How they are different? Some of the most noticeable differences boil down to appearance. Waffles are square or round. They are often thick and comprised of squares that come together to form the waffle. In contrast, pancakes are much flatter and typically made to be round. 

In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about the difference between waffles and pancakes. We will cover each item on an individual level and then we will round out the guide summarizing the two for a quick reference as to how they’re both the same and different. 

Keep reading to learn about the differences between waffles and pancakes. 

The Ultimate Guide to Waffles and Pancakes

You can buy batter from the store that is balanced to cover both waffles and pancakes. So, that makes them the same right? If you make the batter from scratch, it’s actually slightly different but even so, the end result is not quite the same no matter whether you use a pre-made batter or your own batter. 

We’re going to progress through this guide by discussing first waffles and then pancakes. Once we cover each product on an individual level, we will then do a quick summary review to round out the differences for your reference. 

Let’s get started! 


Waffles are quite interesting. They are made with dough or batter that is considered leavened. It doesn’t require rising time or kneading. You simply mix the batter. Waffles are then cooked between two heated plates that have a specific pattern. 

These plates might be square or round. Now, you can purchase waffle makers that allow you to make large single waffles. 

Waffles are typically thick and fluffy. They can be quite filling. You can make waffles in a number of different ways. You can change up the batter to make it healthier or you can use pre-made batter. It’s really up to you. 

From there, you can add fruits or other items and you can also top your waffles with a myriad of options. Here are some ideas for adding to your waffle batter or use as a topping instead. 

These are just a few popular ideas of ways to change up your waffles. 

How Waffles Are Made

Let’s run through a quick waffle recipe that shows making the batter from scratch. This will simply give you a general idea of the typical ingredients that are included in waffle batter. 

Keep in mind there are numerous variations of recipes for making waffles, this is simply meant to be used as a reference point. 

  1. You will need eggs, all-purpose flour, milk, vegetable oil, baking powder, salt, vanilla, and sugar. 
  2. Beat together eggs until they are nice and fluffy. Then beat in milk, flour, oil, sugar, baking powder, salt, and vanilla. 
  3. Preheat your waffle iron and spray with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Pour mix in servings into your waffle iron and heat as instructed until golden brown. 
  4. Top as you please with various fruits and syrups and enjoy hot. 

As you can see, the process of making waffles is quite simple. There are not a ton of ingredients and most of them are things you can find stocked in your pantry on a regular basis.

When you purchase batter, it typically will include similar things made into a dry batter and will just require adding water and maybe eggs or oil as well. 


Pancakes are another delicious breakfast delicacy. Unlike their waffle counterpart, pancakes are lighter and fluffier. Waffles tend to be heavier overall because they are made to be thicker while pancakes are made to be light and fluffy. 

Pancakes are typically made in round shapes but you can actually make them in whatever shape you want. Now, you can purchase pancake shapes that you can form on your griddle or your pan to shape your pancakes into fun shapes. 

Pancakes are flat, thin, and typically round. They are fluffy and light in nature.

Pancakes come from a starch-based mixture. You can make your own batter or you can use a store-bought batter, much like you can with waffles. 

Another similarity to waffles is that you can mix and match your toppings however you want. You can also cook things like chocolate chips or fruits or bacon directly into your pancakes, giving you a delicious alternative to plain pancakes. 

You can add your syrup and butter or peanut butter and whipped topping or any other topping preferences as well. 

Pancakes are stackable and you can probably eat several of them in one sitting. 

How Pancakes Are Made

Just as we did with waffles, we want to do a quick walkthrough of how pancakes are made. We feel as though it is essential to understand the process in order to truly know the differences and the similarities between the two products. 

Here is a simple recipe for making pancakes. Keep in mind that there are numerous recipe variations that you can use. We simply provide this basic recipe as a point of reference to understand what ingredients are used and the general process for making pancakes. 

  1. You will need all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, eggs, vanilla extract, and butter. 
  2. Start by whisking together your dry ingredients, which include salt, baking powder, flour, and sugar. 
  3. Separately beat your eggs and then whisk in milk and vanilla. Melt your butter and then whisk it into the mixture as well. 
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients and whisk together until batter is thick. It will most likely still be slightly lumpy, which is perfectly acceptable for delicious pancakes. 
  5. Heat a skillet or griddle to medium heat. Ladle pancake mixture onto heated cooking surface. 
  6. Cook until bubbles begin to break the surface of the pancake, which is about 2 minutes at medium heat. The underside should be golden brown. 
  7. Flip pancake and cook on the other side for 1-2 more minutes. 
  8. Move to platter, top with your favorite toppings, and enjoy warm. 

Note the similarities in ingredients to that of waffles. They are nearly identical in this case, although the ratios of ingredients might vary slightly. You will notice that the primary difference is in how they are cooked and that you don’t need a specialty cooking device for pancakes. 

Overview Summary

When it comes to comparing the differences between waffles and pancakes, there are very few differences. The ingredients are almost exactly the same in each recipe. They are made to be a very similar product. 

Both are versatile and can be made with various ingredients, fillings, or toppings and both are served warm straight off the heat. 

The primary difference in the two specifically relates to the appearance and the cooking method of the item.

Pancakes are thin, round, light, and fluffy while waffles are thick and fluffy and typically made much larger. Waffles also require a waffle iron tool of some sort in order to make properly. 

Related Questions

We hope that you find this guide to understanding the differences between waffles and pancakes to be an informative resource for comparing and identifying these two food products. Note they are very similar with slight differences that set them apart. 

We invite you to review the following question and answer section for some additional details that you might find helpful as well. 

What Makes Waffles and Pancakes Taste Different? 

You will notice that for waffles, the eggs were beaten separately. The difference in flavor mostly relates back to the difference in the way that the ingredients are processed and the item is cooked as well. 

Why Are There So Many Types of Waffles?

You’ve seen names like American waffles, Brussels waffles, Belgian waffles and more. Why so many titles? The names mostly refer to the way in which the waffles are made. While they contain the same ingredients, they are made differently in all. 

Belgian waffles are typically very thick and made to be quite large while American waffles are typically slightly thinner and not quite as large.

Brussels waffles are actually the same as Belgian waffles. 

Up Next: How To Stop Waffles From Sticking To Waffle Maker

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