The Key Texture Difference In Waffle And Pancake Batters

You see them everywhere! Eggo waffles are eaten regularly on the TV show "Stranger Things," and saucer-like pancakes are seen in hundreds of advertisements on billboards, flyers, and commercials. They are quintessential breakfast foods beloved for their soft, bread-like quality, the generational nostalgia they bring to the table, and their warm sugary flavor. They are both breakfast desserts commonly dressed up with whipped cream, maple syrup, fresh fruit, or chocolate. But when you have two highly popular breakfast foods cycling throughout American households, there's bound to be hearty debates about which dish is the best.

The eternal debate between which is the better breakfast food, pancakes or waffles? Results in a sure-fire answer from many. Either they love the smooth, fluffy pancakes, or they prefer the textured waffles that have divots perfect for pooling syrup. Pancakes have been around longer than waffles, but both have quickly risen to legendary breakfast status in the Western world (via Greatist). But though people have their favorite, we've really got to ask ourselves; is there actually a difference between pancakes and waffles besides their shape? There must be if so many people have a strong opinion one way or the other, right? Though pancakes and waffles have similar colors, flavors, and even toppings, there is one distinct difference between the two — texture.

Ratios matter

For those who staunchly argue that one breakfast food is better than the other, or at least prefer one over another, you should feel vindicated! What you're probably noticing is a distinct difference in texture between the pancake and the waffle. According to Masterclass, waffles tend to have a harder, crispy exterior with a fluffy interior. In contrast, pancakes are soft inside and out and have a much more flexible structure (aka, it'll just flop right over if you hold it upright). This is because waffles traditionally use more sugar and fat than pancakes, and the sugar caramelizes while the fat helps to crisp up the waffle. Meanwhile, pancakes are lower in sugar and use more milk.

Betty Crocker reaffirms this, saying that though the basic ingredients like eggs, milk, flour, and sugar used in waffles and pancakes are similar, the ratio these batters use dramatically affects the outcome. This ratio difference is also why some dry-mix brands sell pancake and waffle boxes but add a recipe shortcut on the back for one or the other.