Vegetable Shortening Is The Key To The Crispiest Waffles Yet

Thank your lucky stars if you know the difference between vegetable shortening, lard, butter, and oil. And if you don't, thank them too because you don't have to know their differences to make the crispiest waffles. You just need some vegetable shortening.

Vegetable shortening is a fat that stays solid at room temperature, like butter, which also acts as a shortener. As a shortener, vegetable shortening effectively cuts gluten's strands short when added to any dough. When shortening meets waffle batter, it covers its flour particles so they can't absorb water, and less gluten forms. The more fat in the shortener, the less water present in the resulting dough, and the crispier the waffle. 

That leads us to the question: How much fat is present in vegetable shortening? The answer is all the fat. Unlike butter, which contains 20% water, vegetable shortening is 100% fat. This may explain why shortening gives dough that crispy texture that makes you want to keep chewing. Giving less room for water absorption and preventing a more chewy dough from forming, vegetable shortening is practically engineered to turn out crispy waffles.

Sugar and heat for crispy waffles

In addition to using vegetable shortening, you can rely on sugar to provide that desired crunch. Sugar similarly acts as a gluten inhibitor, plus, when added to the batter, it encourages aeration of baked goods and leads to a lighter and crispier waffle texture. The best part is that sugar plus heat equals caramelization, so your waffles are guaranteed to develop a delicious crispiness.

Last but not least, don't forget to use high heat. If your waffle iron has a temperature knob, set it to the highest setting. High heat will quickly and effectively evaporate water from your waffle batter. The escaping steam leaves a trail of tiny air pockets that result in a crispy texture. It's a foolproof method that works. And in case it's not clear, here's even more explanation as to why high heat is the best tip for crispy waffles every time.