These vegan apple cinnamon waffles are the most wonderful winter breakfast! Fluffy waffles are filled with tender, diced apples and cinnamon spice. The waffles can be made ahead and frozen for future cozy, comforting morning meals.
I am very much a breakfast person.
I’m always hungry for breakfast. Ravenous for it, sometimes. While I know that a lot of people struggle to find the appetite for breakfast in the morning, I’m the opposite. If anything, I’m hungrier early in the day than I am later.
In spite of all this, breakfast is the meal that I’m most likely to put on autopilot when I’m busy. Much as I love unique, savory breakfasts and tasty baked goods, I’m happy to eat simple oatmeal or tofu scramble on repeat. So it’s easy for breakfast variety to fall away if I don’t give it some attention.
I’ve been in one of those oatmeal/toast ruts lately. I was delighted to get out of it this week in the most delicious way: with these tender, fluffy vegan apple waffles. Sweet, crispy Snapdragon apples make all of the difference in this recipe!
How to make vegan apple cinnamon waffles
Making the apple cinnamon waffles is a lot like making any vegan waffle—with a little twist. You’ll add finely chopped, peeled apple to the waffle batter.
When you bite into the cooked waffles, you’ll find tiny pockets of diced apple within them. The apple adds texture, sweetness, and flavor.
Vegan waffles don’t rely on egg for binding or rise. They’re leavened only with baking powder. To replace the customary egg in the recipe, I use flax egg, which is water mixed with ground flax.
Otherwise, the apple cinnamon waffles follow standard waffle procedures! Here are the steps.
Heat up your waffle iron
Waffles work best when your waffle iron is nice and hot. I always do this first when I make waffles, unless I’m resting the batter in the fridge overnight. If that’s the case, I warm up the waffle iron for 10-15 minutes before proceeding with making the waffles.
Mix your flax egg and vegan buttermilk
Flax egg will help to replace egg in the apple cinnamon waffles, while non-dairy milk mixed with lemon juice stands in as a vegan “buttermilk.”
For most recipes, I use one tablespoon flax and three tablespoons of water to create a flax egg. For this one, I use slightly more flax (1 1/2 tablespoons) and four tablespoons of water.
As for the buttermilk, you can substitute vinegar (apple cider or white) for lemon juice if that’s what you have.
Mix dry ingredients
For the apple cinnamon waffles, those include all purpose and whole wheat flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon, and sugar. Use a nice, roomy mixing bowl.
Mix the wet ingredients
These are the vegan buttermilk, melted vegan butter, and applesauce. Once mixed, you’ll add sugar to these wet ingredients.
Fold wet ingredients into dry
As you do this, you’re aiming for a batter that’s evenly mixed and without any big lumps or streaks of dry flour. However, some very small lumps are fine.
Add the apples
Time to fold in your diced apples! Add them to the batter and use a spatula to fold them in gently. Actually peeling and dicing the apples for the recipe is probably the most time-consuming step.
Make your apple cinnamon waffles
Once the batter has been mixed, it’s time to make your waffles. The amount of batter that you add to your iron will vary depending on the type of iron that you have. I recommend about a cup of batter if you’re using a 4-slice, square or round waffle maker.
I have two waffle makers: a round, 4-slice Belgian waffle iron, and a Dash mini waffle iron. It’s basically ridiculous that I have two, but they do make different shapes, and they can serve different purposes. The mini iron isn’t a big investment if you’re wondering whether you’ll use a waffle iron at all.
If you find that you do, a larger Belgian waffle iron makes a nice, fluffy, thick waffle. And it will allow you to cook all of your batter more quickly than using the mini iron will. The mini iron can only cook about 1/4 cup of batter at a time. I use my mini-maker for single serve or small batches of waffles, and I use the Belgian waffle iron when I’m batch prepping waffles (with the intention of freezing some).
No matter what, you should follow the instructions of your waffle maker to cook the apple cinnamon waffles. When the indicator light shows that they’re done heating, you can remove them, add your favorite toppings, and get down to eating.
Apple cinnamon waffle ingredients
Nothing fancy is needed to make the recipe, and there’s some room for substitution. A few notes on the main ingredients:
I use a combination of unbleached, all-purpose and whole wheat flour to make the waffles. You can certainly use all all-purpose, but I don’t recommend using all whole wheat—at least not if you want to preserve the fluffy texture.
To make the vegan “buttermilk,” you can use unsweetened soy, oat, or almond milk. Cashew milk and coconut milk are also fine. I don’t recommend hemp milk (too strong a flavor) or flax milk (too thin in consistency).
Any brand of butter you like is fine for the recipe. In place of butter, you can substitute two tablespoons of vegetable oil (such as refined avocado, grapeseed, canola, or melted coconut).
Relatively little sugar is needed for the recipe (just 2-3 tablespoons, depending on how much sweetness you prefer), but the small amount does make a difference. If you like, you can use coconut sugar or brown sugar in place of cane sugar.
In place of the flax used for the flax “egg,” you can use ground chia seeds instead. (A chia “egg”!)
Applesauce helps to keep the batter moist and also highlights the apple cinnamon flavor of the waffles. In place of applesauce, you can use the same amount of pumpkin purée.
As you’ll see, SnapDragon apples are my favorite apple for everything—snacking, baking, and more. I love their sweetness and firm texture. However, you can use another apple of choice in the recipe.
An ode to my favorite apple
I love SnapDragon apples so much that I specifically go to my local farmers market, come rain or come shine and in spite of my schedule, to seek them out. I’ll do this for as many weeks of the year as SnapDragons are in season.
SnapDragons are irresistable. They’ve got a perfectly crunchy, juicy texture. They stay firm for long periods of time, which means that I can stock up on a bunch of them at once. And the flavor is so unique: perfectly sweet, with a slight hint of vanilla. For me, these are everything I want in an apple.
SnapDragons are grown and distributed in New York State, so they’re local to me. However, it’s possible to find them at retailers throughout the country, too. You can learn more about these wonderful, deep crimson, super crisp apples here.
Can the waffles be gluten-free?
Yes, the apple cinnamon waffles can be made gluten-free. I recommend using a gluten-free, all-purpose flour blend to prepare them.
Preparation and storage
The waffle batter can be mixed the night before making your waffles and refrigerated, covered, overnight. In the morning, simply heat your waffle iron and get cooking. If the batter is stiff and very thick when you take it out of the fridge, you can loosen it with a splash of additional non-dairy milk.
The waffles can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days and heated in a toaster, air fryer, or 350F oven. Heat until they’re warm through and getting crispy again (about 15 minutes in the oven and 10 in most air fryers—keep an eye on them and use your judgment in a regular toaster).
Vegan apple cinnamon waffles can also be frozen for up to 6 weeks after you prepare them. Thaw them in the fridge overnight and reheat as above.
Apple cinnamon waffle accompaniments
You should feel free to use any toppings that call to you with the apple cinnamon waffles! But here’s a short list of things that I like:
- Toasted pumpkin seeds
- Maple syrup
- Apple butter
- Vegan butter
- Chopped walnuts
- Salted date caramel sauce
- Almond butter
- Cashew butter
- Tofu whipped cream
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground flax meal
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened soy, oat, or almond milk
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice or white vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour (180 g)
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (60 g)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2-3 tablespoons cane sugar (24-26 g)
- 2 tablespoons melted vegan butter
- 1/2 cup applesauce (112 g)
- 1 1/2 cups peeled and finely diced SnapDragon apple (175g; about 2 medium apples)
- Maple syrup, vegan butter, nut butter, and/or chopped nuts/seeds, for serving (optional)
- Preheat your waffle iron according to manufacturer’s instructions. If necessary, spray the maker with vegetable oil before making your first waffle and between waffles as needed.
- In a small bowl, combine the ground flax meal with 4 tablespoons room temperature water. Whisk together and set aside. In another, medium bowl, combine the non-dairy milk and lemon juice or vinegar. Stir them and set them aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon, and sugar.
- To the non-dairy milk and vinegar mixture, add the melted vegan butter, applesauce, and the prepared flax + water mixture. Stir these ingredients well. Pour them into the large mixing bowl with the dry ingredients. Fold everything together until the wet and dry ingredients are well mixed. A few small lumps in the batter is OK, but keep mixing (or use a whisk to mix) if you see larger lumps or dry streaks of flour. You’ll have a relatively thick waffle batter. Fold in the chopped apples.
- If using a 4-slice, square or round waffle maker, add a cup of batter to the waffle maker. Cook the waffle according to manufacturer’s instructions. If using a round, mini waffle maker, drop the batter in 1/4-cup amounts into the maker and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. Continue this process until you’ve run out of batter.
- To keep the waffles warm during preparation, place them on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet in a preheated 350F oven as you work.
- When all of the waffles are ready, serve them with your toppings of choice. Enjoy!
I’m so looking forward to making these waffles again, so that I can freeze a bunch and allow them to give me morning nourishment—and joy—right until Christmas.
I hope you’ll try and enjoy them, too. Happy breakfasting.
This post is sponsored by Crunchtime Apple Growers. All opinions are my own. Thanks for your support!