Tips for Throwing Large Waffle Parties

I offer here suggestions for individuals and organizations  who wish to host relatively high-attendance vegan waffle parties. This is based upon several years of hosting house parties with around 40 guests over a 4- to 5-hour span, in a modestly-sized rowhouse. I decided to post this after a 2010 vegan waffle party host, Cruelty Free WA in Australia, noted that their first-ever party might draw more than 70 people.

wet waffle ingredients premixed
premixed wet ingredients for several batches of waffles (great way to reuse soymilk containers)

Remember that a waffle party does not have to be a large event. It can be an intimate gathering of 3 or 4 close friends, relatives, or neighbors; or it can be an energetic spectacle of 100 guests. While it’s always great to connect with more people, the size depends largely on what you enjoy the most, and your own specific purposes for throwing the party. That being said, here are a few pointers to help ensure that you and your guests have a great time while enjoying delicious food:

  • Measure out the wet & dry portions of your batters in advance, as shown in the photos. If you’re using more than one recipe, clearly label which bowl of dry goes with which jar of wet ingredients. Then mix the wet and dry portions together shortly before baking. This will save significant time and energy during the event. It’s difficult to focus on things like measuring accurately while you’re chatting it up with interesting guests.
    premixed dry waffle ingredients
    pre-mixed dry waffle ingredients, one bowl corresponding to each jar of wet ingredients (small containers are baking soda for yeast-raised waffles)

    To balance efficiency with waste reduction, I usually mix batches large enough to make 8 waffles–this often means doubling a recipe.  For yeast-raised waffles, you’ll have 3 separate portions: the yeast-raised portion that was left to rise for several hours, the additional liquid ingredients that get added shortly before baking, and the baking powder which doesn’t get dissolved in the liquid until you’re ready to mix the liquid into the yeast-raised portion.
    Unused batches with the wet and dry portions still separate can be stored for later use.

  • To estimate the number of waffle makers needed, use 12 waffles per hour per iron as a rough estimate for an average non-industrial waffle maker. This will obviously increase or decrease depending upon how many people are helping with the cooking, and how well you’re working together. Waffles may bake in 3 to 5 minutes, but it also takes a bit of time to pour the batter, get the waffles off the iron, and re-spray the grids with oil. Some irons need a small amount of recharge time between waffles before the “ready” light comes back on.
  • Break waffles into quarters before serving. This way, more people can start eating and trying toppings sooner and then come back for seconds, thirds, and so on. This not only keeps hungry guests from having to wait as long before eating anything, but it also gives the earliest guests more opportunity to try some of the toppings that arrive a bit later. (Thanks to Jen for this great suggestion that we now use every year.)
  • Try any new recipe at least once before your event.
  • Have at least one spare iron on hand in case a “sticking tragedy” temporarily disables one of your irons.
  • Minimize traffic passing through the space where you’re baking. For example, if you’re baking waffles in the kitchen, put a cooler with drinks in the dining room.
  • Put out both nametags and topping name/ingredient tags, just as you would for a regular potluck.
  • If your space or waffle-making capacity is limited, consider having two arrival times with a capped number of attendance slots. For our house party, I set up both 6pm and 8pm “ticket types” through Eventbrite.com, and let people know that I’ll be baking fresh waffles around those times. In between the baking sessions, I take breaks to mingle with guests, sample the various toppings, and help Jen with other host-related duties.

I hope these tips help you on your path to throwing highly enjoyable and successful vegan waffle parties. Happy waffling!

4 comments

  1. Aletha says:

    Thanks!
    I’m throwing a public party in downtown Pontiac MI and we’ve gotten a lot of media exposure so I’m expecting 50 – 70 people … ! How much flour do you think I will need for that many people?
    I will let you know how it goes!
    We are also doing a film screening at the same time.

  2. WaffleAdmin says:

    Aletha,
    Sounds very exciting! As a rough estimate (dependent upon the recipe and the type of flour you use), you’re probably looking at somewhere between 35 and 40 cups. This would translate three 5-pound bags of flour to ensure you have extra. However, I’d get some more accurate measurements before the final shopping trip:
    1) If you have a chance, test 1 or 2 recipes before doing your final shopping trip so you get a better sense of how that particular recipe “behaves.” (Right amount of mixing, cook time, amount of oil to spray on irons, etc.) You want to make sure you pick one that you’re comfortable with. You can do this with a full (4-5 waffle recipe) or cut the recipe in half so you at least get two test waffles.
    2) Once you’ve picked a recipe, do some careful math and triple all the amounts so you can make batches that create roughly 12 waffles each. You’ll be working from this tripled version as you actually make the batter. Then, multiply your tripled amounts by 6 to get the amount you need to shop for to make 72 waffles. Actually, I’d multiply by 7 and have an extra batch ready in case of any errors.
    3) For this size event, definitely measure out the wet and dry portions in advance, per the above post. And make sure you have several waffle irons and friends/family to help out. My hunch is that you may also need to borrow some bowls. (Make sure they’re not metal if you do a yeast-raised recipe.)

    Of course, the above will need to be adjusted a bit if you’re offering more than one waffle option. Have fun, and don’t forget to take a break to enjoy a waffle yourself!

    Dave

  3. Aletha says:

    Thanks! I’m kind of nervous. We have four waffle irons and 3 cooks. I wanted to offer a gluten free option but if it’s too much work, we may just have some frozen gluten-free for back up.
    Tonight is recipe experimentation night. I’m keeping it simple with the neutral waffle recipe and going from there …
    Thanks for the tips! We’ll surely send you some photos & maybe video!

  4. WaffleAdmin says:

    You’re very welcome. The frozen gluten-free backup is certainly one option, if you’re looking to simplify a bit until you have at least one event under your belt. Glad to hear you have a small team to help out! Yet another gluten-free option that’s relatively easy is a pot of rice, if you have a rice cooker that you can just plug in 30-45 mins before the party. It’s obviously not a waffle, but guests can still use it as a base to enjoy the toppings; and some more “exotic” rices like wild and mahogany are available. And if you’re serving the waffles in quarters and have a few veggie/snack platters available, no hungry guests should be waiting too long to get something to eat.

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