Cornmeal-Bacon Waffles with Thyme-Infused Maple Syrup

Cornmeal waffles dotted with smoky bacon bits are reminiscent of cornbread hot out of the oven. Top them with slightly savory maple syrup perfumed with fresh thyme and black peppercorns, and you may just get requests for extras.–Tara Duggan

LC Face-Plant in a Plate of Waffles Note

Ever done a face-plant in a stack of waffles? Neither had we–until we encountered this waffle recipe with thyme-infused maple syrup. We have a hunch you’ll want to get to know them up close and personal, too.

Special Equipment: Waffle maker

Cornmeal-Bacon Waffles Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 40 M
  • 1 H
  • Makes 4 to 8 waffles

Ingredients

  • For the thyme-infused syrup
  • 4 small sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 5 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • For the cornmeal-bacon waffles
  • 1 pound thick-cut bacon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 fluid ounces) buttermilk, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted, or 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup (4 ounces) cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup (4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Directions

  • Make the thyme-infused syrup
  • 1. Pull off most of the leaves from the thyme. Place both the leaves and the stems in a small saucepan with the maple syrup, peppercorns, and water. Place over very low heat and bring to a very gently simmer. Let it bubble for 10 minutes to infuse the syrup with thyme. Strain the syrup into a pitcher. (You can make the syrup up to 3 days ahead. Cover tightly and refrigerate, then gently reheat over low heat just before serving.)
  • Make the cornmeal-bacon waffles
  • 2. Heat a heavy skillet or griddle over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until crisp, turning once, 7 to 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels and let stand until cool enough to handle. Crumble the bacon into small pieces. You should have about 1 1/4 cups.
  • 3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and butter. In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper, if using. Make a well in the center of the cornmeal mixture, then pour in the egg mixture. Whisk until the batter is mostly smooth with just a few lumps. If the batter is too thick, stir in another 1 to 2 tablespoons buttermilk. Gently fold in the bacon.
  • 4. Preheat your waffle maker.
  • 5. Ladle the batter into the waffle maker, using 1/2 to 3/4 cup batter per batch and spreading the batter so that it almost reaches the edges. Cook until crisp and browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a spatula, remove the waffles and serve hot or place on a baking sheet in a single layer in a 200°F (95°C) oven for up to 20 minutes while you make the rest with the remaining batter. Drizzle with the warm thyme-infused syrup. Feel free to face-plant in your stack. We did.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Caroline Chang

Jan 24, 2012

Well, this certainly takes brunch to a whole new level. This dish is deceptively simple to make. In fact, on my next batch of these waffles, I’ll prepare much of it ahead of time (syrup, bacon, mix dry ingredients) and be ready to go in the morning. These waffles are moist and chewy and super impressive.

Testers Choice
Tracey G.

Jan 24, 2012

This is an amazing mixture of well-thought-out flavors and textures. While the waffles are definitely on the savory side, there is a great combination of sweet, salty and crunchy. The recipe is a little too labor-intensive to have on the “regular” breakfast/brunch rotation list, but I wouldn’t hesitate to make this on the weekend or while entertaining at brunch.

Testers Choice
Linda B.

Jan 24, 2012

Yum! What a great combination! It seems like a lot of bacon, but it’s great to have a little piece of bacon in almost every bite. (I think the cornmeal waffles would be good without the bacon, also.)

Testers Choice
Lisa O.

Jan 24, 2012

A somewhat savory sounding waffle intrigued me. Nice consistency. Using a whisk is beneficial. Big hint: If you don’t have buttermilk, use milk and add the juice of one half of a lemon to the liquid — worked great! I used canola oil, not butter, and it worked just fine. Will try butter next time, just to see what the difference is in taste, etc. I chopped the bacon quite small, and made double sure to make it super crispy (patience here, my friend, or instead of crispy bacon you will get burnt bacon). I used real maple syrup and although I missed my “side” of bacon, it was a delicious change of pace. Would definitely make it again, especially for a brunch item.

Testers Choice
Carol Anne Grady

Jan 24, 2012

I took a slight liberty with the recipe and made pancakes, not having a waffle maker. I used about a half cup for each and made three at a time in a dry frying pan on medium heat. They were a huge hit at my house as a Boxing Day brunch — the pancakes were very filling, with a lovely, fluffy texture in the middle. Cornmeal and bacon is a marriage made in heaven, and was only enhanced by the thyme-infused syrup. A word to the wise: when the recipe says “heat gently” it really means it, unless you want to end up with thyme-infused maple candy. You may also want to make extra, depending on how sweet your tooth is and how much you like to drown your waffles in syrup. I can also confirm that lemon thyme is a good variant, for an extra-citrusy hint.

Testers Choice
Jackie G.

Jan 24, 2012

I really needed to say that this syrup is fantastic. It actually was the part of the recipe that I had no interest in making. I’m so glad that I did make it. We’ve been thinking of other uses for that syrup, as well as other ways to use the same technique.

Comments
Comments
  1. You know how every once in a while, a really long while, you see a recipe that makes you want to just stop whatever you’re doing and run to the kitchen? Yeah, this is one of those. “OMG” seems somewhat lacking yet so appropriate.

  2. Leona says:

    Okay so I woke up this morning thinking I was going to take the day off. You know, no cooking, no house cleaning. But I made the mistake of checking David’s email and now I’m on my way to the store to get everything I need to make these waffles! They sound like like heaven, can’t wait. :)

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Woohoo! Here’s to making waffles on a Tuesday, just because. Let us know how it goes, Leona!

  3. Oh, heck yes! Can’t wait to make these!

  4. Jamie says:

    How can anyone call these just waffles? The syrup is genius and the waffles are gorgeous and making me hungry just looking at the pic. Time to pull out the old waffle iron.

  5. Martha in KS says:

    Oh, cornmeal-bacon waffles, GET IN MY BELLY!

  6. Suzanne says:

    Oh wow, these look and sound really delicious, who would of thought of thyme and peppercorns in the maple syrup but I bet it’s delicious.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      It is delicious, Suzanne. Unthinkably, ridiculously delicious. One of these days I’m going to try that infused maple syrup as a baste for pork chops and roast chicken toward the end of grilling, broiling, or roasting (so the sugars don’t scorch). Let’s check back and compare notes…

  7. Bibi says:

    That is just perfect…..great balance of the S’s. I haven’t had my breakfast yet and I can go for one of these waffles right now.

  8. This sounds so fabulous, and I just happen to have a thyme plant in the kitchen window. Regretfully, I don’t have buttermilk in the house so I’ll have to delay gratification until Sunday morning. Can’t wait to try these. Oh, and if I got some drool on your site, I am so sorry!

  9. Love love love this recipe. I bet it’s fantastic. I must make it this weekend. Must. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Susan says:

    There are few breads I enjoy more than cornbread and this recipe is very similar to my cornbread recipe..except it has more buttermilk and includes bacon. Wow! Can you imagine this as a riff on the southern style fried chicken and waffles? Or..with a blueberry compote as an additional serving option to the syrup? I can’t wait to try this.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Oooooh I like the way you’re talking Susan. Fried chicken on the side for me, please….!

  11. Susan says:

    I couldn’t get this out of my head after reading it so I went with it this morning. I’m so glad I did! I did a couple of things. First, I left the bacon out of the first two waffles (I have a dual belgian waffle baker) so I could taste the base recipe first and use the blueberry compote to see if my original idea would fly. It was delicious with a sprinkling of lemon zest onto each waffle prior to closing the lid. Next, I then added the bacon to the remaining batter and we loved that as well. I can see where chicken and waffles or even ham steak wth a brandied raisin sauce would be a great pairing. The waffles were softer than I usually like them, but the cornmeal added the texture that kept them from feeling soggy to the bite; they stood up well to the syrup and didn’t get mushy like many recipes tend to get under a generous dousing of syrup. I confess, I didn’t make the infused syrup. It appealed to me, but maple syrup comes “dear” here in CA and I was too afraid to go for it this first time. Based on how well the waffles worked with the bacon, I will make the syrup as written next time to go with. Loved this recipe and so did the family. I could envision a face plant into this!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Glad to hear that you, too, could envision a face plant in these waffles, Susan! And while we can understand your hesitation, let us know when you give the infused syrup a whirl…we think you’ll be woo’d, just as we were…

  12. Martha in KS says:

    I made a half recipe of these for Sunday breakfast & they were delicious! Of course I changed them up a little (because that’s how I roll) partly intentionally & partly accidentally. Since I didn’t have any fresh thyme, I mixed homemade pumpkin butter with maple syrup – success! Also, I was busily making waffles when I realized that the bacon I was tending should have gone in the batter. No problem – I served the waffles with the bacon crumbled on top. Next time I’ll try it in the batter, but it was delicious with the syrup poured over. Reminded me of a honey-glazed ham. I used canola oil in the waffles & they weren’t crispy – I’ve heard that solid shortening (ick) is what you use for crispiness but I won’t have that white blob of fat in my house.

    I ended up with 2 1/2 batches of waffles, so a full recipe will probably yield 5. I highly recommend this recipe for the corny flavor & salty/sweet contrast. I give it a solid 5 stars. Thanks for the recipe!

    • David Leite says:

      My dearest MiKS, our pleasure. So glad you liked them. But what’s the first step of good recipe making: read the directions completely first. Still, your concoction (both out of need and neglect) sounds divine!

      • Martha in KS says:

        Dear DL,

        I did read the recipe & knew the bacon went into the batter. A senior moment in the midst of preparation trying to do two things at once–working a frying pan AND a waffle iron. Don’t know how I ever ran a restaurant–but that was 25 yrs. ago. lol

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