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Smoky Ham and Cheese Waffles are the Ultimate Savory Handheld Meal

by | Aug 26, 2021 | Recipes

Diced ham, bell peppers, onions, and hickory smoked cheddar cheese turn ordinary waffles into a savory delight! Perfect for a quick lunch or dinner, these Denver omelet-inspired Smoky Ham and Cheese Waffles are super easy to make and on the table in less than 30 minutes. They also freeze wonderfully, making them a great meal prepping option too. The next time you’re in the mood for breakfast for dinner, don’t pass up these savory game changers!

close up of smoky ham and cheese waffles on a large serving platter

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The first time I ever played around with savory waffles was when I lived in DC. My dear friend T was going through the perfect storm of life changes. T was in the early days of starting a new job while simultaneously moving into her very first house. On top of that, she was preparing for the arrival of baby #2. A baby that was not planned, but a welcomed addition to T’s family.

This girl was literally a walking ball of stress. T had a great husband who was super helpful in taking care of everything. But even together, this dream team was on the struggle bus. Everything was just a bit too much all at once for them to handle with their usual ease.

savory waffles piled on a serving platter

We friends and family rallied around T, her husband, and her eldest daughter to provide all the support we could. We leveraged our strengths to help in ways that we hoped would make life easier as T transitioned to a house as well as a larger family. Immediately, I knew that one of the best ways I could chip in was by helping with cooking.

I knew that in the first few months of life with baby #2, T and her hubby would surely pressed for time. Not to mention, severely lacking in energy. So, I prepared big batches of freezer meals that would be quick and easy to thaw, heat through, and serve.

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INGREDIENTS    SWAPS    TIPS & TRICKS    HOW-TO    RECIPE

Smoky Ham and Cheese Waffles

I made several different meals for T and her lil’ fam, and one of those meals was some savory waffles. The waffles were a MAJOR hit! Not only were they packed with flavor, but they were filling and easy for my friends to eat on the go. It was then that I realized, waffle mix is just a base for whatever you want to make it…kinda like basic cookie dough.

close up of shredded cheese with diced peppers in the background

These Smoky Ham and Cheese Waffles are inspired by the humble, but ever-popular Denver omelet. In a recent Amazon Fresh grocery order, I saw some Hickory Smoked Cheddar Cheese. Immediately, it got me thinking about those waffles I made in DC for T. I ordered the cheese and some diced cooked ham. I knew they would make an excellent pairing, even though I’m not a big fan of ham in general.

The cheese is smoked perfectly, not so strong as to be overpowering, but definitely noticeable. It’s just the right amount to permeate the waffle batter with flavor. The ham is a larger dice, but you could chop it down further if you prefer. In every bite of these savory waffles, you get a chunk of ham and smoky, melty cheddar cheese.

close up of diced ham

Like I said, I’m not a big fan of ham, but these Smoky Ham and Cheese Waffles are ridiculously delicious! I even had my picky eater, who loathes ham, take a bite. He said not only are they good, but that he’d willingly eat these for lunch or dinner any day. Score!

What Goes on Smoky Ham and Cheese Waffles?

These savory waffles make a great grab and go option for any time you need a quick meal, but don’t have time to sit and enjoy it. But what about the times when you can sit and enjoy it–what goes on it then? Well, my friend, you could obviously go basic with some simple salted or unsalted butter. You could also treat these savory waffles as you would regular waffles and pour some of your favorite maple syrup over them. Or, you could be “extra”.

savory waffles plated with hot honey maple syrup

I like being extra when it comes to these waffles, so I serve them with a spicy honey maple syrup. I take 2 parts honey, 1 part maple syrup, and a pinch of crushed red pepper and mix those up before I make the savory waffle batter. This way, the syrup has time for the flavors to mingle. When these Smoky Ham and Cheese Waffles are ready to eat, I drizzle this spicy sweet syrup all over the waffles. It’s so so good; seriously, I hope you try it.

Gonna try out this recipe?

Leave a star rating or review in the comments to let me know what you think!

Ingredients For Smoky Ham and Cheese Waffles

  • Diced Ham – This salty protein helps give these savory waffles some heft that will fill you up and keep you full for quite a while.
  • Smoked Cheddar Cheese – The smokiness of the cheese plays well off the salty ham while delivering flavor throughout the waffle batter.
  • Bell Pepper – As a Denver omelet has bell pepper, so do these ham and cheese waffles. You can use a combination of green and red peppers as is traditional in the well-known omelet or just use the color you like the flavor of best.
  • Onion – I typically use white onion in this recipe, but you could use whatever kind you have on hand.
  • Waffle Mix – You can create your own waffle mix or use a boxed version like I do in the recipe (it just makes things a little quicker). I prefer to use Jiffy Baking Mix for my waffle base because it’s an all purpose mix. Bisquick is great option too.
  • Eggs – The eggs help keep everything bound together and provide a leavening agent for the waffle batter, so you end up with a nice fluffy interior to every savory waffle.
  • Milk – The acid in the milk also helps give a rise to the waffle batter and the water in the milk evaporates during cooking. As the water heats up it creates little pockets of steam inside each waffle. Once the steam totally evaporates, you end up with little air pockets (“bubbles”) that help create the fluffy interior.
  • Melted Butter – Using melted butter is technically optional here, but I totally recommend that you use it. Having the melted butter in the batter helps the batter not stick to your waffle iron, as well as adds flavor to the waffles themselves.
  • Salt – You would think there’s enough salt in these Smoky Ham and Cheese Waffles from the ham and cheese alone, but (sadly) you’d be wrong. Because the waffle base is an all purpose baking mix it doesn’t make each waffle as salty as our American diets are used to (even for us low-sodium folk). So, I recommend using the added salt the recipe calls for–it will ensure that you get a more balanced flavor profile without the waffle being overly salty. Now, some folks really like their salt—so, as always, use more if you prefer it.
  • Garlic Powder – A tried and true savory element, garlic powder helps amp up the flavors in these waffles and round things out a bit.
  • Black Pepper – Some folks like black pepper in anything and everything while others think it should only be added if you’re meant to taste it. I fall somewhere in between these two poles, so I’ve added a small bit of black pepper to the batter for these Smoky Ham and Cheese Waffles.

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Ingredient Swaps & Variations

  • Sausage – If ham isn’t your thing, there’s no shame in that game. Swap the ham out for sausage as it would pair beautifully with the smoked cheddar cheese in this recipe.
  • Deli Meat – A great short cut you can use in this recipe is to use deli meat in place of the diced ham. Options I would suggest are Black Forest Ham and Oven Roasted Turkey. Just roughly chop it up and toss into the waffle batter as you would the diced ham.
  • Lose the Smoke – If you’re not a fan of smoked cheese, then you could certainly just use a regular cheddar cheese.
  • Make It Spicy – Add in some finely diced jalapeños for a little kick of heat.
  • Cut Through the Richness – If these Smoky Ham and Cheese Waffles sound a little too rich for your palate, no problem! Cut back the ham and cheese a little and replace them with something acidic like fresh cherry tomatoes.

Recipe Tips & Tricks

What to Remember – Always use something to prevent your waffles from sticking to your waffle iron. I like to use cooking spray, but you could also use a pastry brush to brush on a light layer of olive oil, canola oil, or melted butter.

What to Avoid – Avoid overcooking your savory waffles by keeping a relatively close eye on them. These Smoky Ham and Cheese Waffles take about 5-6 minutes to cook. You’ll know they’re done when there’s no longer steam coming out of your waffle iron. If the steam is dying down, but keeps lingering…open your waffle iron for a quick look. If your waffles are golden brown and firm to the touch, then they’re more than likely ready to remove and eat.

Ways to Use Smoky Ham and Cheese Waffles Leftovers – You could make an epic and indulgent BLT or grilled cheese sandwich using two waffles as your slices of bread. You could also turn them into croutons that wow for salads. Simply dice them up, drizzle them with some olive, and then pop them into your oven or air fryer until they’re crispy. Another fun option would be to turn them into little pizzas! Just spread a little marinara on them and then top with shredded mozzarella and your favorite pizza toppings. Then bake in the oven until the mozzarella has melted.

macro shot of savory waffles on serving platter

Recipe Notes

Storage – Leftover waffles should be stored in an airtight glass or plastic container in the refrigerator. Stored properly, they’ll stay fresh for 4-7 days.

Reheating – These savory waffles are best reheated either in the oven, air fryer, or just a regular ol’ toaster like you would an Eggo waffle.

Servings & Nutrition – One serving is one waffle. This recipe makes 11 servings. Each serving has approximately 196 calories, 17 g of carbohydrates, 10 g of protein, 10 g of fat, and 3 g of sugar. For the full recipe and additional nutritional information, please see the recipe card below.

How to Make Smoky Ham and Cheese Waffles

Step 1. In a small skillet over high heat, sauté the onions and bell peppers until soft, stirring frequently. Then set aside to cool.

overhead shots of raw and sauteed bell peppers and onions in a skillet

Step 2. In a medium mixing bowl, add the baking mix, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Stir well to combine, then set aside.

overhead shots of baking mix with spices and milk with eggs and butter

Step 3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, butter, and milk. Use a fork or whisk to break the eggs apart and thoroughly combine.

Step 4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture. Stir to combine; mixture may be lumpy.

overhead shots of dry and wet ingredients and fully combined

Step 5. Once all of the dry ingredients are incorporated, add in the ham, cheese, onions, and peppers. Stir to mix well.

overhead shots of waffle fillings added to batter and then fully mixed into the batter

Step 6. Once your waffle iron is hot and ready, give it a quick spray of non-stick cooking oil or a light brushing of oil or butter to help prevent the waffle batter from sticking to the waffle iron. Then, pour 1/3 of a cup of waffle batter into your waffle iron for each waffle your waffle iron makes. Cook the waffles until there’s no longer any steam coming out of the waffle iron. Then, remove waffles and plate to eat.

close up of multiple waffles on a serving platter

If you make this recipe, tag me in your photos on Instagram—I love seeing what you guys decided to make!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I keep these savory waffles warm if I need to feed lots of people at once?

Once the waffles are cooked, you can keep them warm in the oven. Simply preheat your oven to 275 degrees and line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. When the waffles are finished cooking, transfer them to the baking sheet and place in the oven to stay warm until you’re ready to serve.

What’s the best way to freeze these Smoky Ham and Cheese Waffles?

I like to place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and put them in the freeze for about an hour. Then I transfer the semi-frozen waffles to a freezer safe ziploc bag for storing in the freezer.

How long do homemade waffles stay good in the freezer?

These savory waffles, when stored in an airtight freezer safe ziploc bag, typically stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Other Recipes You May Enjoy

close up of smoky ham and cheese waffles on a large serving platter

Smoky Ham and Cheese Waffles

Yield: 11 waffles
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Super quick and super easy, these savory waffles filled with diced ham, bell peppers, onions, and smoked cheddar cheese will tingle your tastebuds!

Ingredients

  • 8 oz diced ham
  • 3/4 cup shredded smoked cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup diced bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 c Jiffy baking mix
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder

Instructions

1. Saute peppers and onions in a skillet over high heat until soft, stirring frequently (approximately 4 minutes). Set aside to cool.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, add seasonings to baking mix and stir to combine. Set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, and butter.

4. Slowly add dry ingredients into egg mixture (approximately 1/3 of mixture at a time).

5. Once wet and dry ingredients are combined, add in ham, cheese, peppers, and onions.

6. Grease hot waffle iron and then pour in 1/3 cup of waffle batter into waffle maker per waffle. Cook until steam stops (about 5-6 minutes)

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 11 Serving Size: 1 waffle
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 196Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 727mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 10g

This nutrition data is provided and calculated by Nutritionix. Please keep in mind that your specific nutritional values may vary based on the brand of ingredients you use to make this recipe.

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Hey there! I’m Krystal, the sassy-mouthed, self-taught, home cook behind the content here at Sweet, Savory & Sassy. I have a deep love for sharing food with people and showing folks just how easy it really is to make dishes that will bring a little extra joy to those you love. There’s nothing like making something special for friends and family and seeing their face light up in delight during that first bite!
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