Crispy, delicious Vietnamese pandan waffle recipe with a pillowy soft, chewy interior. Made with real pandan leaf extract, these waffles are naturally green and taste fresh and coconutty. Ready in 15 minutes and perfect for every waffle lover!
There are very few things in life I love more than the smell of waffles and pancakes cooking in the morning. That was until I discovered pandan waffles! Imagine the smell of freshly made waffles, BUT with a wonderful pandan aroma with hints of creamy coconut milk.
Made with 100% natural homemade pandan extract, this pandan waffle recipe is absolutely addictive! The texture is soft yet chewy, reminiscent of Japanese mochi. Top them with some Homemade Pandan Ice Cream for the ultimate refreshing taste!
Not only are these waffles delicious, but they’re also easy to make and ready in about 15 minutes. These pandan waffles make for a delicious breakfast or a special dessert!
What are pandan waffles?
Pandan waffles are naturally green waffles made with pandan leaf extract. They originate from Vietnam, where they are known as Bánh Kẹp Lá Dứa. Roughly translated, “bánh kẹp” means “waffles” or “pancakes”. The second part “lá dứa” translates to pandan leaves, indicative of the main ingredient in the recipe.
A popular street food, pandan waffles are beloved all across Southeast Asia. In the western world, they can be found in specialty Vietnamese restaurants, where they’re usually served with coconut ice cream.
Banh kep la dua have the perfect crunchy exterior, while the interior is pillowy soft and chewy. The combination of flour and starch in this recipe gives these waffles a much more interesting texture than plain waffles. Personally, I much prefer this pandan waffle recipe to regular American or Belgian versions.
This Vietnamese pandan waffle recipe is made with tapioca starch, rice flour and all-purpose flour, which give the best chewy texture. For the wet ingredients, a combination of eggs, coconut milk and pandan extract is used. Pandan and coconut are the two key flavours in this recipe.
These bright green waffles are already sweet, so they can be served as they are. However, if you’re feeling fancy you can also serve them with a scoop of ice cream. I also love drizzling some honey on top and sprinkling some coconut flakes or toasted sesame seeds – YUM!
Fresh Pandan Leaves
So what is this mysterious pandan leaf I keep mentioning? Pandan is a tropical plant native to South East Asia and known for its fragrant leaves. Pandan leaves have a floral and sweet flavour, with hints of grassiness.
The smell of fresh pandan leaves can take a little getting used too, as it can be quite intense. To me it smells like a combination of vanilla and freshly cut grass. Perhaps this is also why pandan is sometimes used as a substitute for vanilla in some Asian countries.
Pandan is also great as a natural food dye, as it has a vibrant green colour. When mixed into a white batter, it gives a light green hue similar to the colour of limes.
Why I love this recipe
- Authentic recipe: this recipe is based on classic Vietnamese recipes for the most authentic pandan flavour. Bring the unique flavours of Southeast Asia into your home by making your own pandan waffles!
- Beautiful flavours: Pandan pairs beautifully with coconut, as they both have sweet and floral aromas. These waffles have a subtle and aromatic flavour; they’re so good you can eat them plain!
- Entirely natural: Although a vibrant golden green colour, these pandan waffles are entirely natural. No artificial food dye is needed, as pandan leaves give a gorgeous vibrant colour to the batter.
- Quick and easy to make: Only one bowl is needed to mix everything together, so this recipe is very mess free. Plus, from start to finish it takes only about 15 minutes to prepare this delicious pandan waffle recipe!
- Incredible texture: The crispy outer texture coupled with a pillowy soft and chewy interior make these waffles very unique and delicious. Once you try this pandan waffle recipe, you’ll be reluctant to go back to regular waffles!
- Great for making ahead: This batter stores really well in the fridge for up to 5-7 days. Just make sure you keep it in an airtight container and give it a good whisk before using.
Tools & Equipment
One of the best things about this pandan waffle recipe is that it’s really easy and quick to prepare. All you need is one large mixing bowl and a whisk or spatula.
Then you will also need a waffle maker. It doesn’t really matter which one you use, as long as it does the job. Cooking times can vary depending on your waffle iron, so make sure to read the instructions. I recommend getting a waffle maker with removable plates, as it’s much easier to clean.
- Pandan extract: The star ingredient in this recipe, pandan extract cannot be replaced with anything else. You can use either homemade extract from fresh pandan leaves or store bought pandan extract. I recommend homemade pandan extract because it has the most authentic flavour. Alternatively, you can also use pandan paste. Both pandan extract and paste can be found in any Asian supermarket.
- Coconut milk: You can use either coconut milk or coconut cream, which is richer and fattier. I typically use canned unsweetened coconut milk, which works perfectly.
- Eggs: large eggs are needed for this recipe. Ensure they are at room temperature before use.
- Tapioca starch: really important to achieve a chewy texture. It can be replaced with rice flour, but this will make the waffles less chewy and more crunchy. It can be found in all Asian supermarkets, and I recommend getting an authentic Asian brand like this Thai tapioca starch. It cannot be replaced with corn starch.
- Rice flour: It’s important to use regular rice flour and not glutinous rice flour for this recipe. Plain rice flour will yield a soft and slightly chewy texture, whereas glutinous rice flour can make the texture too chewy (like mochi). I recommend using authentic Vietnamese or Thai Rice Flour for the best results. Alternatively, you can replace rice flour with all-purpose flour for a fluffier texture.
- All-purpose flour: Only a tiny bit of regular flour is needed. Ensure it is plain white flour, not self-rising.
- Baking powder: The rising agent used to help the waffled rise and become fluffy. It cannot be replaced with baking soda.
- Sugar: I like to use regular granulated sugar, but you can also use light brown sugar or coconut sugar. The only word of caution is that a darker colour sugar will make the waffles appear more brown and less vibrant green.
How to make Pandan Waffles at home
- Sift and combine all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
- Add the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, then whisk well to combine.
- Chill pandan waffle batter in fridge. Scoop cold batter into heated waffle maker.
- Cook until golden brown on top or until ready.
If using real pandan extract (highly recommended), here’s a summary on how to make it:
- Clean and chop 10-12 pandan leaves into small pieces, then add to a blender with ½ cup of water.
- Blend until fully pulverised and use immediately or let rest in fridge until ready to use.
Read my full post on How to make Pandan Extract for more tips & tricks and full method.
Success Tips & Tricks
- Sift the flours – The best way to get a smooth batter is to sift all the flours before combining with wet ingredients. So don’t skip this step if you don’t want lumps!
- Use real pandan leaves – No commercial pandan extract or paste can compare with the flavour of real pandan leaves. I strongly recommend going to your local Asian supermarket and getting some fresh leaves. You can also freeze them for up to 4-5 months and use later on when needed.
- Chill the batter – Chilling the batter is extremely important for this pandan waffle recipe . Refrigerating the waffle batter helps the aromas mature and the batter thickens up slightly. Make sure to give it a good stir before scooping it onto the waffle maker.
- Use cooking spray – Even if your waffle maker is non-stick, I recommend using a little bit of cooking spray or oil. This will ensure the waffles come off without breaking or sticking. Don’t overdo it though, one spray is enough!
- Cook on low heat – I like to cook my waffles on a lower setting for a longer time, as this gives the perfect fluffy interior without being too crispy on the outside. Although this takes a little longer, I recommend trying it when you have extra time on your hands!
- Serve immediately – These pandan waffles have the best flavour and texture when they’re freshly made. I recommend serving them immediately after cooking them, whilst still warm. If desired, top them with some coconut flakes, honey or coconut ice cream.
How to store
The best making ahead solution for storage is to refrigerate the uncooked batter. It can keep in the fridge for up to 5-7 days, making it ideal for preparing ahead. Place the batter in an airtight container and refrigerate until needed. Make sure to properly whisk it before using it in the waffle maker.
Pandan waffles are at their best immediately after cooking, whilst still hot. Once the cool down, they become a little chewier and harder in texture. If you don’t mind a less fluffy and chewier texture, you can store these pandan waffles in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw them in the fridge overnight, then reheat in the toaster oven.
Frequently asked questions
No, this recipe is not gluten free because it contains a little all-purpose flour. However, you can make it entirely gluten free by replacing all-purpose flour with a gluten-free variety.
Pandan waffles taste sweet and floral, with a hint of grassiness. They also have a subtle coconut flavour, which makes the pandan aroma even better. In terms of texture, the shell is crunchy, while the interior is soft and a little bit chewy.
Yes, pandan waffles can be reheated. Just pop them in the toaster for a few minutes. However, the texture won’t be as soft and fluffy as when freshly made. Instead, I recommend making the batter and refrigerating it until you need it (up to 5-7 days).
This might be because your pandan extract is not concentrated enough. Add more pandan leaves or reduce the amount of water add into the extract. Alternatively, if the waffles are too brown in colour, you may have cooked them on a high setting. Reduce to low heat and cook for longer to retain the vibrant green colour.
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Pandan Waffle Recipe (Bánh Kẹp Lá Dứa)
- large mixing bowl
- waffle maker
- ladle or cup, for pouring batter
Option 1 - Homemade pandan extract
- 5 leaves fresh or frozen pandan leaves, cut and chopped
- ¼ cup water (120 grams)
Option 2 - store bought extract
- ¼ teaspoon pandan extract
- ¼ cup water
Pandan Waffle Batter
- 1 ⅛ cup tapioca starch (140 grams)
- ¼ cup rice flour* (30 grams)
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour (40 grams)
- ½ cup sugar (100 grams)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (5 grams)
- pinch of salt
- 2 medium eggs, room temperature
- ¾ cup coconut milk* (190 grams)
Homemade Pandan Extract
- Clean and chop pandan leaves into ½ inch pieces. Add them to a blender jug.
- Pour in the water, then pulse until fully pulverised into a paste. The extract can be used immediately.
Pandan Waffle Batter
- Heat up the waffle iron and brush or spray it with a little vegetable oil. Recommended setting is low-medium heat for best results.
- In a large bowl sift tapioca starch, rice flour, all-purpose flour and baking powder. Sprinkle over the sugar and salt and give everything a good whisk to combine.
- Add in the eggs, coconut milk and pandan extract, then whisk well to combine. Stop mixing when the batter is homogenous, and it’s okay to have some lumps.
- Let the batter rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
- Mix the batter a bit before scooping it into the waffle maker. Add batter in the middle of the waffle maker, without overfilling.
- Cook as per waffle maker instructions, usually between 5 to 10 minutes.
- The waffle is ready when it has a gentle golden colour on top. Serve warm with honey, whipped cream, ice cream, coconut flakes or fresh fruit.
- I recommend using a kitchen scale in grams for more accuracy. The cups used for the conversion are standard US customary cups (1 cup flour = 136g). There are many different types of cups across the globe, which is why I strongly recommend using grams instead.
- Nutritional value is estimative and it's calculated per serving. One serving is 2 waffles and this recipe makes about 8 waffles in total.
- Rice flour cannot be replaced with glutinous rice flour, as this makes the waffles too chewy. If no rice flour is available, replace with all-purpose flour.
- Coconut milk can be replaced with coconut cream or low fat coconut milk.
- Serve waffles immediately for the best texture.
- Waffle batter can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5-7 days. Mix well before using.