The hot, crispy goodness of freshly made waffles can quickly turn soggy and lukewarm on the serving platter for a brunch gathering. For this reason, homemade waffles are best served right out of the waffle iron. If you have to cook the waffles ahead of time, you'll need to take a few measures to keep the waffles hot on the table for as long as possible.
Keep the waffles in the oven until the last minute. Heat your oven to about 200 degrees Fahrenheit before you start making the waffles. As you prepare them, place them in the oven on a cooling rack or directly on the oven racks in a single layer. This will help keep them crispy, as well as hot.
Serve the waffles from a heated ceramic serving plate. Ceramic retains heat longer than other plate materials. Put a ceramic serving plate in the oven while you are keeping the waffles warm. Transfer the waffles to the hot serving plate when you are ready to serve. Stacking them can create steam, making the waffles soft and soggy, so use more than one ceramic serving dish if necessary and place them on trivets to protect your table from the heat.
Place the waffles on an electric warming tray. If the table you are serving the food on is near a wall outlet, a warming tray can help keep the waffles warm and crispy. As with the ceramic dish, avoid stacking the waffles to keep them from getting soggy. You can place the waffles directly on the warming tray or you put them on a heat-proof plate sitting on the tray.
Consider cooking the waffles for your family and friends to order, one by one, ensuring a hot, crispy waffle right out of the iron. They only take a few minutes to make and you can have other foods on the table to eat while waiting for a waffle.
Leftover waffles must be refrigerated after two hours at room temperature to prevent bacteria from growing. Toss out any leftovers that have been sitting out beyond the two-hour window.