Belgian Liege waffles with strawberries

How To Make Sugar Pearls For Belgian Liege Waffles

One Saturday evening, my daughter asked if we can have waffles on Sunday. I have a bit of a sweet tooth myself, so waffles it is. 

Waffles are my thing and we recently discovered Belgian liege waffles that people are raving about. They’re nice to have every now and then, but they can be hard to find and they’re expensive.

And what better way to satisfy a craving for something that’s not easy to get? Make them in your own kitchen! Luckily, regular waffles are pretty easy to whip up.

However, for Belgian liege waffles, you have to make sugar pearls as well. Why? Because apart from the dough, sugar pearls are what set them apart from a regular waffle.

If you haven’t heard of sugar pearls yet, here are some things you should know about them.

Belgian Liege waffles with strawberries

What Are Sugar Pearls?

Sugar pearls are sugar crystals clumped together to form large pieces that won’t melt at baking temperatures. They’re also called nib sugar and are a specialty sugar in Europe.

But, you should also know that there are two types of sugar pearls. 

The first is found in the famous liege waffles and are Belgian sugar pearls which are typically larger to withstand higher heat without dissolving. 

The second type of sugar pearls are smaller and are called Swedish sugar pearls. These are primarily used for garnish and toppings in baked goods. 

But since I’m set on making Belgian liege waffles for brunch, then I’ll be showing you how to make the larger sugar pearls in this post.

Waffle stack for Sunday brunch

Uses for Sugar Pearls

We know that they are famous for waffles, but that’s not the only thing we can use sugar pearls for. 

In fact, they can be used in many baking applications such as croissants, buns, danish pastries, cakes and many others.

They are sprinkled on top of pastries before popping them in the oven to give a crunchy texture to the baked goods. The idea is to let the sugar nibs caramelize on the outside to create crunchy bits on top.

Breakfast spread with Belgian waffles

Where To Buy Sugar Pearls

Since sugar pearls are famous in Europe, you can easily buy them in grocery stores there. However, it’s not as easy to find them in the US, although you may get lucky and stumble upon them in some specialty stores.

Probably the fastest way you can get them is via Amazon, but if you’re in a rush or want to save a few bucks then you can do it yourself using the recipe below.

Wrapping Up

Once sugar pearls are ready, you can use them for your Belgian liege waffles and other baked goods anytime. If you want to make a larger batch and store it for later use, you can simply double or triple this recipe. It should last for months when stored properly.

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Sugar Pearls For Belgian Liege Waffles

How To Make Sugar Pearls

  • Total Time: 45 minutes max
  • Yield: ¾ cups 1x


DIY Belgian sugar pearls on the cheap. Use these little bits of delicious heaven to create Belgian liege waffles. Or use them for other baking like croissants, buns, Danish pastries, cakes and more.


  1. ¾ cups granulated sugar
  2. 1 tablespoon water

Other Kitchen tools you will need:

  1. Small saucepan
  2. Wooden mixing spoon


  1. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan.
  2. Start heating the mixture over the lowest possible heat on your stove.
  3. Stir constantly using a wooden spoon until the sugar starts to clump. NOTE: What you want to achieve here is to have as much sugar clumped together as possible without creating overly large clumps. If there’s too much loose sugar and not enough clumps formed, add about half a teaspoon of water and stir. Make sure not to add too much water or you’ll end up with a mushy mixture.
  4. Let it sit on low heat for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. This is done to dry the sugar clumps enough that they don’t crumble when moved around. NOTE: If, at this point, the sugar isn’t sticking into clumps, turn the heat to medium-low for 30 seconds then immediately return to low. Remember not to overdo it or the sugar will start melting into the caramel.
  5. Once the clumps have dried and become hard enough, remove the pan from the heat.
  6. Let the clumps dry completely before using it.
  7. Store in an airtight container and keep in a cool and dry place


  • Prep Time: 1 minute
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes max

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