The Untold Truth Of White Castle's Breakfast Menu

If you find yourself somewhere in the Midwest, parts of the South, or in the New York metro area, chances are you've passed by if not stopped into a White Castle for a sack of hamburger sliders. While not as universally well known as the burger monolith that is McDonald's, White Castle has still endured for over 100 years, continuing to remain a family-owned business today.  

White Castle's business was built on the back of its sliders, and it's easy to see why it's become almost customary to buy them by the sack, case, or in a 100 slider size, "Crave Crate." And even with only 377 stores (since 2019) in the U.S., White Castle diehards who grew up with the sliders love them with a capital L. Even the old school hip-hop group, the Beastie Boys, name-dropped White Castle five times in their 1986 album, "License to Ill."

What also makes the year 1986 significant for White Castle was that it was the same year they began to branch out into breakfast. It was that year they introduced the Egg and Cheese Slider. Not only was this another one of the very rare yet very significant changes to its rather conservative selection, but it would be the opening salvo of what would become White Castle's breakfast menu. Since then, the breakfast menu has expanded (and contracted) several times over the decades.

White Castle made a breakfast sandwich out of waffles

Case in point, the year 2014 was another major moment for White Castle as it debuted its Belgian Waffle Sliders to the public. According to White Castle, the waffles were imported right out of Brussels, Belgium, and were only available for a limited time. For a side item, White Castle also introduced mini-Belgian Waffles topped with Mrs. Butterworth syrup, like sweeter more waffly versions of chicken nuggets. With the inclusion of French Toast Sticks and oatmeal, it looked like White Castle not only generously expanded its breakfast options, it signaled that it was ready to go all-in on its grand waffle experiment. Clearly, it was a major success as it paid off just one year later.

In 2015, White Castle brought back the Belgian Waffle Sliders, mini-Waffles, and everything from its special menu items due to popular demand. However, even with this demand for more waffle sandwiches, White Castle had no intention of resting on its laurels, especially when it came to offering and even larger variety of waffle sliders. In the coming years, White Castle would repeatedly go back to the test kitchen to offer a wide range of waffle sandwich combinations and concoctions for customers.

White Castle reinvented its breakfast sandwich several times

In its original 2014 premiere, the Belgian Waffle Slider had freshly scrambled eggs and a choice of bacon or sausage patty. But for those looking for more of that unique, "sweet and savory," combo, there was the Belgian Chicken and Waffle Sandwich, topped with country gravy and bacon. If you've ever had chicken and waffles in the past, then you know how good this sounds.

When the waffles came back in 2015, White Castle expanded its selection even further with the limited inclusion of Strawberries and Cream Waffles. While this was part of the breakfast menu, this new waffle item felt more like a treat only masquerading as breakfast. Then again, waffles have always skirted that line much like pancakes in terms of sweetness, where breakfast starts to lean gradually into dessert territory.

By 2017, White Castle had reinvented its waffle selection once more with three new items. Waffles with Nutella was simply two waffles sandwiched between a generous shmear of Nutella hazelnut spread. The Spicy Breakfast Waffle Slider added a slice of jalapeno cheese to the Waffle Breakfast Slider for those who wanted a bit of heat to their sweet. Finally, and probably the most decadent, was the Belgian Waffle Sundae, which topped a waffle with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a coating made of Ghirardelli chocolate.

White Castle leans hard into its Belgium waffle connections

"Imported Waffles from Belgium," sounds like similar PR hyperbole to saying a restaurant has, "The World's Best Coffee." In reality, White Castle's waffles are made in the restaurants right off a hot waffle iron. Also, White Castle receives its waffle supplies through a partnership with the New Jersey-based, Unique Belgique. However, Unique Belgique does state up front that it imports its goods right out of Belgium.

White Castle's "waffle imports," might be true more as a technicality, it's very apparent that it take the lucrative relationship with its Belgium-based partners pretty seriously. Now was White Castle serious enough to possibly convert a historical castle located in the Belgian Ardennes into a massive White Castle restaurant? No, and on that note, April Fools. White Castle made the "announcement," on April 1, 2015, with a little bit of photoshop trickery.

However, in 2019 White Castle actually did hold a sweepstakes where customers who purchased any waffle product could enter their receipt on a website to possibly win a trip for two to Belgium, visit a real Belgian castle, and even take a tour of a Belgian bakery. White Castle wasn't looking to purchase any real castles at the time, but clearly, it considered Belgium and its waffles a major part to becoming such a contender when it comes to fast food breakfast.

As of 2022, White Castle's breakfast offerings aren't as indulgent as in the past

After all of the limited offers, experimentation with breakfast items, and trying out various waffle topping combos, White Castle's current breakfast menu today looks rather simple and conservative when compared to years prior. There have been a few permanent additions, such as the Breakfast Toast Sandwich. With scrambled eggs, bacon, and cheese between two slices of toasted wheat bread, it might be the most uncomplicated breakfast sandwich to ask for.

As far as its waffle selection goes today, things have also gone back to form, at least for the time being. You can still get the Breakfast Waffle Slider, Chicken & Waffles Slider, and even the Mini Belgian Waffles. But anything with ice cream, strawberries, or chocolate, is noticeably absent. You may also find some missing side items like their French Toast Sticks and oatmeal, according to the website. While it may feel like you missed out if you hadn't tried out White Castle's other waffle items, you should at least feel confident knowing that in time, there will be another "limited time offer," with another, possibly waffle-based food to try.

Breakfast is all day, every day

In an act of direct competition with McDonald's when it came to its breakfast menu, White Castle also introduced what the brand called, "Anything, Anytime," in 2015. Officially, it means that the breakfast menu was now permanently available to customers at all locations. Effectively, if you had a hankering for a whole sack of waffle sliders late into the evening, then the White Castle crew would fire up their irons right then and there. 

Considering that, especially in the Midwest and in other locations, White Castle is often a bright white beacon for those looking for food up to cap off a fun night out. For those out with friends late at night, sometimes people can go for something that's the right combination of both sweet and savory. And honestly, who hasn't had one of those nights out where you could just go for a waffle? And let's not forget to mention those working the night shift or traveling on the road. If someone's start of the day begins at 8 pm, chances are they might enjoy a quick Breakfast Slider and a cup of coffee, rather than a burger and fries. 

The Original Breakfast Sliders are in the frozen food aisle

But what about those that aren't within driving distance of White Castle's 377 stores? For the rest of the U.S., like those on the West Coast who aren't used to seeing those familiar white towers when they turn a corner, the White Castle taste isn't totally lost. The restaurant has made a killing by offering frozen versions of its popular sliders, so much so that in 2021, it broke 6 billion sliders sold on the retail market. According to Cision PR Newswire, 20% of White Castle's total historic sales for the past three years now come from its retail frozen foods.

So it would make sense to expand its retail frozen foods to now include one of the mainstays of the White Castle breakfast menu. Shoppers can now pick up frozen versions of the Original Breakfast Sliders, so they can get an idea of what got White Castle's early morning menu started.

While further retail menu expansion seems eventual, almost inevitable, it does beg one question: What about the waffle sliders? At the very least, it might sound like an obvious addition. It's easy to see a box sitting in the frozen breakfast section, with a promo reading, "Waffles imported from Belgium!"