Southern Chicken and Waffles

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Southern chicken and waffles is a classic breakfast recipe that doubles down as a dinner option, too. Crispy waffles topped with tender fried chicken is drizzled with a sweet and spicy maple syrup.

A buttermilk waffle has buttermilk fried chicken on top and a special pitcher of spiced maple syrup in the back.

Stop in at any breakfast diner in the south and you are so likely to find chicken and waffles on the menu.

This delicious brunch recipe might just be the perfect pick for breakfast for dinner night.

With my easy prep tips, you can enjoy the best version of this recipe right at home with just a few minutes of work!

Why This is the Best Recipe

I've ordered chicken and waffles at countless brunch restaurants here in the south and I've always thought how easy it would be to make at home for a special dish. I think this is the best chicken and waffles recipe for home cooks because:

  1. Pick and Choose: You can make from-scratch waffles AND from-scratch fried chicken, or just pick one or the other to make homemade and substitute a frozen or prepared item for the other to save time.
  2. Perfect Waffles: If you make the waffles from scratch, my malted waffles recipe is the best waffles for this dish.
  3. Perfect Chicken: If you make the fried chicken from scratch, my buttermilk fried chicken tenders are so easy to eat with the waffles.
  4. Best Sauce: I'll teach you how to eat chicken and waffles and the best sauce to make for drizzling over the top.

Ingredients

To make homemade chicken and waffles you need 3 important ingredients:

  1. Crispy Waffles
  2. Fried Chicken
  3. Spicy Maple Syrup

If you plan to make the entire dish from scratch, I recommend this malted waffle recipe and this buttermilk fried chicken recipe.

Easy Prep Tips

However, unless it is a special occasion or you really love to cook, that can be a lot of work for just one meal.

I recommend breaking it down like this:

  1. Waffles: Make the waffles in advance and store them in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze them. You can reheat them in the oven before serving. OR buy your favorite Belgian waffles at the grocery store.
  2. Fried Chicken: If you make the fried chicken from scratch, you'll want to do it just before serving the dish. Get the waffles out of the way so you can focus on that. OR plan to bake your favorite frozen fried chicken tenders OR pick up a tub of the best fried chicken you can find locally and make the waffles from scratch.

Make the Waffles

If I had to choose just one of the two elements to make from scratch, it would be the waffles for sure.

For full step-by-step photos and tips, you can see my separate malted waffles post but I included all the ingredients and steps you need right in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

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Cook the Chicken

Making buttermilk fried chicken from scratch is a bit of a project. It is not hard at all and you can see the full step-by-step photos and how-to tips in my buttermilk fried chicken recipe here.

However, the steps and ingredients were lengthy enough I didn't want my recipe card below to be too many pages for you to print.

You could just bake your favorite fried chicken in the oven or plan to have store-bought fried chicken handy for the dinner to keep it easy.

Best Sauce for Chicken and Waffles

THIS easy sauce for chicken and waffles is what makes all the difference for the best chicken and waffles, in my opinion.

Mix together sweet maple syrup and spicy southern hot sauce for the perfect sweet and savory sauce for drizzling over the chicken and waffles.

Two plates of chicken and waffles with a fork.

Make Ahead Tips

There are several ways to save time with the final assembly of this recipe:

  1. Make the Waffles in Advance: Store them in the fridge or freezer. Reheat them in the oven on a large baking sheet so they get warmed through and crispy.
  2. Prep the Maple Syrup: You can make the spicy maple syrup up to a week in advance and store it in an airtight container in the fridge.
  3. Marinate the Buttermilk Fried Chicken: If you marinate the buttermilk fried chicken the day before and pre-measure the dry flour coating, assembling and baking the fried chicken will be much easier right before serving.

How to Eat Chicken and Waffles

The first time I ate chicken and waffles at a restaurant, I was a little confused.

Do you pick it up and eat it like a sandwich? Do you eat the chicken first and then the waffle?

While how you eat it may be a matter of preference, in my experience the best way to eat chicken and waffles is to cut a small bite of both the chicken and the waffle and eat it together!

A bite has been cut from the chicken and waffles and is on the fork.

I like to dunk mine in the sweet and spicy maple syrup, too.

This way you get both sweet and salty flavors, fluffy and crispy textures, and it all just works so well together.

What to Eat with Chicken and Waffles

The sauce for the chicken and waffles is served in a pitcher.

I love to eat chicken and waffles at brunch because it is the best of both worlds -- sweet AND savory. For me, it's an all-in-one package.

However, if you're looking to round out a special menu, there are several side dishes you could serve with chicken and waffles, too.

Breakfast Meats: Add a side of peppered bacon or better yet, crumble it and add it to the waffle batter before griddling!

Breakfast Potatoes: Add a batch of crispy hashbrowns or my crispy breakfast potatoes.

Fresh Fruit: Pile up the fresh strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries.

Fresh Fruit Salad: My simple citrus salad would be an excellent choice for a brunch with the sunny oranges on top.

Deviled Eggs: For a holiday brunch or party, chicken and waffles are so southern why not pair them with a batch of deviled eggs?

📖 Recipe

A buttermilk waffle has buttermilk fried chicken on top and a special pitcher of spiced maple syrup in the back.

Southern Chicken and Waffles

5 from 1 vote
Chicken and waffles is absolutely delicious when you make everything from scratch at home. To save time, you can prep the waffles in advance and freeze them or swap the homemade buttermilk fried chicken with your favorite frozen fried chicken tenders instead.
PREP TIME 15 minutes
COOK TIME 30 minutes
YIELD 4 servings

Ingredients
  

To Assemble the Final Dish:

For Homemade Malted Waffles:

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup malted milk powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Sauce for Chicken and Waffles:

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 4 - 6 shakes hot sauce like Texas Pete

Instructions

Prep the Waffles:

  • To serve the chicken and waffles family style, preheat the oven to 200°F. Set a large baking sheet inside the oven to warm through. You'll collect the griddled waffles in the oven as you finish them to keep warm until you've finished the entire batch of batter.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients first. Add the flour, cornstarch, malted milk powder, sugar, baking powder, and salt and stir them together until well combined.
  • In a separate large measuring cup, measure the milk and add the eggs and vanilla. Whisk them together till smooth.
  • Pour the milk mixture and the vegetable oil into the dry ingredients. Stir everything together until no more dry pockets of flour remain. Your batter may have some small lumps, that's ok. Don't over mix the batter.
  • Let the waffle batter sit while you preheat the waffle maker according to the appliance directions.
  • Spray the waffle iron with cooking spray and fill the griddle wells according to the directions for your appliance. For my waffle maker, I use 1/3 cup batter in each well and cook the waffles for 4 minutes.
  • Transfer the cooked waffles to the oven to keep warm while you finish the rest of the batch.
  • If you plan to make the fried chicken from scratch, I recommend prepping the waffles in advance so you can simply reheat them before serving. You can keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze them up to 6 months. Warm them on a baking sheet in the oven until crispy and warmed through.

Prepare the Chicken:

  • Homemade buttermilk fried chicken involves quite a bit of extra work and should be done fresh right before serving the chicken and waffles together. This isn't a great choice for relaxing over brunch with your family, so I recommend baking your favorite brand of frozen fried chicken tenders to keep things easy. For special occasions that are worth the extra effort, you may want to make this buttermilk fried chicken recipe from scratch. If you marinate the chicken the day before, you'll save time with the final cooking.

Assemble the Chicken and Waffles:

  • To make the sauce for the chicken and waffles, stir together the maple syrup and hot sauce. Serve it at the table in a small sauce pitcher for pouring.
  • To serve chicken and waffles, place two waffles on each plate. Top each waffle with a baked chicken tender. Drizzle with the prepared sauce and enjoy warm.
COURSEBreakfast
CUISINESouthern

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The photo collage shows two angles of the chicken and waffles on a blue plate.

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