This Southern Fried Chicken and Waffles recipe is indulgent and satisfying. It's that kind of good for the soul food that can be served for breakfast, brunch, lunch or supper. Finish it off with a generous drizzle of warm maple syrup and it's a taste of the South in your mouth.
Homemade Southern Fried Chicken and Waffles Recipe
Chicken and waffles has became a staple in the South and has been for many decades. Some say that it's popularity grew in the deep south during the Jazz era when musicians would look for very late suppers that nearly collided with breakfast after playing late nights in clubs. Hence the combination of waffles topped with deep fried chicken. The actual origin is always a source of heated debate with food historians with some claiming that it's invention ranges from Harlem in New York to Pennsylvania Dutch country and even California. Fried chicken is inherently Southern and regardless of the origin of the combination of chicken and waffles, this is a recipe about how to make homemade Southern style chicken and waffles that melts in your mouth. No debate required.
How to Make the Best Southern Fried Chicken and Waffles
- What exactly is chicken and waffles? It consists of breaded or battered fried chicken pieces that are served on top of fluffy buttermilk or Belgian-style waffles and typically drizzled with warm maple syrup. It can be served for breakfast, brunch, lunch or supper.
- You will need a waffle iron to make the waffles and a deep pot or Dutch oven or similar heavy bottomed pot to fry the chicken.
- Do you brine the chicken? Yes, the chicken breast pieces in this recipe are seasoned and marinated in buttermilk for added flavor.
- You can use boneless chicken thighs in place of chicken breasts for this chicken and waffles recipe. They make take slightly longer to cook.
- What sauce is used to top chicken and waffles? Typically this is served with a generous drizzle of maple syrup but I've seen it served drizzled with gravy, too. You can also serve chicken and waffles with scrambled eggs and a plethora of other options, the choice is yours.
- You can turn this chicken and waffles recipe into a sandwich. Place boneless chicken pieces on a waffle, drizzle it with syrup, gravy, eggs or whatever your heart desires, then place another waffle on top. Pick up and enjoy.
- Can I turn this recipe into sliders? Yes, you can! Make smaller waffles and assemble them like a sandwich. Secure with toothpick and serve.
- How do I keep the crispy fried chicken warm? When frying chicken in batches, it's helpful to have nearby a baking sheet fitted with an oven safe rack. Place it into a 225°F oven to keep the chicken warm while you work. It's also useful for keeping it warm while you make the waffles.
- How much does it cost to make? Chicken and waffles isn't necessarily an expensive dish to make it all depends on the type of chicken that's used. Our preference is boneless chicken breasts as demonstrated in this recipe. You can also use bone-in chicken but the cooking time will need to be adjusted to accommodate. Bone-in chicken will take longer to fry and requires a slightly different technique. See how to make my popular Southern fried chicken recipe here.
- Can I use chicken tenders to make? Yes, you can. They will require less time to cook so adjust the time accordingly.
- What if I'm gluten free? You can see how to make Gluten Free Waffles here on Bob's Red Mill. You would also need to adapt the breading using gluten free flour.
- What kind of waffles should I make? You can serve this fried chicken on Fluffy Buttermilk Waffles or Belgian Waffles.
Other Southern Fried Chicken Recipes to Try
- This Air Fryer Southern Fried Chicken comes with easy clean-up, too.
- Nashville Hot Chicken Strips are a boneless version of the famous Nashville hot chicken recipe.
- When you make this homemade Crispy Chicken Sandwich no drive thru is required.
- This recipe for bite size Easy Popcorn Chicken are how to make chicken nuggets even better at home.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Southern Fried Chicken and Waffles
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (each piece sliced into two strips lengthwise)
- 3 ½ teaspoon seasoned salt divided
- 2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper divided
- 3 cups buttermilk (well shaken) divided
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 quart vegetable or peanut oil for frying
- 1 recipe Belgian
waffles OR Buttermilk waffles (See Cook's note)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh chives for garnishing
- warm maple syrup for serving
- Season chicken pieces on all sides with 1 teaspoon seasoned salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Place into an oblong baking dish and cover with 2 ½ cups buttermilk. Turn to coat. Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.
- 30 minutes before frying: Remove chicken from buttermilk, discard marinade.
- Set up dredging station: 1) On a plate use a whisk to sift together flour, cornstarch, 2 teaspoon seasoned salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and cayenne. 2) In a separate large shallow bowl whisk together eggs, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, ½ cup buttermilk and hot sauce.
- Dredge chicken pieces in flour, into egg wash then into flour again, pressing breading onto chicken pieces with your hands. Place onto a baking sheet. Let stand for 20 minutes to bring to room temperature and set breading.
- To fry: Preheat oven to 200°F. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with an oven safe baking rack. Set aside. (To keep chicken warm when frying in batches)
- Using a deep 6 quart pot heat 1 quart oil to 350°F. Carefully lower chicken pieces in oil. Fry in batches for around 2-3 minutes per side adjusting time depending on thickness. Fry just until golden and juices run clear. Remove with a slotted spoon to the prepared pan. Place into the oven to keep warm.
- Meanwhile, while chicken is kept warm, prepare Belgian waffles. Divide chicken pieces among waffles.
- Divide chicken pieces among hot waffles drizzled with warm maple syrup and garnished with fresh chives.