Chicken and Waffles

Chicken and waffles is a subject of much debate. Often thought of as a Southern classic, but actually made famous by the Wells Supper Club in Harlem, which definitely ain’t the South, in 1938, which is not that long ago. Then consider the word “classic” as it relates to food. How long must a food exist before it’s considered a “classic”? Fifty years? A hundred years? Maybe the time is less important than the popularity. Is the cronut a classic? Is the McRib a classic? Maybe it’s a combination of time and popularity that makes a regular food into a classic food …

chicken and waffles

Mmm. Chicken and waffles. Berries optional.

Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles opened in 1976 in LA. Gladys and Ron’s Chicken and Waffles, 1996, Atlanta. Lucky J’s in Austin and New York. And that’s just a few of the specialty restaurants. If you look around, you’ll see chicken and waffles showing up on breakfast and brunch menus all across the country — from soul food joints to Americana diners to fancy-pants, farm-to-table bistros.

For whatever reason, it’s a classic now. Typically, you’re looking at a buttery, crispy waffle or two that’s then topped with at least a couple pieces of crispy bone-in fried chicken (wings are common). For me, I prefer to use boneless chicken for ease of eating. For you, you may prefer to do it old-fashioned style and in that case try my fried chicken recipe here.

For the waffles, I used my standard waffles recipe but you can totally use a waffle mix if you want to. I shall judge ye not.

Ooh, and if you want to get crazy and try it with my slaw, here’s the spicy peanut coleslaw recipe. Okay, let’s get on with it. Video and recipe below!

4.5 from 2 reviews

Chicken and Waffles
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ cup frying oil (peanut, canola, shortening, alrd, etc)
  • Waffles
  • Maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Marinate the chicken in the maple syrup, Tabasco, salt, pepper, and thyme for 30 minutes to an hour. (Make your waffle batter now and set it aside.)
  2. Whisk together egg and buttermilk in a shallow bowl.
  3. Combine flour and cornstarch in another bowl.
  4. Drain excess marinade from chicken. Dip in egg, then flour, and lay in a single layer on a plate or baking sheet. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Heat oil in a skillet to 350ºF.
  6. Fry chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side until dark golden brown and cooked through. To check, pierce with a knife tip and if juices run clear, you’re good!
  7. Drain on paper. Sprinkle with a little salt. Set aside.
  8. Cook waffle batter in your waffle iron according to manufacturer’s directions.
  9. Serve chicken on top of waffles with maple syrup.

 

Comments

  1. I’d never heard of chicken and waffles as a thing till I was taking one of those “how many of these have you had” quizzes and Chicken and Waffles was on it. I’d never had them together, but I’d had each so I counted them. But then you know seems like every time I turned around I heard something about them. So now I’ll have to make them (and you slaw) Or maybe I’ll make the chicken satay peanut sauce. Bet that would work well too!

  2. Pat Soltis says:

    I have a “Chesapeake Bay” cookbook which was published around 1990 and which says that chicken and waffles originated in Baltimore. The same book gives a recipe for catfish and waffles with a cream sauce, garnished with crabmeat.

    For a short time about ten years ago there was a small restaurant near Shaker Square in Cleveland that served chicken and waffles. I never made it there.

    • Whoa. Catfish and waffles?! That sounds crazy, but if chicken and waffles weren’t so familiar already, it would sound crazy, too.
      I was reading about the Penn-Dutch version of “chicken and waffles” that is a waffle topped with gravy and stewed chicken. Oh man, it’s dinner time and that sounds so good right now.
      Good to hear from you, Pat!

      • Pat Soltis says:

        I’ve made catfish and waffles a number of times, and I like it. Unlike the version with chicken the catfish recipe doesn’t use any syrup. The sauce is a cream sauce with a little bit of diced tomato and a few lumps of crabmeat

        • Pat Soltis says:

          And there’s a web site, http://www.catfishandwaffles.com, subtitled “Local Food, Drink, and Culture of Philadelphia’s Northwestern Neighborhoods.” I looked through it briefly; there are lots of recipes, but I couldn’t find one for catfish and waffles. Go figure.

  3. I have never heard of chicken and waffles together as a meal. Sounds kinda crazy to me. I think of waffles as a breakfast or brunch item. Chicken more for lunch or dinner. The question then is: Is Chicken and Waffles considered a breakfast, lunch or dinner meal?

    I like your comment about when does a dish/meal become a “Classic”? My .02 worth is if it has been around for 2 generations or more. Which means something your mom or dad makes that came from their mom or dad. And now you are making it because of its enjoyment. I think another part of the definition of classic is simplicity in making it too. Remember that chili that your grandpa always made when you went to visit? Your dad occasionally makes it to, but grandpa’s was better. You are now making that chili, because your grandpa shared some secrets with you, that he did not share with his son :-) Maybe it is a long cook time, but prep is easy. Classic Chili.

  4. Hi I have a question for anyone really about frying in oil: how do you ensure the temperature of your oil is 350 degrees? I’ve tried using a probe thermometer (which I also use on meat)–it works fine as a meat thermometer, but I burn my hands (hovering over the pan) if I try to measure the temperature of oil w/it, can’t hold onto the thing if I’m using oven mitts or potholders, and it doesn’t read quickly enough to be useful. Whenever I try to fry chicken, it comes out greasy (and the legs underdone) even though when I start the oil is smoking: and I’m using Canola oil, which I know has a high-enough smoke point. Greasy & underdone means I’m not controlling the temperature of the oil well, but I don’t know how to either measure it accurately before I start or fine-tune it during the frying process. Very frustrating, since fried chicken is the BEST FOOD EVER when done right.

    As for chicken & waffles: I assumed it was a Los Angeles thing b/c James Ellroy mentions it in all of his LA-noir novels set in the 40s, 50s, & late-70s & 80s & his books were the first place I’d heard of it. I have no problem believing it came from Pennsylvania or Maryland though: I think one traditional Sunday brunch in Baltimore is kidney-stew over waffles & I’ve heard of the stewed-chicken-PA-Dutch thing too.

    • Hey Russell!

      This is a great question. Many people have a hard time with this.

      Based on your description (smoking hot oil, underdone and greasy legs) I suspect you are heating the oil too high at the beginning and then crowding the skillet which reduces the temperature too much too quickly. When cooking bone-in fried chicken, assuming you are cooking a whole chicken (3 pounds, about 8 pieces of white and dark meat) you will definitely need to cook in two batches to keep the oil temperature somewhere between 350-365 degrees. This fried chicken recipe and video shows how to do that.

      I wrote a post about oils and temperatures a while back. Learn to Cook with Oils and if you scroll down about half-way there is a section of deep frying guidelines.

      I know exactly what you mean about the thermometer getting hot to the touch and not reading fast enough. I recommend buying a thermometer that either has a clip so you can attach it to the side of the pot and that way avoid having to hold it, or get a digital instant-read thermometer, or a thermometer with both features! You should be able to find one for under $20.

      Hope that is helpful!
      -H

  5. Christopher says:

    Hiyah Hylah! I’m a Virginia boy… well an old Virginia boy… and I’ve never heard of waffle and chicken, but your recipe looks like must-try. I love your website and videos, and I’d love to know where you got your culinary training. You appear to have serious culinary knowledge and skills I have a weird question for you though: what brand of cast iron skillet did you use in this video? I did a web search for cast iron skillets several years ago and came across the same skillet and liked the looks of it but didn’t buy it at the time. I think it might’ve been a Lodge, but lately I’ve looked for it again online and can’t find it.

    • Hi Christopher!
      I’m self-taught, actually. Thank you for the complimentary words! :)
      The skillet I use in this video (and most videos) is actually an old 9″ Wagner. Wagner is no longer in business, but you can find them on ebay pretty regularly.
      Lodge is the only company still making cast iron (sad face) that I know of. I have two larger skillets that are Lodge. The biggest difference is the handles: Wagners are more ergonomic.

  6. Well, Lodge is pretty good. Made in the USA. I have heard of Wagner, but do not know of them from first hand experience. To Lodges credit, they now ship their products to sellers pre-seasoned. From a manufacturing standpoint, this had to be a great expense. To the best of my knowledge, there was not a price increase in the retail price. Kind of amazing, if you ask me.

    Would be nice to see a Wagner Cast Iron pan. I can not imagine how they can make a cast iron pan more ergonomic. It is cast iron. It is heavy. It can not be “light cast iron”. Does not compute !!!! :-)

    Now you got me to shop second hand stores and garage sales for “Wagner” cast iron… I will buy it up in a snap!!!!

    • The Wagner handles are longer and slightly curved. I find the Lodge handles too short and also very straight. Not that the cast iron is lighter. :)

  7. Shame on you for saying you are “self taught”. There are certain skills one can be “self taught”. But I do not think cooking is one of them. You learned from your mother and father, maybe even gramps and grandma. Or an aunt or uncle. You refined your skills from at least one of them.. I know I did..

    It is all in fun. I am not scolding you. If it was not for my mother to teach me to make popcorn, by getting the pot hot with oil before adding in the kernels, I would not be able to pop some corn today. I was making popcorn when I was 10. On the stove top. No nukers in those days!!!!!Dedicated electrical appliance of a popcorn popper, sure. But my mother taught me to make it on the stove top. I still do to this day..

    How do you know the pot is hot enough? A trick my mother taught me that I will not share here.

    • Well of course I learned from my parents and grandmothers! I also have learned things from friends!
      Things I learned from my dad were: cream gravy, chicken fried steak, and chili. From my mom: tuna casserole, rice and cheese casserole, spaghetti. From my grandma: sushi rolls, kimchi, and “experimental cooking”. From my other grandma: “cooking even when you don’t like to cook”. :)
      By self-taught, I mean I started reading cook books for fun when I was 10 and most of what I know came out of those books. I still credit my maternal grandmother for heavily influencing my “style” of cooking though. She is always ready to throw stuff together and see what happens. Cooking with her is really fun.

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