Our Recipes + Your Inbox = ♥

Where everything's made with love

What Is The Magic Of Chicken and Waffles

Published:  • 
Last Modified: March 20, 2024
Published: March 20, 2024

Sharing is caring!

The Classic Combo Of Sweet & Salty Wins Again

chicken and waffles

I made chicken and waffles for dinner last night because I went to Office Depot to get a webcam. Huh? This idea makes perfect sense, at least in my mind. Office Depot had a display of Cuisinart small appliances, and I grabbed the nicest little waffle iron on sale for just twenty bucks!!

I've been looking for a compact but full-size waffle iron that I could easily store in my (charming but inefficient) vintage kitchen, which has substandard cupboard space, and this ($20) purchase fits the bill nicely!

My brother and I love chicken and waffles, but I have to tell you, my very traditional husband didn't feel the same magic I felt when we sat down to eat. I can't win 'em all!!

He thinks that Southern fried chicken should be served with potato salad, baked beans, and coleslaw. This is an outstanding chicken recipe, and I told him we would have it for supper with those "fixins" some fine summer evening at the picnic table.

In Case You Are Like Papa Steve Why Chicken And Waffles

Chicken and waffles are old news, but they've been riding a wave of popularity lately. They are a frequent item on the menu at many restaurants of all different styles nowadays, and they are the perfect combo for breakfast, lunch, or even dinner.

We even saw them served at a pumpkin patch of all places (not great, all put together in a microwave with frozen items, but that's another story. 😛)

Many theories hint at who started the whole thing, and in today's food-savvy consumer's mind, it celebrates another wonderful cultural fusion of food styles.

Chicken and waffles combine elements that are staples in culinary traditions, including "soul food," Old South cooking, African American, and maybe even Pennsylvania Dutch cuisines. This cultural fusion appeals to a diverse range of palates and backgrounds. We really seem to eat that stuff up.

One prevalent theory is that this unique menu combination gained a foothold in the jazz culture of Harlem in the 1920s and 1930s. If you're a curious geek like me, you might enjoy this article about how it became a classic in our country. (good stuff)

The most important reason chicken and waffles are so popular is that humans seem to love any sweet and salty combinations universally! It makes all our little tastebuds bust out in a happy dance!

How To Make Chicken And Waffles

It's best to start early in the day to give this chicken a good chance to marinate for several hours in a brine of buttermilk, salt, and spices to make it tender, flavorful, and just a wee bit spicy—not "hot spicy" but with a little warmth from chili powder and smoked or Spanish paprika. (Are you drooling yet?)

I seldom have buttermilk in the refrigerator since there are just two of us to feed around here, so I have switched to SACO brand powdered buttermilk, which worked very well here. You can add lemon juice to regular milk in a pinch to make it sour. Put two tablespoons of lemon juice in a cup, fill it with milk, then let it sit slightly to thicken.

We like chicken breasts better than thighs, but either one works well in this recipe. I had two chicken breasts in the freezer, and they were pretty big, so I used them. I split the meat lengthwise into three thick strips before I marinated them.

Combine the buttermilk, salt, and spices in a large Ziploc bag or a bowl big enough to submerge all the chicken in the marinade/brine.

This brining business is pretty "sciencey," but the salt draws moisture from the chicken and dissolves in the liquid. Then, the salty liquid is reabsorbed into the meat, taking the flavors of the spices in with it and breaking down some of the protein, tenderizing the meat in the process. The magic is in the osmosis!

Make The Perfect Coating To Fry Up The Tastiest Chicken

You want the chicken to be incredibly crisp and succulent, with a craggy, shaggy, and crunchy coating. That takes a little more than flour! Adding baking soda and cornstarch to the flour and spices gives the crust more flavor, more lift, and extra crispness! It's amazing.

Shake off any excess marinade and generously dredge each piece of chicken. Then, let it sit on a rack for five or ten minutes to let the marinade and coating get to know each other before you fry the chicken.

Now is the perfect time to whip up your waffle batter!

Now Deep Fry Your Amazing Southern Fried Chicken

I love my little electric deep fryer with a thermostatic control. I have had it for years and years and use it only once or twice a year to fry some kleinur, my late momma's beloved little Icelandic twisted donut.

Recently, though, I moved it to a more accessible spot. It's awesome. You can still buy a Fry Daddy, a handy little appliance you can use for more than just frying!

If you don't have an electric fryer, a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot will work just fine. You'll need enough oil to allow the chicken to submerge in the oil for about eight minutes at 350-375 degrees.

Chicken needs to be fully cooked at 165 degrees internal temperature. I have found a small, inexpensive, instant-read food thermometer to be a very handy gadget. Mine is magnetic, and I always have it attached to my stove, so I can grab it quickly whenever I need it!

I'm not going into great detail about waffle making. Belgian waffles are ideal for this dish, but I made a small batch of regular waffles using a simple waffle batter recipe I found on a label (remember, I just got a waffle iron!) and adding a teaspoon of vanilla.

I've included a really good, simple waffle recipe for you. It is from Shawn Syphus from I Wash You Dry, a blogger I have always admired.

The chicken can sit for a few minutes before you stack it on top of the waffles or keep it warm in a low oven at 200 degrees or so. We enjoyed them with warm maple syrup and butter (or at least I enjoyed them; Papa simply ate them!🤣). Some recipes suggest using store-bought or homemade hot honey or a homemade spicier syrup, but I thought I had thrown enough new things out there for one night!!


Yield: 2-3 servings

Southern Fried Chicken

Southern Fried Chicken

Extra crispy, slightly spicy Southern fried chicken that's perfect for Chicken and Waffles.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Additional Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 13 minutes


  • 2 large skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 cup buttermilk* or soured milk (2 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar and enough milk to fill a one-cup measure)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika or Spanish paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp fresh cracked pepper


  1. Cut each chicken breast into three wide strips.
  2. Mix buttermilk with kosher salt, garlic and onion powders, chili powder, and paprika in a bowl or ziplock bag large enough to submerge the chicken.
  3. Marinate in the refrigerator for 8 hours, or at least four to let the brining process occur.
  4. Put oil in a fryer or Dutch oven and heat to about 350-375 degrees while you prepare the chicken for frying.
  5. Flour Crust Ingredients: Mix the dry ingredients to make the seasoned flour crust in a shallow pan or bowl.
  6. Shake excess marinade off the chicken and generously dredge each piece with the flour mixture. Then, set the pieces on a rack for 5-10 minutes to dry out a little.
  7. Fry the chicken for about 8 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees.


*You can use whole boneless thighs if you prefer.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 654Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 78mgSodium: 1508mgCarbohydrates: 94gFiber: 4gSugar: 9gProtein: 42g


Yield: 5 waffles

Classic Waffle Recipe

classic waffles

I don't think you can find a better waffle recipe than Shawn Syphus's, so here it is. Her amazing blog is called I Wash You Dry.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted (see notes if using salted butter)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat waffle iron.

  2. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and whisk to combine.

  3. Warm the milk up in the microwave for just 1 minute, or heat until slightly warm on the stove top.

  4. In a separate small bowl whisk the eggs and stir in the warm milk, melted butter and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until blended.

  5. Scoop the batter into the preheated waffle iron and cook until the waffles are golden brown and crisp. Serve immediately or lay on a cooling rack until cool. Store in zip close bags in freezer.*


If using salted butter, reduce the salt in recipe to just 1/4 tsp

I love trying new and different menus on my best guinea pig, my sweet husband of almost 54 years. Here are a couple of his very favorite old recipes: one-pot American Goulash and The Best Cheese Potato Casserole.

If you enjoyed this recipe today, you are my people!! Please share it on your social media accounts, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. I'd be tickled and ever so grateful; thank you! 

If you haven't already, check out my Facebook page, where I'll be posting easy, delicious, and family-friendly recipes every week.

Sharing is caring!

Tell me what you think

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Website designed and built with ♥ by 
BirchKey Digital
Skip to Recipe