If you’re like me, fried chicken and waffles is probably one of those dishes you’ve seen or heard about but never actually tried. At a glance, it’s weird right? Combining fried chicken with…WAFFLES?
Now, if you’ve had fried chicken and waffles then you know and understand it’s the epitome of all sweet and savory combinations. Not to mention it’s the perfect excuse to have breakfast for lunch or dinner as well.
My spicy chicken and waffles recipe was inspired by a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in the middle of nowhere in Sonoma, California. Patty and I were visiting for a wedding in wine country and stopped for lunch on the way up from San Francisco.
I had never had the infamous chicken and waffle experience at this point, and the menu boasted a colossal spicy fried chicken and waffle lunch favorite. Challenge accepted.
The menu actually had a warning on the spiciness factor. Something along the lines of, “This is really spicy and if you send it back we will kill you.” In other words, if you order this you’re stuck with it—no take backs. It was hot, but it was really good—and I was hooked on the idea.
Now, my variation isn’t colossal spicy, it certainly has a little kick, but it’s beautifully balanced out by the sweet Belgian waffle and maple syrup. The fried chicken method was inspired by a really simple Nashville style fried chicken prepared by Chef Spike Mendelsohn.
I substituted buttermilk for milk and added cayenne pepper and paprika to the breading. The beauty is no additional steps for creating a spicy coating or sauce. The spicy flavors are fried right into the chicken breading itself.
One quick tip before I leave you to your brunch. I deep fried the chicken for this recipe. No shortcuts or baked alternatives for this glutenous meal. I think you need to go all out for this one.
How to Fry Chicken
I HIGHLY recommend you use a candy thermometer to bring the oil to the right frying temperature. If the oil gets too hot (over 340° F), it will burn the outside breading before fully cooking the chicken inside (learned that one the hard way).
You need enough oil to fully submerge the chicken tenders. I fill a dutch oven with about 3-4 inches of vegetable or canola oil. As stated above, let the oil reach 340° F before adding the chicken.
Coat the chicken in the buttermilk and dredge in the spicy breading. Carefully add tenders to the dutch oven and let fry for 3-4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate to drain the excess oil.
Easy, right? That’s all there is to it.
A Note on Timing Chicken and Waffles
To cut down on the stress of managing waffles and fried chicken simultaneously, you can keep the tenders warm in the oven at around 200° F (after they have drained), while you make the waffles. Throw them on a baking sheet to….chill.Print
Spicy Fried Chicken
- 6 chicken tenders
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1 cup panko crumbs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons hot sauce (I use Frank’s RedHot)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 32 ounce container canola oil, for frying
- salt to taste
- 1 cup flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Remove chicken tenders from the fridge 20-30 minutes before frying. This will help ensure cook times are accurate.
- For the waffle batter, combine the dry waffle ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together milk, egg, butter, oil and vanilla extract. Combine with the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Set aside in fridge until ready.
For the spicy fried chicken
- Preheat oven to 200° F.
- Combine 2 eggs, buttermilk, and hot sauce in a bowl, whisk and set aside. Combine breadcrumbs, panko crumbs, paprika, and cayenne pepper in a pie dish, set aside.
- Score the top of each piece of chicken with a knife, about 3-4 times, diagonally, about a 1/4 inch thick.
- Fit a thermometer to a Dutch oven and add in oil for frying. Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer reads 340°F (this is important!).
- Dredge each piece of chicken in the buttermilk, and then the breadcrumbs. Repeat this process again.
- Place the chicken tenders in the dutch oven (fully submerged) and fry for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Remove, set on a paper towel, sprinkle with salt and let rest for 5 minutes. Keep chicken tenders warm by placing on a baking sheet in the oven after they have drained.
For the waffles
- Meanwhile, heat up your waffle iron. Grease the top and bottom of the waffle iron with cooking spray and cook waffles according to your waffle iron, or until golden and crispy.
- Top each waffle with 2-3 chicken tenders, drizzle with maple syrup and serve with a pad of butter.
Use a candy thermometer to ensure oil is around 340°F for frying. If the oil gets too hot, it will burn the breading before fully cooking the chicken.
Waffle recipe adapted from: Food.com