If you have never tried a bite of savory chicken with a sweet and spicy crunch paired with a buttermilk waffle, you are seriously missing out. I could not figure out why everyone was freaking out over this pairing until I tried it for myself and fully understood. Like peanut butter and jelly, bacon and eggs, mac and cheese - crispy fried chicken and waffles just belong together.
I sought to find the best waffle recipe and the best friend chicken recipe when I assembled this dinner. The buttermilk waffle recipe on Americas Test Kitchen won me over when they boasted a full proof way to serve everyone a crispier waffle by putting them in a warm oven for 10 minutes. This method also makes it possible to serve everyone at the same time. The fried chicken recipe comes from Bobby Flay who develops recipes that deliver big flavor. This combination below will not disappoint.
Ingredients for the Waffles
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried buttermilk powder (see note below)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups unflavored seltzer water (see note below)
Buttermilk powder is a new ingredient for me. I found it on the baking aisle near the dried-milk products.
Seltzer or club soda gives these waffles a light texture that would otherwise be provided by whipped egg whites. (Avoid sparkling water such as Perrier—it’s not bubbly enough.) Use a freshly opened container for maximum lift.
Ingredients for the Fried Chicken
Fried Chicken Ingredients
2 cups buttermilk
A few dashes of hot sauce, plus more for serving
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Canola oil, for frying
Honey, for drizzling
Put the chicken tenders in a resealable plastic bag. Add 1 cup of the liquid buttermilk and a few dashes of hot sauce, then seal the bag and marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.
While the chicken marinades, prep everything else for dinner. Set out three medium-sized bowls. In the first bowl, combine the flour with the garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Transfer half of the flour mixture to a second bowl. In a third bowl, put the remaining 1 cup buttermilk.
Heat 2 inches of oil in a high-sided skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium heat until it registers 360 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer.
Adjust the oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Set wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet and place baking sheet in the oven.
Set a plate or platter next to the stove and put paper towels on top, ready for when the chicken comes out of the frying pan.
Heat waffle iron.
Whisk flour, sugar, salt, buttermilk powder, and baking soda in large bowl to combine. Whisk sour cream, eggs, vanilla, and oil in medium bowl to blend. Gently stir seltzer into wet ingredients. Make well in the center of dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir until just combined. The batter should remain slightly lumpy with streaks of flour.
Use about 1/3 cup of waffle batter for a 7-inch round iron. Bake waffles according to manufacturer’s instructions and transfer to the rack in warm oven and hold for up to 10 minutes before serving.
Dredge and fry chicken
With the waffles warming and crisping in the oven, remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, dredge the chicken in the first dish of seasoned flour, then dip in the buttermilk, letting excess drain off, and finally dredge in the second bowl of seasoned flour, tapping off excess.
Fry until golden brown on both sides and just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove to a paper-towel-lined plate and season with salt.
Top each waffle with a chicken tender (or two) and drizzle everything with hot sauce and honey. To make this kid friendly I served this to my kids separately and left off the hot sauce and honey, and drizzled the waffle with butter and syrup.