The heavenly union of crispy fried chicken and tender Belgian waffles originated at Wells Supper Club, a popular 1930s jazz joint in Harlem, New York. From there chicken and waffles spread, taking center stage on sold-out brunch menus and appearing on dinner tables nightly, solidifying its spot as a soul food icon.
For the best chicken and waffles, you’ll need a Dutch oven or other large heavy-bottomed pot for frying and some patience: The chicken needs to marinate at least three hours (up to overnight for the best flavor) in a tangy blend of buttermilk, hot sauce, and fresh herbs. Adding cornstarch to the cayenne-pepper-spiked dredge creates the crispiest crust you’ll ever crunch through. No waffle maker? Here’s your excuse to finally order one—sorry, but you can’t make this comfort food classic without it. The waffle batter is lightly scented with vanilla extract and gets just enough sugar to provide the ideal counterpoint to the salty fried chicken.
While the combo is best enjoyed hot and fresh out of the kitchen, you can keep chicken and waffles warm in a 250°F oven until ready to serve. Drizzle with hot honey or maple butter (a 1:1 combination of maple syrup and melted butter—you’ll thank us later).