The Best Chicken and Waffles Recipe
Beat the weekend brunch rush and make this winning chicken and waffles recipe at home. The delicate balance of savory fried chicken combined with the sweet flavors from the waffles and maple syrup is something that can’t be beaten.
So pop the prosecco and start mixing up mimosas for your favorite brunch bunch. This is sure to go down in the recipe books as the best chicken and waffles recipe. Let the brunching begin!
Fry Me to the Moon
Perfectly fried chicken is truly a sight to behold, and eat! The crispy, crunchy breading coating the juicy tender chicken is what dreams are made of. When the freshly fried chicken has been plucked from the hot oil and placed on a wire rack, make sure that you give it a generous sprinkling of coarse sea salt. It’s important to salt the chicken as soon as it comes out of the fryer to guarantee the salt will stick and provide the perfect finished seasoning.
Chicken thighs naturally contain more fat than chicken breast and therefore produce a juicier result when cooked. We also find that marinating the chicken thighs in buttermilk and salt for no less than four but up to twenty-four hours contributes to maximum juiciness. Whenever you’re working with leaner meat like poultry, marinating can be a great way to ensure the meat stays juicy and flavorful. The acidity in the buttermilk helps to break down the fibers of the meat. So the longer it soaks the more opportunity the buttermilk has to work its magic and tenderize the bird.
For the frying oil, we like to use peanut. Peanut oil has a very subtle flavor and a high smoke point which makes it great for deep frying chicken thighs. Some food for thought, a smoke point is the temperature at which oil is heated too high, starts to break down, and develops a harsh bitter flavor. Oils that have a lower smoke point such as olive oil would not be ideal for deep frying for this reason.
It’s important that you pay attention to the temperature of the frying oil throughout the frying process. You can use a thermometer to monitor the temperature and make sure that it stays around 350° Fahrenheit. Once any food is added to the hot oil, the temperature will immediately drop. The time it takes for the oil to come back up to the proper temperature is called the recovery time. It’s important to maintain the proper temperature of the oil to ensure your chicken comes out crisp, tasty, and not greasy. If the oil is too cold the fried food will simply absorb more than it would at the proper cooking temperature resulting in an unpleasant and much greasier outcome.
For the lightest and fluffiest waffles, be sure to mix all of the ingredients until everything is just combined. Overmixing can produce a heavier and more dense waffle. To add an extra fluffy guarantee to this recipe, we use double-acting baking powder. Baking powder is a chemical leavener that introduces carbon dioxide to the batter. The release of this carbon dioxide is what lightens the batter and contributes to the final overall texture of the waffles. Double-acting baking powder reacts twice as its name suggests. The first time happens when it’s combined with the liquid ingredients in the batter, and it reacts again when it meets the heat of the griddle.
Once your piping-hot, crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside waffles come off the griddle or iron, you can’t crown your hard work with just any maple syrup. You are going to want a syrup that graduated at the top of its class. There are currently four grades of maple syrup out there according to the USDA. They are graded based on their flavor, color, and density. It starts with grade A light amber and it goes all the way down to grade B. The most widely used maple syrup is the grade A medium amber. It has a slightly darker color than the light amber syrup and offers a stronger maple flavor. The best chicken and waffles recipe deserves the best syrup, so don’t skimp on it!
To take your chicken and waffles recipe to the next level, consider making a compound butter that mirrors the seasonings in the waffles. Whip cinnamon and sugar into some softened, unsalted butter. It’s always best to work with unsalted butter because it gives you better control over the seasonings. You could even kick this compound butter up a notch and add a bit of cayenne pepper. It would be a nice nod to the seasoning in the fried chicken.
How to Make Chicken and Waffles
Once the chicken has completed marinating in the buttermilk, pull it out of the fridge thirty minutes prior to frying and allow the chicken to come to room temperature. This will ensure even cooking, a tender texture, and help to keep the chicken from seizing up and getting chewy during the frying process. Working in batches when frying the chicken will ensure the best overall final product. Your patience will be rewarded with exquisitely cooked chicken that rivals any restaurant.
You can keep your freshly fried chicken warm in a 250° Fahrenheit oven while you assemble the waffles. When all the ingredients come together to form a beautiful batter, grease up the griddle, pour in the batter, and cook until golden brown. You can also keep the waffles warm in the oven to keep the chicken company until you’ve finished cooking everything.
When it comes time to assemble the final dish, be sure to do it with some flair. Place one thigh proudly on top of each waffle and let that warm grade A maple syrup cascade down the sides.
Tips & Tricks
If you are looking to go the gluten-free route, fear not, you can easily substitute Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 baking flour for the all-purpose flour in the recipe. You should easily be able to replace the all-purpose flour in the chicken breading and the waffle mix with this gluten-free alternative and achieve the same amazing result.
You can easily build upon this tasty chicken and waffles dish by adding a few sides and turn this meal into a brunch buffet. Fluffy scrambled eggs, caramelized hash browns, and crispy bacon would all make fantastic accompaniments.