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This quick and easy chicken and waffles recipe includes crispy chicken tenders, hearty cornbread waffles, and a drizzle of maple syrup, honey, or powdered sugar. The combination is sweet, savory, and perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner! Serve the classic Southern dish with fresh fruit, a simple green salad, bacon-wrapped asparagus, or hash brown potatoes for a delicious and satisfying meal at any time of day.

Close up front shot of maple syrup pouring over the best chicken and waffles recipe on a metal plate.

Chicken and waffles is a classic Southern dish that combines the best of breakfast (waffles), with the best of lunch and dinner (fried chicken)! You’ll often find this meal on the brunch menu at diners and restaurants throughout the Southeastern United States; however, we think it’s especially tasty when served as a weeknight dinner.

While it might sound like an odd mix at first, one bite is all it takes to understand the appeal of this Soul food favorite. You get the savory, salty, crispy fried chicken alongside hearty, slightly sweet, fluffy cornbread waffles, for the ideal union of flavors and textures. No matter the time of day, this meal is always well received!

Overhead image of a wooden table full of fried chicken and waffles

Chicken and Waffles Origin

While some folks claim that “chicken and waffles” originated at the Wells Supper Club in Harlem, New York in the 1930s, different versions of this dish date back to the founding of our country many centuries before. Some historians argue that the combination was originally created by the Pennsylvania Dutch back in the 1600s, while others believe that it began in the South with enslaved Africans mixing rice flour batter and cooking it to create golden-edged waffles, dabbing on spoonfuls of blackberry preserves (a la iconic Southern chef and author Edna Lewis), and frying chicken on the side.

Soul food scholar and author Adrian Miller explains that chicken and waffles smothered in gravy was a standard Sunday supper for German settlers during the 19th century. By the early 1800s, a “Virginia Breakfast” featuring a combination of fried or baked meats with any sort of hot quick bread, was the gold standard of plantation hospitality.

Regardless of its origin, one thing is certain: chicken and waffles has been a beloved meal and an important part of the food culture in my home state of Virginia, the South, and the larger United States since before our country was founded. The combo is delicious, affordable, and should become a part of your regular meal routine, too!

Baking frozen chicken strips on a baking sheet.

Easy Chicken and Waffles Recipe

This chicken and waffles recipe is particularly easy, since it takes advantage of frozen chicken strips for a quick meal that’s on the table in about 30 minutes! Sure, you can make it entirely from scratch with homemade chicken fingers in a skillet, or crispy buttermilk fried chicken in a Dutch oven — but that’s certainly not necessary. And if you’re really in a rush? Frozen waffles will work, too! Take the idea and make it as simple (or as complicated) as your schedule allows.

Cornbread waffle batter in a white mixing bowl.

Ingredients

This is a quick overview of the simple ingredients that you’ll need for our favorite chicken and waffles recipe. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Frozen crispy chicken strips: we like Tyson brand, but any similar variety will work. See my notes below if you prefer to make your own fried chicken from scratch.
  • Yellow cornmeal: the base of the cornbread waffles.
  • All-purpose flour: lightens up the waffle batter a little bit, giving the waffles a slightly softer texture.
  • Sugar: for just the right amount of sweetness in the waffles.
  • Baking powder: the leavening agent that helps the waffles rise a bit and gives them a lighter texture.
  • Salt: to enhance the other flavors in the waffles.
  • Buttermilk: the liquid that thins the batter. Buttermilk is acidic, activating the baking powder to tenderize the waffles and help them rise.
  • Egg: gives the waffles structure.
  • Butter: the fat is a key ingredient for crispy waffles with a tender, chewy inside. Salted butter gives them great flavor that you don’t get with oil.

How to Make Buttermilk at Home

You need the acidic buttermilk to activate the baking powder in these cornbread waffles. While real, whole buttermilk yields the best flavor and texture, you can also make your own buttermilk at home to use in this recipe. To do so, pour either 1 ½ tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice or 1 ½ tablespoons of white vinegar into a large measuring cup. Add enough milk to equal 1 ½ cups of liquid. Give it a stir, let it sit for about 5 minutes, and then use it in the recipe as directed.

Process shot showing how to make cornbread waffles in a waffle iron.

How to Make Chicken and Waffles

This easy chicken and waffles recipe comes together from start to finish in about 30 minutes, thanks to help from a tasty shortcut!

  1. Bake the frozen chicken strips according to the package instructions.
  2. While the chicken is in the oven, stir together the waffle batter by whisking together the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
  3. Add the buttermilk mixture to the cornmeal and flour mixture, then stir just until combined.
  4. Cook the cornbread waffles in a waffle iron.
  5. Top each waffle with a chicken piece (or two or three).
  6. Garnish with toppings to taste, and serve!
Close up shot of chicken and waffles on a table with syrup and butter.

What to Serve with Chicken and Waffles

Serve the chicken and waffles with toppings like maple syrup, honey, hot sauce, a dash of paprika or cayenne pepper, butter, honey butterjam, apple butter, or a dusting of powdered sugar. The easy recipe pairs well with a wide variety of sides, too — from brunch favorites like candied bacon or sausage gravy, to dinnertime fare like collards or salad. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Overhead image of a plate of southern chicken and waffles dusted with powdered sugar.

Storage

Leftover chicken strips will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Allow the leftover waffles to cool completely, then wrap tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Close up side shot of a plate of homemade chicken and waffles on a wooden table with syrup in the background.

How to Reheat

Reheat the chicken tenders in a 350°F oven until heated through and crisp again, about 10-15 minutes, flipping halfway through. Reheat the waffles directly from the freezer or fridge in a toaster until hot and crisp.

Square side shot of pouring maple syrup on chicken and waffles.

Recipe Variations

Overhead shot of a metal plate of the best chicken and waffles recipe.

Tips for the Best Chicken and Waffles Recipe

  • Don’t over-mix the waffle batter. Stir just until the ingredients are combined. You will might still have some lumps, which is fine. Over-mixing will result in dense, tough, and dry waffles.
  • Use a good waffle iron that will cook your waffles to an even golden-brown color with those beautiful crispy edges. I love my All-Clad waffle iron, but there are many good options on the market.
  • Make sure to use a brush to lightly oil the waffle iron before adding each round of batter or spray with cooking spray. This will prevent the waffles from sticking to your waffle maker. Just don’t use too much oil on the pan, or the waffles can come out greasy.
  • If desired, you can keep the waffles warm while you finish with the rest of your batter in remaining batches by placing the cooked waffles on a baking sheet in a 200°F oven.
Action shot of pouring maple syrup on a plate of homemade chicken and waffles recipe.

More Easy Chicken Recipes to Try

Square featured image of pouring syrup over a plate of chicken and waffles

Chicken and Waffles

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings 4 – 6 people
Calories 640 kcal
This quick weeknight chicken and waffles recipe includes crispy chicken tenders, hearty cornbread waffles, and a drizzle of maple syrup, honey, or powdered sugar. The combination is sweet, savory, and perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 (25 ounce) package frozen crispy chicken strips, such as Tyson brand

CORNBREAD WAFFLES:

  • 1 ½ cups yellow cornmeal
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups whole buttermilk, well shaken
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup salted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • Optional, for serving: additional butter; maple syrup; honey; powdered sugar

Instructions

PREPARE THE CHICKEN:

  • Bake the chicken tenders according to the package instructions.

MAKE THE WAFFLES:

  • While the chicken bakes, prepare the waffles. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a separate bowl (or large measuring cup), whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and melted butter.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients; stir just until combined.
  • Cook waffles in a lightly oiled waffle iron for 3-5 minutes each, or until cooked through and golden brown.

SERVE:

  • Top each waffle with chicken, and serve with an extra pat of butter, maple syrup, or powdered sugar.

Notes

Nutrition

Serving: 1/5 of the recipe (1 waffle and chicken)Calories: 640kcalCarbohydrates: 66.5gProtein: 32.6gFat: 27.6gSaturated Fat: 9.5gCholesterol: 107mgSodium: 1274mgPotassium: 436mgFiber: 4.8gSugar: 7.7gCalcium: 215mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: chicken and waffles, cornbread waffles, easy chicken and waffles recipe
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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