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17 October, 2015

How to Prepare Homemade Fried Chicken and Waffles

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Waffles appeared during the Middle Ages, when bakeries began making communion wafers to compete with monasteries. The waffle was developed using the same method that was used to make the communion wafers, by baking a thin cake between two metal plates. Waffles quickly became a popular street food, given they could easily be made with flour and water. More exclusive versions for the wealthy would add honey or eggs. Waffle irons were engraved with various designs, from coats of arms to the plain honeycomb pattern we recognize today.

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The Pilgrims are responsible for bringing waffles to America in 1620 after discovering them during their brief stop in Holland. Dutch immigrants popularized the dish in New Amsterdam, before it became New York. Thomas Jefferson reportedly started a mini American waffle craze during the 1790’s when he returned from France with a goose-handled waffle iron. At the 1964 World’s Fair, Americans were introduced to the Belgian waffle, made fluffy with the help of yeast and egg whites. Once electric waffle irons replaced those inconvenient metal plates, waffles officially became an American favorite.

The earliest American chicken and waffle combination appears in Pennsylvania Dutch country during the 1600’s, when home cooks made waffles and topped them with pulled chicken and gravy. A different, decidedly soul food-inspired approach to the pairing worked its way into popular culture much later with the opening of Wells Supper Club in Harlem, New York. The restaurant, known simply as “Wells” to regulars, opened in 1938. Wells became a late night hotspot for jazz musicians, who would stop by late at night after their various gigs. The musicians, arriving too late for dinner but too early for breakfast, enjoyed the appetizing compromise of fried chicken and waffles. Before long, Wells was frequented by the likes of Sammy Davis Jr. and Nat King Cole (who held his wedding reception there).

Wells managed to inspire a nationwide trend. In 1976, a Harlem native named Herb Hudson opened a Los Angeles restaurant dedicated exclusively to the pairing: Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles. Hudson’s Motown connections helped to launch the restaurant, making it a popular destination for music industry professionals and performers in the Los Angeles area. Over the years, the restaurant has become an established part of the Hollywood food landscape. Roscoe’s is so well known, in fact, that President Obama took time out of his busy schedule in 2011 to make an unscheduled stop there. In case you’re curious, he ordered the “Country Boy,” Number 9– three wings with choice of waffle, potato salad or French fries. Here’s hoping he chose the waffle.

Gladys Knight, a patron of the original Wells, started her own chain with gospel singer Ron Winan in 1996—Gladys and Ron’s Chicken and Waffles. Other soul food restaurants feature chicken and waffles on the menu, including Lo-Lo’s in Arizona and Lucky J’s in Texas. Thomas Keller’s famed restaurant Ad Hoc in Napa has been known, on occasion, to serve lemony fried chicken with crispy and delicate waffles. And in Harlem, Melba’s Restaurant serves up eggnog waffles with strawberry butter and buttermilk fried chicken. While it may sound strange, Melba’s combination is so tasty that she beat out celebrity chef Bobby Flay in a chicken and waffles “Throwdown” on Food Network.

So what is it about chicken and waffles that has caused such a stir over the years? Is it that crispy seasoned chicken skin? The fluffy waffles enveloped in melting pads of butter? That warm, sweet syrup drizzled over the top? Or is it that first bite, when all of the ingredients come together in perfect, soul-stirring harmony?

While you ponder that, I’m headed to the kitchen to whip up a homemade batch of chicken and waffles.



  • 2 cups self rising flour
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup red hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • 2 1/2 lbs chicken pieces, bone in, skin on
  • 5 pints peanut oil for deep frying


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups warm whole or buttermilk or eggnog
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped toasted or raw pecans(optional)


  • Maple syrup, butter, fresh berries or other fruit such as peaches or fried cinnamon Granny Smith apples and hot sauce.


  • 6 quart heavy bottomed pot or 12″ cast iron skillet, mixing bowls, waffle iron, paper towels
Total Time: 35 Minutes

Servings: 8

Fried Chicken Calling

Fried Chicken Calling

To Make Fried Chicken

  • In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, water, and hot sauce together. Reserve.
  • In another medium bowl, combine the self rising flour,(I use White Lilly) salt and 1 tsp each, black pepper, cayenne pepper.
  • Sprinkle the chicken pieces generously with salt, then lightly with garlic powder and cayenne pepper.
  • Dip the seasoned chicken pieces into the egg mixture, then coat in the seasoned flour.
  • Pour oil into a deep pot up to half full with oil, then heat over medium till hot enough for frying (350 degrees F as measured on a candy thermometer).
  • Submerge the chicken pieces carefully into the hot oil. Let the chicken fry till crispy and cooked through. Dark meat will take 13-14 minutes, white meat 8-10 minutes.
  • Place fried chicken on paper towels to drain off excess oil. Serve.

Plate of Fried Chicken and Waffles Ready to Eat.

Plate of Fried Chicken and Waffles Ready to Eat.

To Make Waffles

  • Of course, you should preheat your waffle iron at least for 15-20 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, salt, sugar and baking powder.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, beat the eggs, then beat in the lukewarm milk, butter and vanilla till well combined.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir will a batter forms. A few small lumps are okay.
  • Pour the batter onto your waffle iron in batches. Amount per waffle will vary according to the size of your waffle iron. Let the waffles cook till golden brown and crisp.
  • Serve hot waffles with warm fried chicken, warmed maple syrup, and butter on the side. Butter can be softened and mixed with blueberries, blackberries, pecans, bananas or walnuts to customize the flavor of the waffle.

Research Resources

Avey, Tori. “Discover the History of Chicken and Waffles.” PBS. PBS, 18 Jan. 2013. Web. 07 Mar. 2015.

Edge, John T. (2004). Fried Chicken: An American Story. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, NY.

Kanter, Larry (1997). Serving Up Chicken and Waffles to Hungry Town. Los Angeles Business Journal, Sept. 22-28.

Smith, Andrew F. (2007). The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink. Oxford University Press, New York, New York.

Stephey, M.J. (2009). A Brief History of Waffles. Time Magazine Online


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