As a menu item, chicken and waffles—the delicious American dish where fried chicken and fluffy waffles come together on the plate—has experienced 121 percent growth over a four-year period, per Datassential.
It’s easy to see why; chicken and waffles is a versatile dish, and you can dress it up how you please. Will you make it sweeter or mouth-wateringly savory? Are you into a Nashville-style heat and sweet? Or do you keep it simple, with pure maple syrup on top? Get the right elements together to make this comfort food a unique experience.
Rooted in American History
The classic chicken and waffles we think of originated in the late 1930s, when the Wells Supper Club opened up in Harlem. The establishment beckoned legends Sammy Davis Jr., Nat King Cole, and Gladys Knight, often looking to refuel after a show. The pairing of chicken and waffles was already being made by the Pennsylvania Dutch, with a waffle topped with stewed chicken and covered in gravy; but the dish that came out of Harlem contained the unusual pairing of fried chicken and a waffle that we now know and love today.
Down-home, hand-breaded fried chicken is the first element that has to be right for your chicken and waffles to shine. Buttermilk-dipped is best, with seasonings like oregano, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper, and paprika in the batter before it’s fried. Once you get the chicken right, don’t feel like you have to settle for the traditional chicken and waffles entrée; consider smaller, appetizer-sized portions, that can be dipped in small containers of sweet or savory sauce.
You’ll want waffles that stand out. They can be large and fluffy Belgian waffles, in large squares with deep pockets for butter and sauce to pool in; or they can be the smaller, crispy circles reminiscent of the frozen waffles of childhood. Consider layering your waffles with thin slices of country ham and fresh sage leaves in addition to your fried chicken for a savory, filling, dinner-time take on the classic.
“The glaze is just as important as all the other elements to get that unique chicken and waffles dish that’s a step up,” Dot Foods Corporate Chef Tim Gump says. “Together, all the elements are an inspired combination."
There is no wrong answer here. Consider a spicy take on chicken waffles, with either a chili-garlic glaze you combine with maple syrup and a dash of cayenne pepper. Even a mix of Sriracha and soy sauce can bring a kick to your chicken and waffles guests aren’t soon to forget.
For an entrée akin to chicken-fried steak, cover the chicken and waffles in a pork sausage gravy for a nod to the Pennsylvania Dutch. You could even crumble some bacon atop. Or go for the sweet, with powdered sugar and a buttermilk vanilla glaze, served with pure maple syrup on the side.
Ready for some sweet and savory soulfood? Dot Foods is your sample solution. With high-quality fried whole chickens and chicken tenders, Avieta and Julian’s amazing waffles, and all the sauces you could want—it’s the perfect option for making the chicken and waffles on your menu a hit. How do you plan to create this dish? Let us know, using #DevourByDot on Instagram.
Get all the fixins for waffles and chicken on our website.