HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


I don't get the chicken and waffle craze.

I do not understand the chicken and waffle craze, because I have yet to find anyplace that marries the flavors well. I've had it at a hole in the walls and an upscale establishments.
I have a very sophisticated palate so it's not like I don't get the sweet and savory thing. It's just that fried chicken and a buttermilk waffle really don't seem to go together.
I think perhaps a roasted chicken and a potato waffle might be ok with some sort of sweet spicy caramelized onion type marmalade. I plan on working on that this weekend.
Otherwise fried chicken, maple syrup and waffle really don't mix. sorry.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I've never had an exceptional one either, but I do love the flavors even if the components are substandard.

    But then again, I just love honey-dipped fried chicken, so I probably just love that sweet savory combo too much. Heh.

    1. It's a downhome Southern thing to have syrup, molasses or honey on the table, even at dinnertime, so folks with a Southern background have learned to relish sweet + bread (including biscuits and waffles) + savory. As for the chicken-and-waffles thing, it's said to have originated in all-night diners in NYC that catered to a black clientele, and musicians coming off a gig at 3 or 4 am found they could get fried chicken and they could get waffles, and the combo caught on. Which sorta leads us to Roscoe's and the other places that do this.

      To be perfectly honest, I don't really get this either, but then I'm not much into sweets at all. I tried some that Mrs. O ordered - she loves it - and was underimpressed. De gustibus etcetera...

      1. I don't get crazes, period; I like to eat what I like to eat when I like to eat it. But chicken and waffles served with both gravy and syrup, provided both are well made (which isn't often), is a treat.

        As Will noted, it's a dish with an interesting historical context; without that, I agree it would seem strange, just as if some chef were to start combining, I don't know, salmon and Pop Tarts.

        5 Replies
        1. re: tatamagouche

          When you consider that a good many of those late-night musicians may have been having a little reefer as an appetizer, salmon and pop tarts might have charmed them as well. Let us give thanks that salmon was scarce in Harlem diners, and pop tarts yet unknown ...

            1. re: Will Owen

              "may have been having a little reefer as an appetizer, salmon and pop tarts might have charmed them as well"

              as some point in the mid 80's I may very well have tried that, but the memory fails (there's a surprise!)

            2. re: tatamagouche

              "salmon and Pop Tarts."

              THAT sent a shiver down my spine!



              1. re: ZenSojourner

                Funny thing, salmon and maple syrup is divine! lol. My dad used to make salmon cakes with panfried potatoes. Then serve ketchup and syrup on the plate. Amazing. I do "get" the sweet and savory thing.

            3. Do you live near a Roscoe's, by any chance?

              3 Replies
              1. re: jaykayen

                Unfortunately I live between the Hollywood and Pasadena Roscoe's and a always get Scoe's #2 (fried chicken w/gravy and waffles with syrup). Something abou the syrup that it's like liquid candy, and I only use one of the servings. Yeah, it's totally bad for you, but I find the combination decadent. I do notice many people opt out on the waffle and get the corn bread.

                1. re: monku

                  I live within waddling distance of the one in Pasadena. When we first moved here we went a couple of times. I liked the vibe a lot more than the food, except for the mac'n'cheese, which I could put in my pants. Since then it's become mostly a place we take out-of-towners.

                  The cornbread is a good deal better than the waffles, I think, though much too sweet for my taste. Last time we were in there I got biscuits and gravy, though, and it was a disaster: the gravy was brown and clear, like jus, and the socalled "biscuits" were a kind of yeast roll. Bleagh!

                  1. re: Will Owen

                    Eww re biscuits and gravy. But "I could put it in my pants" is my new fave comment.

              2. chicken at the wholesale level is very cheap now, despite the rise in corn prices,
                so chains that buy in bulk are trying to find new ways to sell chicken at a profit.
                so pushing a crossover dish that may work for the breakfast crowd is important.

                15 Replies
                1. re: Joe Berger

                  The wholesale price of chicken wings has skyrocketed over the last year because of demand. It's cheaper to make "boneless" wings from chicken breast than serve real chicken wings. Which might explain the last time I went to Roscoe's the wing that came with my order wasn't much bigger than my thumb.

                  1. re: monku

                    Anthony Bourdain tried them on his No Reservations program. He didn't like them, either.

                    1. re: marymac

                      Get your information right.

                      ” said Bourdain. “Philippe’s. Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles, though I like chicken and I like waffles but I don’t like them together, but I still like Roscoe’s.


                      1. re: monku

                        Excuse me!! I thought we were talking about chicken and waffle combinations. You guys really give this board a bad name.

                        1. re: marymac

                          Sorry, maybe I'm a bit passionate about Roscoe's and Tony.
                          Because Bourdain doesn't like the "combination" that makes it wrong?

                          1. re: monku

                            No it's not wrong. I like Tony, too and if he doesn't like chicken and waffle combination I won't be apt to try it.

                            1. re: marymac

                              That's kind of my point...
                              Because Tony says he doesn't like it, you won't even try it.
                              I would think if you posted here you have a mind of your own rather than put it down based on someone elses opinion.

                              1. re: marymac

                                No it's not wrong. I like Tony, too and if he doesn't like chicken and waffle combination I won't be apt to try it.

                                Please, please, please ... tell me you are joking.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  Actually, I was joking. The thought of that combination is a big turn-off for me. And some of the things he likes I have no desire to try. I was just trying to get a reaction from Mr. Rudeness.

                                  1. re: marymac

                                    I was of the same opinion -- that maple syrup and fried chicken would be any good -- until I tried it.

                                    Still not my cup of tea, but I can appreciate it and when the whim strikes (as seldom as it may be) will crave it.

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      I guess I'm more savory than sweet, so the combination doesn't appeal to me. Could be different for some folks.

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        In Texas and Oklahoma, "Chicken Dinner" houses serve fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits with sides. There is always honey, and sometimes sorghum, on the table, and it really can go well with fried chicken and with biscuits, but it is not for everyone. Dipping fried chicken and biscuits in some kind of syrup is an acquired taste but I get it. It's really not a stretch to have waffle/maple syrup around (I don't assume they are serving real maple syrup with chicken and waffles all the time).

                        2. re: monku

                          it's a recession mentality. people think wings are cheap
                          when in reality, they've become the most expensive part,
                          thus making breasts and thighs so 25¢/LB cheap that
                          chains will concoct any dish they can to include them.
                          even if they have to put in on our breakfast pancakes...

                          1. re: Joe Berger

                            Let's see what happens to the price of wings when the Super Bowl XLV approaches.

                            1. re: monku

                              If you can find them! I made the mistake of wing shopping the day before last year's Super Bowl, and couldn't find fresh wings anywhere. I ended up buying a bag of frozen from Costco.

                      2. I have never tried chicken and waffles because it doesn't sound appealing to me. However, I appreciate it when some interesting food or way of eating from some particular culture or subculture becomes trendy and widely known, because I may not have found out about it or tried it any other way. Like pho popularity, or the bubble tea explosion. So I am all for chicken and waffles being trendy.

                        1. I love good fried chicken, and I love waffles (as long as you'll serve me real maple syrup rather than fake flavored corn syrup).

                          But give me separate plates, please!

                          1. is it a craze? it's just something we've had forever available to us in NYC. in fact i just went and had some for lunch today up ay Amy Ruths. delicious.

                            do you get chicken and biscuits? because this is pretty much the same idea

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: thew

                              I'm trying to figure out the "craze" aspect too.
                              Roscoe's in LA has been around since 1975

                              1. re: monku

                                ... and chicken 'n waffles have been around much longer than 1975.


                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  it's definitely not a "craze" just a dish that's finally starting to catch on beyond its origins.

                                  and I'd like to try it with cornmeal waffles.

                              2. re: thew

                                Amy Ruth's for a breakfast of chicken and waffles is one of our must-do's when in NYC. We just share one order which is plenty of sweetness for us. But we think it's great. They really have a way with frying chicken. One of these days we're going to get some to go but we're always headed off for the day.

                                BTW, they told us that the late night origin was that it was too late for dinner and too early for breakfast after being in the clubs all night. Makes sense to me.

                                1. re: thew

                                  Agreed -- that is my point exactly. The waffles are really just another kind of "biscuit". What is hard to understand about that?

                                2. I used to wait tables in an upscale private club and on Wednesday nights they served chicken and waffles. The elderly members came in packs and devoured those dinners. But our chicken and waffles was different from what y'all are describing here. It was roasted chicken pulled from the bone and served over freshly made waffles and finished with gravy. I thought it was the perfect comfort food... mmmm.

                                  16 Replies
                                  1. re: lynnlato

                                    Sounds kind of like an upscale chicken a la king on waffles.

                                    And it sounds great!

                                    1. re: lynnlato

                                      at many places, the aforementioned amy ruths for example, you can choose to have your chicken fried or smothered

                                      1. re: thew

                                        And you're not limited to chicken and waffles. Fish and waffles. Shrimp and waffles. Etc.

                                      2. re: lynnlato

                                        "It was roasted chicken pulled from the bone and served over freshly made waffles and finished with gravy. I thought it was the perfect comfort food... mmmm." See hill food's suggestion above - wouldn't that be dynamite over cornmeal waffles?

                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                          Yes! Wow... and I've been looking for a good cornmeal waffle recipe. You wouldn't happen to have one?

                                          Ok, dagnabbit, now I have a hankerin'. :)

                                          1. re: lynnlato

                                            It's been my experience that in most cases waffle and pancake batter are interchangeable. So if you can find a good cornmeal-pancake recipe I'll bet you can make waffles from it too. Okay, that IS kind of ducking the issue, but my interest in waffles and pancakes (nowadays, that is, not back when I was 10!) is so close to nil that when I do make'em I reach for the Bisquik, like as not. Unless someone has given me some fancy mix.

                                            What I'd suggest for a chicken-and-gravy base, though, would be something much like a good corn light bread batter, with enough wheat flour to give you some gluten, and little or no sugar. If you could lay hands on some good Southern self-rising cornbread mix, like White Lily or Martha White, I think you'd be most of the way home.

                                            1. re: Will Owen

                                              I'm flattered you like my idea, it's something I've been meaning to try, but maybe doctored up with fresh lemon zest and rosemary, the danged waffle iron is 50 years old and a capital B bitch to clean, so I really have to be determined before I give it a shot.

                                              a google comes up with 111,000 results, which I'm (sorta) reading through, not too many variations really just the ratio of cornmeal and regular flour.

                                              1. re: hill food

                                                You just need to get enough fat in there to lubricate the casein from the milk trying to glue the stuff permanently. Also can't hurt to brush some Crisco (THIS is what it's good for!) over the hot plates before pouring on the batter. I'm not sure how old my good iron is, but it's older than I am and I'm goin' on 70... I use it maybe twice a decade but it always comes through.

                                                1. re: Will Owen

                                                  thanks and good point, 45 and I'm still learning the chemistry and thermodynamics of cooking (sh*t after 30 years I still can't even put out a cigarette properly), I'm guessing the first batch is somewhat wrong like most things fried/griddled but round 2 and on turn out well?

                                                2. re: hill food

                                                  The Joy of Cooking has a decent cornmeal waffle recipe. I use the 1975 edition (thanks mom!) but I imagine the recipe is in the other editions as well. I haven't made them in a while, but I believe the recipe listed as bacon and cornmeal waffles. I've made them with and without the bacon, and they turned out well both ways.

                                                  1. re: mpjmph

                                                    thanks I love the JofC, (but don't follow that edition's pasta recipe, ratio of flour to egg is WAAAY off)

                                                  2. re: hill food

                                                    Jiffy mix in the waffle iron is heaven, especially with fried chicken and honey.

                                                  3. re: Will Owen

                                                    Will, whenever I've seen waffle batter recipes, they always call for a two-step egg-white-folding thing that makes it seem more like a meringue than a waffle, not to mention too much trouble is there something that makes waffle batter different from pancakes? It always seemed to me like two versions of the same great taste.

                                                    1. re: EWSflash

                                                      Oh, you are correct. That's the way most waffle recipes go, and I'll admit it's been my practice to ignore that, simply because my mom did. When she made waffles it was simply a matter of using the waffle iron instead of the griddle. If you read the instructions on the Bisquick box it goes the same way: no real difference between pancake and waffle batter. I am going to assume this is what constitutes the "Belgian" recipe...

                                                      1. re: EWSflash

                                                        My mom's waffles had 2c flour, 2 c buttermilk, 2 separated eggs with beaten egg whites, and one cube of melted butter. Plus S&P, baking powder & baking soda, of course.

                                                        Her pancakes didn't have beaten egg whites or that much butter.

                                                3. re: lynnlato

                                                  Yeah, that makes more sense to me.

                                                4. I had this last year and while the chicken was delicious, I just couldn't get the hang of it paired with a waffle. There was something about the syrup not really going with the crispy chicken. Alone they were both good, but together it just didn't work.

                                                  To me it's similar to the fried egg on a burger. I love both, but together it just tastes odd.

                                                    1. re: Bob W

                                                      Used to be a place in Oahu called KC Drive in...their specialty was a waffle dog. Yes a hot dog cooked in a waffle. Went well with their peanut butter chocolate shake.

                                                    2. This is such a weird sentiment to me. The first time I heard of fried chicken with waffles, it sounded like a natural pairing. To me, it's a little like dunking your sausage in the syrup when having pancakes.

                                                      8 Replies
                                                      1. re: gilintx

                                                        You'd be surprised -- or maybe not -- at how many kids I see at McDonalds on the weekends dunking their sausage into the syrup.

                                                        1. re: Bob W

                                                          Sausage I get. I mean it's a breakfast meat. But fried chicken? Doesn't fit.

                                                          1. re: marymac

                                                            what makes it breakfast meat, other than cultural definitions. in much of the world breakfast foods are about the same as the foods you eat at dinner. why is sausage ok, but chicken not?

                                                            1. re: thew

                                                              +1, thew. "Doesn't fit" according to whom? For plenty of people, it does. Savory/sweet pairings at any meal, not just breakfast, are common around the world.

                                                              1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                I concede. Guess it just doesn't fit my taste buds.

                                                            2. re: marymac

                                                              I've always dipped fried chicken in honey, and honey is a standard dipping sauce for chicken nuggets and many fast food places.

                                                              1. re: marymac

                                                                I don't view all sausage as a breakfast meat. I wouldn't eat a bratwurst or a boudin blanc for breakfast with eggs or pancakes. I don't mind odd pairings, actually like them, but the one time I had the chicken and waffles it didn't work for me.

                                                              2. re: Bob W

                                                                That is syrup that they are dunking their sausage in? I thought it was mucilage glue.

                                                            3. Best chicken and waffles I have had was perfect because it was a savory combination. Even the syrup was heavily spiced. The chicken was spicy and the waffles weren't overly sweetened. I think that by making it slightly more savory, it's preferable to the overly sweet version.

                                                              1. Chicken and waffles is a craze? Sheesh, I grew up with chicken and waffles. Not this fried chicken, maple syrup, waffley thing but left over roast chicken heated up in it's gravy and ladled over a crispy waffle with a giant salad on the side. Sort of a Pa Dutch use it up meal. Any batter left was made into waffles and topped with apple compote or jam or ice cream for dessert.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: morwen

                                                                  Yep, absolutely a staple PA Dutch meal. Every mom&pop restaurant would have chicken and waffle nights. It was also in regular rotation in the school caf. I used to live in a neighborhood where the fire company served all one could eat every Thursday night and people came from miles around.

                                                                  The meat is shredded/little bits - picked apart, not big hunks - like pulled pork.

                                                                  Personally, I don't care for it because often, the chicken isn't cleaned/picked-over well enough to suit me, I can't stand coming across bits of cartilige or bone.

                                                                  1. re: morwen

                                                                    Omg. Now this is a Chicken and Waffle recipe I could get behind. That sounds delicious, and not as horrible as deep fried chicken on top of waffles slathered with butter and then topped with sugar packed maple syrup. That just sounds like a heart-attack.

                                                                  2. I don't regard this as a "craze" either. Many fried chicken places in the South serve honey with fried chicken, so waffles don't seem like a large jump.

                                                                    The best I've ever had was at the Breakfast Klub in Houston....mmm, mmm, sweet and savory goodness!

                                                                    1. Honey's Kettle has Hotcakes & Chicken on their menu

                                                                      1. It has grown so much because a group of rappers decided to get together to open Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles and rap about it so they can make more money. Long story short, rappers promoted chicken and waffles in their songs and opened their own stores so they could make more money, that's why there is a craze.

                                                                        1. I'll agree with the plethora of others and note that it may just be a way that many people from lower economic groups could have good tasting dense calories together. That said, hey who said you have to get it. We all eat what we like. Feel free to join the rest of us in being opinionated and snarky... ;)

                                                                          1. I've never had it, but I always liked the idea. If you eat bacon or sausage, why not another breakfast meat with your waffles? The sweet/savory aspect is the same. Aren't there some southern areas that eat fried chicken for breakfast? I know they eat shrimp and grits and I don't think of shrimp as a breakfast meat.

                                                                            I just see chicken and waffles as double the yum!

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Avalondaughter

                                                                              I've only had fried chicken for breakfast if it's leftover from the day before. I've lived in the South my entire life (NC and VA only), and have traveled the region pretty extensively, but have never seen fried chicken offered for breakfast. Traditional fried chicken is generally too time consuming to prepare for breakfast. As far as I know, chicken and waffles is a lunch/dinner meal, not breakfast.

                                                                              1. re: mpjmph

                                                                                it was originally a 3 or 4 am meal - after dinner, before breakfast

                                                                              2. re: Avalondaughter

                                                                                I've never heard of shrimp and grits for breakfast, but it makes a fine lunch or dinner.

                                                                                1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                                                                                  Shrimp and grits was a pretty obscure coastal Carolinas dish until the mid 1980's when Craig Claiborne, the great NY Times food writer, did a write up of the dish as served at Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill, NC.
                                                                                  The owner/chef of Crook's, Bill Neal, in one of his cookbooks mentions that Claiborne once asked him to prepare shrimp & grits for breakfast. Neal credits Claiborne with popularizing the dish so it could be that Claiborne's sense that it was appropriate for breakfast has set the standard ever since.

                                                                              3. I was surprised in the middle of this discussion that in the new Mildred Pierce series on TV she reaches independance by opening a Chicken and Waffles restaurant.

                                                                                12 Replies
                                                                                1. re: mexivilla

                                                                                  I have never been able to figure out how chicken and waffles became a combination either. Puzzled the heck out of me. I'm reading this thread for the first time and I noticed that a poster, back in 2010, mentioned that waffles are just another form of biscuit. I never thought of it that way, but I guess that's the whole point of the waffles with chicken, plus the honey or maple syrup. I have a recipe for honey glazed chicken with pecans so I guess it's not so strange afer all.
                                                                                  BTW this combination as been around since the early 1900's. Who knew? I guess it's a southern thing y'all.

                                                                                  1. re: The Drama Queen

                                                                                    Except I've never had it or heard of it in the South. Only in Harlem. Maybe that's South Harlem :) I don't personally eat things like Belgian waffles but I know people order that with a side of breakfast meat. Figure it's the same thing.

                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                      I guess you don;t eat at the right places because I have seen it all over The South.

                                                                                      1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                        I should have written that growing up in Atlanta in the 60s and then being an adult there in the 70s I never heard of it. But now? It got trendy so, sure, it's everywhere.

                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                          I don;t know where you ate back then, but I have seen it in "soul food" diners throughout the south for many years before it became trendy. Maybe we just didn't eat in the same kind of places.

                                                                                          1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                            And I did not see it in "soul food" spots in the 80s, but I suppose there were only a few of those I went to. Didn't eat out much in those days and lived in small towns.

                                                                                        2. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                          According to the director of the Southern Foodways Alliance, chicken & waffles is "a Southern dish once or twice removed from the South" - meaning it's a dish created by Southerners and a part of the Southern food tradition but not necessarily of the South.
                                                                                          I think of it as Southern in the way that spaghetti and meatballs are Italian.

                                                                                        3. re: c oliver

                                                                                          My southern experience is pretty narrow. Lived in SC for 5 years in the 80s. Visit western NC regularly. Been to Georgia and northern Florida a few times. Never saw chicken and waffles on a menu. Never heard folks talking about chicken and waffles. All until quite recently.

                                                                                          1. re: debbiel

                                                                                            I'd always heard of the combo, but way back when, one had to order them separate and combine at the table. it was a different world.

                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                Interesting. The author of the article seems to want to clarify that this is a southern dish, but really it doesn't seem to make that case. That it is a soul food dish, yes. I've read elsewhere that it originated in Harlem (not in Harlem and other places with expat southerners which is alluded to in this article), which would of course make it a Harlem dish, not a southern dish.

                                                                                                1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                  Since we've only had it in Harlem and they claim it, I'm cool with that.

                                                                                        1. What is a "potato waffle"? Never heard of it.

                                                                                          1. hmmm. I went to Roscoe's and had chicken and waffles. It was OK, but they were out of thighs (my favorite piece) and the substitute wings just didnt do it for me.

                                                                                            Nothing to do with the chicken/waffle combo. I'm not much of a waffle/biscuit eater though.