Southern Fried Chicken and Waffles with Spicy Honey Butter Sauce

Sharing is caring!

This post may contain Affiliate Links. Please see my Full Disclosure Policy for more details.

Homemade Chicken and Waffles is a true soul food brunch dish that everyone loves. My recipe includes juicy Southern fried chicken and fluffy waffles with an amazing sweet and spicy sauce made with maple syrup or honey.

Chicken and waffles are my all-time favorite brunch and brinner --that's breakfast and dinner-- dish. I know, if you've never had it (like my husband before he met me) you're probably thinking "Do chicken and waffles go together?" And all I have to say to that is: yes, they do. Like you have no idea, honey.

Homemade Chicken and Waffles is a true soul food brunch dish that everyone loves. My recipe includes juicy Southern fried chicken and fluffy waffles with an amazing sweet and spicy sauce made with maple syrup or honey.

Origins of Chicken and Waffles

A lot of people think chicken and waffles are a Southern dish because it uses fried chicken.

Small restaurants in Chicago and California in the 1910s would serve fried chicken and waffles claiming they were authentic Southern dinners though there is no evidence that the South ate chicken and waffles together for dinner. Historians place the origins of the dish from Black people who migrated from the South to the northern states after the Civil War.

Chicken and waffles didn't become popular until the Harlem Renaissance in Harlem, New York in the 1930s at the Wells Supper Club owned by Joseph T. Wells. Musicians leaving work late at night or extremely early in the morning would fill Wells Supper Club and this sweet and savory, breakfast-and-dinner combo kept every belly satisfied.

a stack of waffles and southern fried chicken being drizzled with spicy honey butter

Now you'll find many restaurants famous for serving it, the most famous being Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles, Gladys Knight's Chicken and Waffles, Dame's Chicken and Waffles, Hattie B's, Lolo's Chicken and Waffles, and Kiki's Chicken and Waffles. Some of these places are historic so I totally suggest stopping by when you're visiting their towns.

How to make Chicken & Waffles

To make the best southern chicken and waffles you need three elements: perfectly juicy, crispy fried chicken, thick and fluffy waffles, and a delicious sweet and spicy sauce. I love making a spicy honey butter sauce but just swap the honey for maple syrup and you have a spicy maple syrup perfect for drizzling.

Southern Fried Chicken

I'm well known for my authentic buttermilk-brined southern fried chicken. It's a tried and true recipe loved by many and incredibly beginner-friendly. Between that and my explosively popular Crispy Chicken Sandwich recipe, I would have to call myself an expert.

It is imperative that my fried chicken be extremely juicy, well seasoned, and have a wonderfully crisp and craggy crust. Here are my top X tips for perfect fried chicken to top your waffles with:

What chicken parts to use

I personally love using boneless chicken thighs because they're naturally juicy and full of flavor. They're also smaller so they fry faster than chicken breasts and are harder to dry out.

You can also use chicken breast tenderloin, which is so much smaller than the actual full breast and cooks much more quickly, about the same time as thighs. So if you prefer chicken breast to the thigh, these are a great choice to use.

A brine for the juiciest and most flavorful chicken

I've tested it over and over again. Brining works. It imparts flavor inside the chicken and makes the meat incredibly juicy. You can either do the classic southern buttermilk brine or you can use one of my favorite tricks whenever you do not have buttermilk, which is to sour milk with the juice of ½ a lemon or use pickle juice to brine.

The way a brine works is that the salt in the solution (along with other fat and water-soluble ingredients that you add) penetrates the meat through the process of osmosis. Yeah, science!

sliced fried chicken thigh over a stack of Belgian waffles on a white plate with spicy honey butter sauce on a platter

Perfect Crust

We all want that shatteringly crisp crust with beautiful craggy nooks and crannies on our fried chicken. I honestly love my double dredging technique for a thick, cronchy crust but with our southern style chicken and waffles, I wanted to make sure that the crust was thin enough to break through easily with a fork and knife without breaking apart as a thicker crust does.

There's also the ingredients. The flour is well seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powders, and other spices. But there's more to it than that. Flour itself doesn't give us that wonderful, crispy crust. Adding cornstarch and baking powder to the flour helps lighten it up.

What does baking soda and cornstarch do in fried chicken?

Baking powder is a leavener, meaning that in baked goods like cakes it helps puff up and lift it since we aren't using yeast to do the job. Same thing in the crust of fried chicken. It creates tons of tiny bubbles in the crust when the chicken hits your hot oil, making the surface of the crust expand and help it be lighter and crispier.

Same with the cornstarch. Cornstarch impedes gluten production from the flour, and that means the breading will be lighter and crispier because of it.

We're talking waffles

Your waffles really depend on you. I personally love thick and fluffy Belgian waffles, which does require a Belgian waffle iron, but if you have a favorite waffle recipe and classic waffle iron, use it!

I love Belgian waffles because the thickness and structure holds up well to the syrups and all the knife and fork work that goes into eating chicken and waffles.

What makes these waffles special? The eggs are separated and the whites are whipped up nice and fluffy before being folded into the batter, which gives the waffles a ton of lift and makes the outsides crisp and the insides fluffy. If you have an electric hand mixer, it makes whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks a fast and easy process.

plates of southern style chicken and waffles with honey butter sauce on wood table and platter

What goes with chicken and waffles?

My favorite is to drizzle some homemade spicy honey butter sauce over the whole stack served with some southern baked mac and cheese on the side.

For the ultimate brunch or breakfast experience, these are my favorite sides with this dish:

Recommended Tools

Love brunch? Check these brunch recipes out:

Click here to subscribe SWEET TEA & THYME’S NEWSLETTER for free and fresh recipes right into your inbox!

To pin this recipe and save it for later you can use the Pin button on the recipe card, the sharing buttons above or below this post, or on any of the photos above. 

Tag me @sweet_tea_thyme on Instagram to share your remakes with me, I love looking through your photos!

Enjoyed the recipe? Leave a 5 star rating and comment below to let me know. I appreciate ya!

📖 Recipe

Southern Fried Chicken and Waffles Recipe

Eden Westbrook
Homemade Chicken and Waffles is a true soul food brunch dish that everyone loves. My recipe includes juicy Southern fried chicken and fluffy waffles with an amazing sweet and spicy sauce made with maple syrup or honey.
4.63 from 371 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Brunch and Breakfast Recipes
Cuisine African American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 506 kcal


  • 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Vegetable Oil for deep frying

Buttermilk Brine

  • 2 cups 480 mL buttermilk OR soured whole milk* (see notes)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ tablespoon garlic powder
  • ½ tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce or chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Seasoned Flour Crust

  • 3 cups 384 g all-purpose flour
  • cup 43 g cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Spicy Honey Butter Sauce

  • ¼ cup 85 g honey (you can sub maple syrup)
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder or more if you like a lot of spice
  • 4 tablespoon 57 g unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Best Belgian Waffles Recipe click the link for the full waffle recipe


  • Whisk the buttermilk or soured milk, kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder, hot sauce, and smoked paprika together in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the boneless, skinless chicken thigh to the bowl, making sure every thigh is covered in the brine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the chicken marinate in the buttermilk brine from 1 hour to overnight in the fridge. 
  • In a dutch oven pot, heat up about half the pot's worth of vegetable oil. Allow the oil to reach 350 degrees F (180 degrees C/ 160 degrees C if using a fan-forced oven).
  • While the oil is heating up, in a mixing bowl whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and seasonings. Take each chicken thigh from the brine and dredge into the seasoned flour. Thoroughly coat the chicken all over, then let rest on a plate for five minutes before frying.
  • Fry the chicken in the hot oil (no more than about 4 thighs per batch) until golden brown, crispy, and cooked through completely, about 8-9 minutes.
  • Carefully take the chicken out of the oil and place them on a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack and let cool slightly before serving. Repeat until all the chicken thighs are fried.
  • Make the Belgian Waffles and serve the chicken on top of the waffles, then drizzle generously with spicy honey butter sauce or maple syrup.

  • Spicy Honey Butter Sauce
  • In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat with honey, chili powder, and kosher salt. Whisk well until the mixture is incorporated and homogenized.
  • Lower the temperature to 'warm/low' heat and keep for serving.


Buttermilk substitute

Whenever I can't find or don't have buttermilk, souring the milk I have with lemon juice (about ½ a lemon per cup of milk) and letting it sit for 3-5 minutes always does the trick.


Serving: 1gCalories: 506kcalCarbohydrates: 46gProtein: 35gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 168mgSodium: 2138mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2g
Tried this recipe?Leave a star rating and let us know!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. The best fried chicken, ever! Five stars!

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      Hi Shayna,

      Thanks so much! So glad you loved the recipe, hope you stick around for more! xo, Eden

  2. Made this today for Father’s Day and it was a hit! Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      Hi KP,

      I love hearing that; it makes me SO happy! Thanks for stopping by! xo, Eden

  3. Donny Martin says:

    I tried the recipe. Used the dutch oven, etc. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Oil temp at 325, but the chicken cooked faster than 20-22 minutes. I think if I had cooked it that long, it would have been burnt. Should I be happy it cooked faster? Should I try to slow things down? Suggestions?
    Pastor Donny from TN

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      Hi Donny,

      According to this recipe, Step 5: “fry the chicken in the hot oil (no more than 4 thighs per batch) until golden brown, crispy, and cooked through completely, about 8-9 minutes.”

      This recipe also says to heat the oil to 350 degrees F, not 325.

      Please give the recipe your utmost attention to ensure the best results. Thanks for trying my recipe! xo, Eden

  4. This recipe is the best! I have made it a few times using my own waffle recipe, but following all other recipe components of the chicken and sauce(I used maple syrup). Such a great recipe and gets rave reviews from my family. Thank you

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      Hi Kathy,

      I'm so happy to hear you love this recipe! It's a favorite of my family as well. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a review! xo, Eden.

  5. I've made this recipe several times - always delicious. The brine is the secret! It makes the chicken so flavorful and tender. Tonight I made it for a "Meal Train" meal (family with a new baby) and it was a huge hit! Thank you

  6. Bonnie Dailey Hoffa says:

    This was amazing!!!
    I’m thinking about making this for a baby shower brunch, could i make the chicken a day or two ahead of time and reheat in the oven?

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      Hi Bonnie,

      I'm so happy you love this recipe! Thank you for trying it out. You can make fried chicken ahead of time, here's an article from Country Living on how to store and reheat it. Have fun at the baby shower!

  7. Tripled the chicken recipe on vacation with extended family -- maybe the best fried chicken I've had anywhere, and I've never made fried chicken in my life. Used a different waffle recipe, since I had lots of leftover buttermilk, and prepared an original peach ginger reduction to drizzle over the top. A few dashed of hot sauce and good to go. This is definitely one I'll go to again. Thanks!

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      Hi Martin,

      Thanks a bunch for trying this recipe out, I love to hear that it was a winner! That peach ginger reduction also sounds SO fabulous! xo, Eden

  8. OMG! I made the chicken waffles for an early Father's Day brunch for my son and we loved it! Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe. It is definitely going into the recipe box. So delicious! Can't wait to try some of your other recipes.

  9. I am hooked. This was the first time that I have ever made...or even had...Chicken and Waffles, and I consider it a huge stroke of luck that I found your recipes. The marinade smells so good, it is a downright shame to dispose of it. The coating is crunchy and flavorful. My husband is f.u.s.s.y. about food, and even he gave it a thumbs up. We had ours with just straight maple syrup, but I may try the Honey Butter Sauce next time. Thank you for sharing.

  10. I was inspired to make chicken and waffles. So my next step was to search for a recipe. I came upon your site and followed the recipe substituting the flour for a gluten free kind for the chicken. It was delicious. I also used a gluten free waffle mix that was pre mixed and that was delicious. I will certainly make this recipe again and will share with friends if they need one.

  11. I discovered this recipe a year ago… was great and became a winter family favorite. Rediscovered it in my recipes today and made again- still loved by every member of our family! We don’t always use the butter but the coating is so good it’s not at all a down-grade. Thank you!

  12. My girlfriend is new to chicken (was pescatarian for 13 years) and wanted to try chicken and waffles. I made this for her tonight. Let me just say, we were both blown away! Can easily say it’s the best I’ve had so far. Thank you!

  13. I never leave comments on recipes but had to for this one. Made this tonight with your Belgian waffle recipe and it was amazing! I saved it to my favourites, will be making again!

  14. My S/O has been begging me to make homemade chicken and waffles for almost a year. Today I finally gave in and chose this recipe.

    He loved it!! I served it with a side of homemade Mac and cheese like suggested.

  15. Zack Hall says:

    Made this for my wife on her birthday today! We had chicken and waffles at our wedding reception because it’s one of our favorite meals. This was an awesome recipe! Will be using again

  16. Kimberly Daniels says:

    I made this tonight and it was amazing! The sauce is hands down the show stopper! This recipe is a 10!

  17. I made this today and OMG!! This is beyond delicious! My whole family loved it. Will definitely keep this in my recipe book. Thanks a bunch! 🙂

  18. Stephanie says:

    Can you make the chicken with the bone in and skin on? Would like to make them this weekend.

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      Oh sure! But I would suggest you follow my Authentic Buttermilk Brined Southern Fried Chicken recipe instead, it has the timing and heat temperatures you’ll need for bone in skin on chicken parts.

  19. Everyone loved this! The only thing I'll do differently next time is use our favorite hot sauce in the honey butter sauce; I thought the chili powder was a bit harsh tasting. Thanks for a great recipe.

  20. This looks delicious!! I'm planning on making it for brunch. Two it possible to make as an appetizer (mini chicken and waffles)? And, is it something that could be done ahead of time and reheat/keep warm in the oven? Thanks!

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      Hi Luisana!

      1. Absolutely you can make mini chicken and waffles with this recipe! Just make sure to divide the fry time and use a meat thermometer to check on the internal temperature of the fried chicken.

      2. Yes you can make it ahead, keep the waffles and chicken on wire racks on a baking sheet (for air flow) in a warm oven, no higher than 300 degrees F til serving time OR warm them up from the fridge using the wire rack and baking sheet in a 325 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until the chicken and waffles are completely warmed through!

      When you make them, please make sure to leave a star rating and comment! I would love to know how it worked out for you.

      1. I made it and it was sooo good! I reheated the chicken in the airfryer and it came out perfect. One person even said it's the best fried chicken they have had in their life. Thanks so much!

  21. Heather Cobden says:

    Is there anything I should change about the recipe if I want to cook the chicken in my air fryer?

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      From what I’ve found, air fryers do not do deeply breaded chicken, it burns the breading before the chicken can cook. This recipe was specifically developed for deep frying and I haven’t developed one for the air fryer yet. But you’re not the first to ask this, so it’s definitely in the works!

  22. Wow!...these were flippin amazing. Just made today.. I was craving disneys spicy chicken and waffle sandwich, and came upon your site. The wife entered the kitchen asking: "what's that yummy smell?" ..umm waffles!...everyone wolfed them goes perfect with the honey sauce...I used cayenne and pepper flakes. Lol one of my my girls asked if I could make them again tomorrow. Will abso-fruitly be making these again. Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe.

  23. Oh my goodness! Made this today and it was so delicious! Definitely a keeper in our house!

  24. Lynette Lazenby says:

    OMG! As a gluten-free girl I’ve never had chicken and waffles. Made this last night with gf flour and I’m still salivating the next night. Soooo good! The chicken was perfectly tender and crispy, and the spices were spot on! The waffles - yum! And topping it with spicy honey butter sauce took it over the top! 😋

  25. Stephanie says:

    I made this for a Valentine’s Day brunch for my husband and it came out perfect! The chicken was crispy, juicy, and flavorful. Combined with the waffle and hot honey...oh my god! So good. I got so many comments that this looked like a restaurant dish. Thank you.

  26. This is one of the yummiest recipes I have tried. And so easy. I was craving chicken and waffles done in a certain way but doubted I could achieve it. This fit the bill! Thank you!

  27. Just wanted to let you know my son and I made your southern fried chicken and Belgian waffles last night. They were excellent! Our whole family loved both. It was the 1st time I ever made fried chicken and using your recipe was a breeze! Thank you for sharing.

  28. This is easily the best fried chicken I have ever made. I also made your Belgian waffle mix & spicy sauce. I thought I died and went to heaven! I will be sharing this recipe with everyone I know! Thank you so much.

    1. I made these and it was great! I used the extra brine and breading on potatoes that I had cut like thick frenxh fries. It made great battered fries!

  29. So glad I found your recipe! Made the Chicken and Waffles for dinner and they were great! Everyone loved them. I used maple syrup instead of honey and used cayenne pepper instead of chili powder, just because I love the flavor of cayenne over chili powder. I also used your Belgian waffle recipe, I did cut down on the amount of cinnamon though, I just didn’t want to much cinnamon, just a hint of flavor. I used breast tenderloins for the chicken. The only thing I did a little different on the chicken was I dipped it twice in the breading and buttermilk marinade. Came out super crispy, moist and flavorful. I will be making this recipe in the future!

  30. Marion L Irick says:

    My family and I love this recipe, flavorful, juicy chicken,best waffles we've had. Definitely a staple, thank you.

  31. I made this for Sunday Brunch today. Fantastic, flavorful chicken and the Honey Butter Sauce is the perfect finishing touch. With baked Mac&Cheese as a side dish, a perfect Sunday meal. Excellent.

  32. Thank you for a wonderful recipe!I sm currently marinating my chicken.My family is very excited for dinner tonight here in New York!Stay Safe!!

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      Thank you! I hope you all love it!

    2. Lisa Detwiler says:

      This chicken recipe is Absolutely Amazing!!!!
      We just had our Thanksgiving Brunch with Family and the request was to have chicken and waffles!
      It turned out beautifully crunchy and was not greasy at all!! I used chicken tenders because that is our favorite cut of chicken.. I soaked them overnight and they were very moist! TBNhe syrup was delicious as well...
      Thank you very much for the recipe!