Chicken and Waffles with Pecan Butter Maple Syrup and Sweet Pickled Chillies

Mother’s day is coming up. That usually means brunch. I am not a fan of brunch. I love breakfast, I love lunch – but years of DC’s “Brunch Menu Only Until 2pm” culture made we really hate it. I make exceptions of course. Holidays, and any opportunity to eat one dish that I truly love.

I might be biased, but as far as I’m concerned, Chicken and Waffles is the undisputed king of the brunch dishes. Egg Benedict is a classic contender, quiche is fancy, and shakshuka is nice when you want a little spice, but nothing is as satisfying as that balance of sweet and salty, crunchy and soft, breakfast and dinner that makes Chicken and Waffles a perfect treat.

It was not a part of my lexicon as a kid and I admit, the first time I had heard of it was in the 1988 John Cusack and Tim Robbins movie Tapeheads. Even if you will never eat it, even if you think it is the most absurd combination you have ever heard of, you owe it to yourself to see the amazing Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles commercial that is a plot point in the that off-the-wall comedy.


You will find that this dish is best if it is fried in lard or shortening, but adding some bacon drippings to the fat adds even more flavor, but truth be told as often as not I just use vegetable oil. We add a little spice and a measure of cornstarch to the breading to make it slightly crunchier and help it to hold up to sauce – because what are chicken and waffles without pecan butter maple syrup drizzled over the top. Finally, the whole mess is topped with sliced, sweet-pickled chili peppers to add another dimension to this dump truck of deliciousness. The recipe specifies red Fresno Chilies which are generally easy to come by, but almost any small, hot, red pepper could be substituted

The waffle recipe provided here is a yeasted overnight recipe, roughly based on a King Arthur recipe I’ve used for years,  that produces crisp, flavorful waffles that hold up well as a vehicle for delivering a huckin’ big chunk of chicken, but you can substitute your own favorite if you prefer.

Chicken and Waffles with Pecan Butter Maple Syrup and Sweet Pickled Chillies

Recipe by DrewCourse: BrunchCuisine: SouthernDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time



The king of Brunch: chicken and waffles


  • Fried Chicken
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

  • 1 cup cultured buttermilk

  • ¼ cup hot sauce (*see note)

  • 2¼-cups AP flour

  • ¼ cup cornstarch

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

  • ½ tsp ground sage

  • 2 tsp ground black pepper

  • 3 tsp kosher salt

  • Yeasted Waffles
  • 1½ cups AP flour

  • ½ cup whole wheat flour

  • 1½ cup whole milk

  • 4 tbsp melted butter

  • 1 packet or 1½ tsp instant dry yeast

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

  • 2 large eggs

  • Pecan Butter Maple Syrup
  • 1 cup maple syrup

  • 2 tbsp butter

  • ½ cup crushed pecans

  • Pickled Chilies
  • 2 red chili peppers, red jalapeño or Fresno

  • 1 tsp granulated sugar

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 1 tbsp white vinegar

  • 2 tbsp water


  • Fried Chicken
  • Mix the buttermilk, hot sauce, 2 tsp of salt, and 1 tsp of black pepper in a non-reactive bowl. Add the chicken and turn to coat.
  • Place the chicken and the marinade in a large, plastic, storage bag, squeezing out as much air as possible. Place in the refrigerator to brine and marinate – at least 8 hours and preferably overnight.
  • Mix the flour, cornstarch, sage, cayenne, baking powder, and remaining salt and pepper in a large container with a tightly fitting lid.
  • Sprinkle 1 tsp of the marinade into the flour mixture and shake vigorously.
  • Working one piece at a time, add the chicken to the breading container, and shake to coat well. Check to see that there are no bare spots, and use your fingers if necessary to pack breading onto the chicken. Repeat until all of the chicken is breaded.
  • Place the chicken pieces on a rack over a sheet pan and return to the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow the flour to hydrate.
  • Fry at 350° for approximately 20 minutes, or until the crust is well browned and the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 170°.
  • To serve, top a waffle with a piece of chicken, drizzle pecan-butter maple syrup over the top, and garnish with sweet-pickled chili slices.
  • Yeasted Waffles
  • Melt the butter, and combine all ingredients in a blender. Quickly blend until smooth.
  • Pour into a non-reactive container, cover with plastic wrap or a lid, and allow to sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • Move to the refrigerator, and allow to ferment overnight.
  • Prepare according to your waffle iron’s instructions.
  • Pecan Butter Maple Syrup
  • Warm the syrup in a pan, stir in the pecans, and cook for 10 minutes. Add the butter, and swirl to combine.
  • Pickled Chilies
  • Thinly slice the peppers into disks. Discard the tips and stems. In a small glass bowl just large enough to hold the peppers without peeking over the top, add peppers, salt, and sugar, stirring to coat. Allow the salt and sugar to soften the peppers and extract some moisture for 30 minutes. Add the water and vinegar, and agitate to dissolve the salt and sugar. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.


  • Use a flavorful, but fairly mild hot sauce such as Texas Pete, Frank’s Red Hot, or Crystal. You will need some heat, but also the vinegar and salt in the preparation are necessary for the chicken to brine properly.

Be sure to check out my other food project, The Weekly Menu!

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Chicken and Waffles with Pecan Butter Maple Syrup and Sweet Pickled Chillies — The Chicken Thigh Guy | My Meals are on Wheels

Leave a Reply

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