Chicken and waffles are an iconic combination and one of the crown jewels of Southern cuisine.
It is the perfect all-rounder dish that can be enjoyed any time and can satisfy a lot of cravings at the same time!
What are the best chicken and waffles sides? Since chicken and waffles can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you can try pairing it with several sides like cornbread, creamed spinach, bacon, mashed potatoes, sauteed vegetables, French fries, macaroni and cheese, casserole, and more!
Read below to learn more about this amazing dish, how to make it at home and how to prepare the perfect side dishes for it!
Chicken + Waffles = Love
Chicken and waffles may seem like an odd combination for many people but once you try it, you will understand how perfectly both things complement each other.
The crispy fried chicken blends perfectly with the slightly sweet, chewy, and fluffy waffles. Add some honey butter, our favorite hot honey, or smoked maple syrup and you will have yourself a dangerously addictive meal!
If you think the concept of chicken and waffles is new, then think again.
The origin of this decadent dish goes back centuries! It is thought to have originated in the 1600s during the colonial period. This dish was initially served with crispy waffles and pulled, stewed chicken with lots of gravy.
This combination was notable for its nutritional density and was a popular breakfast item for several decades. Today, chicken and waffles are just as popular in many states in the USA and have even been gaining ground internationally too.
How famous is this dish? Well, several eateries are only focused on providing food revolving only around this combination with different ingredients – that’s how beloved this seemingly quirky Southern dish is!
Chicken and waffles are served either “straight” with a waffle at the bottom and 1-2 pieces of chicken on top, or, as a sandwich with small crispy waffles between a breaded boneless thigh piece.
This dish is best served with sides – and there are plenty of them to choose from!
Keep in mind that chicken and waffles can be enjoyed at any time of the day. So, you can change things up and introduce new sides depending on when you want to serve it.
But before we get into the sides, let’s first take a look at how this dish is made.
Best Sides For Chicken And Waffles
Now that you know all about this delicious and iconic dish, it’s time to look at some of the sides that you can serve it with.
As mentioned, chicken and waffles can pair with several types of sides depending on when and how you serve them. Here are some of our favorite picks:
1. Mashed Potatoes
You can’t go wrong with creamy mashed potatoes with a side of chicken and waffles. If you are looking for a craving-fulfilling meal, then look no further.
The buttery and creamy flavor of mashed potatoes will blend perfectly with chicken and waffles.
You can even try making small baked baby potatoes and lightly season them with salt and pepper – serve them with gravy for an even better kick!
If this side dish is good enough for a steak meal, then it will be more than sufficient for chicken and waffles.
Serving chicken and waffles for breakfast? Then try serving it with a side of homemade cornbread.
The soft and crumbly texture along with the slightly sweet flavor of cornbread will go extremely well with a bite of chicken and waffles.
This is a staple in many regions and if you are looking for a nutritionally balanced meal, then we highly recommend that you start here.
Cornbread is extremely easy to make and you can prepare a batch in the oven while you finish off with the waffles. Then serve the two together and voila – a hearty breakfast that will keep you going throughout the day!
3. Creamed Spinach
Creamed spinach is our personal favorite from this list because this side is capable of adding not just complex flavors but a buttery texture too.
It is the perfect follow-up to a bite of this decadent meal and is an excellent option to serve as a side for dinner too.
The best way to serve it would be in a ramekin with a bit of cheese garnish on top. Prepare and heat this side at the very end so that you get steaming fresh creamed spinach.
4. Sautéed Vegetables
Sauteed vegetables are a fantastic and very basic option when it comes to chicken and waffles. It is truly one of the best ways to add healthy nutrition to this otherwise hearty meal.
The simple seasoning of salt and pepper over lightly caramelized vegetables will provide a great contrast between the flavors of the chicken and waffles.
Saute carrots, green beans, zucchini, or any combination of your favorite vegetables for the best experience.
Add even more flavor with a side of bacon. If you enjoy eating breakfast like a king, then go all out with a side of bacon. Try making bacon-related dishes like bacon jam, which will add a deep smoky, sweet and spicy flavor.
You can also crush or finely chop bacon and top it over the chicken and waffles for a more pronounced flavor.
Bacon will also make for a great condiment if you make a chicken and waffle sandwich. Throw in some bacon strips along with American cheese and enjoy!
6. French Fries Or Potatoes Au Gratin
Don’t have the time for complex and time-consuming sides? Then why not stick with a simple serving of crispy and lightly seasoned fries on the side?
French fries and fried chicken are a match made in heaven which is why you can also easily serve them with chicken and waffles.
Season the fries in different ways for more interesting and contrasting flavors. You can also change things up by making a serving of potatoes au gratin on the side.
Potatoes au gratin is the perfect pairing for chicken and waffles because it will add even more richness, depth, and cheesiness to an already perfect meal.
Check out one of our favorite recipes below!
When in doubt, serve fresh or leftover casserole with chicken and waffles. This may seem like a lazy pairing but trust us, if you have leftover casserole from last night, then we highly recommend that you reuse it as a side for this dish.
Any type of casserole will work with this meal and even if you don’t have a casserole, the incentive and payoff of making a fresh serving will be worth it. Don’t have time to go the extra mile?
Then, you can also shop for ready-made casserole and prepare it in the microwave – there is no judgment here!
The beauty of this dish is that it welcomes convenience and a range of flavors so you can go with whatever is more accessible to you.
Check out one of our favorite recipes below!
8. Macaroni And Cheese
This is going to be a hit for children and young adults. Macaroni and cheese will provide an excellent texture and flavor that will fully complement all the notes that you will get from chicken and waffles.
This is also a fantastic way of adding cheese to the mix and will easily be a highly satiating meal for the young.
Want more decadence? Then try adding a dollop of macaroni and cheese to a chicken and waffle sandwich.
The sweetness of the sauce, the spiciness of the chicken, and the texture and flavor of macaroni and cheese will take this dish to another level.
Check out one of our favorite recipes below!
9. Classic Salad
Sometimes, it’s the simpler things in life that hold the most value.
If you don’t want to prepare elaborate sides and want to add a bit of healthy nutrition (and fiber), then we recommend preparing a simple salad for your serving of chicken and waffles in the morning.
You can literally go with any type of salad and it will pair well thanks to the highly compatible flavors of this dish.
We recommend going with leafy salads to match the textures of the dish but you can also add a bit of crunch – bonus points if you go with tasty and creamy salad dressings!
There are a ton of dips that you can pair with this dish. Whether you go with cheesy sauces or creamy mayo-based dips, you will notice that almost everything complements chicken and waffles!
You can also get creative with the dips by adding ingredients like bacon and relish. Drizzle the dips over the chicken or serve them as an optional condiment on the side.
We recommend going with cheesy dips since the chicken will already be drenched with some form of syrup and mild sauce.
Chicken And Waffles – A Quick How-To
Chicken and waffles are incredibly easy to make. Just as the name suggests, you only need to add perfectly fried chicken over freshly made waffles.
Here are some of the details on each component of this dish:
Anything goes when it comes to chicken and waffles! You can literally use any type of fried chicken for this meal.
Whether it’s Henny Penny fried chicken, lightly breaded chicken, or even double-coated fried chicken; use whatever is accessible to you!
The best way to get the most out of the flavor of this dish is to opt for freshly fried homemade chicken.
We recommend taking a look at this classic buttermilk fried chicken recipe by none other than Chef Gordon Ramsay!
If you have a go-to family recipe for fried chicken, then you can use that as well – but for the most flavor, we recommend going with any fried chicken recipe that uses buttermilk because it will add a creamy flavor and will thoroughly tenderize the chicken, making it easier to eat with a knife and fork.
We’ll explain why in a bit. Let’s first head over to the other component of this recipe.
Waffles are a core ingredient in this recipe, even more than the chicken. If you make very dense waffles that are overly chewy and not adequately moist, then you will effectively ruin the flavor of this dish.
Chicken and waffles traditionally call for Belgian waffles but you can use any waffle, depending on the waffle iron you have at home.
We recommend picking any good recipe that produces soft, lightly textured, and adequately chewy waffles.
Here’s a great starting point:
Note: Prepare the waffle batter beforehand but always make the waffles last. Cook the chicken first and let it drain, then work on the waffles.
The chicken will take way longer to cook and you wouldn’t want to add hot chicken over cold and “dull” waffles.
Syrups And Toppings
Once the chicken and waffles are ready, assemble the dish by placing a few pieces of fried chicken on a whole waffle and then drench it over with syrup!
For the syrup, we recommend going with a simple honey butter mixture which is made by melting salted butter and then mixing it with light honey.
This topping will add a deep richness to the chicken and waffles and will also make it heartier – perfect for breakfast time!
Another great topping is a classic drizzle of maple syrup. The complex sweet flavor from the maple syrup will cut through the heat from the chicken and will pair deliciously with the waffles and may even complement the side dishes too.
You can even use both honey butter and smoked maple syrup for an extremely decadent and satisfying meal!
How Do You Serve And Eat It?
Just slice through a piece of chicken and waffle, then collect some of the sauce on the plate and enjoy.
Keep in mind that the chicken should be tender enough to come off the bone with ease or you might end up with a very messy plate of stubborn chicken and soft waffles.
Want more convenience? Then try the boneless chicken and waffle sandwich that follows all the indications that we have mentioned above – except that you don’t have to deal with any utensils or chicken bones.
Now that you know the best sides for chicken and waffles, here are some related questions:
How do you store chicken and waffles?
Chicken and waffles are easier to store when you haven’t assembled the dish. The waffles can be frozen in the freezer and then reheated in the toaster until crispy.
Similarly, the chicken can be refrigerated and then refried in hot oil before serving.
Once you add the sauces and/or syrup, things can get complicated. Just store the assembled meal in the fridge and try to consume it the same day for the best experience.
Can you substitute waffles with pancakes?
Yes. While you may use pancakes instead of waffles, we wouldn’t recommend this combination because of the inherent structural instability of pancakes.
Waffles provide a smooth and even surface that can even be used to make a sandwich.
In the case of pancakes, you would get an irregular surface that leans towards either side and can be quite messy to eat.
Pancakes may not be able to offer the same crispy texture and flavor that this dish is known for as well.
Can you use buttermilk waffles for chicken and waffles?
Any type of waffle can be used to make chicken and waffles. If you want to keep things traditional then you should go with Belgian waffles made from a yeast batter.
The humble Belgian waffle is a strategic choice because it offers a soft and chewy texture – but more than that the deep pockets on the waffle make for excellent little containers for the juices and sauces that drip down from the chicken, adding more depth and flavor to the meal.