Homemade Chicken and Waffle Bites will make you the hit of the party! Sweet and spicy in every bite, you’ll want to make these over and over again.
When I began the blog in 2012, my recipes were 99% main course dishes, with a few side dishes here and there. That happened because I used my lunch/dinner recipes as blog recipes, and really never branched out from there. Finally this spring I decided to change that, to have a more well-rounded collection of recipes. I wanted to start with appetizers and beverages, and eventually add in desserts. I’m making baby steps, and so far have a couple of appetizers on the blog:
About 15 years ago I was in Atlanta, and we ate at Gladys Knight’s Chicken & Waffles. That was the first time I tried, or even heard of, chicken and waffles as a dish. We visited Atlanta 4 more times over the next 3 years, and every time we made sure to eat there. Over time, chicken and waffles has become a very popular dish in many restaurants. There’s a restaurant in Stillwater that serves chicken and waffles as one of its signature dishes, and it’s one of my favorite things on the menu.
While I really like chicken and waffles, it tends to be a heavy dish and I can never finish the whole thing at a restaurant. I decided to create Homemade Chicken and Waffle Bites, perfect for brunch, a party, or a gameday tailgate.
These Homemade Chicken and Waffle Bites are so delicious. The fluffy pancake is a very nice contrast to the crispy coating of the chicken. The fried jalapenos add extra kick, and the drizzle of honey at the end adds a sweet finish.
I don’t have a waffle maker, so my original plan was to just buy mini frozen waffles…until I couldnt find them in any of my local grocery stores. So I went out to buy a waffle maker. That was another adventure because the college students had bought out most of the small appliances, but I eventually found one. Even better, I found a waffle maker that not only has removable plates, it only makes 2 waffles at a time! That’s perfect for a single person like myself, and the removable plates mean very easy cleanup.
I knew I wanted to make my own chicken tenders from the start. I’ve never made them before, but I knew it couldn’t be that difficult. I marinated the chicken tenderloins in a combination of buttermilk and hot sauce. This was the perfect opportunity for me to use hot sauce by Caulfield Provision Company. My friend Pat Caulfield began this company about a year ago, and has a whole line of small-batch, hand-crafted hot sauces. He sent me a gift basket of all the hot sauces, and I’ve been working my way through them
I used Szechuan Style Red Repper sauce for these Homemade Chicken and Waffle Bites. All of the sauces have a serious kick, but the buttermilk tones down the heat. That’s why I also added some extra flavor with season salt, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, and chili powder. For the crust I used a combination of panko breadcrumbs and cornmeal
Rather than deep frying the chicken for the Homemade Chicken and Waffle Bites, I did a pan-fry in my favorite nonstick skillet instead. This still results in a beautiful, golden color, but with fewer calories.
I pan-fried jalapeno slices to top the Homemade Chicken and Waffle Bites. Of course, the jalapenos are optional, and you can omit if you don’t want the extra spice. When you pan-fry the jalapenos, it does tone down some of the heat. I love the pop of color that they add to the Homemade Chicken and Waffle Bites.
Ever since I discovered raw honey, I haven’t looked back. I didn’t even know that regular store-bought honey has an aftertaste until I tried raw. Yes, it’s a little bit more expensive, but it’s well worth it. The great thing is that now you can find raw honey in many grocery stores.
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Homemade Chicken and Waffle Bites
- 2 lbs chicken tenderloins, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 Tablespoon hot sauce of your choice (more or less, to preference)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon season salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- Vegetable or canola oil, for frying
- 2 cups flour
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1 3/4 cup milk (I used 2% milk)
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- honey, to drizzle at the end
- 2 jalapenos, cut into slices (remove seeds to reduce heat)
Add chicken tenderloins, buttermilk and hot sauce into bowl. Allow to marinate in fridge for one hour. Remove from fridge. Add beaten egg, mix thoroughly, and allow to come back to room temperature for 10 minutes before frying
Mix flour, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, and season salt.
Lightly dredge jalapeno slices in flour and spice mixture. Set jalapeno slices aside
Drain buttermilk mixture from chicken. Dredge chicken pieces fully in flour and spice mixture.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add jalapeno slices and cook for about 2 minutes per side. Remove and drain on paper towels. Add chicken pieces to oil and cook for about 4 minutes per side, until chicken is golden brown on outside and cooked through. Remove and drain on paper towels
In large bowl add flour, sugar, baking powder and salt
In separate bowl, add eggs, oil, milk, butter, and vanilla extract. Whisk well to lightly beat eggs and fully combine mixture.
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and fold lightly. Don't overmix, or the waffles will be too dense
Cook waffles according to waffle maker instructions
Cut waffles into quarters. Top each quarter with a chicken tender and jalapeno slice. Drizzle with honey
For more delicious recipes, click on the photos below!