Harlem's Fried Chicken & Buttermilk Waffles

Prep Time
Cook Time
Ready In

"Many think that this dish comes from the South, as did I where to my surprise it was invented in New York! I had a "Wow" moment when I discovered this news! It came about via New York's Harlem from the infamous jazz club "Wells Restaurant" that was open 24 hours a day. As a result, the late night menus would transition to breakfast selections and it was during that time someone ordered one item from each, and voila, NYC creates another quintessential American meal. This particular recipe is Emeril Lagasse's creation which really is marvelous tasting, the ideal comfort food. Note that the recipe timing noted does not reflect the overnight marinating time. For better timing and for the ease of it, the waffle batter can also be made a day ahead and kept in the fridge. Don't be scared by the length, I found it to be so easy peasy because everything is prepared ahead."

Original recipe yields 6 servings


  • Serving Size: 1 (664.2 g)
  • Calories 1235
  • Total Fat - 52 g
  • Saturated Fat - 29.2 g
  • Cholesterol - 821.8 mg
  • Sodium - 2498.6 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 129.9 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 5.6 g
  • Sugars - 70.5 g
  • Protein - 63.7 g
  • Calcium - 324 mg
  • Iron - 9.4 mg
  • Vitamin C - 11.1 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.5 mg

This recipe allows for do-ahead prep. I've marinated the chicken and have made the waffle batter, the butter, and syrup as much as 2-days in advance and it worked out beautifully. I then cooked and put it together during a workday weeknight and it was done lickity split.

Step 1

In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, hot sauce, sugar, the 1 tablespoon salt, and the paprika. Add the garlic. Transfer this mixture to a gallon-size resealable plastic food storage bag. Add the chicken pieces to the bag, seal, and refrigerate. Allow the chicken to marinate overnight, turning the bag occasionally to ensure that the chicken is evenly marinated.

Step 2

Place a wire rack on a baking sheet, and set it aside. In a medium-size bowl, combine the flour with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt.

Step 3

Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade, allowing the excess to drain off, and then dredge them in the flour. Set the coated pieces on the wire rack.

Step 4

Pour oil to a depth of 1 inch in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet. Heat the oil over high heat to 350°F. (Use a deep-fry/candy thermometer for accuracy.)

Step 5

Fry the chicken, in batches, until golden brown and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes per side; the chicken should register 165°F on an instant-read thermometer. As you are cooking, be mindful of the temperature of your oil and regulate the heat as necessary. You do not want the temperature of the oil to drop below 325° or to go above 350°F. As the pieces are cooked, transfer them to a paper towel–lined platter.

Step 6

Serve the chicken hot, with the Buttermilk Waffles, Black Pepper Maple Syrup, and Whipped Vanilla Butter.


Step 7

Combine the flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. In a second medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the melted butter.

NOTE: The batter can be prepared ahead and refrigerated overnight.

Step 8

Heat an oiled waffle iron. Pour the appropriate amount of batter (according to the size of your waffle iron) onto the hot griddle, and cook until crisped and golden brown to your liking. Transfer the waffle to a serving plate and repeat with the remaining batter.

FOR THE VANILLA BUTTER (refer to Note below)

Step 9

Cut the vanilla bean (or vanilla paste, if using) in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds into a small bowl. Reserve the scraped pod for the Black Pepper Maple Syrup. Add the butter and salt to the bowl, and whip with a handheld electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Step 10

Transfer the butter to a small container, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.


Step 11

Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and allow the flavors to steep until ready to serve. Remove the vanilla bean, if using before serving if desired.

NOTE: What I've done with the butter, is to melt it instead of smearing it over the waffles. It results in the butter puddling with the Black Pepper Syrup which gives it a sensational taste. We absolutely LOVE this recipe and make it when we want to have some fun!

Tips & Variations

No special items needed.



Wow! Excellent. This recipe will go into my Best of 2016 file. My whole family kept telling me how good this was. It was fun, too! It's a bit involved, but if you prep and make some of it ahead, it's easier. We loved the flavor and crunch from the chicken. The waffles were great, but the winner there was the syrup...yum! The only thing I would skip next time is the butter. We thought that extra flavor from the vanilla bean wasn't needed with all of the other flavors going on. What a fun and delicious dinner. Thank you!

review by:
(25 Aug 2016)