Jess Pryles

Mini Nashville Hot Chicken & Waffle Bites with Candied Jalapeños.

chicken & waffles mini appetizer recipe
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Pick up your appetizer game.

Listen – jalapeno poppers are great and all, but we’ve been there and done that. Pigs in a blanket? Yawn. You need something that’s going to elevate your appetizer game to expert level. Like, an epic upgrade on chicken & waffles:

mini fried chicken & waffles with candied jalapenos

Ladies and gentlemen, these badass bite-sized nuggets of hot, crisp, sweet and salty will hit your taste buds in all the right places. Not to mention how damn impressive they are if you’re entertaining guests. Spicy morsels of Nashville hot fried chicken sitting atop a crisp waffle, topped off with a heat’n’sweet candied jalapeno.

The jalapeno is kind of the perfect finish – a little sweet to calm the burn but then a slight sting of heat to let you know what’s up. Besides, it’s kind of a great excuse to drink more beer and cool your mouth down. You can make your own candied jalapeños using this recipe – you may just find yourself adding them to all kinds of dishes.

If you buy the waffles already made (and frankly, I’m not even sure where you’d get a mini waffle iron anyway), these mini-snacks really aren’t that difficult to make. You’ll need to get yourself a thermometer to measure the temperature of the frying oil, which is going to make all the difference between crisp, golden nuggets instead of limp, oily ones.

Though they are best served hot, I’m pretty sure these would even taste great at room temp – picnic style. Plus, they’d suit a tailgate or any other kind of offsite event, because you can always pack each element individually, then just assemble them when you get there. Boom.

It’s chicken & waffles, but taken to the next level. Mini snack perfection, y’all.

nashville hot chicken and waffles

Print Recipe

Mini Nashville Hot Chicken & Waffles with Candied Jalapeños.

These impressive appetizers aren’t that complicated to make, and have a big flavor payoff.

 

Ingredients

  • 4 skinless chicken thighs
  • 24 mini waffles
  • 6 cups (around 48 oz) vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c milk or buttermilk
  • 1 c flour
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce (Crystal, Tabasco, Franks or similar)
  • 2 tbsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (ancho, chipotle, or similar)
  • candied jalapenos

Instructions

  1. Prepare two bowls to coat chicken. In the first bowl, place egg, milk and hot sauce and mix well. Into the second bowl, combine flour, salt & black pepper.

  2. Cut each chicken thigh into 6 pieces (or pieces around the same size as your mini waffles), and pat them dry with a paper towel.

  3. In a dutch oven or deep pan, heat oil on the stove until it reaches 325f.

  4. Take a piece of chicken and coat it in flour, then egg mix, then back into the flour, and place it on some baking paper. Repeat until all pieces are coated.

  5. When oil is up to temp, fry off a few pieces at a time, taking care not to overcrowd the pan, and allowing oil to return to temperature before adding the next batch. Fry each piece until golden brown, with internal temperature measuring 165f. As you remove the pieces, place them on a rack over foil to cool.

  6. In another bowl, combine cayenne, chili powder, garlic, paprika and sugar along with 1/2 cup of the frying oil. Stir well, then brush this oil solution over the fried chicken pieces.

  7. Heat the waffles according to manufacturer directions, then top each one with a piece of chicken and a candied jalapeno.

By Jess Pryles

Jess Pryles is a full fledged Hardcore Carnivore. She’s a cook, writer, and TV personality specializing in red meat, with penchant for grilling and bourbon. She's also a respected authority on Texas & competition style barbecue. Born in Australia, she now resides in Austin, Texas.

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