Baked Chicken and Waffles with Sriracha Maple Syrup

You NEED this recipe in your life! Perfectly seasoned, crispy chicken, nestled over fluffy waffles, drizzled with spicy maple syrup. It's the batter that changes the game: a sticky base layer of maple syrup and herbs, followed by crunchy bread crumbs. The chicken is insanely moist and the crust is sweet, savory, herby, and crispy. Plus, the chicken is baked not deep-fried, so it's the ultimate copycat recipe!

I actually amazed myself with this one! Early on, as the chicken was baking, I could tell this was going to be a winning dish. I kept saying to the boys, "Damn, that smells good". The aroma of that crust on the chicken, as it bakes to golden brown perfection, is downright dreamy. First, the chicken is coated with a blend of maple syrup and herbs before getting doused in seasoned bread crumbs. There's simply SO MUCH flavor in that crunch - both sweet and savory. Absolutely NO reason to deep fry here!
The chicken would be fabulous on it's own, but when it's settled over freshly cooked waffles and topped with a sriracha-spiked maple syrup, the whole thing is mind-blowing. Traditional chicken and waffles will never be the same.

About the chicken: In the ingredient list, I call for 4 chicken breast halves, pounded to 1-inch thickness. I'm talking about 4-5 ounce chicken breast halves. If you have larger chicken breasts (which is all my store seems to sell these days), you can half them crosswise and pound them, OR you can butterfly them (as if cutting a bagel).

For a gluten-free version, use ground oats instead of the breadcrumbs.

Baked Chicken and Waffles with Sriracha Maple Syrup

For the Baked Chicken: 
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1-inch thickness
Salt and ground black pepper
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup Italian style seasoned dry breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon butter, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon paprika

2 cups waffle mix of choice, plus ingredients if necessary (mine just needed water)

For the Sriracha Maple Syrup: 
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons sriracha sauce

To make the chicken, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
Pat the chicken dry and season both sides with salt and pepper.
In a shallow dish, whisk together the maple syrup, basil, onion powder, and garlic powder.
Place the breadcrumbs in a second shallow dish.
Add the chicken to the maple syrup mixture and turn to coat.
Transfer the chicken to the breadcrumbs and turn to coat, pressing in the breadcrumbs to totally coat the chicken.
Transfer the chicken to the prepared pan. If you have any leftover maple syrup mixture, drizzle it over top. Place the pieces of butter all over the chicken. Sprinkle the paprika over top.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through.
Meanwhile, prepare the waffles according to the package directions.
To make the syrup, in a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and sriracha.
Arrange the waffles on individual plates and top with the chicken and maple syrup mixture.
Serves 4