Between the mobs of gourmet food trucks nestling into downtown cores and the growing popularity of #GirlSquad brunch dates, we certainly aren’t lacking in exciting food trends these days. The great thing about the culinary world is that there is no “out with the old, in with the new” cliche; instead, we simply learn to embrace classics in ways we never dreamed possible. For example, take fried chicken. Today’s chefs are upping the fried chicken game with some really innovative creations. Here are some examples that will make your mouth say YES and your arteries scream NO! (Don’t worry, you can hop on those healthy food trends next week!)

1. Fried Chicken Sandwich With Slaw: That’s a HUGE ‘wich! And talk about willpower. How does one refrain from sinking their teeth into this while taking such a sexy close-up?

2. Chicken ‘n’ Waffles With Sorghum Molasses and Braised Greens: Chicken ‘n’ waffles isn’t new, especially if you’re from the South, but some of the variations out there are exciting. Let’s pretend that the greens on top make this a *bit* healthy, shall we?

3. Fried Chicken ‘n’ Waffle Cones: Speaking of chicken ‘n’ waffle variations… YES TO THIS FOREVER! If this combo doesn’t scream brilliance to you, then nothing can impress you. But color us huge fans of this new handheld dinner.

4. Crispy Fried Popcorn Chicken With Wasabi Mayo and Nori: This creation has rendered us speechless. If you love Japanese flavors, then you’ve probably salivated on your keyboard just like the rest of us. Simply grab an extra napkin or two — no one’s judging.

5. Fried Chicken + Fried Egg: The idea of “breakfast for dinner” will never get old, but that doesn’t mean we should turn our cheek to the possibility of “dinner for breakfast,” mmmkay? It’s what all of our brunch dreams are made of, TBH.

6. Fried Chicken and Pancakes: It seems kind of awful to stray from the waffle, but this fried chicken has found comfort on a bed of pancakes, and none of us can be upset about this transition. Top it with a fried egg for the ultimate #eggyolkporn Instagram photo.

7. Fried Chicken Benedict: This dish is crispy and creative AF. Imagine the crunch of the chicken paired with the velvety smoothness of a runny yolk and topped with hollandaise. This should be followed by a post-brunch nap, of course.

8. Fried Chicken Salad: Whoever said you don’t make friends with salad can GTFO. The greens here cancel out the fried chicken, correct? That’s how we know that all is right in the world.

9. Fried Chicken Pizza: Welp, this is a thing. Is it right? Is it wrong? Did anyone get hurt? Just remember, moderation is key when it comes to deep fried chicken piled on a thick pizza crust and topped with oh-so-much melty cheese.

10. Fried Chicken Tacos: Let’s taco ’bout this! It doesn’t have to be a Tuesday for you to celebrate life with these amazing tacos. Fried chicken never made anything look quite so lovely.

11. Fried Chicken Poutine: A poutine purist might hate to see people mess with the French Canadian classic, but how could anyone ever be mad at this? French fries provide the perfect nest of YUM to top with fried chicken and gravy.

12. Fried Chicken Bao: Bao-chick’n-bao-bao! Five spice buttermilk fried chicken and kale pea sprout sesame slaw on a steamed bun? It’s classic American food meets Asian perfection for a dish that nobody can resist.

13. Fried Chicken Mac ‘n’ Cheese: If you’re looking to up your mac ‘n’ cheese game, this is the way to do it, ladies. Any combination of macaroni and cheese will likely work with any variety of fried chicken, or at least that’s what we’ll be telling ourselves as we experiment in the kitchen.

14. Fried Chicken Katsu Bowl: This gorgeous concoction brings fried chicken to a whole new level, guys. It includes cucumber kimchi, spring onions, pickled carrots, tonkatsu sauce and shredded nori, and it’s served on sticky rice with sesame salt.

15. Fried Chicken Cake: And, well, if you love fried chicken so much that you feel the need to celebrate it and all of its diversity, you can bake a fancy cake with it. For your southern bestie’s b-day, perhaps?

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