Home Dinner Chicken Nashville Hot Chicken (Easy Recipe)

Nashville Hot Chicken (Easy Recipe)

Hot, crisp, and super delicious, Nashville hot chicken is the king of fried chicken.

It’s so insanely succulent and impossibly fiery, you’ll want to lick the plate clean.

Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwiches Served With Coleslaw Topped With Sliced Pickles
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If flaming fried chicken is what you’re after, this Nashville hot chicken recipe is just the ticket.

From the mouthwateringly crisp coating and cayenne-infused sauce to the tender meat in the middle, it’s a real game-changer.

Luckily, there’s no need to take a trip to Tennessee to get your fix. So if you think you can handle the heat, give this recipe a try.

What Is Nashville Hot Chicken?

Nashville hot chicken is deep-fried chicken smothered in a fiery sauce.

It’s marinated in buttermilk, pickle brine, hot sauce, and eggs and double-coated in flour for super crispy skin.

Finally, it’s brushed in a sauce of lard, cayenne, and spices.

As the name suggests, it has its roots in Nashville, Tennessee. Supposedly, it originated in Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack as — wait for it — REVENGE!

Legend says Thornton Prince, the restaurant’s namesake, spent too much time partying. Angry about that, his girlfriend slathered his fried chicken in spices to punish him.

Obviously, the plan backfired because Prince loved it. It quickly took the South by storm and is now a hugely popular Southern staple.

You’ll find it at fast food joints, restaurants, and home kitchens. It’s also perfect on white bread with pickles for the ultimate fried chicken sandwich.

Nashville Hot Chicken Served on Sliced White Loaf Bread Garnished With Pickles

Ingredients

Nashville hot chicken has three simple components: a buttermilk marinade, a flour mixture, and a homemade hot sauce.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Bone-in Chicken Pieces: You’ll want about eight pieces in total, including drumsticks, wings, breasts, or other cuts. Feel free to get a whole chicken and cut it into pieces.
  • Nashville Hot Chicken Buttermilk Marinade: Buttermilk is always the key to super tender, moist, and juicy fried chicken. Use either store-bought or homemade buttermilk (whole milk and lemon juice).
    • Mix the buttermilk with pickle brine, hot sauce, and an egg to make the marinade.
    • Use whatever hot sauce you like, but I highly recommend a Louisiana-style hot sauce.
  • Flour Mixture: I use all-purpose flour, but gluten-free flour would also work. Add salt for extra flavor.
  • Vegetable Oil: I prefer something neutral, so it doesn’t impart any unusual flavor into the chicken. You’ll also want something with a high smoke point.
  • Nashville Hot Chicken Sauce: For the homemade spicy sauce, you’ll need to melt butter with lard, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, kosher salt, and black pepper.

How to Store Nashville Hot Chicken

Store Nashville hot chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.

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For the crunchiest results, don’t store the chicken stacked directly on top of each other.

To avoid sogginess, place a piece of parchment paper in between the chicken layers.

Reheat Nashville hot chicken in the oven or air fryer for optimal crispiness.

Nashville Hot Chicken Served with Pickles, Coleslaw and Bread

Tips for the Best Nashville Hot Chicken

Check out these smoking hot tips and tricks:

  • Don’t skip the brine. Pickle brine is excellent in the marinade as it adds extra flavor. Use whatever pickle brine you like, but something spicy will kick up the heat even more.
  • Not a fan of lard? It’s a pretty key ingredient in this recipe. However, if you really don’t like using it, you can double the amount of butter in the recipe instead.
  • Handle with care! Remember, you’re working with spices and hot sauce. Be careful when handling them, especially around your eyes. Use gloves and always wash your hands after touching anything.
  • Dial up the heat. Make your fried chicken even spicier by adding other seasonings to the hot oil mixture. Alternatively, grind them up and add them to the flour. Try ghost pepper flakes or fresh peppers for some serious heat.
  • Don’t make the sauce too early. If you do, the spices, butter, and lard will separate as it cools. I make mine immediately before frying the chicken and leave it warming in its pot over low heat.
  • Be gentle when adding the chicken. Gently slide the pieces into the hot frying oil. Never drop them in from a distance! Dropping them can cause the oil to splash onto your skin and burn you.
  • Cooking times may vary. Larger pieces of chicken will cook more slowly than smaller pieces. So, be sure to monitor the internal temperature as it fries. If it doesn’t reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit after 10 minutes, finish it in the oven at 300 degrees.
  • Let the chicken rest. After frying, place the chicken on a wire rack to cool and drain any excess grease. Letting it rest before adding the sauce will ensure everything sticks as it should.

What to Serve with Nashville Hot Chicken?

Serve Nashville hot chicken on bread with pickles for the ultimate chicken sandwich.

It’s a great meal on its own, but it also pairs really well with:

More Flavorful Chicken Recipes You’ll Love

Greek Chicken
Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings
Chipotle Chicken
Bang Bang Chicken
Chicken Milanese

Nashville Hot Chicken (Easy Recipe)

Servings

4

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

16

minutes
Calories

1115

kcal

Hot, crisp, and super delicious, Nashville hot chicken is the king of fried chicken. It’s so succulent and fiery, you’ll want to lick the plate clean.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken, divided into 8 pieces

  • Marinade:
  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 1/4 cup pickle brine

  • 2 tablespoons Louisiana-style hot sauce

  • 1 large egg

  • Flour:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons fine table salt

  • Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup butter

  • 1/4 cup lard

  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper

  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

  • Whisk the buttermilk, pickle brine, hot sauce, and egg in a large mixing bowl. Add the chicken, and toss to coat.
  • Cover the chicken with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.
  • Just before frying, mix the flour and salt in a shallow flat dish. Set aside.
  • Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and blot gently with paper towels. Don’t discard the marinade.
  • Toss the chicken pieces in the flour mixture until evenly coated.
  • Return the chicken to the marinade and thoroughly coat all sides. Let the excess drip back into the bowl.
  • Coat the chicken in the flour mixture again, then place them on a rack to dry slightly – about 15 minutes.
  • While the chicken dries, make the sauce. Add the butter, lard, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, kosher salt, and black pepper to a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir until melted and smooth, then remove from the heat or leave on low, stirring occasionally.
  • Pour the vegetable oil into a cast iron skillet until 1/3 of the way full. Heat the oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175°C).
  • Gently place the chicken pieces into the hot oil, skin side down. Fry in batches to maintain an oil temperature of at least 325 degrees Fahrenheit (160°).
  • Fry the chicken pieces until the internal temperature reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit (70°) – about 8 to 10 minutes per side. Check the internal temperature using an instant-read thermometer.
  • Move the crispy chicken to a rack to drain. After about 5 minutes, brush both sides of the chicken with sauce before serving. Enjoy!
Nashville Hot Chicken

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

2 thoughts on “Nashville Hot Chicken (Easy Recipe)”

  1. I love so many of your recipes! However, my husband is diabetic, so I’m always looking for ways to keep things as close to keto as I can.
    Would it be possible to translate this to a keto recipe?

    Reply
    • Hi Lynne! Here's how to adjust the ingredients so they're keto-friendly:

      Substitute 1 cup buttermilk with 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk mixed with 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to mimic the acidity of buttermilk without the carbs.
      1/4 cup pickle brine (check for added sugars, use sugar-free if available)
      2 tablespoons Louisiana-style hot sauce (ensure it's sugar-free)
      1 large egg (no change needed)

      “Flour” Coating:

      Replace 2 cups of all-purpose flour with a mixture of:
      1 1/2 cups almond flour
      1/2 cup coconut flour
      2 teaspoons fine table salt

      Reply

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