A Spicy Perspective

Mind-Blowing Nashville Hot Chicken

Nashville Hot Chicken – This recipe for spicy, crunchy Nashville-style fried chicken is truly mind-blowing! A few unique tweaks make our dish perfectly spiced, with slightly sweet and smoky flavors you will love.

nashville hot chicken recipe

The Best Nashville Hot Chicken Recipe

If you have ever lived in the south, you likely have a favorite fried chicken spot, amirite?

One of our personal favorites is this amazing chicken shack here in Asheville called Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack that makes Nashville-style deep-fried chicken. Each piece of crispy, crunchy, and juicy fried chicken is brushed with spicy oil, so it’s bright red, crisp, and spicy hot.

Seriously, I cannot get enough. So we decided to make our own homemade version of Nashville Hot Chicken, inspired by this beloved local joint. We added just a touch of sugar to balance the spicy, along with a bit of smoked paprika for depth and intrigue.

If you like classic chicken and are a fan of all things spicy, you are going to love this Nashville Hot Chicken!

spicy fried chicken

Ingredients You Need

This Nashville Hot Chicken recipe has two main components: The actual fried chicken, and the mind-blowing spicy oil that is brushed onto the crispy chicken skin.

To make the fried chicken you need:

  • Bone-in chicken with skinabout 8 pieces total
  • Dill pickle juicethe secret ingredient for a perfect southern brine
  • Sugaradds a bit of sweetness to balance the heat
  • Buttermilk either store-bought or learn How to Make Buttermilk
  • Hot sauceFrank’s RedHot or Louisiana
  • All-purpose flouror your favorite gluten-free flour mix for frying
  • Cornstarchto get the crispiest, crunchiest fried chicken
  • Creole seasoningadds spice and depth of flavor
  • Peanut oilor vegetable oil, for frying

For the homemade spicy oil you need:

  • Reserved fry oilfrom when you fry the chicken
  • Brown sugarfor a perfectly smoky-sweet flavor
  • Seasoningscayenne pepper, smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, salt

Our version of this oil would be considered medium-spicy at a place like Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack or at Hattie B’s Hot Chicken in Nashville. You can make the chicken more or less spicy by adding or reducing the amount of cayenne pepper.

pickle juice brine

How to Brine Chicken for Frying

Spicy or not, the best fried chicken recipes always start with a pickle juice brine. This sour and salty flavor creates pieces of chicken that are perfectly crispy fried on the outside and juicy on the inside. Do not skip this step!

  1. First, warm the pickle juice on the stovetop or in the microwave. (It doesn’t need to boil, but should be just hot enough to dissolve sugar.) Stir in the sugar until dissolved.
  2. Remove from the heat and allow the liquid to cool slightly. Then add the pickle juice brine into a large zip bag. Add the chicken pieces and zip the bag closed, removing as much air as possible.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but longer is better. If you can brine the chicken for 8 hours or overnight, that’s best for easy prep and the most flavorful chicken.
dipping legs to fry

How to Make Nashville-Style Fried Hot Chicken

Once the chicken has brined for 1 to 8 hours, set out two shallow dishes. Pour the buttermilk and hot sauce in one shallow dish and mix well. In the second dish, combine the flour, cornstarch, and creole seasoning. Mix well.

Now drain the brine off of the chicken, and set out a metal rack. Working one piece at a time, dunk the chicken in the flour mixture, then in the buttermilk, and then back in the flour mixture. This double coating makes the crunchiest and crispiest fried chicken skin.

breaded thighs and breasts on a rack

Place the breaded chicken pieces on the rack as you go. Pro Tip: It’s good for the chicken breading to rest before frying, so don’t heat the oil until all the chicken has been well coated.

After the chicken is all breaded, set a large saucepot on the stovetop and clip a cooking thermometer to the side of the pot. Pour enough fry oil into the pot to fill it about two-thirds full. Turn the heat on medium to medium-high and bring the oil to frying temperature.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Set another rack on a baking sheet for the cooked fried chicken. You want to hold the chicken in the oven after frying to keep warm as you work in batches.

hot oil for frying

Once the oil temperature reaches 350 degrees F, carefully place 3-4 pieces of chicken in the fry oil. Use tongs to move the chicken so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Fry for 7-8 minutes, until golden brown.

Get the Complete (Printable) Mind-Blowing Nashville Hot Chicken Recipe Below. Enjoy!

fried chicken

Use the tongs to carefully pull the chicken pieces from the hot oil and place them on the clean rack. Test the chicken with a meat thermometer…the largest pieces should be 165 degrees F inside.

Then place the fried chicken in the oven to keep warm and crisp.

fried chicken on a wire rack

Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces, continuing to place fried chicken on the rack in the oven as they are cooked. Turn off the stovetop heat as soon as all of the chicken is done.

recipe for spicy hot oil

How to Make Spicy Oil for Fried Chicken

After all of the pieces of chicken have been fried and are resting in the oven, make the spicy oil.

Use a ladle to scoop ¾ cup of fry oil from the pot into a heat-proof mixing bowl or measuring cup. Add the cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt. Stir to mix thoroughly.

brushing hot oil onto fried chicken

When ready to serve, remove the rack from the oven and brush the spicy oil over all sides of the fried chicken pieces.

nashville hot chicken recipe

What to Serve with Nashville Hot Chicken

Like at Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack or Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, we recommend that you serve Nashville Hot Chicken with the traditional two slices of white bread and pickles.

Enjoy as a main dish with all of your favorite southern side dishes! Some classics include Homemade Mac and Cheese, Potato Salad, and Perfect Southern Collard Greens.

How to Store Leftovers

Let the fried chicken cool to room temperature before storing leftovers in an airtight container, and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Reheat Nashville Hot Chicken pieces for just a few minutes in an air fryer or 350 degree F. oven for the crunchiest and yummiest leftovers.

nashville spicy fried hot chicken with pickles and bread

Looking for More Fabulous Fried Recipes?

Mind-Blowing Nashville Hot Chicken Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minutes
Brine Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 34 minutes
The Best Nashville Hot Chicken – Our recipe for spicy, crunchy Nashville-style fried chicken is truly mind-blowing with a few special tweaks.
Servings: 8 pieces

Ingredients

For the Fried Chicken –

For the Spicy Oil –

Instructions

  • Brine the Chicken: Warm the pickle juice on the stovetop or in the microwave. Then stir in the sugar until dissolved. Pour the pickle juice brine into a large zip bag. Add the chicken pieces. Zip the bag closed. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but longer is better. (If you can brine the chicken for 8 hours or overnight, that’s best!)
  • Once the chicken has brined, set out two shallow dishes. Pour the buttermilk and hot sauce in one shallow dish. Mix well. In the second dish, combine the flour, cornstarch, and creole seasoning. Mix well.
  • Drain the brine off the chicken. Set out a metal rack. One at a time, dunk the chicken pieces in the flour mixture, then the buttermilk, then back in the flour mixture. Place the breaded chicken pieces on the rack. (It’s good for the chicken breading to rest before frying, so don’t heat the oil until all the chicken has been well coated.)
  • Set a large saucepot on the stovetop and clip a cooking thermometer to the side of the pot. Pour enough fry oil into the pot to fill it about two-thirds full. Turn the heat on medium to medium-high.
  • Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Set another rack on a baking sheet for the cooked fried chicken.
  • Once the oil temperature reaches 350 degrees F, carefully place four pieces of chicken in the fry oil. Use tongs to move the chicken so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Fry for 7-8 minutes, until golden brown. (The largest pieces should be 165 degrees F inside.)
  • Use the tongs to carefully pull the chicken pieces from the hot oil and place them on the clean rack. Place the fried chicken in the oven to keep warm and crisp.
  • Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces. Place the second batch of fried chicken in the oven. Turn off the heat.
  • For the Spicy Oil: Use a ladle to scoop ¾ cup of fry oil from the pot into a heat-proof mixing bowl. Add the cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt. Stir to mix.
  • When ready to serve the chicken, remove the rack from the oven and brush the spicy oil over all sides of the fried chicken pieces. It’s traditional to serve the chicken over 2 slices of white bread, topped with pickles.

Video

Notes

Our version would be considered medium-spicy at a hot chicken shack. You can make the chicken more of less spicy by adding or reducing the cayenne pepper.
Let the fried chicken cool to room temperature before storing leftovers in an airtight container, and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pc, Calories: 704kcal, Carbohydrates: 42g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 48g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 92mg, Sodium: 741mg, Potassium: 547mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 4684IU, Vitamin C: 15mg, Calcium: 90mg, Iron: 4mg
Course: dinner, Main, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Sommer Collier

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3 comments on “Mind-Blowing Nashville Hot Chicken”

  1. I made this tonight and it was amazing. I added extra brown sugar for a little more sweetness and it was a hit. I didn’t have peanut oil so I used vegetable oil and it worked. I will have peanut oil when I make it again.
    Thank you for adding the Jump To Recipe option.

  2. This was a huge hit at my house!! Really mind-blowing!

  3. I mean this whole recipe was absolutely fantastic. So authentic.