Nashville-style Hot and Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwiches worthy of its name and iconic reputation! Flavored with a sizzling hot sauce and spice blend that penetrate the crispy coating, and then paired with a cool, herby, tangy sour cream ranch dressing, these spicy fried chicken sandwiches are known for two things – heat and flavor!
Fried chicken ranks very highly on the list of favorite comfort food for most people, without a doubt. And why not? When done right, it’s a glorious marriage of flavors and textures.
I started making my own fried chicken when I used to live in Lismore (in Australia), because the KFC there was just too bland to justify parting with my money over it. Plus, making it home meant that I could spice it up however I wanted, and do some experimenting along the way. One result of that would be this crunchy, crispy fried chicken marinated with all the flavors of bloody mary and scotch, that I shared recently.
Thankfully, Mr K isn’t the biggest KFC fan either, and prefers homemade crunchy fried chicken. And in our quest to find more amazing fried chicken flavors and recipes, I came across Hattie B’s Nashville Hot Chicken! Everything about that hot chicken called out to me, and I just HAD to make it. And things just haven’t been the same again around these parts.
After tweaking it to our taste, and making it over and over again – this is the ONLY Spicy Fried Chicken that I see myself making for the rest of our lives! And to make this recipe that much more tantalizing, I went ahead and also made Nashville-style Hot and Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwiches with pickles and sour cream ranch dressing! So PIN this recipe, bookmark it, save it, do whatever you have to, so that you don’t lose it. ‘Cause if you love spicy fried chicken, then this is your jam.
And as far as spicy fried chicken go, I should know what I’m talking about. Having lived in Sri Lanka, the only fried chicken there is spicy. The heat/spice level there ranges from mild to hot, which for the rest of the world would be hot to burning hot. So when I say this is the best spicy fried chicken, I’m not playing! 🙂
But hey, the good news is that you can change the spice level from extra hot to just hot, by reducing the amount of cayenne pepper. If you want just mildly spicy fried chicken however… this isn’t the recipe for you, I’m afraid.
While Hattie B’s hot chicken recipe is what I fell in love with, hot chicken was reportedly first invented by Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack in Nashville, TN. It’s a Nashville classic and as much as I’d love to talk about the history of it, I feel like these guys do a much better job of it here.
You can use either chicken breast or chicken thighs for this recipe. I chose chicken breast because it’s just my personal preference. However, with chicken breast, you have to be a little careful not to overcook the chicken. You won’t have that problem with chicken thighs however, so you’re welcome to use whichever cut you prefer.
Here are some tips on how to get PERFECT Spicy Fried Chicken.
You need to heat the oil that you use for deep frying to about 380-400° F. This is because the oil temperature drops when you add anything to it. By heating the oil to a higher temperature, you ensure that the oil will reach the optimum temperature of 350°F/180°C when you add the pieces of chicken to it.
When cooked at this optimum temperature, the chicken will be crispy while being as less oily as possible.
This is also why you should NEVER overcrowd the pot either. If the oil temperate drops below 350°F/180°C for too long, the chicken will be oily and soggy.
To drain the chicken, place paper towels on a tray and then a wire rack over that. The fried chicken pieces can be kept on the wire rack, to drain, while maintaining their crispness.
The hot sauce for this spicy fried chicken is BEST brushed on the chicken while it’s still hot! It tastes better and the spices have a chance to really penetrate the crispy coating too. Since the sauce is fat based, and applied while the chicken is hot, it keeps the coating crispy as well.
I particularly LOVED pairing this hot and spicy fried chicken with the cool ranch dressing that I made with sour cream! It’s full of herbs, and is cool and tangy and is just a heavenly pairing with the hot spicy fried chicken.
- 2 Chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup of milk
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1- 2 tbsp Sriracha
- 1 ½ cups of flour
- ¼ tsp of salt
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- ¼ cup butter
- 2 tbsp bacon fat (or use all butter, or all lard)
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp paprika (use 2 tbsps, if you're only using 1 tbsp cayenne pepper)
- 2 ½ tbsp cayenne pepper (use 1 tbsp if you like it less spicy)
- ½ tsp cumin
- 1 tsp allspice
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp black pepper
- Salt to taste
- Oil for deep frying
- 8 thick slices of white bread or 4 burger buns, toasted lightly
- Dill pickles
- Shredded red cabbage and carrots for the colesalw (optional)
- Ranch dressing or sour cream ranch (see below for recipe)
- 1 cup of sour cream
- 1 tbsp chopped dill
- 1 tbsp chopped chives
- 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp paprika
- Salt and pepper
- Halve the two chicken breast pieces and pound each piece until it's about 1 cm thick.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of each piece.
- Mix the ingredients for the egg mix (for dredging). Set aside.
- Mix the ingredients for the flour mix. Set aside.
- Take a piece of chicken and coat it with the flour mix. Then dip it in the egg mix to coat and once more in the flour mix to coat.
- Set it on a wire rack (or on a plate that's sprinkled with flour).
- Heat the oil to about 380°F in a deep, heavy bottomed saucepan.
- Fry the chicken pieces (I only fry 2 pieces at a time to prevent overcrowding) for about 6 minutes, until the chicken turns golden brown and the internal temperature is at about 165°F.
- Place the chicken on a wire rack (the chicken can also be kept in a warm oven to keep it warm).
- While the chicken is frying, place all the ingredients for the hot sauce in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat to melt the butter and mix all the ingredients to form a paste.
- Once all ingredients are mixed, keep it warm until the chicken is fried.
- Brush the hot sauce generously over the fried chicken.
- Place all the ingredients in a small food processor and pulse to mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste (add more lemon juice if needed too).
- Optional - mix some of the dressing with shredded cabbage and carrots to make a coleslaw.
- Place one piece of spicy fried chicken on a burger bun. Top with dill pickles and sour cream ranch dressing and serve with coleslaw.
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