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Air-Fryer Nashville Hot Chicken

I live in Tennessee and absolutely love our state's famous Nashville hot chicken. To make cooking it easier, I thought I’d try air-frying. I’m so glad I did—this Nashville hot chicken recipe is almost better than the original. —April Lane, Greeneville, Tennessee
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. Cook: 10 min./batch
  • Makes
    6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons dill pickle juice, divided
  • 2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 pounds chicken tenderloins
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Dill pickle slices

Directions

  • In a bowl or shallow dish, combine 1 tablespoon pickle juice, 1 tablespoon hot sauce and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add chicken and turn to coat. Refrigerate, covered, at least 1 hour. Drain, discarding any marinade.
  • Preheat air fryer to 375°. In a shallow bowl, mix flour, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper. In another shallow bowl, whisk egg, buttermilk, and the remaining 1 tablespoon pickle juice and 1 tablespoon hot sauce. Dip chicken in flour to coat both sides; shake off excess. Dip in egg mixture, then again in flour mixture.
  • In batches, arrange chicken in a single layer on well-greased tray in air-fryer basket; spritz with cooking spray. Cook until golden brown, 5-6 minutes. Turn; spritz with cooking spray. Cook until golden brown, 5-6 minutes longer.
  • Whisk together oil, cayenne pepper, brown sugar and seasonings; pour over hot chicken and toss to coat. Serve with pickles.

Air-Fryer Nashville Hot Chicken Tips

What makes Nashville hot chicken hot?

The secret's in the hot sauce and the breading. Nashville hot chicken is coated in spices and hot sauce before it's fried (or air-fried) and then covered in additional hot sauce. This Nashville hot chicken recipe gets its heat from hot pepper sauce, cayenne pepper, paprika and chili powder.

What does Nashville hot chicken taste like?

It's spicy, of course! But while the spice level can vary, the flavor complexity does not. Most Nashville hot chicken recipes use a healthy dose of seasonings. Many also include pickle juice, as well as brown sugar for a hint of sweetness.

What is the original Nashville hot chicken?

Prince's Hot Chicken claims to be the original source of the dish, but lots of restaurants in and around Nashville serve their own versions. Now, even nationwide fast-food chains are spreading the sensation everywhere.

What goes with Nashville hot chicken?

Traditionally, Nashville hot chicken is served with white bread and pickles to help balance the spicy chicken. But you can also eat it with cottage cheese, this Southern Potato Salad, french fries, tater tots or ranch dressing.

Research contributed by Elizabeth Harris
Nutrition Facts
5 ounces cooked chicken: 413 calories, 21g fat (3g saturated fat), 96mg cholesterol, 170mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 1g fiber), 39g protein.

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Reviews

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Average Rating:
  • justmbeth
    Jan 18, 2021

    We made this last year and absolutely loved it.

  • BBiscuit
    Sep 2, 2020

    Awwwww-some!! It's been 3 hours since I've eaten this meal and I'm still thinking about it!! We loved the drenching sauce, sweet -heat is our favorite. I tweaked the recipe a bit to give the coating more seasoning. I made a bowl of seasoning using 1t cajun seasoning, 1T garlic powder, 1T onion powder, 1t pepper - the proportions are "to taste". I was using boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into 1" strips. In a bread pan (cuz it better fits the chicken strips), I whisked the wet ingredients, the hot sauce, and pickle juice, then I added 1T of the seasoning mixture. In another bowl went the flour and the remainder of the seasoning to make the dredge. Making sure I could SEE the seasoning, I kept adding the cajun seasoning to the dredge until the flour turned a bit pink. I settled a cooling rack over a cookie sheet, then I went backwards from the instructions, not wanting to make the flour dredge try to stick to the wet dip on wet meat. Dredge, dip, then dredge and put the coated tenders on the cooling rack to set the I have a coating. I have a brand new Black & Decker Crisp-N-Bake and this chicken was its maiden voyage. I cooked the chicken 15 minutes, flipped and sprayed and another 15 minutes. I made the drenching sauce exactly to the recipe, tossed the cooked chicken in the drench and oooooohhh. This chicken is so good. Thank you! We are very grateful for this recipe. I served it with dill pickle slices, cole slaw, potato chips and South Carolina peach slices.

  • Milt
    Aug 16, 2020

    I haven't made this yet, but by pouring the oil over it at the end it seems to me you would diminish the crispiness of the chicken. I will be trying it with "tweaks."

  • Phinius J
    Aug 5, 2020

    I think a little less cayenne and brown sugar might be better. But, I will be making this again, with some tweaks.

  • Todd
    Jun 6, 2020

    I have made this recipe several time each time adding and subtracting. I add a little more spice to the dry mix.... use thighs and have no issues with browning in my airfryer (which is small)

  • Jodie
    Mar 8, 2020

    Not good at all. The breading doesn’t brown at all and is very clumpy... would not make again.

  • Millie
    Mar 8, 2020

    I made this. I used the 1/2 cup of olive oil as part of the marinade. I put the salt and pepper in the flour and used swerve brown sugar with the cayenne, chili powder, paprika and garlic powder. I used boneless chicken thighs. And it worked out well. My even better if I’d myself flipped the chicken to get crispy ness on both sides. I am new to air fryer but glad I invested in one

  • j.c.
    Jan 27, 2020

    No comment left