Nashville Hot Chicken Sliders

Nashville hot chicken sliders are always a favorite at gatherings or dinners with the kids. This recipe combines spicy chicken meatballs stuffed with blue cheese and a tiny bun with pickles and hot sauce.

Nashville hot chicken sliders, piled up on a plate with sesame seeds and hot sauce.

Adapted from Trisha Yearwood | Trisha’s Kitchen | Mariner Books, 2021

Garth and I moved back to Nashville in 2014. I love to keep snacks on hand, so you’ll usually find some kind of dip or finger food on the ready for when friends drop over. My love of Nashville shows up in some hot chicken appetizers that are quick to make and easy to snack on!–Trisha Yearwood

HOW MANY SLIDERS SHOULD I SERVE PER PERSON?

It all depends on what else you’re serving. For the main dish, 3 to 4 sliders are recommended. With a big spread of other foods, especially for something like a table full of snack-sized appetizers, you can count on probably about 2 per person.

Nashville Hot Chicken Sliders

Nashville hot chicken sliders, piled up on a plate with sesame seeds and hot sauce.
Long ago in Nashville, the only place to get hot chicken was Prince’s Hot Chicken on Ewing Drive. These days, hot chicken is all the rage in Nashville, and you can find it in a lot of restaurants. I love it all, but Prince’s is still the gold standard for me. These sliders are my nod to Ms. André Prince Jeffries, who still serves up the best hot chicken I’ve ever tasted!
Trisha Yearwood

Prep 15 mins
Cook 25 mins
Total 40 mins
Entree
Southern
10 to 12 sliders
237 kcal
No ratings yet
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Equipment

  • Toothpicks

Ingredients 

For the meatballs

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 tablespoon Louisiana hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 ounces blue cheese cut into 12 – 1/4 inch (6 mm) cubes
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil

For the sauce

  • 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Louisiana hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

For the sliders

Directions
 

Make the meatballs

  • Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, hot sauce, brown sugar, paprika, salt, black pepper, cayenne, and garlic, and use your hands to gently mix.
  • Divvy meat mixture into 10 to 12 portions, then, using wet hands, form into meatballs. (Meat sticks to dry hands.) Push a piece of cheese into each meatball and pinch the meat mixture to enclose the cheese.
  • In a large ovenproof sauté pan over medium heat, warm the butter and vegetable oil until combined and shimmering, 2 to 4 minutes. Add meatballs and brown on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes.

    TESTER TIP: Flatten the meatballs slightly before baking to stop them from rolling off the slider bun when serving.

  • Transfer pan to the oven and bake until the meatballs are cooked through to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C), about 10 minutes.

Make the sauce

  • In a small saucepan over high heat, combine butter, hot sauce, honey, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously, then reduce heat to medium and cook until the mixture comes together, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, add garlic powder, salt, and pepper and stir until smooth.
  • Remove meatballs from the oven and pour the sauce over them. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with parsley. Add a pickle chip to each bun, then set a meatball on top. Skewer with a toothpick. Serve warm.
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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 237kcal (12%)Carbohydrates: 24g (8%)Protein: 12g (24%)Fat: 10g (15%)Saturated Fat: 5g (31%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 49mg (16%)Sodium: 809mg (35%)Potassium: 297mg (8%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 10g (11%)Vitamin A: 325IU (7%)Vitamin C: 11mg (13%)Calcium: 66mg (7%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

These sliders were totally delicious, but maybe a bit sweet to be “Nashville hot”. Or maybe I should have used a different hot sauce? It definitely seemed a bit more Buffalo than Nashville to me.

Nashville hot chicken slider on a white plate, with a toothpick and barbecue sauce.

Regardless, I will be making them again because they were just so tasty! I would recommend slightly flattening the meatballs to have them better sit on the bun.

A tray of these Nashville hot chicken sliders would be the perfect treat to have while watching a football game (I’m not a fan myself but love the whole football food culture which I associate with the start of the fall season). Tasty, spicy, and fun to eat, these little sliders were a snap to make.

I did flatten them out a bit before frying so that they wouldn’t roll off the bun and I also used only half the sauce; that seemed like a lot of butter for those 12 little sliders. I served these with tater tots and a bit of blue cheese dressing on the side for dipping along with an ice-cold beer.

These Nashville hot chicken sliders were fantastic and incredibly easy to make. The sauce is the perfect balance of heat with a touch of sweetness. It paired perfectly with the buns and the bread butter pickles and to my surprise, the blue cheese in the middle was a tasty treat. It made 12 perfect meatballs and could easily serve 4 people. 

These meatballs are like the whole Buffalo chicken wing experience in one package. You’ve got the spicy chicken, the cool blue cheese altogether. We added a little extra blue cheese to the top because, blue cheese. I liked the touch of sweetness in the sauce but next time I might kick up the heat a little more.

The recipe was pretty easy. If you use a pound of chicken and make 12 meatballs, they will be small and it will be a little tricky getting the (small) piece of blue cheese in there. But I got the hang of it pretty quickly. The sauce came together quickly but then it separated and I wasn’t sure if I’d left it on the heat too long. The flavors were great, however. Hopefully next time I make this dish I’ll have time to do the homemade buns and pickles. But the meatballs are the star of this show anyway and they were really, really good.

Ding! Ding! Ding! This recipe is a winner! These little flavor bombs are so good they made me want to throw a party. I’ll be making these for football gatherings, late-night New Years’ Eve snacking, summer get-togethers…

I was thrilled when I bit into these Nashville Hot Chicken Sliders and found them to be super flavorful and not too hot. Yessssss! I was worried they were going to be “blow your head off” hot, but they weren’t. I used Louisiana Brand hot sauce and served the sliders on mini brioche buns with bread and butter pickle chips. The sweetness of the pickles paired nicely with the heat. I also spooned some of the sauce on the buns for extra flavor.

I’ll change two things about this recipe going forward. First, I’ll gently smash my meatballs – just a bit. That way, every bite will get both chicken and bun. Second, I’ll double the recipe for the meatballs. I had enough leftover sauce that I think I could coat a second batch. Everyone went wild for these – and I already want more!

I am a big fan of meatballs. I have many different versions of meatballs in my playbook. I use different meats making meatballs from many different cultures. I wanted to try these Nashville hot chicken sliders, thinking that it would be a bit different from most of the others in my grab bag of meatballs. I felt that since the recipe used ground chicken, it may be a bit healthier for us. Always a plus. I welcomed what may have brought back the memory of Buffalo chicken wings, thinking about the chicken, the hot sauce, and the blue cheese. The flavors were, indeed, warm and welcoming.

After the first couple of sliders, we ended up dipping the buns in the sauce before building the sliders. I recommend that highly. It was very tasty indeed.

Originally published October 22, 2021

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