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

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

These tasty, easy-to-make chicken sliders had our testers happily licking their fingers. Greg C. describes them as “the whole Buffalo chicken wing experience in one package,” and Jennifer Mallock said they were “so good they made [her] want to throw a party.

What You’ll Need to Make This

  • Ground chicken–For the best flavor, use a mixture of white and dark meat.
  • Louisiana hot sauce–Using Louisiana-style hot sauce will give these sliders a Buffalo flavor, but feel free to swap in your favorite hot sauce.
  • Blue cheese–Use mild blue cheese for these sliders, as a strong cheese may overpower the flavor. Danish blue or Gorgonzola are good choices.

How to Make This Recipe

  1. Make the meatballs. Heat the oven to 375°F. Combine the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and mix gently. Divvy the mixture into 10 to 12 portions, roll into balls, and push a piece of cheese into the center of each meatball.
  2. Cook the meatballs. Sauté the meatballs in an ovenproof skillet in the oil and butter until browned, then transfer to the oven and bake until cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F.
  3. Make the sauce. Heat the butter, hot sauce, honey, and brown sugar in a saucepan over high heat. Simmer until the sauce comes together, then remove from the heat and stir in the garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  4. Assemble the sliders. Pour the sauce over the meatballs, toss to coat, and sprinkle with fresh parsley. Place a pickle chip and meatball inside each slider bun, then skewer with a toothpick.

Common Questions

Do I have to use Louisiana Hot Sauce? Can I use a different kind?

Yearwood encourages using Louisiana Hot Sauce in this recipe but admits that you can use whatever you prefer. She uses it because she loves it, but it does bring a bit of Buffalo wing flavor to the sliders. If you have a hot sauce that you just adore, please go ahead and sub it in–we know hot sauce loyalty runs deep.

How do I keep these warm during a party?

If you’re planning to put them on a buffet, cover them with foil and keep them in a warm oven until right before serving. If you want to keep them warm on the buffet, they’ll do well in a low-temperature chafing dish. If you’re worried about the buns getting soggy, you can toast them lightly before assembling them.

What should I serve these with?

These are perfect game day fare, alongside sweet and spicy chicken wings, potato chips, tater tot nachos, and Texas-style chili. If you’d prefer them as more of a meal, serve them with a basket of shoestring fries and a plate of raw veggies.

Why are my meatballs tough?

Overmixing or overcooking your meatballs can make them dry and tough. When shaping them, you want to roll them firmly enough that they stick together but don’t pack them tightly. Bake them until just cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F.

Helpful Tips

  • When shaping your meatballs, use wet hands.
  • To stop your meatballs from rolling off the slider buns, flatten them slightly before cooking.

More Great Slider Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

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

Nashville Hot Chicken Sliders

5 from 1 vote
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!
David Leite
CourseMains
CuisineSouthern
Servings10 to 12 sliders
Calories237 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time40 minutes

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

Instructions 

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. 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.
  • Slide the pan into 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.

Notes

  1. Shaping the meatballs–When shaping your meatballs, use wet hands.
  2. Flatten the meatballs–To stop your meatballs from rolling off the slider buns, flatten them slightly before cooking.
Trisha's Kitchen

Adapted From

Trisha’s Kitchen

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Nutrition

Serving: 1 servingCalories: 237 kcalCarbohydrates: 24 gProtein: 12 gFat: 10 gSaturated Fat: 5 gMonounsaturated Fat: 3 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 49 mgSodium: 809 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 10 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2021 Trisha Yearwood. Photo © 2021 Ben Fink. All rights reserved.

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’d 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 while watching a football game. (I’m not a fan of the game, but I 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 four people. 

These meatballs are like the whole Buffalo chicken wing experience in one package. You’ve got the spicy chicken and the cool blue cheese altogether. We added a little extra blue cheese to the top because, well it’s 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’ll 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 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, I’ll have time to do the homemade buns and pickles next time I make this dish. But the meatballs are the real star of this show.

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 Year’s 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 would 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 in the future, I could coat a second batch. Everyone went wild for these–and I already want more!

I’m a big fan of meatballs. I have many different versions of meatballs in my playbook. Often, I use different meats making meatballs from many different cultures.

We 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. Since the recipe used ground chicken, I thought it might be a bit healthier for us. Always a plus.

We 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.




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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