Nashville Hot Fried Chicken

Nashville hot fried chicken boasts just the right level of heat which it takes from a bath of buttermilk and habanero sauce. It’s the style served at Prince’s Hot Chicken down South. Here’s how to make it at home.

A platter of Nashville hot fried chicken with a jar of whipped butter in the background.

Hot and spicy enough to make you holler. That’s what we think about this Nashville hot fried chicken. Which is exactly how they like their fried chicken in Nashville. The folks who crafted this recipe rely on Tabasco hot sauce for the Nashville-style hot chicken experience. But that doesn’t mean you can’t tweak tradition if you fancy an alternate hot sauce. It’s all good. Really, really good.–Renee Schettler

Nashville Hot Fried Chicken

  • Quick Glance
  • (2)
  • 40 M
  • 55 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 2 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Southern Living: No Taste Like Home cookbook

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Special Equipment: Deep-fry or candy or instant-read thermometer



Whisk together the buttermilk and hot sauce in a large bowl or a baking dish. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours, turning the pieces occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Place a wire rack in a roasting pan or on a rimmed baking sheet.

Pour enough oil in a large, deep skillet to reach a depth of 1 inch. Heat the oil to 325°F (163°C).

Combine the flour, salt, pepper, and onion powder in a shallow bowl.

Remove the chicken from the buttermilk mixture, allowing any excess liquid to drip off, and discard the mixture. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess.

Fry the drumsticks in batches, turning occasionally, until lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the fried chicken to the wire rack. Bake the chicken until cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes (or, if your drumsticks are particularly large, a few minutes longer). Don’t forget to pass the napkins—lots of napkins. Originally published April 29, 2014.

Print RecipeBuy the Southern Living: No Taste Like Home cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

I am in love with this Nashville hot fried chicken recipe. It came out of the oven nice and crispy. I tested this recipe with Frank's Original Hot Sauce, and it wasn't hot enough for me, so I doused it with more hot sauce. I will be keeping this in my repertoire of recipes.

This Nashville hot fried chicken recipe is a GREAT chicken dish. I stuck to the recipe exactly and the results were stellar. I used a sauce called El Yucateco. If you like HOT, you will LOVE this!


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  1. While my chicken had great flavor my coating was not one bit crispy. After marinating the chicken I did let it drain in a colander for a good 15 minutes. The chicken browned well. Next time I will pat the chicken dry with paper towels before coating with the flour mixture.

    1. Gosh Lisa, I’m so sorry that you had that problem. Patting the chicken dry might help, I would also double check the calibration of your thermometer. The oil temperature is so important as is not crowding the pieces of chicken. Try frying one or two pieces first and see if they crisp up.

  2. Compliments to Southern Living for providing an “interesting” recipe that gives chicken lovers a spicy angle on Nashville style hot fried chicken.

    PCHS enjoys reading all the comments.

    Peace, Love, & Hot Chicken Grease!

  3. “The folks who crafted this recipe rely on habanero sauce for the authentic Nashville hot chicken experience. (Wanna know exactly which hot sauce they use? Tabasco.)”

    Oops. Tabasco isn’t made with habanero’s.

    1. You can get the habanero sauce at Tabasco‘s website. They have everything Tobasco, including the tiny sample bottles, silver bottle holders, aprons, etc. I’ve been buying from them for years online.

    2. You really must try Tabasco’s Habanero sauce, bkhuna. It is a bit harder to find than regular Tabasco but worth the search.

  4. David–I’ve never had to make Nashville hot chicken since all of the good restaurants that feature it are within 5 miles of my house. The “original” is Prince’s [see below–ed.]. Comes in mild (scortching), hot (makes your hair bleed) and extra hot (thermonuclear) and I like them all. White bread and dill pickles on the side. When a well-known food journalist tried the hot, his comment was the chicken told him, “I’m gonna die today but I’m takin’ you m***** f*****s with me!!” Enough said. Most of the Nashville places also do breasts, thighs, and wings in addition to drumsticks. Another really great place is Hattie B’s–two locations. Not quite as spicy but yummy and great sides, too. The pimento cheese mac and cheese is wonderful.

    1. Michael K., thank you for your colorful description of the heat levels. I love “makes your hair bleed.” Perhaps when I get down to Nashville you can lead me unto my death, too!

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