Nashville Chicken, a spicy and flavorful dish, originates from Nashville, Tennessee. This Southern classic is known for its crispy exterior and fiery spice blend, making it a favorite among chicken lovers. Unlike typical fried chicken, Nashville Chicken is coated in a spicy paste after frying, giving it a rich and unique flavor that sets it apart.

nashville chicken


Chicken and Marinade

  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs
  • 4 drumsticks
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (recommended: Frank's RedHot)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Spicy Seasoning Blend

  • 1/2 cup lard or vegetable oil (for the paste)
  • 3 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 4 cups vegetable oil (for frying)

Suggested Sides

  • White bread slices
  • Pickle chips


Step 1: Marinate the Chicken

  1. Combine Buttermilk and Hot Sauce: In a large bowl, mix the buttermilk and hot sauce until well combined.
  2. Season the Chicken: Add salt and black pepper to the chicken pieces, ensuring they are evenly coated.
  3. Marinate: Submerge the chicken pieces in the buttermilk mixture, covering them completely. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

Step 2: Make the Spicy Seasoning Blend

  1. Combine Dry Ingredients: In a heatproof bowl, mix cayenne pepper, brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt.
  2. Prepare the Lard/Oil: Heat the lard or vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until it melts and becomes hot.
  3. Create the Paste: Carefully pour the hot lard/oil over the spice mixture, stirring until a smooth paste forms. Set aside.


Step 1: Bread the Chicken

  1. Prepare the Breading: In a large shallow dish, combine flour, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper.
  2. Coat the Chicken: Remove the chicken from the marinade, allowing excess buttermilk to drip off. Dredge each piece in the seasoned flour mixture, pressing lightly to ensure an even coating. Place coated chicken on a wire rack and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.

Step 2: Fry the Chicken

  1. Heat the Oil: In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the vegetable oil to 350°F (175°C). Use a thermometer to maintain a consistent temperature.
  2. Fry the Chicken: Working in batches, carefully lower the chicken pieces into the hot oil. Fry for 12-15 minutes, turning occasionally, until the chicken is golden brown and crispy, and the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
  3. Drain the Chicken: Transfer the fried chicken to a wire rack set over a baking sheet to drain excess oil.

Step 3: Add the Spice

  1. Apply the Spicy Paste: Using a brush, generously coat each piece of fried chicken with the spicy seasoning paste, ensuring all sides are covered.


  1. Plate the Chicken: Serve the Nashville Chicken on slices of white bread, with pickle chips on top.
  2. Suggested Sides: Complement your Nashville Chicken with classic Southern sides such as coleslaw, mac and cheese, or potato salad.


Making authentic Nashville Chicken at home is a rewarding culinary experience. With its crispy crust and spicy kick, this dish is sure to impress. Follow these steps to bring a taste of Nashville to your kitchen. We encourage you to share your results and feedback with us—happy cooking!

Feel free to reach out with any questions or share your Nashville Chicken creations with us. Enjoy!

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