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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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