Nashville Chicken

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This Nashville Hot chicken is juicy, crispy and delicious fried chicken brushed with hot sauce for a delicious dinner. Using the Air Fryer means the chicken is super crispy without the mess and effort of deep frying.

Nashville Chicken with Pickles on a white plate

Nashville Hot Chicken Recipe

Some of us are well-versed in all things Air Fryer and some are just coming around to it’s awesome-ness. No matter if you’re a novice or an expert, this recipe will be really easy for you. (Almost all of the Air Fryer recipes are really easy)

The flavor is incredible and the best part is that it’s cooked so quickly in the Air Fryer. That has always been one of my favorite things about this fantastic appliance. I love any way I can make meal time quicker and easier.

What is Nashville Hot Chicken?

You might recognize the name Hot Chicken from all kinds of restaurants and has been popular in Nashville for decades. Nashville Hot Chicken is traced back to the original Prince’s Hot Chicken that has been around for over 70 years. Today, people still line up in long lines at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack even before they opens their doors to get their spicy fried chicken.

Ingredients You Will Need:

  • Boneless Chicken Breast Tenders – you can cut down down a chicken breast if that’s what you have, the tenders just make it a bit easier.
  • Salt and Pepper – for flavor.
  • Hot Sauce – pick your favorite one.
  • Pickle juice – just pour the brine right from the pickle jar!
  • All purpose flour – to coat the chicken.
  • Egg – also for coating the chicken.
  • Buttermilk – this helps tenderize the chicken and adds great flavor. 
  • Cooking Spray – you’ll want olive oil cooking spray so the breading doesn’t stick to the Air Fryer wire rack.

Sauce ingredients:

  • Spicescayenne pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika.
  • Dark brown sugar – the sweetness adds just the right balance to the spices.
  • Olive Oil – this will be the base for the sauce.
Nashville Chicken with Pickles on a white plate

How To Make Nashville Chicken In The Air Fryer

This Nashville fried chicken recipe has a group of simple steps: the buttermilk marinade, the homemade spice rub, the buttermilk egg wash, the breading mixture, and the homemade Nashville hot chicken sauce. It might sound a bit complicated, but it’s very easy to follow.

  1. Coat the chicken. Toss it in a bag with the salt and pepper, hot sauce and pickle juice. Cover the chicken tightly with some plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for an hour to take on the flavors.
  2. Make the dredge. Put flour into one shallow bowl, then in another whisk up the buttermilk, eggs and hot sauce.
  3. Dredge the chicken. First, toss each piece of chicken in flour mixture to coat it, then the milk mixture, then back to the flour.
  4. Cook the chicken for about 5-7 on each side until it’s that perfect golden brown color.

How To Make Nashville Chicken Sauce

  • To make this delicious, hot spicy sauce, just whisk together the spices, the brown sugar, and the olive oil. Then, pour it right over the chicken tenders.
Nashville Chicken with Pickles on a white plate on a wood cutting board

Tips & Tricks

  • Don’t have Buttermilk? No problem! You can make homemade buttermilk for this recipe by adding 3 tablespoons vinegar to a measuring glass and add enough milk (not skim) to equal 3 cups. Give it a stir and let sit 5-10 minutes before using.
  • Too Spicy? Omit the hot sauce and cut the Cayenne pepper to 1 Tbsp. You’ll still have delicious flavorful chicken without such a huge kick.
  • Prep: The chicken can be prepared up to the point of frying and kept in the refrigerator. Let the chicken sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before frying.
  • Storing: Nashville fried chicken should be stored in an airtight container and placed in the refrigerator.  Place a piece of parchment paper in between the chicken (if layering) and it’s good for 3 to 5 days.

What To Serve With Nashville Fried Chicken:

Serve this delicious hot chicken with a side of coleslaw, a pickle, maybe some mac and cheese or potato salad… whatever sides sound great to you. You can also pile them onto a bun for a delicious hot chicken sandwich. However you serve these, everyone will enjoy them.

Three Nashville Fried Chicken Sandwiches on a slate tray

More Delicious Air Fryer Recipes

Nashville Chicken with Pickles on a white plate on a wood cutting board
4.98 from 99 votes

Nashville Chicken

I’m obsessed with this Nashville Chicken in the Air Fryer. The flavor is incredible and the best part is that it’s cooked so quickly in the air fryer. 
Servings: 8 servings
Prep: 3 hours 20 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 3 hours 30 minutes


  • 2 pounds boneless chicken breast tenders
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons pickle juice
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • cooking spray olive oil



  • In a large bowl, toss together the chicken, 1 tablespoon hot sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1 tablespoons of pickle juice until well combined.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Pour the flour into a bowl and mix in remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
  • Whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and remaining tablespoon of hot sauce and pickle juice in a separate bowl.
  • To dredge the chicken, first place it in the flour toss each piece to evenly coat.
  • Then place it into the buttermilk mixture, and then back into the flour.
  • Place the breaded chicken on a baking sheet in a single layer.
  • Continue to finish the other tenders.
  • Let air dry for 10 minutes.
  • Set your Air Fryer to the chicken setting or 375 degrees and spray your basket with olive oil cooking spray.
  • Place your tenders in the Air Fryer dish (in batches) in a single layer and lightly coat with cooking spray.
  • Cook for 5-6 minutes or as your Air Fryer sets on its chicken settings. Then turn over the chicken and coat with cooking spray. Cook until golden brown 5-7 minutes longer.


  • To make the hot spicy sauce, whisk together the spices, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup of olive oil until evenly combined.
  • Immediately pour it over the fried chicken tenders.
  • Serve with pickles.

Last Step:

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Serving: 8g | Calories: 225kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 101mg | Sodium: 555mg | Potassium: 507mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 814IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg


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15 comments on “Nashville Chicken”

  1. 5 stars
    Ok just made this and it is AMAZING, love the flavor!!! Definitely make the sauce with it! I went a little short on the cayenne and it’s still super spicy but yummy

  2. 4 stars
    These had good taste but ALL of my crust stuck to the air fryer !! I don’t know why , yours looks so crusty and crispy !

  3. 5 stars
    Very delicious but also very spicy. Next time I will cut the hot sauce and cayenne in half. Thank you for posting! We will make it again

  4. 5 stars
    This is seriously our absolute favorite air fryer recipe!  Every time I tell my husband I’m going to make it, he gets as giddy as a kid on Christmas morning. We put it on toasted buns with mayo and sriracha pickles and it’s delish! 

  5. 5 stars
    It was good! Im new to the air fryer and I used the air fryer in my Ninja foodi. I am obsessed with the sauce! One question, in the directions you put 1 Tbls of pickle juice in the marinade but no instructions on where to put the other tablespoon. I mixed in with egg. Was that right? I’ll be making this again.

    I’m obsessed with the sauce. 

  6. Avatar photo
    Tracey White

    This sounds like a great recipe, however, I’m from Australia, can you tell me an Aussie equivalent to pickle juice?

    1. Base:  
      One cup of water
      1/2 cup of white vinegar
      kosher salt as much as 2 tbsp
      Then add various combinations of spices like peppercorn, mustard seed, dill….
      You can google how to make pickle juice for all sorts of recipes.

  7. Like the other commenter, I also only used 3tbsp of cayenne and thought the sauce was still way too spicy (coming from a spice lover). That said, the overall taste and texture was fabulous. Will make again with a modified sauce recipe.

  8. 4 stars
    I just made your Nashville Chicken and I changed a few things. I substituted almond milk for butter milk and  egg whites for 3 eggs. The chicken tasted amazing! Now for the sauce, 6 tablespoons of Cayenne for only 2 lbs of chicken is way pushing it. I used only 3 and it cleared my sinuses. I love spicy food but it can’t be so over powering that it masks the taste of the food. If I were going to serve this for company then I’d use even less. I’ve just never seen a recipe that calls for that much Cayenne in anything, and I’m from the south. Other than that, I’d highly recommend this recipe. Good job and thanks

  9. Avatar photo
    Pete (female)

    I bought an air fryer but have not used yet. I will try the chicken tender recipe. Hopefully you will share more air-fryer recipes in the future. Thanks

    1. Avatar photo
      Marge Yearsley

      Where were these air fryer when I was a single working Mom with 3 hungry boys when I came home from work…you ladies don’t know how easy you have it today!! 88 year old grandmom today…sorry ladies, life is hard either way!!  but it does get better!!! I KEEP SAYING WHEN! WHEN! WHEN!….I’ll take the life with  my 3 hungry young boys….and a “AIR FRYER!! any time!!