Tennessee Hot Fried Chicken

A spicy, fat-based pepper sauce adds tons of heat while keeping your fried chicken crunchy. For a milder option, use less cayenne, or don’t coat the chicken as thoroughly.

Serves: 6Prep: 20 minutesCook: 40 minutesTotal: 1 hourDifficulty: Easy

Serves: 6


  • 1 whole chicken, cut up and breasts split in half (10 pieces)
  • 3 tablespoons salt, divided
  • 2 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1⁄4 cup hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Ground Red Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1⁄2 cup canola or peanut oil, plus more for frying
  • Pickle chips, for serving


  • In a bowl, toss chicken pieces with 1 tablespoon salt. Refrigerate covered, at least 3 hours or overnight.
  • In a wide, heavy bottom pan or deep fryer, heat oil to 325°F.
  • In a bowl, whisk together flour, pepper and remaining 2 tablespoons salt.
  • In another bowl or pie plate, whisk together buttermilk, eggs and hot sauce.
  • Place chicken pieces in buttermilk mixture, then dip pieces in the flour mixture, shaking off excess. Repeat both steps once more, making sure to coat thoroughly.
  • Allow to stand about 15 minutes to set the breading.
  • Meanwhile, in a bowl mix together oil, cayenne, brown sugar, paprika and garlic powder. Set aside.
  • Place a cooling rack over a baking pan. Set aside.
  • Fry chicken in batches until golden brown and internal temperature reaches 165°F, about 6-8 minutes per side depending on size. Remove and place in prepared pan. If chicken is getting too dark before reaching the proper internal temperature, place pan inside an oven set to 325°F to finish cooking through.
  • Brush chicken generously with spicy oil mixture.
  • Serve chicken on top of white bread slices with pickle chips.
  • Refrigerate leftovers.
  • Tip: Using hot frying oil in the spice mixture helps to bloom the spices to bring out more flavor. Make sure to combine in a heatproof vessel.