8 Clever Ways To Serve Nashville Hot Chicken Without A Bun

Nashville hot chicken
Nashville hot chicken - Static Media / Shutterstock

Legend has it that the origin of Nashville's signature hot chicken can actually be traced back to a lover's quarrel. The original recipe is said to have been created for Thornton Prince. Nashville hot chicken was actually the creation of Price's girlfriend back in the 1920s, who was not too happy with his womanizing ways. The extremely spicy chicken was meant to burn his mouth as punishment. Unfortunately (or fortunately for us) her plan didn't end up working, because Prince found the spicy chicken to be delicious instead. He and his brother were so inspired by it that they started a restaurant in Nashville to serve it, which is still run by their descendants today, now called Prince's Hot Chicken Shack.

Nashville hot chicken and its signature fiery hot pepper oil are certainly not for the faint of heart. Since the spicy chicken may be overwhelming on its own for some, it is often served in the form of a fried chicken sandwich. The softness of the bun and the crisp brininess of the pickles help to balance out the heat. However, there are also many other ways to enjoy this signature spicy Southern specialty. From salads to pizzas and beyond, check out these other fun and tasty ways to serve up Nashville hot chicken the next time you've got a craving for it.

Read more: 12 Different Ways To Cook Chicken

On Bread

hot chicken white bread pickles
hot chicken white bread pickles - Tatiana Volgutova/Getty Images

Other than on a bun as a sandwich, being served on top of a slice of white bread is the most common way you will find Nashville hot chicken. The white bread is there to help soak up any of the excess grease, chicken fat, and spicy pepper oil that drips off of the chicken. When Nashville hot chicken is served on white bread, it is also always served with pickles, either on the side or on top. The pickles help cool things down and cut the heat. The snappy texture of the pickles also serves as a nice contrast to the crispy, crunchy chicken.

This method of serving is favored by many famous chefs, including Carla Hall. Her recipe relies heavily on paprika and cayenne pepper to bring the heat to the spicy oil and the flour dredge. She also includes a habanero pepper in her chicken's brine to really amp up the spice. Most recipes suggest incorporating spice in every step (brine, dredge, and oil), to ensure the recipe stays true to its original intentions of being as hot and spicy as possible. However, most recipes also include honey and/or brown sugar and butter to the mix to give the chicken a deceptively sweet beginning before you get hit with major heat at the end.

As Tenders

Nashville hot chicken tenders
Nashville hot chicken tenders - Photography By Tonelson/Getty Images

Eating Nashville hot chicken is already a delicious experience, and serving it chicken tender-style just makes the eating experience even easier. Don't worry about cutting into these spicy chicken tenders or eating around bones. But beware, these certainly aren't your kid's menu chicken tenders. This Nashville hot heat is definitely not suitable for the little ones, so keep these away from the kids' table. Don't worry, the adults won't want to leave any behind.

Giving chicken tenders the Nashville hot treatment is super easy and makes a great finger food to prep for parties or game day celebrations. You can follow the exact same process for brining, dredging, frying, and dunking your chicken tenders in spicy oil as you would your traditional chicken thighs. However, you can also take a bit of a shortcut and just mix up some of the spicy oil to drizzle onto plain chicken tenders you already have on hand. This less traditional option will be slightly less spicy than tenders made from scratch with spices in the brine and dredge. But, this method can liven up boring store-bought chicken tenders in a flash for an easy, time-saving lunch or dinner. Don't forget a side of French fries, and of course, some pickles to top it all off.

On A Biscuit

spicy fried chicken on biscuit
spicy fried chicken on biscuit - Bhofack2/Getty Images

Fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits are about as perfect of a match as you can get. Smother your fried chicken in Nashville hot pepper oil, and you've got a Southern chicken in a biscuit sandwich that's on a whole new level. And we aren't the only ones who think so. Popular Nashville biscuit shop Biscuit Love has just such a sandwich on its menu. Called the Princess, the sandwich contains hot chicken as a boneless thigh which is served with pickles, mustard, and honey, on top of a homemade buttermilk biscuit.

Give the recipe a try for yourself the next time you've got buttermilk biscuits on your mind. Just follow your favorite Nashville hot chicken recipe, slice your biscuits in half, add your condiments of choice, and dig in. The soft, pillowy biscuit is great for absorbing the extra spicy oil that drips off of the chicken and makes for a great contrast in texture from the crispy, crunchy chicken coating. This makes for a perfect meal any time of day, including breakfast, when crispy chicken in biscuit sandwiches are usually served. It might be a bit out there, but why not give a spicy start to your day a try? It will certainly start your morning off with a kick.

In A Burrito

chicken burrito half stacked
chicken burrito half stacked - Mixa74/Shutterstock

Spicy chicken and burritos already go hand in hand, so why not give them a Nashville hot twist? Making hot chicken burritos is also a great way to use up leftover Nashville hot chicken. Starting with pre-prepped chicken makes the burrito assembly process a breeze. In addition to your Nashville hot chicken, you will want a creamy coleslaw and some shredded cheese to use inside of your Nashville hot chicken burrito. A quesadilla cheese or Mexican cheese blend will go best with the flavors at play. To continue the spicy theme, you can also use sriracha mayo in your coleslaw to add creaminess without losing too much of the heat.

Once you've prepped your coleslaw, let it sit for a while in the fridge to really soak in all of the flavors. While the coleslaw is resting, you can make your Nashville hot chicken, if you haven't already. Then, get out your tortillas and begin assembling the ingredients. Finally, roll up your burritos and toast them on a griddle for a minute or two to make sure the cheese is warm and melty. While the cheese and coleslaw do bring a nice balance to the heat of the chicken, you can also feel free to use other traditional burrito sides like guac to bring in even more flavors.

In A Salad

chopped crispy chicken salad
chopped crispy chicken salad - Ivanmollov/Getty Images

There's nothing quite like the satisfying crunch of fried chicken in a chopped salad. Take things up a notch and add some heat to the equation by adding in Nashville hot chicken instead. This easy chopped salad makes for a delicious and filling lunch and is the perfect solution for using up leftover Nashville hot chicken in a new way.

Start with a traditional chopped salad base made with a lettuce blend of your choice. From there you can add in a few of your favorite chopped veggies. Some tasty additions include chopped red onion, chopped pickles, chopped tomatoes, and even chopped pickles as an ode to the traditional Nashville hot chicken-and-pickle pairing. Then, to offset the spiciness and balance the flavors, you will need a creamy dressing. Ranch dressing is a great choice, but if you want an even more perfect fit, you can look for a dill pickle ranch dressing at the grocery store, or make your own. You can make a simple version yourself by combining a ranch seasoning packet with mayonnaise and dill pickle juice. Once all of your ingredients have been chopped, combined, and tossed in your dressing, you are all set to enjoy your Nashville hot chicken salad. Feel free to get creative and experiment with different mix-ins to make a spicy, creamy salad that is truly your own.

On Mac And Cheese

fried chicken mac and cheese
fried chicken mac and cheese - gowithstock/Shutterstock

Versatile mac and cheese is a perfect canvas for culinary experimentation. With so many combinations of cheese pairings, pasta shapes, and toppings, your mac and cheese options are truly endless. One great way to add extra protein and really transform mac and cheese from a side dish into a meal is to add fried chicken on top. Fried chicken and mac and cheese are already both Southern staples, so it just works. Creamy mac and cheese is a great way to balance out the heat and cool down your taste buds from super spicy Nashville hot chicken.

Mild white cheddar cheese can serve as a great base for your cheese sauce in this situation. Gruyere is another fitting cheese to use in your Nashville hot chicken mac and cheese since it is salty and slightly sweet therefore providing contrast from the ultra-spicy chicken. Another way to keep things creamy and mild to tone down the spice is to stir in some cream cheese when making your cheese sauce. You can also follow a favorite mac and cheese recipe of your own. Once your cheese sauce is prepared and your pasta is cooked, you can stir them together and begin assembling your servings, topping each bowl with your Nashville hot chicken. This is another great opportunity to use leftovers, but if you're making your Nashville hot chicken from scratch that day, just be sure to line up your timing so your mac and cheese doesn't get cold.

On A Waffle

fried chicken waffle plate
fried chicken waffle plate - Rebeccafondren/Getty Images

Fried chicken and waffles are a brunch staple, bringing the best elements of breakfast and lunch together. The crispy, savory chicken meets the sweet, fluffy waffle for the perfect any-time-of-day meal. While traditional chicken and waffles are a tried and true dish, that doesn't mean there isn't room for experimentation. Enter, Nashville hot chicken. The spicy, crispy fried chicken elevates the classic chicken and waffles combination and gives it an extra hot pepper punch. And for those who worry the dish may become overwhelmed by the chicken's spice level, don't forget to drizzle on some sweet maple syrup to maintain the perfect balance.

Even fried chicken giant Kentucky Fried Chicken thought the pairing was worthwhile. The fried chicken chain introduced Nashville hot chicken and waffles to its menu back in 2019, after the Nashville hot chicken and the regular chicken and waffles each experienced individual success. KFC offered a few serving options that we also recommend giving a try. These included a piece of boneless Nashville hot chicken in between two small waffles as a sandwich and a platter with either bone-in or boneless Nashville hot chicken resting on top of the waffles. While KFC eventually discontinued its Nashville hot chicken and waffles menu, you can help its memory live on at your next brunch gathering at home. Simply follow your favorite Nashville hot chicken recipe (bone-in or boneless), mix up your favorite waffle batter, and you've got a brunch dish that everyone will be talking about.

On A Pizza

spicy chicken pizza slice
spicy chicken pizza slice - EmmanPerez/Shutterstock

Are there many foods in existence that wouldn't make great pizza toppings? From breakfast pizzas with runny eggs to chocolatey dessert pizzas and beyond, the world of pizza toppings is ever-expanding, and always open to new creative interpretations of the beloved dish. Chances are, whatever foods and flavors you love would taste pretty awesome on a pizza. Nashville hot chicken is definitely no exception to this rule. The super spicy fried chicken dish lends itself to several different delicious pizza recipes you can easily make at home.

Try chopping up the spicy Southern hot pepper chicken dish and add it to a traditional cheesy pizza for some extra wow factor. For another fun twist, start with a white pizza base for maximum cheesiness to balance out the chicken's spice. For a pizza that truly speaks to the traditional flavors of Nashville hot chicken, try adding some chopped or sliced pickles on top of the pizza. If you're looking for extra heat, save some of the hot pepper oil the chicken is slathered in for drizzling on top of the pizza. Any way you slice it, you'll want to add Nashville hot chicken to the toppings list for your next pizza night.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.