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Nashville hot chicken mac and cheese at Nashville Underground
Delia Jo Ramsey / Eater Nashville

15 Cool Riffs on Nashville Hot Chicken Around Music City

Experience Nashville’s signature dish in over a dozen different ways

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Nashville hot chicken mac and cheese at Nashville Underground
| Delia Jo Ramsey / Eater Nashville

With more restaurants with hot chicken dishes on the menu than bachelorettes found strolling 12 South on a Saturday, it’s safe to say Nashville hot chicken has reached iconic status. Love it or hate it, Music City lures tourists in from afar to test their heat tolerance and line-waiting prowess. A dish that utilizes its unique spicy flavor to complement another recipe in a new and unexpected way, hot chicken has become a wildly popular menu item at restaurants throughout Nashville and worldwide.

A handful of local establishments are going the extra mile to put interesting new spins on Nashville hot chicken. Passionate aficionados may just want to try the fiery bird in a totally new form, so take note.

Did we miss your favorite unexpected hot chicken dish? Take to the comments and let your voice be heard.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Hot Chicken Donut at Slow Burn Hot Chicken

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There are a plethora of options that go beyond basic hot chicken at this Madison spot for fiery fowl. Diners can choose from savory options like a hot chicken omelette or hot chicken burger, or cut the heat by mixing with something sweet, a la Slow Burn’s hot chicken donut or hot chicken apple fritter.

Nashville hot fried cheese at Pelican & Pig

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Visit Nick and Audra Guidry’s mid-century auto upholstery shop turned restaurant on the East side for the Nashville hot fried cheese — with duck fat hot sauce and buttermilk ranch.

Delia Jo Ramsey / Eater Nashville

The tender royale at Pepperfire Hot Chicken

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This sandwich is legendary among hot chicken lovers. The Tender Royale is a deep fried pepper jack grilled cheese sandwich topped with three hot chicken tenders.

Delia Jo Ramsey / Eater Nashville

Hot chick’n + waffles at The Southern V

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Vegans can get in on the hot chicken craze at The Southern V, where Nashville hot fried seitan is served atop a waffle with maple syrup. Non-vegans who have tried the dish can attest that it stands up to the real thing.

Nashville hot crispy pig ears at Lockeland Table

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Lockeland Table’s Hal Holden-bache is bringing the heat with his fun spin on the classic Nashville dish. His Nashville hot crispy pig ears come served with white bread, Alabama white sauce slaw, and Lockeland Table pickles.

Nashville Hot Chicken and Mac and Cheese at Nashville Underground

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Add some Nashville hot chicken to Mama Lynne’s truffle mac and cheese at the original destination for hot chicken on Lower Broadway.

Delia Jo Ramsey / Eater Nashville

Hot chicken tacos at Pancho & Lefty's Cantina

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While hot chicken tacos are on the menu at dozens of Nashville restaurants, these stand out because of the addition of queso, jalapeno ranch dressing, and a drizzle of chipotle mayo. The trio of sauces adds extra flavor to the hot chicken and helps put a south of the border spin on this iconic Nashville dish.

Hot chicken pakoras at Chauhan Ale & Masala House

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The blend of traditional Indian fare and southern cooking makes Chauhan Ale & Masala House one of the most unique restaurants in Nashville, and the hot chicken pakoras are the perfect example of a dish incorporating flavors from both cuisines.

Hot chicken potstickers at Tánsuŏ

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Steam-fried dumplings here are filled with tender chicken, Thai bird chilis, fresh ginger, and scallion. They’re served with Guilin chili oil for dipping and an added heat.

tansuo
Hot chicken potstickers
Tansuo [Official Photo]

Nashville Hot Oysters at Saltine Restaurant

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The Nashville hot oysters at Saltine involve zero poultry, but they stand out when it comes to hot chicken style entrees in Nashville. These fried oysters pack all the flavor of traditional hot chicken but the use of fried oysters gives each bite an unexpected taste.

Delia Jo Ramsey / Eater Nashville

Hot chicken pimento cheese omelet at Party Fowl

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Only available during weekend brunch, the hot chicken spot’s four egg omelet is cooked in garlic bacon butter, filled with hot chicken and house-made pimento cheese. Also of note: Nashville hot loco moco, and every day of the week — find hot chicken poutine and a deconstructed Cobb salad topped with the fiery fowl, among many other options.

The Kitty at Two Boots Nashville

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Hattie B’s hot chicken and pizza comes together to form “The Kitty,” one of the most sought after slices in town.

Clawson's Pub & Deli

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Hattie B’s hot chicken makes another appearance at this counter-order deli in Wedgewood-Houston. The popular Nashville Cuban is a toasted sub, layered high with smoked honey ham, Swiss cheese, Dijon, Cuban citrus mayo, pickle chips — and of course, medium Hattie B’s hot chicken.

Delia Jo Ramsey / Eater Nashville

Nashville Hot Scrapple at Josephine

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No, it’s not chicken, but Chef Andy Little puts his own Pennsylvania spin on the iconic dish by bringing Nashville hot scrapple to the table, literally. The hot scrapple comes topped with frisée and pickle vinaigrette.

Hot Chicken Ramen at Subculture Urban Cuisine and Cafe

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Hot chicken….and ramen? This combination may sound unusual, but Subculture Urban Cuisine and Cafe are onto something with the fusion of these very different yet surprisingly complementary dishes. The hot chicken tacos are also some of the best in the city. In typical hot chicken fashion, the heat level of both dishes can be customized to the desired spice level.

subculture Subculture Urban Cuisine and Cafe [Official Photo]

Hot Chicken Donut at Slow Burn Hot Chicken

There are a plethora of options that go beyond basic hot chicken at this Madison spot for fiery fowl. Diners can choose from savory options like a hot chicken omelette or hot chicken burger, or cut the heat by mixing with something sweet, a la Slow Burn’s hot chicken donut or hot chicken apple fritter.

Nashville hot fried cheese at Pelican & Pig

Delia Jo Ramsey / Eater Nashville

Visit Nick and Audra Guidry’s mid-century auto upholstery shop turned restaurant on the East side for the Nashville hot fried cheese — with duck fat hot sauce and buttermilk ranch.

Delia Jo Ramsey / Eater Nashville

The tender royale at Pepperfire Hot Chicken

Delia Jo Ramsey / Eater Nashville

This sandwich is legendary among hot chicken lovers. The Tender Royale is a deep fried pepper jack grilled cheese sandwich topped with three hot chicken tenders.

Delia Jo Ramsey / Eater Nashville

Hot chick’n + waffles at The Southern V

Vegans can get in on the hot chicken craze at The Southern V, where Nashville hot fried seitan is served atop a waffle with maple syrup. Non-vegans who have tried the dish can attest that it stands up to the real thing.

Nashville hot crispy pig ears at Lockeland Table

Lockeland Table’s Hal Holden-bache is bringing the heat with his fun spin on the classic Nashville dish. His Nashville hot crispy pig ears come served with white bread, Alabama white sauce slaw, and Lockeland Table pickles.

Nashville Hot Chicken and Mac and Cheese at Nashville Underground

Delia Jo Ramsey / Eater Nashville

Add some Nashville hot chicken to Mama Lynne’s truffle mac and cheese at the original destination for hot chicken on Lower Broadway.

Delia Jo Ramsey / Eater Nashville

Hot chicken tacos at Pancho & Lefty's Cantina

While hot chicken tacos are on the menu at dozens of Nashville restaurants, these stand out because of the addition of queso, jalapeno ranch dressing, and a drizzle of chipotle mayo. The trio of sauces adds extra flavor to the hot chicken and helps put a south of the border spin on this iconic Nashville dish.

Hot chicken pakoras at Chauhan Ale & Masala House

The blend of traditional Indian fare and southern cooking makes Chauhan Ale & Masala House one of the most unique restaurants in Nashville, and the hot chicken pakoras are the perfect example of a dish incorporating flavors from both cuisines.

Hot chicken potstickers at Tánsuŏ

tansuo
Hot chicken potstickers
Tansuo [Official Photo]

Steam-fried dumplings here are filled with tender chicken, Thai bird chilis, fresh ginger, and scallion. They’re served with Guilin chili oil for dipping and an added heat.

tansuo
Hot chicken potstickers
Tansuo [Official Photo]

Nashville Hot Oysters at Saltine Restaurant

Delia Jo Ramsey / Eater Nashville

The Nashville hot oysters at Saltine involve zero poultry, but they stand out when it comes to hot chicken style entrees in Nashville. These fried oysters pack all the flavor of traditional hot chicken but the use of fried oysters gives each bite an unexpected taste.

Delia Jo Ramsey / Eater Nashville

Hot chicken pimento cheese omelet at Party Fowl

Only available during weekend brunch, the hot chicken spot’s four egg omelet is cooked in garlic bacon butter, filled with hot chicken and house-made pimento cheese. Also of note: Nashville hot loco moco, and every day of the week — find hot chicken poutine and a deconstructed Cobb salad topped with the fiery fowl, among many other options.

The Kitty at Two Boots Nashville

Hattie B’s hot chicken and pizza comes together to form “The Kitty,” one of the most sought after slices in town.

Clawson's Pub & Deli

Delia Jo Ramsey / Eater Nashville

Hattie B’s hot chicken makes another appearance at this counter-order deli in Wedgewood-Houston. The popular Nashville Cuban is a toasted sub, layered high with smoked honey ham, Swiss cheese, Dijon, Cuban citrus mayo, pickle chips — and of course, medium Hattie B’s hot chicken.

Delia Jo Ramsey / Eater Nashville

Nashville Hot Scrapple at Josephine

No, it’s not chicken, but Chef Andy Little puts his own Pennsylvania spin on the iconic dish by bringing Nashville hot scrapple to the table, literally. The hot scrapple comes topped with frisée and pickle vinaigrette.

Hot Chicken Ramen at Subculture Urban Cuisine and Cafe

subculture Subculture Urban Cuisine and Cafe [Official Photo]

Hot chicken….and ramen? This combination may sound unusual, but Subculture Urban Cuisine and Cafe are onto something with the fusion of these very different yet surprisingly complementary dishes. The hot chicken tacos are also some of the best in the city. In typical hot chicken fashion, the heat level of both dishes can be customized to the desired spice level.

subculture Subculture Urban Cuisine and Cafe [Official Photo]

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