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Nashville Style Fried Hot Chicken

This fried gluten free nashville hot chicken recipe is also dairy free and paleo – a great alternative to the original! Heat level can be adjusted to taste.

Nashville Style Hot Chicken | PaleoScaleo.com

I know. You’re looking at this going, “hot chicken?” “Battered and fried?” No way is that paleo.

Oh, but it is.

Remember, the basis of this blog is not only paleo, but scaleo. Which means we scale paleo to fit our lives, our needs, and most importantly, our wants. Fried chicken isn’t great for me. It’s not something I’m going to eat weekly.

But this version, without regular flour and buttermilk, is certainly better for you than a bucket of KFC. And when a craving strikes, I love having a better alternative to turn towards.

Why fried hot chicken?

We had our first experience with Nashville hot chicken on Day 3 of our Deep South Road Trip in Nashville, TN, where we ate at Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. Hattie B’s isn’t the first hot chicken restaurant, but it’s one of the most famous today. (If you’re interested in the history of how hot chicken came to be, this article has a quite detailed history of it.)

That was an epic road trip. An exhausting one, but definitely an epic one. I know our methods of travel and vacation aren’t for everyone – some people prefer to sit on the beach and actually relax on vacation, but to each his own, right?

And, if we hadn’t gone to Nashville, and stood in line for an hour in the freezing cold, we never would have experienced hot chicken, and I never would have been inspired to make you a gluten free Nashville hot chicken recipe!

What kind of chicken to use

I opted for chicken tenders instead of bone-in pieces, but you could definitely use either one. If you’re using chicken quarters or pieces, you’ll likely need a small deep fryer in order to get all sides of the chicken submerged. With the chicken tenders, I was able to fry them flat in a skillet, which makes it quite a bit easier.

How to adjust the level of “hot”

You can adjust the hotness of your hot chicken recipe depending on how spicy you want it to be, by adjusting how much cayenne pepper you add to your flour mixture.

As the recipe is written, it’s about “medium,” with 1 1/2 Tablespoons of cayenne. If you want to tone down the heat, I’d recommend adjusting to 1 Tablespoon, and if you want to bring up the heat even more, go for 2 Tablespoons.

If you’re not sure, go somewhere in between – add a pinch more or a pinch less and experiment until you find what’s right for you.

What to dunk fried hot chicken in

I’d also strongly recommend making yourself a batch of my homemade ranch dressing, because what do I always say? Sauce is king!

And there is little better than dipping your crispy hot chicken in a creamy cool ranch, all the while knowing that everything you’re eating is grain free, dairy free, and a much healthier option than the original.

Nashville Style Hot Chicken | PaleoScaleo.com

Is this recipe Whole30?

No. Technically the ingredients are, but this falls into something called SWYPO. That abbreviation stands for S*x With Your Pants On, which basically means no matter how hard you try, it’s never going to be as good as the real thing! The principle behind Whole30 is that we are breaking those cravings and habits, so there’s no re-creation of off limits foods.

That’s a pet peeve of mine, when I’m on Pinterest and homemade french fries, fried chicken, cookies, ice cream or whatever pop up and say they’re perfect for Whole30. If you know the basics of Whole30, none of that is allowed, because it’s tricking your brain into thinking you’re having something that you’re not supposed to.

So, this fried chicken is not for you Whole30-ers. But if you wrap up your Whole30 and want to keep your eating clean without being too restrictive, this hot chicken is for you!

Nashville Style Hot Chicken | PaleoScaleo.com
Nashville Style Hot Chicken | PaleoScaleo.com

Nashville Style Fried Hot Chicken

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

A gluten-free and dairy-free twist on the original hot chicken from Nashville, TN! 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup palm shortening, for frying
  • 1 large egg,beaten
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 pound chicken tenders

Instructions

  1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt the palm shortening. 
  2. While the shortening is melting, in a small bowl, combine the egg, coconut milk, hot sauce and water and whisk together until smooth. 
  3. In another bowl, combine the tapioca starch, cayenne pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika and stir gently with a fork until spices are incorporated fully with the flour. 
  4. Turn the pan up to high heat. Working quickly, dip each chicken tender in the egg mixture, then the flour mixture, being sure to coat well, and place immediately into the hot shortening. 
  5. Cook chicken 5-7 minutes per side, or until breading is crispy and chicken is cooked through. 
  6. Remove chicken from pan and drain on a paper towel. Serve immediately with a side of homemade ranch! 

Notes

  1. Leftover chicken can be reheated with a small amount of cooking fat in a skillet, heating for 2-3 minutes on each side - breading will become crispy again! 
  2. Heat level can be adjusted based on preference. Recipe as written creates a "medium" level hot chicken. For a spicier version, up the cayenne pepper up to 2 tablespoons; for a milder version, bring the cayenne pepper down to 1 tablespoon. 
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 4 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 995Total Fat: 80gSaturated Fat: 44gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 30gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 980mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 22g

Nutrition calculation is assuming that you are consuming all of the palm shortening, which is obviously not the case - calorie and fat content will not be as high when the palm shortening is removed from the calculation.

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