RECIPES:
Oct 14, 2021

Nashville Hot Chicken Pizza

Prep Time: 1 hr
Cook Time: 30 mins
The Southern favorite, Nashville hot chicken becomes a pizza topping in this spicy recipe.

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This Nashville hot chicken pizza is topped with Alabama white sauce as the base with shredded mozzarella cheese, hot fried chicken garnished with chopped pickles. If you’re a fan of buffalo chicken pizza then this recipe is for you! 

Nashville Hot Chicken Pizza

Nashville Hot Chicken Pizza Recipe

What is Nashville Hot Chicken? 

As the name implies, Nashville hot chicken hails from Nashville, Tennessee and is in fact, very spicy. Rather than tossing the chicken in a hot sauce, fried chicken is brushed with a sweet and spicy oil to evenly coat the chicken and kick up the spice levels. Brushing the chicken rather than tossing it in the sauce ensures it’s evenly distributed and gets just enough to keep its signature crisp crust. 

Key Ingredients in Nashville Hot Chicken Pizza

  • Dough – Pizza is the perfect cure for a hectic tornado of a week. It’s fast and homemade dough is easy to make using my recipe here. If you want a shortcut, then instead of making homemade dough you can find pre-made dough in the refrigerated section of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. I also recommend checking if your local pizza spot sells their dough, it’s a great way to support local!
  • Alabama white sauce – Alabama has its own signature BBQ sauce (much like Memphis and Kansas city). It’s a tangy white barbecue sauce made with mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar and horseradish and often paired with chicken. In this recipe it’s drizzled over the pizza to create a creamy contrast to the spices and crispy chicken.
  • Fried chicken – I use a simple flour dredge to fry slices of chicken breasts in this recipe. While I opt to make my own chicken fingers it’s easy to substitute leftover or frozen chicken tenders to use in their place. 
  • Spices – The heat level comes from the blend of spices including cayenne, brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder and paprika.
  • Pickles – Nashville hot chicken is traditionally served with a side of briny dill pickles in addition to slices of white bread. The acid from the pickles helps to break up the heat from the chicken. In this recipe I spread chopped dill pickles over the pizza just before serving. You want the pickles to still be cold/room temperature to keep their crisp texture so they are added at the end.  
  • Mozzarella cheese – I use shredded part-skim, also called low-moisture mozzarella in this recipe. It melts evenly over the pizza providing the perfect cheese pull. Mozzarella is perfect for this recipe because it’s a mild cheese and it doesn’t compete with the other strong flavors. 
How to Make Nashville Hot Chicken Pizza Recipe

How to Make Nashville Hot Chicken Recipe

Instructions for the Alabama White Sauce

  1. Whisk the sauce to combine. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, horseradish, Worcestershire, red pepper flakes, black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder with 1 tablespoon of water until completely combined. 
  2. Refrigerate to store. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. I add to a squeeze bottle for easy drizzling. 

Instructions for The Nashville Hot Chicken

  1. Heat oil. In a large cast iron pot or skillet, add enough vegetable oil to reach 1” up the side of the pan and heat to 350ºF. 
  2. Make the dredge. In a medium shallow bowl, add the flour and season with salt and pepper. In another medium bowl whisk the buttermilk, egg and hot sauce together. 
  3. Dredge the chicken. Working one piece at a time, dip the chicken in the buttermilk mixture then dredge in the flour. 
  4. Fry the chicken. Shake off any excess flour and fry in the oil, flipping once, until the chicken is golden brown on all sides and cooked through, about 6 minutes. Remove the chicken and allow it to drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
  5. Make the hot oil. In a small bowl whisk together the cayenne, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika and garlic powder. Add ¼ cup of the hot vegetable oil and whisk to combine.
  6. Brush the chicken and chop. Use a pastry brush to brush the seasoning mixture on all sides of the fried chicken then chop into ½” chunks. 

For the Pizza and Assembly 

  1. Prep oven. Place pizza stone on grill or in oven and heat to 500ºF.
  2. Press out the dough. Divide the dough in half and on a lightly floured surface, working one half at a time, press out each half of dough into a 10” circle. The dough should be fairly thin. Generously spread cornmeal over the pizza peel then add the dough on top.
  3. Par-bake dough. Work one pizza at a time, Use a pizza peel to slide the dough onto the pizza stone. Cook until the crust is a pale brown and bubbly, about 6 minutes.
  4. Add the toppings and cook. Top the pizza with ¼ cup of the Alabama white sauce, leaving about a 1” crust around the sides. Spread half the mozzarella cheese on top followed by about ¾ cup of the chopped chicken. Return to the oven until the crust is golden brown and slightly charred in spots and the cheese has melted, about 6 minutes. 
  5. FInish the pizza. Top the pizza with 2 tablespoons of the chopped pickles, a drizzle of the Alabama white sauce and a drizzle of the remaining hot oil. 
  6. Serve. Cut into slices and serve. 
Nashville Hot Chicken Pizza ingredients

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

How to prepare the hot chicken toppings

When cooking I like to get all my ingredients prepped in bowls ahead of time (mise en place). This makes it much easier to quickly assemble the pizza when ready to cook. Coat and chop the chicken, prepare the sauces and chop the pickles before rolling out the dough. 

How to use leftover chicken 

To keep this recipe simple it’s easy to use leftover or frozen chicken fingers. I reheat 3-4 chicken fingers in the oven (or using an airfryer) according to the package instructions then brush with the sauce. It’s also easy to reheat leftover fried chicken from another recipe like these fried chicken biscuits or Nashville hot chicken. Chicken fingers will reheat best without any sauces on them. The chicken will continue cooking on the pizza so be careful not to overcook. 

How to adjust the spiciness 

For an increased heat level, add an additional teaspoon of cayenne to the chili oil. This recipe is for a medium spice level – it will have a kick but won’t leave you in tears. 

Optional additional toppings

This recipe is made with a few complex flavors making it unique and a well rounded pizza. If desired, shaved red onions can also be added to this recipe for an extra tangy taste. 

How to make the pizza in an Ooni Pizza Oven

If making in a pizza oven there’s no need to par-bake the crust since it will get to a much higher heat than in an oven or on a grill (around 850ºF). Simply assemble the pizza toppings as noted in the recipe then bake in the Ooni Pizza Oven for 3-4 minutes, rotating with a metal pizza peel frequently. Then let cool slightly on a wire cooling rack before transferring to a cutting board to cut into slices. 

How to reheat pizza?

With thin crust pizza like this, the bottom crust is important. I like to reheat my pizza first in a cast iron pan or skillet over medium-low heat until the crust is crisp then broil in the oven on high until the cheese is bubbling and hot. 

If you don’t have a pizza stone or peel

 If you do not have a pizza stone/peel then prepare the dough on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Nashville Hot Chicken Pizza

nashville hot chicken pizza topped with fried chicken a drizzle of alabama white sauce with chopped pickles
Print Pin
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 30 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the Alabama White Sauce:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 packed tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder

The Nashville Hot Chicken:

  • Vegetable oil as needed, for frying
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper as needed
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar-based hot sauce
  • 1 pound chicken breasts sliced into 1” strips
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 packed tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

For the Pizza and Assembly:

  • 1 pound pizza dough risen as needed
  • Cornmeal as needed
  • cups shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese
  • 2 dill pickles chopped

Instructions:

For the Alabama White Sauce;

  • In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, horseradish, Worcestershire, red pepper flakes, black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder with 1 tablespoon of water until completely combined.
  • Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. I add to a squeeze bottle for easy drizzling.

For The Nashville Hot Chicken:

  • In a large cast iron pot or skillet, add enough vegetable oil to reach 1” up the side of the pan and heat to 350ºF.
  • In a medium shallow bowl, add the flour and season with salt and pepper. In another medium bowl whisk the buttermilk, egg and hot sauce together.
  • Working one piece at a time, dip the chicken in the buttermilk mixture then dredge in the flour.
  • Shake off any excess flour and fry in the oil, flipping once, until the chicken is golden brown on all sides and cooked through, about 6 minutes. Remove the chicken and allow it to drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the cayenne, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika and garlic powder. Add ⅓ cup of the hot vegetable oil and whisk to combine. Use a pastry brush to brush the seasoning mixture on all sides of the fried chicken then chop into ½” chunks.
  • Set the remaining spice oil aside.

For the Pizza and Assembly:

  • Place pizza stone on grill or in oven and heat to 500ºF.
  • Divide the dough in half and on a lightly floured surface, working one half at a time, press out each half of dough into a 10” circle. The dough should be fairly thin. Generously spread cornmeal over the pizza peel then add the dough on top.
  • Work one pizza at a time, Use a pizza peel to slide the dough onto the pizza stone. Cook until the crust is a pale brown and bubbly, about 6 minutes.
  • Top the pizza with ¼ cup of the Alabama white sauce, leaving about a 1” crust around the sides. Spread half the mozzarella cheese on top followed by about ¾ cup of the chopped chicken.
  • Return to the oven until the crust is golden brown and slightly charred in spots and the cheese has melted, about 6 minutes.
  • Top the pizza with 2 tablespoons of the chopped pickles, a drizzle of the Alabama white sauce and a drizzle of the remaining hot oil.
  • Cut into slices and serve.

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  1. 5 stars
    This is such a beautiful recipe. I could not stop eating it. The flavours are amazing together! Will definitely be making this again.