It goes without saying that KFC makes some of the best fried chicken around, in particular their Nashville Chicken which has become famous thanks to the special Hot Sauce they coat it in.
Now Nashville hot sauce isn’t exactly new, nor was it invented by KFC.
However, they have done a great job at incorporating it into their already delicious meals to make it something truly special.
But what if you wanted to try the sauce on something else? It goes great on any kind of meat or even when stirred into fried vegetables to give it some kick.
Well, today we’ll show you how to make KFC Nashville hot sauce at home so you can enjoy it anytime you’d like!
How to make KFC Nashville Hot Sauce
Table of Contents
So what makes Nashville hot sauce different from any other regular hot sauce?
It comes down to a mixture of the chicken preparation which is normally brined in buttermilk, and the sauce which makes use of clarified butter and spices to give it that signature flavor.
Of course, there is no rule that says you need to serve it with chicken, but that’s definitely where it got its fame from.
Plus it only takes 5 minutes to cook so feel free to throw it on everything!
- ½ cup of unsalted, clarified butter
- 3 tablespoons of cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon of honey (optional)
- 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
Depending on how hot you like your sauces, you can adjust the amount of cayenne pepper to taste.
The suggested amount will yield a medium-hot, but since the term ‘Nashville Hot’ was coined because of its exceptionally hot flavor, you can increase this to 5 teaspoons if you like it extra hot.
Don’t worry if it doesn’t seem ‘creamy’ when compared to other hot sauces either, this is intended to be more oily with the cayenne giving it a bit of that grainy quality too.
Put a pan over low heat and add the clarified butter.
Lightly agitate the butter until it’s melted.
Add in all the seasonings, this includes the cayenne pepper, brown sugar, kosher salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, and garlic powder.
You can also add in the honey at this stage should you wish.
Stir them all together thoroughly until it’s all incorporated.
Remember, this is intended to have a slightly oily and grainy texture, so don’t worry if it doesn’t look too creamy!
Remove from the heat and use it to coat whatever you’re serving it with liberally.
You can also transfer it to a glass jar to be used for cooking later on, just make sure it’s cooled off a little bit beforehand.
It’s important to recognize that Nashville Hot Sauce has been around for a long time, way long before KFC brought it to mainstream attention.
So there are many Nashville-based food joints that all have their own variation of this hot sauce.
This is great for us! It means we have a lot of options available when it comes to both substituting and adding extra ingredients to make it our own.
1. Vegetable oil/canola oil
Clarified butter is a really big part of what makes this Hot Sauce have its signature texture and consistency.
But it’s not used by everyone, and vegetable oil or canola oil make fantastic dairy-free alternatives that are also used by many restaurants for their own Nashville Hot Sauce recipes.
2. Red Pepper flakes
While there are plenty of hot sauces or spices we could use in place of the cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes make one of the best because they will still retain that signature grittiness to the texture.
They are not quite as hot as the cayenne pepper, so you may need to add a little bit more.
Start with a 1:1 substitution and then add more to taste.
3. Hot Sauce
While not quite as good as Red Pepper Flakes, hot sauce is something we all have at home and can get us some heat in our sauce in a snap.
It’s important to remember that cayenne pepper is essentially ‘heat’, it’s really not there to flavor the dish.
But many hot sauces do have their own flavor, so try to keep in mind that the hot sauce you use should complement the dish you plan to serve it with.
Ghee is a kind of clarified butter that doesn’t require refrigeration and can fairly easily be found at the supermarket.
Head to the imported foods section and it should be near the Indian Foods.
Perfect if you don’t have time to make your own clarified butter.
What to serve with KFC Nashville Hot Sauce
While KFC primarily serves this with all manner of chicken dishes, prior to its popularisation by the fast-food chain, it was used by lots of different restaurants for all manner of tasty meals.
Here are a few of our favorites you can spice up with this delicious hot sauce.
It goes without saying but this sauce is fantastic on any kind of spicy fried chicken.
It’s the signature dish that popularised the sauce and is many people’s preferred way to eat it!
But it doesn’t have to be deep-fried, applying a nice glaze of the sauce to grilled chicken breast also works great!
Sweet Potato fries
While you might not want to put the sauce on the fries directly (although we’re sure lots of people enjoy doing it), if you have a chicken or BBQ dish which has been coated in the Nashville Hot Sauce, sweet potato fries are a fantastic side that will round the dish out.
Burger with hash browns
One of the most popular burgers that KFC serves is their chicken sandwich and hash brown combination.
Much like a Big Mac but the second patty it’s been substituted with a crunchy, fried hash brown.
A nice spreading of this hot sauce on both the top and bottom bun, as well as the meat, is sure to give your burger a new level of kick to it.
How to store KFC Nashville Hot Sauce
One of the big benefits of using clarified butter, and this also applies if you used ghee, is that it doesn’t need any refrigeration.
It will be shelf-stable for years.
However, if you’ve substituted clarified butter/ghee for fresh butter, it will need to be refrigerated.
Store in the fridge
Transfer the sauce to an airtight container, ideally a squeeze bottle with a nozzle.
Once refrigerated it will keep for up to 1 month.
Be sure to give it a very thorough shake before use as the ingredients like to settle and need to be re-integrated.
Store in the freezer
Freezing hot sauce is a great idea if you want to make it in bulk.
Even if you used clarified butter sometimes you don’t just want a huge tub of hot sauce sitting in the cupboard.
Transfer the sauce to an airtight container or freezer bag (being sure to press out as much air as possible) and freeze.
If you’ve used clarified butter it will last for years, but if you’ve used regular butter it will last for 3-4 months.
KFC Nashville Hot Sauce Recipe
- 1 Skillet
- 1/2 cup butter unsalted, clarified
- 3 tbsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp honey optional
- Put a pan over low heat and add the clarified butter.
- Lightly agitate the butter until it’s melted.
- Add in all the seasonings, this includes the cayenne pepper, brown sugar, kosher salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, and garlic powder. You can also add in the honey at this stage should you wish.
- Stir them all together thoroughly until it’s all incorporated. Remember, this is intended to have a slightly oily and grainy texture, so don’t worry if it doesn’t look too creamy!
- Remove from the heat and use it to coat whatever you’re serving it with liberally. You can also transfer it to a glass jar to be used for cooking later on, just make sure it’s cooled off a little bit beforehand.
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