Air Fryer Nashville hot chicken is made so easy in the Air Fryer without deep-frying! Brushed with Nashville's iconic homemade hot cayenne-based sauce, and served with pickles and thick slices of bread.
In a bowl, combine buttermilk with hot sauce and place the chicken in the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for 1-24 hours. Alternatively, if you don't have time to marinate the chicken, then just dip in the buttermilk mixture followed by seasoned panko.
Preheat the Air Fryer to 390°F (200°C).
Season the panko with salt and pepper, bread the chicken and place in the Air Fryer.
Spray the chicken with oil, and Air Fry for 9-10 minutes if using chicken tenders, or 10-12 minutes if using chicken breasts that aren't very thick. Flip the chicken halfway through, and check the internal temperature of the chicken to know when it's ready. It should register at 165°F/73°C.
As the chicken is being cooked, prepare the Nashville hot sauce. In a saucepan, heat about half a cup of oil, then add brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, cayenne, and chili powder. Give it a quick mix, and remove it from heat. Do not allow the oil to smoke. Alternatively, you can combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, then microwave until the oil is hot but not boiling.
Brush the Nashville sauce over the warm chicken using a pastry brush, and serve over slices of bread with bread and butter pickle chips.
Season the breadcrumbs well, don’t skimp on the salt as that makes a huge difference.
Buttermilk can be substituted with plain yogurt diluted with a splash of water.
Use any vinegar-based hot sauce such as Frank’s, Louisiana, or sriracha. Make sure that the chicken is well coated in the breadcrumbs/panko.
The Air Fryer won't turn the breading golden and dark as it air fries, but applying the sauce will.
When making the Nashville sauce, don’t omit the brown sugar as it adds SO much to the flavor!
Baste the chicken with the Nashville sauce while the chicken is still hot. If you wait until everything has cooled down, you might end up with greasy chicken.
Keep the chicken warm in the oven if you're air frying chicken in batches (I could only fit 6 tenders at a time). But make sure you’re using an oven-proof wire rack that does not melt in the oven.