Nashville Hot Chicken has taken the culinary scene by storm in the last decade. Once a flavor that could only be enjoyed hyper-locally, the painfully pleasurable treat can now be found all across the US. However, for the best hot chicken in the world, most would agree that Nashville and its neighboring towns are where it’s at! 

The origin story of Nashville Hot Chicken should help prepare you for the wallop of flavor and heat you’re in for. The tale goes that in the 1930s, Thornton Prince, known for loving many women, arrived home late one Saturday night after yet another dalliance. In revenge, his main lady love took a fiery approach when preparing his favorite meal the following day. That Sunday, his chicken was seasoned with a massive amount of hot sauce, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, and a few other “secret” ingredients. 

However, her quest for vengeance backfired! Thornton Prince adored this complex, addictive twist on his beloved fried chicken, and went on to establish the first stop on our list of the Best Nashville Hot Chicken Spots, now a pillar of our region’s cuisine.

Whether you’re new to the area, driving through, or just want to take a walk on the fire side, we know you’ll have a memorable experience at any of our top favorite spots. As the great, late Anthony Bourdain said after he first encountered it, “Nashville hot chicken is a three-day commitment.” 

Use the white bread to grab chunks of meat, not your fingers. Don’t touch your eyes, your nose, or your children while you’re eating. Consider yourself cautioned, and bon appetit! 


Prince's Hot Chicken Shack
Nashville, TN
princeshotchicken.com

Prince’s is the originator of Nashville Hot Chicken, and the same family still uses the original, top-secret recipe to create moist, flavor-rich birds that many locals consider the region’s champion dish. Every order is served on two slices of Colonial bread and speared with a slice of dill pickle.

Order online for takeout Monday through Saturday.


400 Degrees
Nashville, TN
400degreeshotchicken.com

Aqui Hines, native to Nashville and lifelong Prince’s Hot Chicken adherent, loved the original dish of fiery revenge so much that she’s dedicated her life to creating her own recipe, which she now serves from her food truck. Here, the dish is deep-fried rather than pan-fried, which separates Hines’ offerings from the pack, and results in a unique crunch as one tears into the spicy skin.

Check out the 400 Degrees website to order your deep-fried treats – be sure to check out their Spicy Fries, too!


Hurt's Hot Chicken
Hermitage, TN
bit.ly/hurtshotchicken

Hurt’s Hot Chicken is Lamont Hurt’s food truck. While it may take you a little bit of extra work to track this roving gem, it’s often parked at 3288 S Mt Juliet Rd. Famous for both hot chicken and hot fish, the protein can be served traditionally, with white bread and sliced pickle, as a gyro, or as of recently, even pizzas. 

Hours and location vary, so be sure to check Hurt’s Facebook page for up-to-the-minute information.


Mack's Hot Chicken
Smyrna, TN
bit.ly/mackshotchicken

Mack’s Hot Chicken offers an array of soul food alongside its famous chicken. The fried whiting fish is especially popular, and the fried pickles or fried okra should be on your mind no matter which meal you’re going to order. Every meal is made to order, resulting in piping hot, fresh, juicy meat—and a bit of a long wait. 

We recommend calling ahead about an hour before you plan to arrive to pick up your meal. Mack’s is open Tuesday through Saturday. 


Hattie B's Hot Chicken
Nashville, TN
hattieb.com

As one of the restaurants that launched Nashville’s hot chicken beyond the bounds of Middle Tennessee, Hattie B’s has gained a huge following. Known for consistently delicious, slightly less spicy chicken and especially tasty sides, Hattie B’s has become something of a rite of passage among visitors to Music City.

To enjoy the heat without the long line, order takeout in advance, or take advantage of delivery through UberEats. 

Now open at three locations (in Nashville alone) 7 days a week beginning at 11 a.m.


Bolton's Spicy Chicken & Fish
Nashville, TN
boltonsspicy.com

Bolton’s is one of the original hot chicken joints, and they haven’t deviated from their tried-and-true recipes for their delicious fowl or their equally-famous catfish. Here, ambiance takes a back seat, and food is always the main attraction. If you want to skip the theme-park-length lines at more mainstream locations without sacrificing an ounce of searing heat or enticing flavor, order a full soul food symphony from Bolton’s and take it to go.

Open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Slow Burn Hot Chicken
Madison, TN
slowburnhotchicken.com

If, rather than seeking a fire that will last for days, you would simply like to grab some spicy chicken and return to your life, may we suggest Slow Burn Hot Chicken? Here, you can order a mere “sprinkle” of heat or crank the dial to 11 with “the end” - the triple hot option. Several spicy seafood selections are on offer as well alongside an array of sides and $5 specials. 

With locations in Madison and East Nashville, Slow Burn serves their customers via online ordering, with pickup and DoorDash delivery available. 


Moore's Spicy Fried Chicken
Hendersonville, TN
mooreschicken.com

When one is digging into a fresh spread of soul food from Moore’s, there’d be no clue that this is a one-man operation. Mr. Moore will take your order over the phone, then get straight to work preparing your order. Customers have two opinions on the chicken and fish here: either it’s the best in Hendersonville or the best in the region. 

Call ahead to order Tuesday through Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m.


Big Shake's Hot Chicken & Fish
Franklin, TN
bigshakeshotchicken.com

Now open in Goodlettsville and Huntsville, AL as well as in here in Franklin, Big Shake’s Hot Chicken and Fish offers dishes a la carte or arranged in a variety of family packs loaded with spicy chicken and tender fish along with classic soul food sides. If you can’t get enough of this flavorful feast, consider ordering some Big Shake’s hot chicken seasoning and crafting your own version at home!

Order online 7 days a week beginning at 11 a.m.


Red's 615 Kitchen
Nashville, TN
reds615kitchen.com

Red’s 615 Kitchen is the permanent home of the fiery chicken that was once only available from their food truck. Red’s is adored for its chicken, of course, but the pimento mac and cheese has a devoted following all its own, and the seasoned fries are just the thing to cut the heat of the meat. Here, your hot chicken sandwich will be slathered with Comeback sauce and topped with cool cabbage slaw.

Order online 7 days a week beginning at 11 a.m. 


COVID-19 may be preventing us from gathering together in our favorite restaurants, but we can support our beloved spots by ordering to-go! So, did your top destination for fiery fowl make the list? Do you have a wild hot chicken story to share? Comment below; we always love hearing from you.

As always, we thank you for visiting us here at Parks!

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