A healthier twist on the classic Nashville hot chicken. Baked, gluten-free, dairy-free, and full of spicy flavors!
Living so close to Nashville, it’s imperative that you get Nashville hot chicken; it’s a cardinal sin if you don’t! As I’m getting older, my body takes a little longer to recover from all the grease and gluten. I mean, YOLO when you can but sometimes it takes a toll on your body!
What’s my solution? I created a healthier twist on the beloved hot chicken. I use coconut oil to decrease the amount of grease. I also chose to bake the chicken. That way, I’m only dying to get seconds and thirds instead of just dying from the grease! So, let’s talk about this chicken!
The trick to getting chicken moist and flavorful is all in the marinade. Typically, buttermilk is used in creating a moist chicken (sorry for using moist three times!). However, I used almond milk to keep this recipe dairy-free. The trick here is to add lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to the plant-based milk of your choice. The acidity helps to thicken and basically curdle the almond milk. You won’t even notice a lack of buttermilk, and when you add it all with pickle juice and lots of seasonings, you get an awesome Nashville hot chicken!
The breading is simple using a gluten-free baking flour. Lightly coat/spray the chicken with coconut or avocado oil to crisp the outer coat. Chicken thighs are best with this recipe as the skin releases mouthwatering juices into the meat underneath as it cooks. The skin also protects the meat from direct heat, which helps the thighs to cook gently and to retain its moisture.
A complexity of sweet and spicy flavors are incorporated into the hot chicken. What really takes the chicken over the top is using honey infused with chili peppers. I love using this brand as you can find it in most grocery stores!
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo to #fromtherootsblog on Instagram. We love seeing what you come up with!
2 lbs chicken thighs
3 Tbsp pickle juice
1 cup GF baking flour
Hot sauce (optional)
Coconut oil or avocado oil
1 cup unsweetened plant based milk (almond)
1 Tbsp ACV or fresh lemon
1 Tbsp cayenne
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp creole seasoning
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp black pepper
Dashes of red pepper flakes
To make the “buttermilk”, add vinegar to the milk and sit for 10 minutes or until milk mixture is curdled/activated.
Whisk all seasonings together in a small bowl. Remove ¾ of seasoning mixture and coat the chicken thighs inside a Ziploc bag. Add the “buttermilk” mixture along with pickle juice and a couple dashes of hot sauce (optional). Toss to coat and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to overnight.
When ready to cook, preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Prepare the flour mixture by whisking ¼ of seasoning mixture to 1 cup GF baking flour.
Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dredge chicken into flour mixture both sides and place chicken on a baking rack. Repeat until all chicken is coated.
Spray or brush tops of chicken with melted coconut oil or avocado oil.
Bake chicken for 20-25 minutes. Take chicken out and coat tops with hot sauce (optional). Flip the chicken and spray or brush bottom of chicken with oil until coated.
Place back in the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until chicken reaches and internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Let chicken cool for 5 minutes and then drizzle honey with infused chili peppers (optional but so worth it!)