Nashville Hot Sauce with Honey Recipe

Nashville hot sauce is a regional hot sauce made with honey, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika and brown sugar. This irresistible Tennessee classic hot sauce is commonly served on fried chicken to make Nashville hot chicken.

Nashville hot sauce has the consistency of a paste or spicy oil, grainy and thick, and rich in flavour. It’s spicy enough to excite your taste buds and has the perfect combination of sweet and smokey. Whether you toss it on fried chicken wings, a fried chicken sandwich, fried chicken and waffles, or use it to coat grilled shrimp or steamed veggies, this sauce is sure to satisfy.


Sweet and spicy levels can be easily adjusted. Add extra brown sugar if you want more sweetness. For more spice, you can add another tablespoon of cayenne pepper. Just be careful when adjusting these ingredients – you can always add more, but you can’t take it out once it’s stirred in. So taste test as you go.

Nashville hot sauce can be made with vegetable oil, butter or lard. We prefer a butter base, even though vegetable oil won’t harden as easily, and lard is much more stable. Just warm up the sauce before using it because butter solidifies when chilled. Clarified butter works best, but if you don’t have time to make your own, you can use ghee – a pantry stable clarified butter that doesn’t require refrigeration, so you won’t have to store it in the refrigerator. You can also use honey or agave nectar as a stabiliser.

Nashville hot sauce recipe

Total time: 10 mins
Serves for: 4



1/2 cup unsalted butter, preferably clarified
3 tablespoons cayenne pepper 
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon honey


  • In a heavy bottom saucepan, combine the butter, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and honey.
  • Stir over low heat until combined. 

Each time you use the sauce, shake it well  – ingredients will settle and need to be redistributed.


Store your Nashville hot sauce in an airtight container in the fridge, where it will stay fresh and tasty for up to two weeks.

You can also freeze your Nashville hot sauce. Place it in an airtight container or plastic bag with as little air as possible and freeze it for three to four months.

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