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10 Hottest Hot Chicken Chains To Check Out

Grab a hot chicken sandwich at these popular chain restaurants and fast food spots.

Fried chicken is a comfort food for many people due to its delicious, crunchy crust and juicy meat on the inside. However, sometimes plain fried chicken can get a little boring.

hattie b's hot chicken

If you’re feeling adventurous, trying some hot and spicy chicken will put your taste buds on a rollercoaster and introduce you to a whole new level of flavor.

Finding some fresh fried hot chicken can be a little difficult, but there are a few hot chicken chain restaurants you can hunt down to get your hands on some deliciousness.

Best Hot Chicken Chains

Here are some of the hottest and best hot chicken chains for you to try on your fried chicken adventures.


Dave’s Hot Chicken

Dave’s Hot Chicken started in California with $900 and a parking lot chicken stand. 

The chain offers a small menu of four meals consisting of fried chicken tenders, sliders, and sides like fries, macaroni and cheese, and coleslaw.

Although the menu may be short, their chicken is bursting with flavor. You can choose from no spice on your chicken, up to their hottest spice mix called “reaper.”

I love the number three, which gives you a chicken slider, chicken tender, and fries.

I chose to go with the hot spice mix, and it had the perfect level of heat without overpowering the chicken.


Hattie B’s

Hattie B’s is a Nashville hot chicken restaurant that has locations all around Tennessee and others scattered in places such as Georgia, Nevada, and Texas.

The chain restaurant allows you to pick from platters, snacks, chicken with the bone in, or boneless items such as sandwiches and tenders.

They also allow you to choose if you’d like your chicken grilled or fried. The names of their chicken spice levels include the following:

  • Southern (no heat)
  • Mild
  • Medium
  • Hot
  • Damn Hot
  • Shut the Cluck Up (the hottest)

The fried hot chicken sandwich is one of my favorites, as it is so crunchy and juicy. I love spicy things, so I always go for the hot or damn hot heat levels.

I highly recommend trying the pimento mac and cheese as your side.


Hot Chicken Takeover (HCT)

Hot Chicken Takeover came into the spotlight shortly after 2013 when the Deloss family first experienced Nashville-style hot fried chicken.

Currently, the chain restaurant has four locations in Ohio.

The chain restaurant serves lunch combinations, family meals, wing specials, and gluten-free plant-based options.

You can even order an entire fried chicken cut into sections if you want to! Your spice options for this delectable chicken include:

  • Cold (not spicy)
  • Warm
  • Hot 
  • Holy

I tried the hot jumbo tenders with some tender mac and cheese and the banana pudding for dessert.

The chicken had a nice crunch and the perfect amount of heat, and the meat inside was perfectly cooked.


Howlin’ Ray’s

Howlin’ Ray’s has been serving Nashville-style hot chicken at their California locations since 2015.

They serve combinations, wings, dressed-up fries, tasty fried chicken sandwiches, and a large list of sides.

The chain restaurant has seven levels of heat, ranging from country (no heat) to their signature howlin’ spice blend.

The Mario-style fries are one of the best options on the menu, in my opinion.

It consists of a bed of crispy fries topped with fried chicken, cheddar cheese, vinegar slaw, pickles, and comeback sauce.

It’s like a big combination of some of their best menu options. I loved these fries, and they were so filling.


Joella’s Hot Chicken

Joella’s Hot Chicken has locations in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. They also have a food truck!

Their menu consists of chicken tenders, chicken with the bone in, sandwiches, family meals, kids’ meals, salads, and several flavorful sides.

You can also grab dessert, if your stomach can handle it, with options of banana pudding, pie in a jar, and cake in a jar.

Joella’s heat scale ranges from southern (no heat) to what they call “fire-in da-hole,” which is so hot that it surpasses the spiciness of ghost peppers.

The chicken and waffles were a winner for me with the hot spices. The juicy chicken paired well with the crunchy, slightly sweet waffles.


Nashville Hot Chicken

Nashville Hot Chicken is a restaurant that’s a part of the Tomotto restaurant family located in New York.

They offer wings, tenders, salads, combinations, sandwiches, fried fish, fried steak, and delicious sides.

Their spice levels range from plain to stupid hot, and they also offer regular buffalo sauce and a sweet sauce if you aren’t a spice fan.

Their hot, fried chicken sandwich is my favorite. The crunchy, tender chicken breast and slaw are the perfect stuffing for the soft brioche bun.

I highly recommend choosing cheddar mashed potatoes or pimento mac and cheese for your side.


Bangin’ Buns

Bangin’ Buns is a delicious Californian-based hot, fried chicken restaurant chain that came into the chicken spotlight in 2018.

They offer a menu consisting of fried chicken tenders, sandwiches, a few sides, and banana pudding.

Their spiciness scale contains five levels, including country, mild, medium, spicy, and bangin’.

I like that all of their menu items come with sides, so you can be sure that you’ll leave the restaurant with a full stomach.

The spicy tender plate is my favorite, as it comes with a lot of food and everything is delicious.


Gus’s World Famous Hot & Spicy Fried Chicken

Gus’s World Famous Hot and Spicy Fried Chicken has 34 locations throughout the United States, and the chain’s foundation stems from a 1953 family fried chicken recipe.

The restaurant has multiple menus based on which location you visit.

However, for the most part, they all serve starters, snacks, single pieces of chicken, plates, kids’ meals, and sides.

All of their fried chicken is spicy. I recommend trying their two-piece white meat meal.

It comes with a whole fried chicken breast, a wing, baked beans, coleslaw, and bread.

The chicken has a moderate amount of heat, and you can tell the sides are homemade.


Party Fowl

Party Fowl has a few locations in Tennessee and one in Florida, where they offer a range of meals, including spicy and not-so-spicy food.

They also have food other than chicken, such as burgers and catfish, if you happen not to want fried chicken. Their spiciness level ranges include the following:

  • Southern fried
  • Mild
  • Medium
  • Hot
  • Nashville hot
  • Poultrygeist

The restaurant chain has appetizers, gumbos, salads, hot chicken, plain chicken, and sides, including a gooey skillet-baked mac and cheese.

Their Nashville fried chicken street tacos are my favorite. The corn and jicama slaw provides the perfect amount of freshness to the fried chicken.


Prince’s Hot Chicken

Prince’s Hot Chicken has a few locations scattered throughout Tennessee, and they offer a delicious menu packed with comfort food favorites, as well as a catering menu.

The restaurant chain serves multiple hot fried chicken combinations along with sides, pints of sides, and mouth-watering desserts. Their spice scale includes the following:

  • Plain
  • Lite Mild
  • Mild
  • Medium
  • Hot
  • X Hot
  • XX Hot
  • XXX Hot

Their breast quarter is crunchy and moist on the inside. It’s everything you could ask for in a piece of fried chicken.

The medium and hot chicken are my favorites for spice levels. I highly recommend trying their greens and mac and cheese.


Best Hot Chicken Chains

  1. Dave’s Hot Chicken
  2. Hattie B’s
  3. Hot Chicken Takeover (HCT)
  4. Howlin’ Ray’s
  5. Joella’s Hot Chicken
  6. Nashville Hot Chicken
  7. Bangin’ Buns
  8. Gus’s World Famous Hot & Spicy Fried Chicken
  9. Party Fowl
  10. Prince’s Hot Chicken

Which Will You Try First?

Check out these popular hot chicken chains and find your new favorite chicken sandwich!

Did we leave your favorite hot chicken restaurant off the list? Let us know in the comments!

Check out other popular southern foods to enjoy.

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.