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Hot Chicken* Pizza (with veggie variations)

Pickles on a pizza? Inspired by the flavors of Nashville Hot Chicken - and with a variety of protein options - this unique pizza will quickly become a favorite.

Nashville hot chicken is a relatively new food trend in our part of the world, and I am here for it. We first discovered it upon visiting Hot Chicken Takeover, a local chain that produces fried chicken at spice levels ranging from “cold” to “Holy #&@*%?!”. Even though I prefer their chicken (and seitan!) on the mild side, Hubs enjoys the spicier options and we both love that the flavor profile is so different than any other chicken place we’ve tried. (Hot Chicken Takeover also has a mission of providing supportive employment to people who could use a second chance in life. When you combine their great menu with their excellent mission, there’s really no reason not to give them a chance.) And no, this isn’t an ad; we just love the food.

Jump to Recipe

No surprise – I’m not the only Nashville hot chicken fan in the area. It’s become popular enough in our region that two local pizza chains have made their own versions of hot chicken pizza, featuring the familiar spice blend, fried chicken, ranch dressing, jalapeno slices, mozzarella cheese, and…dill pickles. As bizarre as it sounds, the pickles are what make the pizza. I know, the flavor combination is downright unusual for a pizza, but it is truly a great dish. Many of the chains only offer this pizza on a limited basis, so we decided we needed to figure out our own recipe.

We quickly discovered how easy it is to customize this recipe to accommodate your vegetarian friends. Quorn and Morningstar brand chick’n nuggets call for almost identical baking times to traditional chicken nuggets, and they can be substituted for the nuggets we use in this recipe. I’ve also made this pizza using tempeh instead of chicken and it performs quite well. Whatever your relationship with meat, this pizza is doable and delicious.

You are welcome to use whatever crust you like on this pizza. I tend to have a lot of sourdough discard lying around, so King Arthur Flour’s sourdough pizza crust recipe is my go-to, and it’s the one I’ll describe below.

First things first: prepare your pizza crust. If following the King Arthur Flour sourdough recipe, combine sourdough discard,, yeast, garlic powder, salt, and ½ cup of water in a mixing bowl. The dough may be dry; add the additional 1-2 tablespoons of water as needed. Knead for 7 minutes by hand or using your electric mixer. 

Place dough in a greased bowl and cover. Place bowl in a warm place and allow to rise for at least 2 hours, or until doubled in size. 

While the dough is rising, combine your spices and brown sugar in a small bowl before mixing with avocado oil. 

Chop your nuggets or tempeh into bite-sized pieces. Place into a cereal-sized bowl and coat with spice marinade. Refrigerate and allow to marinate while dough continues to rise. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Once the dough has doubled in size, grease a pizza pan. Gently form dough into a large circle and place on greased pizza pan. 

Cover the pizza with sauce, a thin layer of cheese, jalapeños, and your marinated protein of choice and place in the oven for 12 minutes.

Remove from the oven, top with pickles and remaining cheese, and bake for an additional 7-10 minutes. 

Once the pizza has baked completely, drizzle with ranch dressing, slice, and serve.

I hope you enjoy this hot chicken pizza as much as we have! If you make it at home, please tag @WhiskAverseBaking on social media or leave a message in the comments below.

Hot Chicken* Pizza

Inspired by the flavors of Nashville Hot Chicken, this unique pizza – with options for vegetarian toppings – has become a fast favorite for our family.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Raising time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 12 slices

Equipment

  • Pizza pan

Ingredients
  

King Arthur Flour Sourdough Crust

  • 1 cup sourdough starter discard
  • ½ cup water plus an additional 1-2 tablespoons
  • ¾ teaspoon instant dry yeast
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Pizza toppings

  • 20 dill pickle chips
  • ½ cup ranch dressing
  • 1 14-oz jar pizza sauce
  • 1/8 cup sliced jalapeño peppers
  • 4 oz. chicken nuggets or chick’n nuggets
  • 4 oz. tempeh optional; use if not using nuggets
  • 1-2 cups mozzarella cheese

Spice Mix

  • ½ cup avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne up to 1.5 tablespoons
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions
 

  • Combine sourdough discard, yeast, garlic powder, salt, and ½ cup of water in a mixing bowl. The dough may be dry; add the additional 1-2 tablespoons of water as needed. Knead for 7 minutes by hand or using your electric mixer.
  • Place dough in a greased bowl and cover. Place bowl in a warm place and allow to rise for at least 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
  • While the dough is rising, combine your spices and brown sugar in a small bowl before combining with avocado oil.
  • Chop your nuggets or tempeh into bite-sized pieces. Place into a cereal-sized bowl and cover with spice marinade. Refrigerate and allow to marinate while dough continues to rise. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, grease a pizza pan. Gently form dough into a large circle and place on greased pizza pan.
  • Cover the pizza with sauce, half of your cheese, the jalapeños, and your marinated protein of choice and place in the oven for 12 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven, cover with pickles and remaining cheese, and bake for an additional 7-10 minutes.
  • Once the pizza is baked, drizzle with ranch dressing, slice, and serve.

Notes

Feel free to use your favorite pizza crust – any homemade or store-bought version will be adequate.
Keyword hot chicken, nashville hot chicken, pizza, southern food

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