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Nashville Hot Chicken Burgers

These Nashville Hot Chicken Burgers pair low fat ground chicken with a blend of dried peppers and spices to create juicy, flavorful burgers you’d never expect to be healthy. They are super easy to make and can be on the table in about 20 minutes. 

Unlike traditional hot chicken that’s breaded and fried, these chicken burgers have zero carbs, leaving you plenty of room for a great tasting bun and your favorite sides. But we’ll get to that in a minute. 

A simple 20-minute recipe for spicy chicken burgers that have 150 calories, 24g of protein, zero carbs, and 1 SmartPoint each! Even with a bun, each one of these Nashville Hot chicken burgers has just 280 calories and 5 SmartPoints.

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How to Make Nashville Hot Chicken Burgers

If you’ve made my chicken breakfast sausage or biscuits and sausage gravy, these chicken burgers are very similar. All you need to do is mix a blend of spices together, sprinkle over the ground chicken, and cook the burgers a few minutes per side in a tablespoon of olive oil. 

This creates a crisp, flavorful outer layer with a juicy and tender center.  

Ingredients for Nashville Hot Seasoning

  • cayenne pepper
  • chili powder
  • smoked paprika
  • garlic powder
  • black pepper
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • brown sugar 

There’s plenty of wiggle room with this blend. These chicken burgers are definitely on the spicy side, but they’re not unbearable like some Nashville hot chicken recipes. 

If you’re spice sensitive and want to give these chicken burgers a go, you might cut the amount of cayenne pepper in half and omit the crushed red pepper flakes. And since the acidity from the pickles will help balance the heat, reduce the spices if you plan to omit pickles. 

Note: In case you want something a bit more mild, check out my chipotle ranch ground chicken burgers with ranch slaw. You could also add a creamy spread like the low fat ranch spread from my honey chipotle crockpot chicken or tangy mustard sauce from my crispy chicken sandwich recipes to reduce the spice level post-cooking. 

Other Important Recipe Notes

You’re welcome to use another meat like ground turkey if that’s all you have on hand. The recipe calls for 96% lean ground chicken so if you use a fattier cut of meat, you might be able to reduce the amount of olive oil they’re cooked in. But I’d highly encourage using a small amount to let the magic happen with the spices. 

chicken burgers in a 12-inch cast iron skillet

I mention this in the recipe card below, but I used a 12-inch cast iron skillet. You can see in the recipe photos that the chicken burgers took up most of the pan. 

If you use a smaller pan, you probably won’t be able to smash them as flat and will have thicker burgers. In that case, be sure to give the chicken burgers a bit more time to cook through.

The only other notes I’d add would be to let the chicken burgers rest after cooking and avoid cutting into them if possible. This will keep the burgers super juicy and prevent any drying out. And as always, don’t overcook them!

inside the chicken burgers

What to Serve with Your Chicken Burgers

Since each chicken burger has just 280 calories, you might have room for some extra fixin’s. Here’s a handful of my favorites: 

Okay, you should be ready to roll. If you have a recipe question I missed, drop a comment at the bottom of this post. Hope you enjoy!

healthy nashville hot chicken burgers recipe

Nashville Hot Chicken Burgers

Yield: 4 burgers
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Spicy ground chicken burgers with a thick, peppery sauce topped with pickles on potato buns.

Ingredients

Chicken Burgers

  • 1 lb Ground Chicken, I used 97/3
  • 1 Tbsp (16g) Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Tbsp (24g) Swerve Brown Sugar, or light brown sugar
  • 1-2 Tbsp Hot Sauce of your choice

Buns and Toppings

  • 12 Dill Pickle Slices
  • 4 Potato Buns (or your choice of bun)

Instructions

  1. Mix the dry spices together in a small bowl. Divide the chicken into 4 pieces and generously sprinkle the spices on top of each piece.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat before adding the olive oil. Cast iron or stainless steel is ideal for searing the burgers. (Important: Turn the ventilation on high as the spices will create strong aromas and a bit of smoke as they bloom in the oil. Don't stand directly over the pan.)
  3. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces to the skillet spice side down. Season the top side of the chicken, saving about 1/3 of the spices for the sauce.
  4. Use a spatula to press the chicken burgers flat, smash burger style. Let them cook for 2-3 minutes to develop a good sear with lotsa color before flipping.
  5. Flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes until juices run clear and the burgers reach an internal temp of 165F. (I used a 12-inch skillet so if you're using a smaller skillet and have thicker burgers due to lack of pan space, the burgers may take longer to cook through.)
  6. Transfer the cooked burgers to a plate and add the remaining oil/juices to the remaining spices. Add the hot sauce to the spices and stir until thick. Add the sauce to the top of the burgers.
  7. Toast your buns in the skillet, top with pickles, and dig in!

Notes

  • Each chicken burger has 5 Smart Points with the bun and pickles.
  • Nutrition info for chicken burger patties only: 150 calories, 26g protein, 0g carbs, 7g fat, 1 Smart Point each 
  • If you're using a stainless steel skillet, you can use a bit of vinegar to deglaze the pan (loosen all the crispy bits on the pan) before adding to the remaining spices to make the sauce. This will add some great flavor to the sauce. 
  • You can find the cast iron skillet, Swerve Brown, and all my other recommended tools and products I use on my Amazon list.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Chicken Burgers Serving Size: 1 Burger
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 280Total Fat: 9gCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 34g

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A simple 20-minute recipe for spicy chicken burgers that have 150 calories, 24g of protein, zero carbs, and 1 SmartPoint each! Even with a bun, each one of these Nashville Hot chicken burgers has just 280 calories and 5 SmartPoints.
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