Hot Tips On Crafting The Best Spicy Chicken From Texas Pete®  
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Hot Tips On Crafting The Best Spicy Chicken From Texas Pete®  

A quick look at the fastest growing restaurant chains, and it’s easy to appreciate the popularity the fried chicken industry is enjoying. Chains with fried chicken front and prominently featured on their menus were the true winners in double-digit dollar sales growth in 2019. What was a crucial factor in driving this growth? The addition of new signature spicy chicken sandwiches.

The Texas Pete® kitchens have been busy assisting chains in the development of better spicy chicken options. Now we’re ready to spice things up for you! Here are some hot tips that can make your next menu winner a chicken sandwich of your own:  

  1. How Hot is Too Hot?—While Datassential tells us that 72% of all menus include at least one item described as spicy, defining the right level of heat for your intended customer demographic is key. A Datassential survey of 1,100 consumers by the research firm found that around 25% of Millennials and Gen Z customers say, “the spicier the better.” That is why “Nashville Hot Chicken” descriptors have grown by 1,600% in the past four years! If your target demographic is Gen Zs and Millennials, kick up the heat.
    Roughly the same percentage of Boomers say, “no spice at all.” So, if you rely on an older demographic, dial back the spiciness. The best bet may be to look at the middle of the spectrum, where nearly 30% say that they prefer a moderate level of spicy flavor. Nearly 20% say that they prefer a balance of spicy and sweet.  
  1. Is it the Breading?—Consumers look to the authenticity of the prep of a great chicken sandwich. That may be why the term “hand-breaded” has grown by 24% since 2015*. Using a hot sauce flavor in your breading, or even the marinade before breading, can be a secret to success. Some winning chicken chains use Texas Pete® hot sauces in their marinade and many are turning to the new Texas Pete® Dust Dry Seasoning as an addition to their breading. Back-of-house staff of chicken-centric chains are more attuned to hand breading raw chicken and it is an important advantage! Determine the level of training needed to ramp up your hand-breaded chicken as you develop your own new item.
  1. A Signature Sauce Could Be Your Secret—There are multiple reasons why a signature sauce should be your approach to a winning spicy chicken if hand-breading isn’t an option. A spicy ranch or sriracha aioli are easy to prep and can increase the selling price by 50¢ to $1. A spicy signature sauce can be leveraged beyond the chicken to burgers, and as a dipping sauce for appetizers.

    To explore how much an upscaled sandwich or signature sauce can produce in new sales dollars, Texas Pete® has developed a new sales calculator. In just a minute, you’ll learn how important new branded signature sauce(s) can be to contributing to your sales.

    Crafting the base ingredient of your signature sauce should involve the desired flavor profile for your chicken and your overall menu. For example, 52% of consumers prefer ranch dressing to accompany chicken wings, 46% for dipping chicken tenders, and 33% for dipping french fries. Yet 62% prefer mayo as a condiment for sandwiches*. 

    As for the spicy ingredient, an operator survey* found that 40% of operators are buying more sriracha sauce, 36% of operators said that they were buying more buffalo wing sauce, and 32% said they were buying more hot sauce than a year ago.

    Below are the top five fastest-growing signature sauce combinations of the past four years:


Sauce Flavor 4-Year Growth on Menus*
Sriracha Ranch +299%
Korean BBQ Sauce  +222%
 Sriracha Aioli +140%
Sriracha Ketchup +128%
Sriracha Mayo  + 77%

We have created some of the most popular signatures sauce recipes using Texas Pete® as an ingredient. Check them out on our new calculator page.


  1. Other Winning Additions—What are the fastest growing chicken sandwich ingredients? Consider the pickle! When it comes to what’s on chicken sandwiches, Datassential reports a 50% increase in the addition of a pickle, a 29% increase in cilantro, a 13% increase in shredded lettuce, and a 10% increase in bacon in the past four years.  

Crafting the next great spicy chicken sandwich should definitely be part of your menu development this year. When you do consider chicken, consider Texas Pete®. Our brand is the fastest growing retail brand of hot sauce in the U.S. among the top 10 brands** and we are the trusted brand for some of the nation’s top fried chicken-centric chains in the country.

*Datassential, Condiment, Sauces & Dressings Survey, 2019

** IRI, Nov. 2019