These homemade baked chicken nuggets are so yummy. If you are a chicken fan, especially if you like Chick Fil A and McDonald’s give these a try!
There are several ways to make chicken nuggets at home, you can bake them or fry them, use buttermilk, use a pickle juice brine, or classic egg wash. And then there are the breadcrumbs, you can use traditional or Panko.
Whatever method you try chicken nuggets made at home are a delight and your kids will definitely thank you. They are so easy to make and come together in under an hour. If I can do it, you can do it. Let’s get baking!
Step 1: Gather the ingredients
In order to make chicken nuggets at home you need just a handful of ingredients that are very easy to find:
- Chicken – I like to use chicken tenderloins, but you can use chicken breasts or thighs as well. Make sure the chicken is thawed.
- Eggs – Or if you are using buttermilk or decide to use a pickle juice brine you can leave out the eggs.
- Water – You only need the water if you are using the eggs.
- Buttermilk – If you don’t want to use the eggs.
- Pickle juice brine – if you don’t want to use buttermilk or eggs.
- Breadcrumbs – I use either traditional or panko breadcrumbs. Traditional is probably my favorite out of the two, but I recommend trying both and seeing which you prefer.
- Garlic powder
- Black ground pepper
- Red chili powder – An optional spice for some heat
- Red pepper – Another optional spice for a bit of heat
- Paprika – This is optional as well. I don’t always add it.
Step 2: How to make chicken nuggets
Preheat the oven to 400 F/205 C. If you would like to deep fry the chicken instead, fill a large deep pot with enough oil to be a little over an inch deep. Set the burner to medium heat and begin heating the oil to 325 F/162 C.
Take the thawed chicken tenderloins and cut them into 3 to 4 chunks each, they will be a little over and inch in size. You can cut them whatever size you want however.
If you are using the buttermilk or a pickle juice brine place the cut chicken in a bowl and pour the liquid over it. Cover and chill in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. So this would actually be the first step, no need to preheat the oven or heat the oil yet, until the chicken has soaked.
Step 3: Chicken nuggets seasonings
In a small bowl combine all the seasonings. I love to use salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Some optional toppings include red chili powder, red pepper, and paprika.
The amounts listed below in the printed recipe are for a lightly seasoned chicken nugget. If you want them to be heavily seasoned, double the amount of seasoning. Mix all the seasonings together with a fork or whisk.
Next pour in the seasonings with the breadcrumbs and combine them. If you want to try both kinds of breadcrumbs, save half of the seasoning mix for the traditional breadcrumbs and the other half for the Panko breadcrumbs.
Step 4: Dip the chicken
Take the eggs and beat them together with the water in a medium bowl. Dip a chicken chunk into the egg wash and then allow the excess to drain off.
Next, dip the chicken into the bread crumbs and make sure it gets covered entirely and evenly. I recommend using tongs, but you can use your fingers as well, just make sure they are clean, and then wash them after.
Or an alternative method would be to place all the seasonings and breadcrumbs in a large plastic bag and then shake it so they mix together and then put a few dipped pieces of chicken in the bag and shake until coated.
Place the coated chicken nuggets onto a metal wire rack that is on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. The wire rack will ensure the chicken bakes equally on both sides.
Or if you don’t have a metal rack, just place the chicken right onto the parchment paper or silicone mat. And then you will turn them halfway through baking.
Not using the egg wash? Then you would take your chicken out of the fridge, grab a piece out of the buttermilk or pickle juice brine, allow the excess to drain, and then go straight into the breadcrumbs.
If you want to fry these instead. They can go right into the oil, no need for the sheet pan.
Step 5: How to bake or fry chicken nuggets
Place the pan of unbaked chicken nuggets into the oven, middle rack position, and bake them for 18 to 22 minutes until nice and golden brown, and when you cut into one it is completely white and not pink. Add a few shakes of salt to finish them off.
Or if you want to fry them, gently place 5 or 6 of them in the hot oil and cook them for 5 to 7 minutes until they are golden brown, and when you cut into one, it is completely white and not pink. Once done remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon or spider strainer. And place them on a plate lined with a paper towel.
Once you are done with the rest of them it is time to serve those chicken nuggets. They taste better when warm. Serve them with ketchup, barbecue sauce, ranch, etc. However you want. Enjoy!
How long do homemade chicken nuggets last?
If you place them in an airtight container or ziplock bag you can store them in the fridge for a day or two. Or you can freeze them. Reheat them in the oven at 375 F for about 5 minutes. They will taste the best fresh.
Here are some other recipes you may like:
- Cutting board
- sheet pan
- parchment paper or a silicone mat
- Metal oven-safe cookie rack (optional)
- 8 chicken tenderloins about 2lbs or 900g (will make 24 to 32 nuggets) or you may use chicken breast or thighs, etc.
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp. water 10ml
- 1 cup buttermilk or enough to cover the chicken if not using the eggs
- 1 cup of pickle juice/brine another alternative to the buttermilk and eggs
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups of bread crumbs panko or traditional (you may need a bit more) (125 to 187g)
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder 2g
- 1/2 tsp. salt 2g
- 1/4 tsp. black. pepper 1g
- 1/4 tsp. red chili powder optional for a bit of spiciness(1g)
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper optional for a bit of spiciness (1g)
- 1/2 tsp. paprika optional (2g)
- Take the thawed chicken and cut it into chunks roughly one inch in size.If using the buttermilk or the pickle juice place the cut chicken into a bowl and pour the buttermilk or pickle juice over it. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F/205 C. Or heat a large pot with a little over an inch deep of oil to 325 F/162 C. Add the egg and water to a small bowl and whisk until well combined, creating the egg wash. Skip this if you soaked the chicken in buttermilk or pickle juice.
- In a medium bowl mix together all the seasonings, the salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc. with the breadcrumbs.Or place everything in a bag and shake it.
- Take a chicken chunk and dip it in the egg wash and then let the excess drain off, then dip it into the breadcrumbs and cover evenly.The same goes for the buttermilk or pickle brined chicken accept you won't use an egg wash. Or alternatively, dip a handful of chicken pieces and drop them into the bag with seasonings, and then shake to coat them.Place the chicken on an oven-safe metal rack, on top of a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Or don't use the wire rack at all. It helps with even baking, and you don't have to turn it.
- Cook the nuggets in the oven, middle rack position, for 18 to 22 minutes until golden brown and slightly crisp and completely white in the middle when cut in half, no pink. If you don't use the wire rack, turn them over halfway through baking. Or if frying the nuggets, gently drop 5 to 6 coated nuggets into the hot oil and fry for 5 to 7 minutes until golden brown, and completely white in the middle when you cut it in half.
- Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for just a few minutes before serving them warm. Or remove them from the oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate and fry the rest.Dip in your favorite sauces. Enjoy!
Do you like the recipe? Please give it a rating and comment down below, I really appreciate it. If you make it tag me on Instagram @inthekitchenwithmatt. Also, sign up for the newsletter so you won’t miss out on any of my new posts and recipes.