If your kids love fast food, surprise them with this homemade baked chicken nuggets recipe! This is a much healthier version of their favorite.
Chicken nuggets are awesome. Right? I know.
And not just for adults (probably especially not for adults, but we can’t be that picky now, can we?).
Chicken Nuggets are the go-to food for kids almost everywhere.
Lost track of time and the little ones are hungry in the back of the car?
Buy some nuggets at the drive through.
At a birthday party? The public swimming pool? The beach?
There will always be chicken nuggets everywhere.
No wonder, while I can’t say for sure that everyone loves them I’d guess the majority of meat-eaters wouldn’t say no to a bite or two.
I love chicken nuggets as much as the next person.
On the rare occasions I stepped foot into a fast food restaurant as a kid I’d always get nuggets.
Never a burger, always nuggets.
With those gloopy and slightly disgusting but oh-so-good sauces (which I now replicate at home when I make Crispy Garlic Chicken).
So that’s it, I love chicken nuggets. Or at least I did. Wanna know what happened?
I watched a few too many documentaries. Documentaries about food production. Errr… I don’t think I’ll be going into detail here but let me just say I much prefer to make my own at home now!
I make them with my toddler all the time, and she always gets really excited about it. I mean, chicken nuggets are a reason for excitement, dontchathink?
Here are my best tips to make the best, ultra crispy homemade chicken nuggets:
1 – How to bread chicken:
The only thing you really have to pay attention to in this recipe is getting the breading part right. Because wow, my friend. Does this make an awesome crispy crust.
You need three dishes (I always use soup dishes):
- To the first dish add flour and seasoning.
- To the second dish add beaten eggs
- To the third dish add your favorite breadcrumbs (or crushed cornflakes!)
Pat your chicken dry and cut it into chunks (or into strips, or if you’re very artistically gifted into dinosaurs). Coat it with the flour and shake off any excess.
Dip the pieces into the beaten egg…
…and then coat with bread crumbs. Done!
The one thing you mustn’t do is putting any combination of flour, eggs and breadcrumbs together in the same dish.
If you follow the instructions correctly you will end up with a deliciously crispy coating around the entire chicken and not just with a few bread crumbs stuck to it here and there – your kids (and any chicken nuggets loving adults in your life) will love you for it!
The beautiful thing about this?
You can’t only bread chicken but pretty much anything using this method! I even use a similar method for my Crispy Oven Fried Chicken, my Buttermilk Oven Fried Chicken. Uhm, and my Garlic Parmesan Crispy Oven Fried Chicken 😉 But that’s how well it works!
2 – Use a dark sheet pan
I always use a dark sheet pan (vs a silver one or a white enameled one) when I want to get something crispy out of the oven.
It reflects the heat better and really helps crisping up the coating of the nuggets better than any other color.
If you don’t have one, you can find one here on Amazon (this link is an affiliate link, if you click through and make a purchase, I earn a commission).
3 – Make the seasoning your own
I purposefully seasoned these to make them flavorful, but not spicy or overwhelmingly spiced.
This is the way I often make them for my kids, sometimes I add a little garlic and onion powder.
You can definitely switch up the seasoning though – you can add chili powder to add some heat, you can even add grated parmesan to the breadcrumbs.
Now on to some FAQs I get asked about chicken nuggets all the time:
Can you freeze these homemade chicken nuggets?
Can you freeze them, ha! YES you can.
Which means you can make a huge batch and always have some on hand for that midnight chicken nugget hunger. Or is that just me?
My tips to freeze chicken nuggets:
- Wait for the nuggets to cool completely before freezing them (otherwise your freezer could heat up too much and affect the other frozen goods in there).
- Use a container or bag that is suitable for freezing.
- Label the bag or container with the contents, today’s date AND the use-by time (the chicken nuggets are best eaten within 3 months).
- Make sure the nuggets are piping hot and steaming all the way through before serving.
I recommend freezing in a single layer on a cookie sheet for ~1 hour before transferring to freezer bags.
You can reheat them in the microwave or for 15-20 minutes at 375 in the oven, or until they’re piping hot all the way through. You don’t need to defrost them before reheating.
What can you serve with chicken nuggets?
Chicken nuggets aren’t just a drive-through finger food! With the right sides, you can turn them into a healthy and satisfying meal.
Some of our favorites:
- Green beans and mashed potatoes
- Pumpkin Cornbread and a nice coleslaw
- Corn on the cob and sweet potato fries
Here’s the printable recipe so you can make healthy baked chicken nuggets for your kids:
Note: I updated these photos and the recipe in June 2017, to reflect the comments that said the nuggets needed a little more seasoning. I have re-tested the recipe and adjusted the amount of seasoning in the flour! Enjoy 🙂
Healthy Baked Chicken Nuggets Recipe
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast 450g
- 1 cup flour 120g
- 2 teaspoons ground paprika
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup bread crumbs 90g
- Oil spray
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Lightly spray a baking tray with oil.
- Pat your chicken dry and cut into chunks or strips.
- Prepare three shallow dishes such as soup plates on your kitchen counter. To the first dish add the flour, paprika, salt and pepper and mix until combined. To the second dish add the egg and beat well. To the third dish add the breadcrumbs.
- Coat your chicken chunks first with the flour and shake off any excess. Then dip the chunks into the beaten egg and finally coat with the breadcrumbs. Discard any leftover breadcrumbs and flour!
- Distribute the coated chicken pieces evenly on the baking tray and spray the tops of the breaded chicken chunks with oil.
- Bake for 20 minutes, turning the chicken nuggets once halfway through.