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Chicken Nuggets

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These picky-kid-approved, healthy Chicken Nuggets made with ground chicken are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Better than fast-food and even have hidden veggies inside!

Chicken Nuggets

Best Chicken Nuggets

My sister-in-law and I set out to make a knock-off chicken nugget for my picky niece, and she loved these (and so did the rest of my family!). This homemade chicken nugget recipe uses ground chicken, frozen cauliflower rice (you can’t tell!), and seasoning, coated in breadcrumbs, and cooked in the air fryer or oven. They take a little longer than using chicken chunks but are totally worth it! You can double the batch and freeze the rest, so you have your own healthier, homemade frozen chicken nuggets you can feel good about feeding your kids. More nuggets you may want to try, these Baked Chicken Nuggets and Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets using chunks of white-meat chicken.

Chicken Nuggets with honey mustard

Why You Need To Make This Recipe!

  • Kid-Friendly: Toddlers and children will love these crispy chicken nuggets!
  • Healthier: Making the chicken nuggets from scratch means you control the ingredients. Baked or air fried instead of deep fried!
  • Added Veggies: I mixed in some cauliflower rice, and no one could tell.
  • Freezer Friendly: You can make them ahead, and freeze for the week!
  • Pack The In A Lunch Box: My sister in law has been packng them in her kids’ thermos so they are still warm at lunch.

What are chicken nuggets made of?

  • Chicken: For this chicken nugget recipe, I chose 93% ground chicken (a mix of chicken thighs and breast meat) instead of ground chicken breast, which comes out too dry. If you want to use skinless chicken breast, use this recipe instead.
  • Cauliflower Rice: Frozen cauliflower rice keeps these lean while adding extra nutrients.
  • Seasoning: Salt, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper
  • Egg: Beat one egg in a shallow bowl.
  • Breadcrumbs: Coat the nuggets in seasoned breadcrumbs or gluten-free crumbs.

How to Make Chicken Nuggets

  1. Form the Chicken: Combine the ground chicken, cauliflower rice, and seasoning in a large bowl. Form the mixture into 30 round, flat nuggets weighing about 25 grams each.
  2. Bread the Nuggets: Crack the egg into a bowl and pour the breadcrumbs into another. Dip the chicken mixture in the egg and then the breadcrumbs.
  3. Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets: Place them in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Spray the tops with oil and air fry for eight to nine minutes at 400°F, flipping halfway and spraying the other sides with oil. Cook until the nuggets are golden and cooked through, and repeat the process with the remaining pieces.
  4. Baked Chicken Nuggets: If you don’t have an air fryer, bake them in the oven. Place them on a baking sheet sprayed with oil, and spray the chicken with oil. Bake for 10 minutes at 450°F. Flip the nuggets over, spray with more oil, and bake for 6 more minutes until golden brown.

Variations

  • Poultry: Swap ground chicken with 93% lean ground turkey.
  • Breadcrumbs: Substitute breadcrumbs with seasoned panko breadcrumbs.
  • No seasoned breadcrumbs? Add spices, like onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and salt, to your breadcrumbs.

What to Serve with Chicken Nuggets

  • Dipping Sauce: Dip these nuggets in your favorite sauce, like ketchup, honey mustard, buffalo sauce, BBQ sauce, or spicy mayo.
  • Lunchbox Ideas: Pack them for school lunch with fruit, veggie sticks and your child’s favorite dipping sauce, or put them on a small roll for a chicken sandwich.
  • Salad: Adults can serve this with or over a salad with ranch dressing.
  • Sides: Serve them with french fries, mac and cheese, or with roasted broccoli or green beans.

How to Freeze Chicken Nuggets

Leftover nuggets last for up to four days in the fridge, but if you want to freeze them, here’s how:

  1. Bake or air fry the chicken as directed and let them cool.
  2. Flash freeze them on a sheet pan until solid for an hour or two.
  3. Transfer to an airtight container.
  4. To reheat, bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 11 to 15 minutes or 360°F- air fryer for 7 to 8 minutes.
Chicken Nuggets in the Air Fryer
Baked Chicken Nuggets
Chicken Nuggets in Freezer

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Chicken Nuggets Recipe (Ground Chicken)

4.91 from 31 votes
7
Cals:280
Protein:28
Carbs:13
Fat:13
These picky-kid-approved, healthy Chicken Nuggets are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. They’re better than ones from a fast-food restaurant and even have hidden veggies inside!
Course: Dinner, Lunch, School Lunch
Cuisine: American
Chicken Nuggets
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Yield: 5 servings
Serving Size: 6 nuggets

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs 93% lean ground chicken, organic preferred (not breast only)
  • 2/3 cup frozen cauliflower rice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs, or gluten-free seasoned crumbs*
  • ketchup, honey mustard, buffalo sauce, BBQ sauce, special sauce, etc., optional for dipping

Instructions

  • In a large bowl combine the chicken with cauliflower rice, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper and mix well. Form into 30 round flat nuggets, about 25 grams each.
  • Place egg in a bowl and bread crumbs in another bowl. Dip the nuggets in the egg, then breadcrumbs and set aside.

Baked:

  • If baking, place on a sheet pan sprayed with oil. Preheat the oven to 450F and spray the chicken with oil.
  • Bake 10 minutes then flip, bake an additional 6 minutes, until golden. Spraying both sides until golden and cooked through.

Air Fryer Method:

  • Place the chicken nuggets in a singe layer in batches as needed, spray the tops with oil and air fry 8 to 9 minutes at 400F, flipping halfway spraying both sides with oil, until golden and cooked through.
  • Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Last Step:

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Notes

Leftover nuggets last for up to four days in the fridge, but if you want to freeze them, here’s how:
    1. Bake or air fry the chicken nuggets as directed and let them cool.
    2. Flash freeze them on a sheet pan until solid for an hour or two.
    3. Transfer to an airtight container.
    4. To reheat, bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 11 to 15 minutes or 360°F- air fryer for 7 to 8 minutes.
    5. Freeze up to 3 months.
*N.I. reflects 1 tbsp breadcrumbs that get tossed after.

Nutrition

Serving: 6 nuggets, Calories: 280 kcal, Carbohydrates: 13 g, Protein: 28 g, Fat: 13 g, Saturated Fat: 3.5 g, Cholesterol: 154.5 mg, Sodium: 670.5 mg, Fiber: 1.5 g, Sugar: 1.5 g

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