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This homemade chicken nuggets recipe is your new weeknight dinner hero! Here’s how to make healthy, tasty nuggets that adults and kids will love.

Chicken Nuggets
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Alex and I are passionate about cooking all things from scratch, from French fries to pizza. So we could not wait to share this homemade chicken nuggets recipe with you! These nuggets are made with real chicken breast, baked instead of fried, with a perfectly seasoned crunchy exterior.

Why we love this recipe: I mean, how could we not? Homemade nuggets are a huge hit with our kids (no surprise), but adults absolutely inhale these too! They’re family friendly, great for topping a Caesar salad or power bowls, and if you add a homemade dipping sauce like honey mustard or ranch they are absolutely next level.

“These chicken nuggets were incredibly tasty! I’m always wary of homemade chicken nuggets but these were 10/10! Adding these to our monthly dinner rotation.” -Tanvee

Ingredients for homemade chicken nuggets

These homemade chicken nuggets are much tastier than frozen or fast food and here’s why: they’re made with actual pieces of chicken breast (kind of more like chicken tenders). They’re baked not fried, but still crispy and irresistibly seasoned. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Chicken breast: Buy organic chicken if at all possible. Look for boneless skinless chicken breasts, or cutlets if possible.
  • Panko: These light and airy Japanese breadcrumbs are what make the crispy golden crust. Look for gluten-free panko if desired.
  • Olive oil: A touch of healthy fat helps crisp up the nuggets without deep-frying.
  • Spices: Garlic powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, cumin, and chili powder create a flavor explosion, while salt enhances every bite.
  • Eggs:  Here the eggs act act as a binder, holding the panko and seasonings onto the chicken.

How to make this chicken nuggets recipe

The key to crispy baked chicken nuggets is an oven safe baking rack, if you have one. This lifts the bottom surface of the nuggets off of the baking sheet, allowing it to get crispy instead of soggy while it bakes. Here are the basic steps for the recipe:

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a medium bowl, mix the panko with the olive oil. Pour it in an even layer onto a rimmed baking sheet, place it in the oven, and toast for 4 to 5 minutes until lightly browned. Pour the toasted breadcrumbs into a bowl and cool for 1 minute.

Step 2: If using breasts, slice them in half horizontally, then cut into bite-sized nuggets and place them in a large bowl. Toss with kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, cumin and chili powder. In another bowl, whisk eggs with ½ tsp water. 

Step 3: Place an oven safe rack on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Dredge each piece of chicken into the eggs, then toss with the breadcrumb mixture. Place the nuggets onto the baking sheet. Bake 10 to 15 minutes until the outside is golden and the internal temperature measures 165°F.

💡Why buy organic chicken? We recommend buying organic since it’s the high-quality meat that is raised sustainably without chemicals. Organic standards require that the chickens have access to the outdoors and cannot be given antibiotics or growth hormones (happy chickens!).

Chicken Nuggets on a tray with ketchup.

Sauces for homemade chicken nuggets

Once you’ve got your homemade chicken nuggets, of course you’ll want a dipping sauce! I’m personally not a huge fan of ketchup, though I know more of the world is. However, we do have a homemade ketchup that I think is pretty delicious. Here are a few sauces for serving with these chicken nuggets:

Diet swaps

When we started A Couple Cooks in 2010, we ate mostly vegan recipes and vegetarian recipes. We now embrace the Mediterranean diet, so we eat seafood and chicken occasionally.

If you’ve been around since the early days, this recipe might surprise you! But these days chicken is in the dinnertime repertoire. Want a plant-based solution? Try our breaded tofu from this tofu sandwich, or our friend Jessica has a great vegan chicken nuggets recipe. For gluten-free, look for gluten-free panko.

Other serving ideas

Chicken nuggets are great on their own as a meal for kids: we like adding carrot sticks and serving with ranch for dipping everything. (Why restaurants don’t do this, I’m not sure!) For the adults, we like adding chicken nuggets to salads and grain bowls. Here are some ideas:

Storing leftovers

Leftovers store up to 3 days refrigerated. To make the nuggets crispy again, reheat in a 375°F oven until warmed through.

More chicken dinners

This homemade chicken nuggets recipe is a rock-star recipe in our house! Here are some of our other favorite family friendly chicken dinners:

Dietary notes

This homemade chicken nuggets recipe is dairy-free. For gluten-free, use gluten-free panko. For vegan, try breaded tofu from our tofu sandwich as a substitute (it has a similar vibe).

Frequently asked questions

What can I use instead of panko?

Regular breadcrumbs will work, but they may not achieve the same level of crispiness. You can also try crushed crackers, tortilla chips, or even cornflakes for a different texture.

Do I need to use all the spices listed?

Feel free to customize the spice blend to your liking! You can omit any spices you don’t have or prefer not to use.

How long do I need to cook the nuggets?

Cook time will depend on the size of your nuggets, but they typically take 10 to 15 minutes to bake at 425°F. Aim for a golden brown color and an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

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Chicken Nuggets

Homemade Chicken Nuggets


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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

This homemade chicken nuggets recipe is your new weeknight dinner hero! Here’s how to make healthy, tasty nuggets that adults and kids will love.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 pound chicken breast: 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 4 cutlets (organic if possible)*
  • 1 ½ cups panko
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • Ketchup, honey mustard, or ranch, for serving**

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the panko with the olive oil. Pour it in an even layer onto a rimmed baking sheet, place it in the oven, and toast for 4 to 5 minutes until lightly browned. Pour the toasted breadcrumbs into a shallow bowl and allow to cool for 1 minute.
  3. If using breasts, slice them in half horizontally (if you bought cutlets, skip this step). Cut the cutlets into bite-sized nuggets and place them in a large bowl. Toss with the kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, cumin and chili powder.
  4. In another shallow bowl, whisk the eggs with ½ teaspoon water. 
  5. When the baking sheet is cool, wipe any remaining crumbs from the baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. If you have one, place an oven safe rack on the baking sheet.
  6. Dredge each piece of chicken into the eggs and tap off any excess liquid. Then place it into the bowl with the breadcrumb mixture and toss until fully coated. Place the chicken nuggets onto the prepared baking sheet. When all of the nuggets are breaded, sprinkle them with a few more pinches of kosher salt
  7. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness, until the outside is golden and the internal temperature measures 165°F at the thickest point. Serve immediately. Leftovers store up to 3 days refrigerated; to make them crispy again, reheat in a 375°F oven until warmed through.

Notes

*If you buy the chicken as breasts that are not already butterflied or cutlets, butterfly the chicken: Place your hand over the top of each chicken breast. Use a sharp knife to carefully slice the breast horizontally, leaving the edge intact so it can open up like a book (or butterfly!). Unfold the breast like a book, then cut along the fold to separate the two halves.

**Sauce ideas include ketchup, honey mustard, homemade ranch dressing, Caesar dressing, special sauce, or yum yum sauce.

Other serving ideas: Add to a Caesar salad to make chicken Caesar. Use nuggets in bowl meals like power bowls, hummus bowls, rice bowls, or replace the salmon in this salmon crunch bowl with spicy mayo. Use leftovers in chicken tacos topped with lime crema.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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3 Comments

  1. Ruth says:

    I wish your recipes had nutritional facts

  2. Tanvee says:

    I made the chicken nuggets, and they were incredibly tasty! I’m always wary of homemade chicken nuggets but these were 10/10! I loved the bbq flavour profile, and they were so crunchy!! We had them with roasted red pepper hummus. Adding these to the dinner rotation!