Everyone knows that a bag of frozen chicken nuggets or fast-food chicken nuggets is sometimes the easiest way to get dinner on the table, especially when you have hungry but picky eaters. But this homemade chicken nuggets recipe is so easy, you’ll skip the store-bought stuff.
The best part about this recipe is just how effortless it is. You simply cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts into small pieces, toss them in some seasoned flour, and fry them up until golden brown. It’s almost as fast as throwing frozen nuggets in the oven.
Serve these juicy, flavorful chicken nuggets with your favorite side dishes and dipping sauces, and dinner is done.
Ingredients for Chicken Nuggets
- Chicken: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are the easiest to cut for these chicken nuggets. You’ll flatten them out a bit before cutting them into bite-size pieces. Make them all about the same size so they’ll take the same amount of time to fry.
- Flour: Use all-purpose flour for the coating in this recipe. It sticks well to the chicken, even without a binder.
- Seasonings: With the seasoned salt, poultry seasoning, paprika, ground mustard and pepper, you’re close to hitting all the herbs and spices you’ll find in popular fast-food fried chicken.
- Oil: You’ll fry the chicken in a fairly scant amount of canola oil, which is one of the best oils for frying.
Step 1: Make the coating
In a shallow dish, toss the flour with the seasoned salt, poultry seasoning, paprika, ground mustard and pepper.
Step 2: Cut the chicken and coat it in flour
Flatten the chicken breasts to 1/2-inch thickness, and then cut the meat into 1-1/2-inch pieces. Add the chicken pieces, a few at a time, to the dish with the seasoned flour and turn to coat. Continue with the rest of the chicken.
Editor’s Tip: To pound the chicken, place the breasts on a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap. This will keep raw chicken juices from flying around your kitchen.
Step 3: Cook the chicken
In a large skillet, heat the oil until it shimmers. Cook the chicken pieces in batches until the meat is no longer pink, six to eight minutes.
Editor’s Tip: The best oil temperature for frying anything is between 350° and 375°F. You can always temp the oil before frying these nuggets, but it will heat up quickly since it’s such a small amount.
Chicken Nugget Variations
- Make air-fryer chicken nuggets: If you don’t want deep-fried nuggets, these can easily be prepared in an air fryer. You will still be able to achieve that crispy exterior but with less grease and fat.
- Swap spices: Want to make your chicken nuggets a little spicy? Add smoked paprika instead of sweet, or a pinch of cayenne powder. More garlicky? Throw in a pinch or two of garlic powder. Use a homemade curry-spiked seasoning salt blend or spice blend for more unique flavor combos. Or increase or decrease the herbs and spices used in the recipe according to your own taste.
How to Store Chicken Nuggets
Store leftover chicken nuggets in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.
How to Freeze Chicken Nuggets
To freeze chicken nuggets, allow them to cool. Place the cooled nuggets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and freeze for one hour. Move the nuggets to an airtight container or freezer-safe bag. They’ll last in the freezer for up to three months.
How do you reheat chicken nuggets?
You can reheat chicken nuggets in a microwave, oven or air fryer. In the microwave, reheat cooked chicken nuggets on high for three to four minutes, or until warmed through. If you’re using the oven, reheat the chicken nuggets in a 350° oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until warmed through. Or, preheat an air fryer to 350°, place the chicken nuggets in the basket, spray with cooking spray, and cook for three to four minutes, flip, and cook a few minutes more as needed. Here are more tips on how to reheat fried chicken.
To reheat frozen chicken nuggets, place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or on a wire rack placed on top of the baking sheet. Bake in a 350° oven for 20 minutes, or until they’re fully heated through.
Chicken Nuggets Tips
How can you make sure chicken nuggets cook evenly?
To make sure the chicken nuggets cook evenly, cut the chicken pieces to about the same size. This ensures the nuggets will cook at the same rate and be done at the same time. Here’s more on reaching the proper temperature of chicken, whether in nugget form or whole pieces.
What do you serve with chicken nuggets?
What don’t you serve with chicken nuggets! Keep it simple with a great dipping sauce, like honey mustard, a sweet-hot Asian dipping sauce, ranch, barbecue or buttermilk blue cheese sauce. French fries or macaroni and cheese are classic accompaniments with chicken nuggets. Or consider serving them with golden buttermilk waffles for a fun spin on fried chicken and waffles.