Homemade Chicken Nuggets Recipe

My Homemade Chicken Nuggets are one of my kids favorite things I make! I brine the chicken before frying and use a combo of seasoned flour AND breadcrumbs to get that perfect coating that is crunchy but not too thick! Like Chick Fil A, but better because they’re homemade! And yes, you can bake them too!

Make sure to serve these with my Favorite Chicken Dipping Sauce!

Homemade Chicken Nuggets with dipping sauce

These Homemade Chicken Nuggets Are A Chick Fil A Copycat!

We are a nugget household. I dare even say that chicken nuggets are possibly our favorite food. I know it’s not refined, classy eating, but really…is there anything better than a nugget done right?

Of course we are partial to the ever popular Chick Fil A nugget. I do happen to feel like they are the superior fast food nugget. So I used their nuggets as inspiration for my recipe and these are a pretty close match!

Breading chicken chunks to fry

What Ingredients Do You Need For Homemade Chicken Nuggets?

The great thing about my recipe is that you use everyday ingredients…nothing fancy here! Here’s a quick rundown of the ingredient list:

  • Chicken Breasts. You will use boneless skinless chicken here and cut it into 1- inch chunks. Don’t get too hung up on the size, just try and keep them all the same(ish) size so they cook evenly!
  • Pickle Juice and Milk. I use a combo of pickle juice and milk to brine the chicken, which flavors and tenderizes the chicken!
  • Hot Sauce. I use a tablespoon of hot sauce, like Franks, or Louisiana Hot Sauce in the brine to add a little flavor. It doesn’t make the chicken spicy, it just adds another layer of flavor!
  • All Purpose Flour and Plain Breadcrumbs. I love the combo of the 2 in the breading. You get the crunch the from the breadcrumbs, while getting an even coating from the flour.
  • Seasonings: Salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and powdered sugar is the combo I use. You could also just use seasoned salt and pepper to simplify the process of you prefer! OR adjust the seasonings to your own taste!

What If You Don’t Have Pickle Juice?

Whether you don’t have it in your fridge, or just don’t LIKE pickles it’s no problem…you can also use buttermilk in place of the pickle juice/milk combo. Buttermilk won’t have as much tang as the pickle juice, but it works!

And if you don’t have buttermilk either, use 1 1/2 cups milk combined with 1 1/2 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice to create your own DIY buttermilk!

Chicken Nugget in half showing moist chicken

Can I Bake These Nuggets Instead Of Fry Them?

Yep, if you prefer not to fry your nuggets you can absolutely bake them. Just follow these steps for best results:

  1. Prepare the nuggets the same as you would if you were frying.
  2. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the coated nuggets onto the baking sheet and liberally spray the nuggets with cooking oil spray (like THIS) or if you have a refillable oil spray that works great too!
  3. Bake 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through, so both sides get crispy.

Air Fryer Option:

I actually have a recipe that is similar to this on my site for Air Fryer Chicken Tenders…using the pickle brine also! Make sure to check out that recipe fo the AirFryer details.

Can You Freeze These Nuggets?

YES! Imagine having homemade nuggets whenever you get the craving! Here’s how:

  1. Make a batch of the nuggets as the recipe is written. Or double the recipe to enjoy now AND later!
  2. Allow the nuggets to cool completely.
  3. Place the nuggets into zip-top freezer bag, or airtight container and freeze for up to a month.
  4. To reheat these preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the nuggets in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the nuggets are crispy and warm.
Eating Chicken Nuggets on a plate

Dip Your Nuggets In Any Of My Homemade Sauces:


Homemade Chicken Nuggets Recipe

  • Author: Shelly
  • Prep Time Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time Total Time: 40 minutes + marinating
  • Yield Yield: serves 6 1x
  • Category Category: Chicken
  • Method Method: Fry
  • Cuisine Cuisine: Dinner


Homemade Chicken Nuggets are crispy, packed with flavor, and easy to make!


  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1– inch chunks
  • 1 cup dill pickle juice
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups plain bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 quart canola oil


  1. Place the chicken chunks into a large zip-top bag. Pour the pickle juice, milk, and hot sauce into the bag and seal. Massage the mixture together and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt, pepper, paprika, and powdered sugar.
  3. Drain the chicken from the pickle juice mixture. Working in batches coat the chicken chunks in the breading, making sure all sides are coated.
  4. Turn your oven onto warm and set aside a large baking sheet.
  5. In a large Dutch oven heat the oil over medium heat. Oil should reach 350°F, or when you place the back of a wooden spoon into the oil bubbles should form around it immediately.
  6. Working in batches, place chicken into the hot oil. Allow the chicken to fry for 4-5 minutes, until it is golden brown.
  7. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken nuggets from the oil and place onto the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven to keep the nuggets warm while you fry the remaining chicken.
  8. Serve warm


Serve with my Chicken Dipping Sauce. Don’t transfer the chicken onto a paper towel to absorb oil. This creates soggy bottomed nuggets. Just drain the oil using a slotted spoon. Store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Keywords:: cookies and cups, chicken nuggets, chicken recipe, fried chicken, chick fil a nuggets, air fryer chicken nuggets,

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Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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Monique Henderson
September 10, 2021 4:14 pm

Hi Shelly, I’m looking to try this recipe as a healthier option than the Tyson chicken nuggets that my toddler loves so much. Can I use olive oil to fry them? And if I use buttermilk instead can I still use hot sauce?? And also, would wheat flour be okay?

Last edited 1 month ago by Monique Henderson
Savannah F.
August 20, 2021 8:41 pm

I’ve made these twice now and my family and I really loved them. I’ve tried several other recipes, and this is the keeper by far! I never have pickles around, so I just use 1.5 cups buttermilk. Thank you so much for this awesome recipe!

Sarah Carroll
July 8, 2021 9:21 pm

This is by far the best recipe ever! Tasted just like the Chick-fil-A ones! Super easy. We will be making this a lot in our house!

Riley Herbert
April 20, 2021 1:04 am

I made the nuggets but didn’t have confectioners sugar . I loved the pickle taste and the nuggets was delicious and juicy !!
The next time I made the nuggets I had the sugar. The kids gobbled them up. With the sugar on the nuggets it didn’t have much of as
a pickle taste. Also I tried frying and deep frying , it was good but nothing like using the Dutch Oven!!!!

March 29, 2021 3:49 pm

Waste of 3lb chicken
Followed recipe to the letter, did it both baked and fried. Marinaded overnight.
The tempura is soggy in both cases and it’s lacking salt& spice. I will try to salvage it with dipping sauce, but it’s quite a disappointment both in taste and look.
Won’t be doing this mistake again!

February 9, 2021 2:48 pm

How many nuggets is a serving?

January 7, 2021 10:07 am

I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but was wondering how to decrease the sodium content, but still making them flavorful, so my 14-year old will eat them like he does Chick-fil-a’s.

December 30, 2020 2:40 pm

Can you air fry these?

Heather Butler
January 31, 2021 7:21 pm
Reply to  Korynn

I did. Sprayed the inside of the fryer and the nuggets with canola oil really well and they got golden. Tasted the pickle a ton tho. Idk if that’s because I didn’t fry them.

Adrienne Szafranski
December 20, 2020 9:08 pm

Not quite Chikfila…
Baked these instead of frying, so I never got the golden color I wanted. I was a little disappointed by the color and flavor, but my picky eater ate a ton! Will definitely be part of my regular rotation, but I will probably try frying instead.

December 19, 2020 10:53 pm

This was very good. I used buttermilk (skipped the hot sauce), Soaked for a few hours, drained, and continued with instructions. I used Italian Style bread crumbs. Regular table salt. No powdered sugar. Used the baking instructions above on a tinfoil lined pan.

These were very very tasty. They were not as brown as I thought they should be but yes very good.

November 24, 2020 10:52 pm

Does almond milk work as a substitute for the milk?

December 19, 2020 11:02 pm
Reply to  Matt

Read in an article that calcium in milk may help tenderize the meat. So it may work.

November 20, 2020 12:05 pm

Fabulous. I omitted the pepper sauce and powdered sugar (didn’t have any). Used onion powder bc I was out of garlic powder – still awesome! The flavor of the brine (used bubbies dill pickle juice and buttermilk) made them so yummy we actually preferred them without sauce (and I LOVE sauce)! Ironically I used Bob’s GF 1:1 flour and then regular glutany panko crumbs bc I didn’t have any GF bread crumbs!! I’d probably try with just the GF flour next time as the crumbs were…crumbly 🙂 Fried in coconut oil. Tried to post a comment and pic from my… Read more »

Bobbi floyd
November 18, 2020 2:31 pm

Do you rinse chicken nuggets after brining

Marco A Contreras
December 16, 2020 7:48 pm
Reply to  Bobbi floyd

I didnt and they tasted awesome.

Brittany Tucker
November 4, 2020 1:14 pm

Trying to make these for a party. We have around 20 people but other food options as well. What’s the serving size when you say it serves 6?

Melody Harbell
October 29, 2020 5:32 am

If I bake these a day or two before (a christmas party) could I just pop in oven and reheat and still get close same result??

Shelly Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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