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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! And if you love a little kick, make sure to try my Spicy Chicken Nuggets too!

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!

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:

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Homemade Chicken Nuggets with dipping sauce

Homemade Chicken Nuggets Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.6 from 27 reviews
  • Author: Shelly
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes + marinating
  • Yield: serves 6
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Fry
  • Cuisine: Dinner

Description

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


Ingredients

Scale
  • 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

Instructions

  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

Notes

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.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 610
  • Sugar: 6.8 g
  • Sodium: 1454.9 mg
  • Fat: 25.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 36.6 g
  • Protein: 56.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 165.9 mg

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77 comments on “Homemade Chicken Nuggets Recipe”

  1. 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 phone but it isn’t giving the Post Comment button – just FYI. Delish and will now be checking out your site for other awesomeness!






  2. Brittany Tucker

    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?

    1. It really depends on the size you cut the nuggets. It would be 6 servings for a full meal for an adult. I might double the recipe if I were you for 20!

  3. Melody Harbell

    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??

    1. The result would be very similar, like a frozen chicken nugget you buy at the supermarket that were fried and then frozen.

  4. Just made these (and the dipping sauce) for my grandkids and it was a hit. I cheated about marinating overnight. There wasn’t time but was still good.






  5. I baked the nuggets but left them in for 40 minutes instead of 20 and they came out tasting as good as fast food restaurant nuggets. My kids loved them. Thank you for this recipe ☺






  6. This recipe was awesome! Really close to the real thing, all my kids gobbled them up. We will definitely be making these again!






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