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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


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.


  • 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. Just OK! Nothing technically wrong with them, a little chewy when I made them. But that could be the type of chicken used I suppose. I cooked for the advised time, probably a minute and a half longer. They registered as done when checking the temp. All in all just o.k. IMO. I opted against the pickle juice and marinated all day in buttermilk. For what’s it worth the wife enjoyed them along with the kids.

  2. Wow!! Where have these been all my life????? This is totally going to be added into our rotation of meals. I had about 45 minutes to go from marinating to having them on the table and after a 20minute marinade they were still great! Next time I’ll marinade for 4 hours. Aside from that i followed the recipe exactly. I chose to bake them on a cookie sheet,as I already had my oven on and wanted to find an alternative to deep frying. I sprayed them with cooking spray, baked for 12, flipped them,sprayed again,cooked again for about 10. Sprayed lightly again and broiled for 3 minutes or so to get them crispy. I got rave reviews from my husband and girls, as they dipped theirs in chick Fila sauce(yes we keep a Mason jar of it homemade in the fridge). I just tossed mine on my salad.
    Absolutely try these if you’ve a hankering for fried chicken,but don’t have the time or want the extra calories of frying!!

  3. If I don’t have a full cup of pickle juice, can add more milk, or even create buttermilk to make up the difference? Or just use only buttermilk?

  4. These turned out great! I ended up using pepperoncini juice because that’s all I had, but wow! Really wowed with the recipe and looking forward to making it for my wife and kids again

  5. Monique Henderson

    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?

    1. Yes sure you can use olive oil, but I wouldn’t use extra virgin, just light olive oil. And yes you can use hot sauce with the buttermilk 🙂 And I don’t see any reason that WW flour wouldn’t work! Let me know how they turn out!

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