Taylor Ann Spencer is a food writer and recipe developer with a passion for focaccia, apples, and plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt (don’t judge!). When she’s not working as a line cook, she’s at home dreaming up or testing new recipes.
Want to feel like a kid again? Make homemade chicken nuggets. Coated in crispy seasoned bread crumbs, these tender, juicy bites are hard to beat. The recipe may technically serve 2 to 4, but we’ve definitely demolished an entire tray all by ourselves.
Toasting the bread crumbs in the oven is the secret to getting that gorgeous golden brown color and extra-crispy texture on these nuggets. And while it might seem a little crazy, seasoning the plain chicken before breading and then adding salt to the bread crumbs along with the spices will ensure that your nuggets are perfectly seasoned from the inside out.
Read on for more tips on our homemade take on a childhood classic. Looking for something to dip your nuggets into? Check out our copycat Chick-Fil-A Sauce.
What type of chicken are we using?
Though some fast food chains and frozen food brands use a ground chicken mix for their nuggets, we prefer boneless, skinless chicken breast. It’s quicker and easier to work with than a ground chicken mix and will produce really tender, juicy nuggets.
How are these nuggets breaded?
We’re using a classic 3-step breading process for these nuggets, coating them in flour before dredging them in beaten egg and then rolling them in the toasted seasoned bread crumbs. If you’re breading on your own, make sure you use only one hand for dipping the nuggets in the egg so that you have one dry hand for dredging in the flour and bread crumbs—otherwise, you’ll end up breading your own hands, which isn’t exactly the goal!
Do I have to use a wire rack?
Baking on a wire rack allows the hot air to circulate around the chicken from all sides, guaranteeing you a nugget that will be crisp on the top and bottom. If you don’t have a wire rack, you can bake these directly on a foil-lined baking sheet (we recommend foil over parchment since foil will help to brown the bottoms of the nuggets, while parchment will just make them soggy). They won’t be quite as crispy, but they’ll still taste delicious.
Made this? Let us know in the comments below.
- 2 - 4 serving(s)
- Prep Time:
- 5 mins
- Total Time:
- 40 mins
- 1 1/4 c.
panko bread crumbs
- 1 tbsp.
- 3/4 tsp.
- 3/4 tsp.
- 1/2 tsp.
freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp.
- 1 1/2 tsp.
(or more) kosher salt, divided
- 1/3 c.
- 1 lb.
boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 1/2" pieces
Copycat Chick-Fil-A Sauce or honey mustard, for serving (optional)
- Step 1Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, toss panko with oil. Spread on a baking sheet and bake, checking frequently and stirring after 2 minutes, until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Step 2While still warm, return bread crumbs to bowl. Add garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss to combine.
- Step 3Place a wire rack inside baking sheet. Spray rack with cooking spray. Pour flour into a small shallow dish. In a second shallow dish, beat egg until blended.
- Step 4Season chicken all over with 1 teaspoon salt. Toss in flour, then dredge in beaten egg, allowing excess to drip back into dish. Roll in bread crumbs, firmly pressing to adhere. Arrange on prepared rack.
- Step 5Bake nuggets until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 165°, 15 to 18 minutes.
- Step 6While still hot, season with more salt, if desired. Serve with sauce alongside, if using.
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