How To Make Crispy Baked Chicken Nuggets
Chicken nuggets are a go-to meal for busy parents, a food item that most kids love.
Unfortunately, fast food chicken nuggets and even the frozen kind you buy at the grocery store are often laden with questionable ingredients.
Lucky for you, making homemade (healthier) chicken nuggets at home isn’t difficult at all.
These chicken nuggets are baked, not fried. And they still turn out crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. They are well seasoned. They’re also a breeze to make once you know the technique. You may never go back to fast food or frozen chicken nuggets again!
Step 1: Soak Chicken In Buttermilk
To ensure that the chicken stays moist, soak it in buttermilk for at least an hour – but preferably for several hours or overnight. This is also your first chance to season the chicken.
Step 2: Make Seasoned Coating
The base of the coating is breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. I made my own breadcrumbs by baking a few slices of bread long enough to dry them out, but you can use ready-made breadcrumbs. Add plenty of spices and seasonings to the coating (see recipe below).
Step 3: The Assembly Line
First, take the chicken pieces out of the buttermilk mixture (left), dip them in egg mixture (center), and finally dip them in the breading (right). Each of the three steps/bowls below are seasoned, so the end result is very flavorful.
Step 4: Get Ready To Bake
Once coated, the chicken nuggets are ready to bake. The nuggets bake for about 15 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165F.
Step 5: Enjoy!
Voila. A chicken nugget recipe that kids and adults will like. I served mine with a trio of dipping sauces:
- Homemade 5-minute BBQ sauce
- Homemade sweet chili sauce
- Wasabi mayonnaise
- 25+ creative dipping sauces
Check out this similar recipe: Parmesan-almond crusted chicken bites
My go-to cheap chicken recipe: Baked chicken thighs with a crispy crust
For chicken nuggets:
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 4 slices whole wheat bread, toasted until dry (or 2 cups whole wheat breadcrumbs)
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Seasonings (added to the buttermilk mixture, egg mixture, AND breadcrumb mixture):
- Garlic powder
- Shallot salt
- Smoked paprika
- Chipotle powder
- Salt and pepper
- Cut chicken breasts in half the long way. Cut each half into three strips and cut each strip into thirds. For each chicken breast, you should get approximately 18 individual, chicken nugget-sized pieces. Place chicken pieces in a mixing bowl and add buttermilk. Add seasonings, mix well, and allow to soak for an hour or longer in the refrigerator - or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare breadcrumb coating. Place toasted bread, Parmesan cheese, and seasonings in a food processor. Pulse until you have small crumbs (see photo above).
- Prepare the assembly line. Remove soaked chicken from the fridge. Add seasonings to beaten eggs. Line up the breadcrumb coating. Take one piece of chicken and allow excess buttermilk to drip off. Dip each chicken piece in the egg mixture and then the breadcrumb mixture, ensuring that both sides are coated. Lay chicken pieces on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat until all the chicken has been coated.
- Bake chicken pieces for 15 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165F. Remove from oven and serve hot, with your choice of dipping sauce.