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Homemade Chicken Nuggets

homemade chicken nuggets

I have been meaning to make these chicken nuggets for quite a while. I’ve seen this recipe in several places around the net, so not sure who the genius was behind this wonderful McDonald’s copycat, but these chicken nuggets are a new favorite. The best part is knowing exactly what’s in these little chicken goodies and knowing there aren’t any preservatives or mystery ingredients either.

To give you an idea of how these taste, my husband came in and grabbed one off the plate. After his first bite he made the “mmmm” sound and then exclaimed:

“Wow! These are REALLY good!” Then he took another bite and followed up with “You should be proud of yourself with these. These are really, REALLY good!”

With that, he piled some into a bowl and left me standing in the kitchen smiling. I originally found this recipe at Soup Belly, where she uses some dark and some white meat. I increased all the ingredients but basically kept the recipe the same.

homemade chicken nuggetsThese nuggets don’t have the exact same consistency as McDonald’s, they seem a little denser, or maybe it’s more compact. But the flavor is fabulous and they are actually pretty darn fun to make too. So are you ready to get started?

homemade-chicken-nuggets-step-1First you’re going to cut some boneless chicken breasts into cubes, then run them through the food processor.

Here’s what it looks like when it’s done.

Mix together the salt, pepper, onion powder, oregano and parsley.

Sprinkle it over the ground up chicken in a bowl and mix it all up.

Whisk the eggs in a bowl.

Mix the flour and salt in another bowl.

Use a cookie scoop to measure out chicken balls. Giggle.

Roll the balls smooth and get everything together. You’ll need your bowl of whisked eggs, your bowl of flour mixture, the chicken balls and an empty plate.

First roll a chicken ball in flour.

Coat the floured ball with egg.

Coat it in flour again. I found that the best way to do this was to actually use one hand for the egg and the other hand for the flour so that the flour doesn’t end up clumping all over your egg-y wet fingers.

Then place the flour chicken ball on a plate and gently flatten it with your fingers.

I used my fryer set at 365F, but you can use a cast iron Dutch oven or even a heavy bottomed sauce pan too.

In my fryer it took about 7.5 minutes, I flipped them over halfway through. Drain them on paper towels.

Take a bite.

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 48 minutes

Yield: 42 nuggets

Serving Size: 5 nuggets

Ingredients

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon of parsley flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1/4 (heaping) teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1/4 (heaping) teaspoon of pepper
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups of canola oil

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a heavy-duty skillet or saucepan on medium-high heat. Set a candy thermometer in place.
  2. While oil is heating, cut chicken breasts into cubes, then place in a food processor. Process chicken into a fine paste. Transfer processed chicken to a bowl. Combine salt, parsley, oregano, onion powder, and pepper, and sprinkle over chicken. Combine well.
  3. Whisk eggs together in a small bowl. Combine the flour and salt and put it on a plate.
  4. Measure chicken paste out with a cookie scoop and roll into 42 balls.
  5. Roll ball in flour, then coat with egg, and then coat in flour again. Use your fingers to press the ball down to make a nugget.
  6. Once oil reaches 350-365 F place as many nuggets as possible in the oil, and fry until the bottoms are golden, turn and fry until the other side is golden, about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove to a towel-lined plate (to catch any excess oil).
http://amandascookin.com/2011/09/homemade-chicken-nuggets.html

 

 

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67 Responses to Homemade Chicken Nuggets

  1. 1
    Deanna Nathan says:

    these look really good and would like to make them for my daycare children. Wondering if you can bake them instead to make them a little bit more healthy?

    • 1.1
      Amanda Formaro says:

      I haven’t tried baking these, not sure how the flour coating would turn out. If you try it please let us know!

    • 1.2
      Nick says:

      If you baked them, I would spray the outside with a little cooking spray, 400F, turning until cooked through.

    • 1.3
      Michelle says:

      I used breadcrumbs and baked mine. I baked them on a cooling rack on a cookie sheet so they would get crispy on both sides. They were delicious.

      • Good to know Michelle, thanks! Can you share the temperature you baked them at and for how long?

        • alexandra says:

          These turned out really well baked at 425F for about 25 minutes, flipping after about 10 minutes, then flipping again towards the end. They were light brown on both sides and incredibly delicious, moist, and I served to my kids with organic tomato sauce with no high fructose corn syrup. I did exactly as the recipe says until the flour part. I adapted by dipping the ground chicken balls first in flour, then in the egg, then in panko breadcrumbs (to which I added some parmesan cheese and drizzled some canola oil and mixed it all up in a bowl). I also placed the nuggets on a baking rack over a cookie sheet (you should spray the baking rack with cooking oil or put a thin coat of canola oil so that the nuggets don’t stick). You have to deal with some “grid lines” on the side against the baking rack but its not a big deal.

          I researched some freezing strategies. Some websites say to freeze uncooked (then bake in the oven like you would in the original recipe, just adding a few minutes as it is frozen), while others say its fine to cook first before freezing, then freeze and reheat directly in the microwave. Freezing method most cited is to place the nuggets (raw OR cooked) on a baking sheet and place inside the freezer for 1-1.5 hours. Then to transfer to a ziploc freezer bag, get all the air out, seal and put back in freezer. I’m trying this and seems to be fine so far.

          Enjoy!

  2. 2
    leslie says:

    Ohhhh. I totally have to make these.

  3. 3

    75 minutes?? Can that possibly be right? That sounds insanely long to cook nuggets.

    Thanks for the recipe, it’s definitely interesting.

  4. 4
    Erin says:

    MMMM those look good and you can season them as you want!

  5. 5
    Trisha says:

    I can’t believe how good those look! I need to add those to my menu :)
    I would feel much better having those than the mystery meat ones you get at Mc Donald’s.

  6. 6
    Katrina says:

    Those are fun. And I’m so naive I didn’t get the chicken balls thing–at first. I get it, I get it. giggle ;)

  7. 7
    Jenny says:

    I make these nuggets for my kids all the time. Only i cut the chicken breast in small cubes, put salt and pepper on them. Then roll them through the egg, then through some panko (or other breadcrumbs) and cook them in some butter and olive oil in a pan. Works fine for me!
    But you are right, now at least we now what’s in them!

  8. 8
    Deborah says:

    Do you think I could dip in butter instead of egg? My son’s allergic to eggs but I think he’d LOVE these. Thanks so much! I just found your blog and LOVE it!

  9. 9
    Kati Busboom says:

    What do you think about making a huge batch of these and freezing them?? I work overnights on the weekends and these would be great for quick and easy lunches for my husband to make the kids! I’d say they’d even be better than the store bought nuggets.

    • 9.1
      Amanda Formaro says:

      Hi Kati! I have not tried freezing them yet. I would think they would work fine, you would just need to adjust the frying time, or allow them to thaw before cooking. However, you may want to experiment first before making a big batch for the freezer. Maybe make some for dinner and place a handful in the freezer, then try them the next day. :)

  10. 10
    Sarah says:

    What is the aprox weight of the 3 chicken breasts? I am wanting to use ground chicken and need to know how much to buy.

  11. 11
    Vicki Hillhouse says:

    Amanda,
    I am one of your many followers and just wanted to say hello from Oklahoma and tell you how much I do enjoy your blog! Thank you for all the great sharing you do!
    Vicki :-)

  12. 12
    Jazmyn says:

    Hello Amanda, I just wanted you to know that I did some sleuthing, and found that the original recipe was found from videojug.com. Here’s the link:
    http://www.videojug.com/film/how-to-make-chicken-nuggets
    Enjoy, and maybe you’ll spawn a great recipe for blackberry cheesecake some day? (My favorite!)
    -J

  13. 13

    [...] Homemade Chicken Nuggets | Amanda’s Cookin’. /* Filed Under: Copycat [...]

  14. 14
    Sheila says:

    Tried these for the first time tonight, and they’re a hit! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  15. 15
    Nikki says:

    How much onion powder, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper should I use?

  16. 16
    nakia says:

    Have you tried these with any different seasonings.

  17. 17
    dan m says:

    Thanks for the great recipe will try it for sure!

  18. 18
    Josh says:

    Hi Amanda! Of all the websites with nugget recipes this is the best I’ve seen!
    I really want to make these tonight for my girlfriend as she would love them! (and its her bday tomorrow)

    The problem is I am a beginner at cooking and I don’t have a deep fat fryer. I just have an oven or a hob!
    How else can I cook them?

    Many thanks
    Josh x

  19. 19
    Mike says:

    I’ve been looking for a good chicken nugget recipe for years. This recipe is AMAZING!!! Thank you so much for posting.. The key here is the ground chicken… I kept mine in the freezer before I formed them (made it easier to handle). Thank you so much for the wonderful recipe!

  20. 20
    Raed says:

    I do a variation of these and make them gluten free. I use rice flour instead of wheat flour and then for the final coating I roll them in quinoa flakes which make them nice and crunchy. YUM. My kids love them.

  21. 21

    I like chicken nuggets but i’m always stuck with the supermarket ready to make ones. Will try these. Thanks for sharing!

  22. 22
    Traingel says:

    Thanks Amanda these look just like Mc D’s but are truly healthy and nutritious unlike Mc D’s

  23. 23
    Dawn says:

    They look good and easy. Have you tried freezing and reheating.

    • 23.1
      Amanda says:

      I haven’t tried freezing and reheating, no. I think some others in the comments were going to try, but no one has reported back. Would love to hear if you do!

  24. 24
    Mrs. Davis says:

    How long do I leave chicken breast in food processor

  25. 25
    Binary Boy says:

    Great pictures, looks fool-proof. I will be trying this very soon. I have a few questions though… 1) Like most other recipes that call for dipping in a wash and then in flour, I find the flour tends to start gumming up. So in this case, nugget #1 will not have the same consistency as nugget #15. Any ideas?…. 2) You mentioned you use a deep fryer (displayed photo of fryer basket), I found it curious that you indicate you flipped the nuggets over midway through cooking. Why would this be necessary in a deep fryer?…. 3)An answer to the freezing question posed would be wonderful. I’ll try it, but would you freeze them uncooked or after cooked? Thanks again.

    • 25.1

      I agree that the flour tends to get a bit gummy. I don’t start with the full amount of flour in the dish. I use a smaller amount and then add more as I go. I didn’t have any problems with consistency in the nuggets. It’s not necessary to flip them in a deep fryer, but if using a skillet or dutch oven on the stove you will probably need to. I do not have direct experience with freezing them. My guess would be, based on other recipes, that you would freeze them uncooked.

  26. 26
    S. Harris says:

    I just made these! Mmmm…..tummy’s full! I cooked half of them and I’m freezing the rest (we’ll see how they do defrosted). I’m so glad I ran across this recipe! I was looking for a recipe using ground chicken because I had 2 pounds I really needed to use up and I am so glad I happened across your page! I’ve been browsing your other recipes too and I am so excited to try some of them. I’m subscribing to your blog for sure. Thanks so much for the recipe and the great blog!

    • 26.1
      S. Harris says:

      I should say that I made these gluten free, I just used my GF flour blend and they turned out crispy and delicious!

    • 26.2

      That’s great to hear, so glad it went well and you were able to make them GF! Would love to hear how the frozen ones work out :)

  27. 27
    Elle says:

    Thank you! I haven’t seen this anywhere else myself so I’m really glad you posted it. This looks easy enough that I shouldn’t be able to mess it up.

    It will make a nice change for dinner…or maybe just snacks.

  28. 28
    Carla says:

    Hi Amanda!…Just wanted to give a great big thank you for this recipe! I never thought about grounding my chicken and I have to say that it literally only took my 5 seconds to do that! Love, love, love your blog!
    Carla

  29. 29
    lauren says:

    Can you just use the blender? We do not own a food processor & every recipe ive encountered has required one but no one has answered or asked this question. I know its silly but please answer id appreciate the help.

    • 29.1

      Hi Lauren. I have not tried this in a blender. The blades of a food processor are a lot sharper than a blender, so I’m not sure how well it would chop up the meat. If you try it, let me know!

  30. 30
    Felicia Michelle Avila says:

    Hi! I’m nine and don’t like meats at all,but these chicken nuggets that my mom and I made were AMAZING! We did not try baking them,we just fried them. However,we do have them in the fridge,and have frozen them yet. I also enjoyed seeing how they were made. It was cool to help my mom make them into balls,roll them in flower,raw egg and flower again. We made them for my mom’s daycare kids, and they really enjoyed them to! We all loved them very much! Thank you for sharing your recipe with us!

  31. 31
    Jill says:

    What a great recipe, have never thought about making my own chicken nuggets but they’ll be so much healthier as I always feel a little guilty when I cook shop bought ones for my son. You never really know if they contain good quality meat and lots of salt and sugar etc. My son will love these.

  32. 32
    elizabeth says:

    Hi Amanda,
    Chicken Nuggets are favorites of all my grandchildren (of all ages) and even the great grandchild. They all like a sauce too, have you come up with some healthy sauce’s to accompany these little golden nuggets?

    • 32.1

      Hmm, I personally don’t have any. But I would imagine any homemade sauce will be healthier than store bought. I would check Foodgawker or Pinterest, lots there!

  33. 33
    Timothy says:

    I wish to enter a negative comment on this.

    Of all the fast foods I ate in my old life, McNuggets were just one thing that I could not even pretend was food. And yet, here they are.

    So sorry. Even if one wants to dredge chicken through flour then deep fry it, why not just let chicken be chicken? Why turn it into a mush first. McD’s reason is so they can use … Well … Parts. An old Wendy’s commercial ended with the tag line “Parts is parts.”

    • 33.1

      Why? Because kids like Chicken McNuggets. That’s why. Because some moms don’t want their kids eating McDonald’s chicken nuggets, they would rather make them themselves and know exactly what’s going into their childrens’ mouths. That’s why. And I know the “parts is parts” commercial, which is why I find your question so baffling. For someone who knows what used to go into McD’s chicken nuggets, I find it rather odd that you would ask why someone would want to grind up their own and dredge them in flour etc… Did you actually read the post? Such an odd comment.

      • Sarah says:

        I would much rather eat an organic chicken breast with a salad, but that will not fly with my daughter. She would rather go hungry. It is a texture thing for her. Since she was diagnosed with celiac disease I have been searching for organic, gluten-free nuggets. Your recipe, along with the helpful comments from fellow GF cooks, is my solution. I am looking forward to giving it a try. Thank you

  34. 34
    Danielle says:

    Hi Amanda, great post! I’m excited to make these, but I don’t have a food processor (I know, I really need to get one!). What’s your feeling on using store-bought ground chicken for these, or should I just wait until I actually have a food processor?

    Also, just wondering– have you tried freezing them for a few minutes (about 15) before frying? I came across that trick somewhere and have used it in the past when making (non-ground) chicken nuggets, and they come out perfectly crispy every time. It was just much more predictable results with doing that and I’m wondering if it would help here or if it’s not necessary.

    Thanks again, I can’t wait to make these! (And great response to Timothy above!)

    • 34.1

      Hi Danielle! :) You could try it with the ground chicken, but the consistency might not be the same. But then again it might! I haven’t tried it that way. I personally haven’t tried freezing before frying, but sounds like that would work! I think someone in the comments was even able to bake them successfully :)

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