Baked Chicken Nuggets Recipe
Our go-to Chicken Nuggets! I have been working on developing a homemade chicken nugget recipe for years and tested countless versions. These are easy (a 30-minute recipe), freezer-friendly, and family approved.
Baked chicken nuggets are low fat and healthier than fried. They are crisp on the outside and tender inside.
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Homemade Chicken Nuggets:
Everyone loves chicken nuggets! There’s something so nostalgic about dunking a crisp and juicy chicken nugget into Avocado Ranch, or good old fashioned ketchup. Also, try them with our homemade fry sauces.
There is nothing great about store-bought nuggets. Consider this – when a box says “made with real chicken breast meat.” Does that mean some are made with fake chicken meat? And what else exactly goes into those nuggets? All of those scientific sounding additives on the label must be ok, right? With homemade, you know exactly what’s in these nuggets and you’ll feel good making them for your family.
Ingredients for Homemade Chicken Nuggets:
These have simple ingredients: chicken breast, garlic salt, and pepper, but there is a surprising ingredient that creates the texture of store-bought nuggets that our children love. That special ingredient is potato flakes. You only need 1 Tbsp, but it is the key to the right texture.
For the crust, we use a mixture of parmesan cheese and crushed corn flakes, which produces the best color (without pre-baking the crumbs), great flavor and a crisp texture.
To Substitute the Corn Flakes:
You can use 3/4 cup panko crumbs instead of corn flakes. To get the panko crumbs golden, spray your nuggets with cooking spray before baking and bake for 13 min (turning halfway), then broil nuggets an additional 2 minutes to give them a golden glow.
Can I Substitute the Potato Flakes?
You can substitute 1 Tbsp potato flakes (Instant Mashed Potatoes) with 2 Tbsp bread crumbs and add just enough water for the mixture to feel moist but not wet.
The Best Chicken for Chicken Nuggets:
We love using chicken breast for that classic light-colored center. Well trimmed chicken tenders or even chicken thighs would also work well.
How to Make Chicken Nuggets:
2. In the bowl of your clean food processor, combine chicken pieces, potato flakes, water, garlic salt, and black pepper. Pulse until chicken is finely chopped.
3. Dip your hands in water to prevent sticking then roll and flatten chicken into small nuggets (using about 1 Tbsp of the meat mixture for each nugget). Roll the nuggets into bread crumbs, pressing gently for crumbs to stick. Bake or freeze at this point (see freezing instructions below).
4. Transfer nuggets to lined baking sheet and bake at 375˚F for 15 min on the middle rack or just until cooked through (and a safe 165˚F on an instant-read thermometer), flipping them halfway.
How to Freeze Chicken Nuggets:
Chicken nuggets should be frozen before they are baked or they can dry out baking them twice. Once they are breaded, place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze them a single layer for 1 hour or until firm, then transfer to freezer-safe zip bags and store up to 3 months.
Bake frozen nuggets at 400˚F for 15-18 minutes or just until cooked through with an internal temperature of 165˚F.
Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets:
You can bake these in the air fryer. Just like our Air Fryer Chicken Wings, these turn out extra crispy. Place the nuggets on the air fryer basket in a single layer and bake at 400˚F for 8 minutes, turning halfway. Bake just until cooked through and the centers read 165˚F.
More Kid-Friendly Recipes:
These family-friendly recipes are sure to please even the pickiest eaters.
- Juicy Meatballs – my kids love these as meatball subs
- Philly Cheesesteak Quesadillas – who can resist this cheese pull?
- Cheesy Mashed Potato Pancakes – a recipe the whole family will love
- Chocolate Chip Cookies – so soft and loaded with chocolate morsels
- Mac and Cheese – with our best creamy cheese sauce
Baked Chicken Nuggets Recipe
Our go-to homemade Chicken Nuggets recipe! These are so easy and kid-friendly. Baked chicken nuggets are crisp on the outside and tender inside.
Preheat oven to 375˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Pulse 2 1/2 cups corn flakes in a food processor until fine crumbs form (or take a rolling pin to them in a large zip-loc bag). In a shallow bowl, stir together 3/4 cup crumbs and 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan.
In the bowl of your clean food processor or high powered blender, combine 1 lb chicken pieces, 1 Tbsp potato flakes, 1/3 cup water, 1 tsp garlic salt, and 1/8 tsp black pepper. Pulse until chicken is finely chopped.
With wet hands, roll and flatten chicken into small nugget patties, using about 1 Tbsp of the meat mixture for each nugget. Roll the nugget into bread crumbs, pressing gently for crumbs to adhere. (Freezing Tip: You can freeze them once they are breaded; freeze them flat for 1 hour, then transfer to ziploc bags and store up to 3 months. When ready to bake them, bake frozen nuggets as directed in step 4).
Transfer nuggets to lined baking sheet and bake at 375˚F for 15 min on the middle rack or just until cooked through, flipping them over half way through baking. Remove from oven and let nuggets rest a few minutes before serving. P.S. Don't over-bake your nuggets or they will start to get dry.
*You can use 3/4 cup panko crumbs instead of corn flakes. To get the panko crumbs golden, spray nuggets with cooking spray before baking and bake for 13 min then broil nuggets additional 2 minutes to give them a golden glow.
If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen
Note: Recipe initially posted in November 2014. The recipe has been updated with air fryer instructions.