Homemade Chicken Nuggets

4.75 from 4 votes

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Homemade Chicken Nuggets is a recipe that people of all ages will delight in. You know exactly what ingredients are going into them, they are more cost effective and they are moist and delicious. If your kids like fast food, they will love these chicken nuggets.

Chicken nuggets seem to be a staple of the childhood diet. All kids love them! However, they aren’t something that I buy often due to a high price tag and a long list of unnamable ingredients. This recipe for make ahead and stash in the freezer chicken nuggets is a total game changer on the chicken nugget scene. This is a great dinner option on busy nights or if a babysitter needs to feed the kids while you are out on a hot date! So easy and healthy. 

close up of crispy fried and golden homemade chicken nuggets
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Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Living in the middle of nowhere and having little to no access to restaurant eating took me a long while to get used to. Everyone needs a little convenience in their life and I’ve struggled finding in when it comes to food. Homemade chicken nuggets that you can make ahead of time and throw in the freezer is a real lifesaver. I made a double batch of this recipe and now have enough nuggets in the freezer for 3 meals for our family! 

Homemade chicken nuggets make for a great lunch, dinner, snack or use the leftovers for the lunchbox the next day. They would also be fun to make for game night or the Super Bowl because who doesn’t love chicken nuggets?!

If you want to get moist chicken nuggets, I have a couple of tips I have learned. First, cut the chicken into larger pieces (more chicken finger and less nugget) so that they don’t dry out. Dry chicken is really just the worst. The second tip is a quick 30 minute brine. It adds so much flavor and moisture to the chicken. Did you know that

Chick-fil-A brines their chicken too? You know they are onto something. It is well worth the extra time.

all ingredients for homemade chicken nuggets in small clear bowls

How long do I brine the chicken?

Don’t brine longer than the 30 minutes or your chicken will be too salty.

Are chicken nuggets really that “healthy”?

I’m calling this recipe healthy because it is SO MUCH BETTER for you than traditional store bought chicken nuggets. Frying isn’t bad, it’s a very traditional cooking method. If vegetable oil isn’t your thing cook them in olive oil or coconut oil.

raw chicken being dipped in egg with the bowl of breading to the left

What do you serve with chicken nuggets?

In order to eat chicken nuggets you need a dip! I serve them with ketchup, BBQ sauce, homemade Ranch dressing or fry sauce. They also would be a great salad topper. 

How do I prep the chicken when making nuggets?

After the chicken has brined for 30 minutes, remove it and pat dry with a paper towel. You want to avoid having the chicken be wet or else it will be too wet and turn soggy. Then, you will continue on to the breading and frying part of the process. 

freshly breaded but raw homemade chicken nuggets waiting to be fried

How long should you fry chicken nuggets?

Cook the coated chicken in the skillet until golden brown on each side (about 3 minutes per side). 

Can I cook chicken nuggets in the air fryer?

The air fryer is a great option when making homemade chicken nuggets. Be sure to spread the nuggets out so they aren’t touching and cook evenly. If you go the air fryer route, you will probably need to cook them in batches to make sure they aren’t overcrowded. 

pan with oil and top view of cooking nuggets in the pan

How long can chicken nuggets stay in the freezer?

If properly stored in an airtight freezer bag, they can be kept frozen for 1 month. Do not thaw before reheating.

Complete this meal by making…

crispy fried and golden homemade chicken nuggets on a white plate

More easy chicken recipes:

If you’ve tried my Homemade Chicken Nugget recipe or any other recipe on Bless this Mess, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some pictures of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories AND add your photo to your comment so that other can see your creation.

close up of crispy fried and golden homemade chicken nuggets
4.75 from 4 votes

Freezer Friendly Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Stock your freezer with these Healthy Homemade Frozen Chicken Nuggets from America’s Test Kitchen. This is a meal prep recipe that will save your life and your wallet!
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Servings: 10

Ingredients 

  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken , (Cut into strips that are 3/4 inch wide)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups bread crumbs, (store bought, homemade, or Panko)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil

Instructions 

To Prep:

  • Add 2 cups of cold water to a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and Worcestershire and stir to dissolve. Submerge chicken in brine, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Combine the flour, onion powder, granulated garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in a shallow dish.
  • Beat the eggs in a second shallow dish.
  • Add the bread crumbs to a third shallow dish.
  • Working with a piece at a time, toss the chicken in the flour, then dip it in the eggs, then coat with the bread crumbs. Transfer to a large plate.
  • Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a 12-inch skillet (cast iron works great here) and heat over medium high heat until the oil is shimmering. Cook one third of the coated chicken in the skillet until golden brown on each side (about 3 minutes per side) until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan and place it on a wire rack sitting inside a baking sheet to cool. Wipe out the pan and repeat with the remaining chicken, 1/3 at a time (so you’ll cook a total of 3 batch of chicken nuggets).
  • Serve right away or you can make these ahead of time in large batches and keep them in the freezer so you always have frozen chicken nuggets on hand!

To Freeze and reheat:

  • Let the chicken cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  • Transfer the cooled chicken nuggets to a freezer zipper-lock bag and seal. Freeze up to 1 month. Do no thaw before reheating.

To Finish and Serve:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degree. Bake nuggets on a wire rack, set on a rimmed baking sheet until crisp and heated through, about 30 minutes. Flip the chicken half way through cooking time. Serve hot.

Notes

  • America’s Test Kitchen’s original recipe called for all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat), and Panko bread crumbs (I used homemade whole wheat), so use what you think is best. I rarely substitute things in their recipes, but did this time because that is what I had on hand.
  • Don’t brine more than the 30 minutes or your chicken will be too salty.
  • I’m calling this recipe healthy because it is SO MUCH BETTER for you than traditional store bought chicken nuggets. Frying isn’t bad, it’s a very traditional cooking method. If vegetable oil isn’t your thing cook them in avocado oil
  • Homemade Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs: Dry 6-8 pieces of your favorite homemade wheat bread in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, until the bread feels dry. Tear the bread into large pieces and process in a blender or food processor until you have bread crumbs. Easy!

Nutrition

Calories: 355kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 20g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 93mg, Sodium: 301mg, Potassium: 357mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 94IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 58mg, Iron: 2mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

Do yourself a favor and stock your freezer with these Healthy Homemade Frozen Chicken Nuggets that will delight people from ages 1-99. They are easy to make and so much better than any fast food or store-bought variation. 

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Recipe Rating




41 Comments

  1. 4 stars
    I made a double batch of these today. Used cajun seasoning instead of the other seasoning listed. They were very good and I’m afraid we’re going to eat them all before being able to freeze them. My only recommendation is that you really only need half the flour and egg coatings mentioned. I add to the panko as I go so I don’t waste much.

  2. 5 stars
    Instead of the salt, pepper, onion and garlic, give Lawry’s seasoning a try, just swap out for 2 TB. of the seasoning. For a nice little kick add 1 tsp. (or more depending on taste) of Grandma’s Chili powder.