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Homemade Chicken Nuggets

I’m a mother of two young toddlers, and I babysit regularly for other little toddlers. Needless to say, we are always looking for kid-friendly foods that are a little healthier than the typical boxes, bags, and cans of foods that you can purchase at the supermarket.

Chicken nuggets seem to be an across-the-board hit with kids of all ages. Even the kids that don’t typically like much meat will dig into a nugget. The problem is, how many articles have you read lately about how disgusting the meat is that goes into those frozen store-bought nuggets! It seems like every other week there’s another interview with a chicken factory employee telling us about pink slime, or about how they have to dump the nugget mixture in a vat of bleach to kill off the bacteria. Most recently there was an article from an employee of Purdue Chicken discussing the ins and outs of his factory. (See article HERE) He goes on to give a pretty positive view of the factory, the conditions, and even the quality of the food they process – with the exception of one single food product. He says to avoid the chicken nuggets! They are basically just made out of “skin, a few bones, fat, and whatever meat is attached to the skin.”  Gross!!!

65 cooked nuggets!!

So here’s my recipe. You can make your own chicken nuggets at home. You can do it easily. And you can guarantee that you’re not eating a nugget full of skin and bones! I took a ton of pictures and will break it down step-by-step. The recipe I give will be for one pound of ground chicken, but the pictures are actually from a very large batch that I made. I made 6.5lbs of ground chicken into nuggets, then separated it into several bags and tossed them into the freezer to be taken out and used as needed, just like you would do if you bought one of those freezer bags of nuggets from the store.

Nugget Ingredients:
1 lb Ground Chicken
1 Egg, beaten
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs (We used unseasoned)
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp. Onion Powder
1 cup (approx) Vegetable Oil

Breading Ingredients:
1/2 cup Flour
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs
1 Egg, beaten

Directions:

In a large bowl, pour in the bread crumbs, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Mix them together well.

Seasonings

Add in your beaten egg and then your ground chicken and mix to combine. Get right in there with your hands and really mix it together well, you don’t want any clumps of bread crumbs in the middle of your nugget or they will fall apart when you cook them.

Mix together

Your next step is to start scooping out small portions of your nugget mix and forming them into the actual nuggets. We actually placed a sheet of plastic wrap over our table and formed up the nuggets and left them right on the the plastic wrap while we finished off the rest of the batch – this method really worked out well! Try to keep your nuggets pretty small so they cook up well.

65 Nuggets!

You then need to dredge each nugget in flour. I like to pour a good amount of flour onto a plate and bring that plate right up next to where I’ve laid out my nuggets and dredge them in the flour right there and put them right back where onto the table to wait for the next step.

Dredge each nugget in flour

Ok, now that the nuggets have been floured, they need to take a quick dip in an egg bath and then get coated up in bread crumbs. Again, I like to beat my egg and bring it right up to my laid out nuggets and get a plate full of bread crumbs and keep it right there too. Simply pick up each nugget one at a time, dip in the egg wash, roll in the bread crumbs, and then you can put it back on the table or set them onto some plates to get ready to head over to the stove to be cooked.

Into the egg wash and bread crumbs

At this point, we’re done making up the actual nugget itself and can move on to getting them cooked. In a large frying pan or a large skillet with a good sized lip on the sides, pour in some vegetable oil. You want the oil to be about half as deep as the nuggets you made, typically about one finger width’s depth. Allow the oil a few minutes to heat up and then place some nuggets in to get them cooking. You can cook in batches, you don’t need to crowd the pan to get it all done at once.

Fry in oil for 4 minutes each side

Pan fry your nuggets for about 4 minutes on medium to medium-high heat.

Cooked on one side, 4 minutes on the other side

Flip them over and let them cook for about 4 minutes on the other side and then remove them from the pan. I like to place them on a paper towel lined plate for a minute to help catch any extra oil.

Bagged and ready to freeze

That’s it! Your nuggets are ready to eat! Dig in and call the kids into the kitchen!
….OR…
You can make up a large batch of nuggets all at one time like I did in these pictures. We made 6.5lbs of ground chicken and actually got a nice even 65 nuggets out of it (No, we didn’t portion them out that way on purpose, it just happened to work out nicely like that!) After cooking all 65 nuggets and letting them cool down fully on cooling racks, I put them into a few freezer bags and tossed them into the freezer. Now when my kids want nuggets for lunch, all I have to do is reach into my freezer, pull a handfull out, and reheat them. They have homemade all-meat nuggets on the table within minutes and I don’t have to stress about making a mess in the kitchen to get them fed – – and I also don’t have to worry that I fed my kids a poor quality nugget from the supermarket either!

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13 responses to “Homemade Chicken Nuggets

  1. Rachel

    January 10, 2014 at 12:10 am

    I’ve tried a few different recipes for homemade nuggets, but haven’t been satisfied yet, they all turn out dry or crumbly. Are these nuggets moist and do they hold their shape? How do they compare in taste/texture to the frozen grocery store ones? Are they as good after freezing?

     
    • offthecuttingboard

      January 10, 2014 at 7:38 am

      I’m really happy with this recipe and even get a few requests from friends with children to make batches up for them pretty regularly. These are very moist and have a good flavor to them. They don’t crumble at all and they hold the shape that you mold them into before cooking – though of course if you make one large massive nugget it might start to break apart on you ;). I’m not sure how they compare to the frozen ones at the grocery store, we have always tried to avoid those so I’m afraid I can’t help you on that one, but we do freeze ours. They are of course always the best when just made fresh, but you can make a large batch and then freeze the leftovers to be pulled out as needed in the next few weeks.

       
  2. Julie

    January 13, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    We made these tonight and my very picky 4 year old said they were better then McDonald’s. I had no problems with them falling apart in the pan, they were easy to put together on a weeknight.

     
  3. Melissa

    March 31, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    No salt?

     
  4. Natalie

    September 1, 2014 at 11:04 am

    What’s the best way to reheat them?

     
    • offthecuttingboard

      September 1, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      Hi Natalie!
      Hubby will occasionally take some to work for his lunch and he just microwaves them up. For just a few nuggets I like to use our toaster oven to heat them so they’re still crisp, and when we have a large playdate or a party I just line up a cookie sheet with the nuggets and heat them up at about 225 in the oven, flipping them over once half way.
      I hope you like them!

       
  5. Michelle Scott

    February 1, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    I literally have a chicken nugget in my mouth right now! It is amazing!!! Fancy enough to give it flavor but not too fancy for the little ones palette’s! Thank you soo much for this recipe!! I will never again but frozen nuggets! This is waaaay better and NO SALT! Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to many more of your recipes! Yum!

     
  6. Monica Hernandez

    March 16, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    I can’t wait to try these! Just curious if you or anyone who’s made them have done a no fry version? If so, how was the result?

     
    • offthecuttingboard

      March 16, 2015 at 1:13 pm

      Hi there! I haven’t tried a baked version yet. Next time I make a batch I’ll give it a shot though. If you try it out, please come back and let me know how it turned out!

       
  7. eyza

    April 2, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    hye! nice recipe! I was wondering, did you used store-bought ground chicken? or did you make one yourself? because I think store-bought ground chicken is as worse as frozen store-bought chicken nuggets.. huhu.. thanks!

     
    • offthecuttingboard

      April 2, 2015 at 2:03 pm

      We ground our own. I realize not everyone has a grinder though 😉

       

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