Baked Chicken Nuggets Recipe

Baked Chicken Nuggets Recipe: Quick and Easy Guide

Baked chicken nuggets are a delicious and nutritious alternative to the traditional deep-fried version, offering a healthier and equally tasty meal that both kids and adults will enjoy. Made with simple ingredients like chicken breast, panko breadcrumbs, and spices, these nuggets are not only easy to prepare, but they also use less oil, making them a more wholesome option for your family.

To create these mouthwatering nuggets, you’ll combine your preferred seasoning with the breadcrumbs, allowing the flavors to infuse into the chicken. The nuggets are then coated in the breading mix, creating a crispy outer crust that seals in moisture for perfectly tender chicken pieces. Baking the nuggets on a wire rack over a baking sheet helps them crisp up evenly, providing a satisfying crunch in every bite.

As you dive into making your own baked chicken nuggets, you’ll find that the recipe can be easily customized to suit personal preferences. Experiment with different seasonings and spices for a unique twist, and serve the completed nuggets with a variety of dipping sauces for added variety. From honey mustard and ketchup to your favorite BBQ sauce, the possibilities are endless for these delicious, better-for-you nuggets.


To make delicious baked chicken nuggets, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts (1 pound), cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
  • Salt (1 teaspoon)
  • Pepper (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Oil (for drizzling)
  • Garlic powder (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Honey or other dipping sauce (optional)
  • Cayenne pepper (optional, for added spice)
  • Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup, grated)
  • Egg (2 large eggs, lightly beaten)
  • Milk (optional, to add creaminess to the egg wash)
  • Onion powder (1/4 teaspoon)
  • Panko bread crumbs (1-1/4 cups)

Start by gathering all your ingredients and prepping your workstation. It’s essential to have everything ready before you begin to ensure a smooth process.

Keep in mind that this recipe is adjustable, meaning you can modify the ingredients and their quantities to suit your taste. For instance, you can add more or less salt and pepper, or include additional seasonings like thyme or paprika for extra flavor.

When using additional spices, make sure to balance them with the rest of the ingredients. For a spicier kick, consider adding a pinch of cayenne pepper. Alternatively, if you prefer a milder taste, you can omit this ingredient.

If you’re a cheese lover, feel free to add more grated Parmesan cheese to your breadcrumb mixture. This will enhance the flavor of your chicken nuggets and create a more delicious crust.

Lastly, decide whether you would like to use milk in your egg wash. Some people prefer a creamier texture, while others stick to the traditional method of using only eggs. Choose what works best for you, considering any dietary restrictions or preferences.

Supplies Needed

To create delicious baked chicken nuggets, you’ll need a few essential kitchen tools and ingredients. Gather the following supplies before starting your recipe:

  • Oven: You’ll need a reliable oven to bake the chicken nuggets at a temperature around 400-425¬∞F (204-218¬∞C). Make sure the oven can maintain a consistent temperature.

  • Baking sheet: A sturdy baking sheet is necessary to hold your nuggets while they’re baking. Rimmed baking sheets are useful, as they’ll keep any excess crumbs contained and prevent spills.

  • Panko breadcrumbs: These light and airy breadcrumbs will give your chicken nuggets a crispy, golden texture. You can find panko breadcrumbs in most grocery stores or make your own by processing day-old bread in a food processor.

  • Cooking spray: Nonstick cooking spray is essential for coating both the baking sheet and panko breadcrumbs. This will ensure the nuggets don’t stick to the pan and have an evenly golden crust. Olive oil or coconut oil cooking spray options are available for healthier alternatives.

  • Bowl(s) and shallow dishes: You’ll need a few bowls or shallow dishes for dipping the chicken pieces into the flour, egg, and breadcrumb mixture. Having separate containers for each of these elements will make the coating process much more efficient.

  • Nonstick spray or paper towels: To prevent the chicken nuggets from sticking, either apply nonstick spray to your cooling rack or use paper towels to line them. This step will also help absorb any excess oil.

  • Air fryer (optional): If you have an air fryer and would like to use it instead of an oven, you can definitely do so. The air fryer can create a crispy texture similar to the oven-baked method, with less oil required.

With these supplies at the ready, you’ll be well-prepared to make mouthwatering baked chicken nuggets at home. Remember to gather all the necessary tools and ingredients before starting, and follow the recipe instructions carefully for the best results. Happy cooking!

Preparation Technique

Preparing baked chicken nuggets is easy and you can have a delicious meal in just a few simple steps. By following this technique, you’ll be able to make a healthier alternative to traditional fried nuggets, while retaining a crispy and flavorful coating.

First, gather the necessary ingredients. You’ll need:

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • All-purpose flour
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh or dried thyme (optional)
  • Eggs or a suitable non-dairy substitute like almond milk
  • Cooking spray or olive oil

Begin by preheating your oven to 425°F (218°C). Then, cut your chicken breast into bite-sized pieces, approximately 2 inches each. This will allow for even cooking and easier dipping.

Next, set up your dredging station with three shallow bowls. In the first bowl, place your all-purpose flour. In the second bowl, whisk your eggs or non-dairy substitute. Finally, in the third bowl, combine panko breadcrumbs, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and thyme. This setup will make it easy to coat your chicken pieces efficiently.

Now that your station is set up, it’s time to coat your chicken nuggets. One at a time, dip each piece into the flour, ensuring each nugget is thoroughly coated. Shake off any excess flour before moving on to the egg wash. Coat the nugget completely in the egg wash, then allow any excess to drip off. Finally, roll the nugget in the seasoned breadcrumb mixture, pressing gently to make sure the coating sticks.

Place your coated chicken nuggets onto a lightly greased baking sheet, spaced evenly apart. For an extra crispy coating, you can lightly spray the nuggets with cooking spray or drizzle with olive oil.

Bake the chicken nuggets for 13-15 minutes, turning once halfway through to ensure even browning. If desired, you can also broil the nuggets for an additional 2 minutes to achieve a golden, crispy exterior.

And that’s it! Enjoy your delicious, homemade baked chicken nuggets with your favorite dipping sauce. You can feel confident knowing you’ve made a healthier, yet still flavorful, version of a classic treat.

Baking Process

To create delicious baked chicken nuggets, you’ll need to follow a few steps. Ensure you have all the required ingredients, such as real chicken breast meat, flour, seasoned breadcrumbs, and extra-virgin olive oil.

First, prepare your workspace by setting up three shallow bowls. In the first bowl, add flour. In the second bowl, whisk a few eggs. Finally, in the third bowl, combine seasoned breadcrumbs, a pinch of salt, and a splash of extra-virgin olive oil. This will create a crispy coating for your nuggets.

Before starting the coating process, preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). This is essential for achieving a perfectly cooked and crispy nugget. In the meantime, cut the chicken breast meat into bite-sized pieces.

To coat the chicken pieces, follow this process:

  1. Dip the chicken piece into the flour, ensuring it’s thoroughly coated.
  2. Dip the flour-coated chicken into the whisked eggs.
  3. Finally, roll the chicken in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing slightly for the crumbs to adhere properly.

Once all the chicken pieces are coated, arrange them on a lightly greased baking sheet or wire rack. This helps with even cooking and prevents the nuggets from sticking to the pan. For even crispier nuggets, you can also line the baking sheet with parchment paper.

Before placing the nuggets in the preheated oven, you can opt to spray them with a bit of cooking spray. This ensures that they turn a beautiful golden brown. Bake the nuggets for approximately 20 minutes, flipping them halfway through the process to cook both sides evenly.

To guarantee that the nuggets are fully cooked and safe to consume, check the internal temperature using a meat thermometer. It should read 165°F (74°C) at the thickest part of the nugget.

For those looking to save time in the future, these nuggets can be made in larger batches and stored in the freezer. To enjoy them at a later date, simply reheat in the oven at 375°F (190°C) for 15-20 minutes, or until they are heated through and crispy.

Serving Suggestions

Baked chicken nuggets are a versatile dish that can be enjoyed with a variety of accompaniments. Here are some suggestions to help you make the most of your nuggets and create a delicious, well-rounded meal.

Dipping Sauces:
A good dipping sauce can truly enhance the flavor of your baked chicken nuggets. Some popular choices include:

  • Ketchup: A classic dipping sauce enjoyed by many.
  • Honey Mustard: A delightful combination of sweet and tangy.
  • Ranch: A creamy option with a slightly tangy kick.
    Feel free to explore other store-bought or homemade dipping sauce options to suit your personal preference.

Side Dishes:
Pair your baked chicken nuggets with side dishes that complement the dish and create a balanced meal. Consider serving your nuggets with:

  • French Fries: A classic side that’s always a crowd-pleaser.
  • Mac and Cheese: A creamy, comforting dish perfect for those seeking a more indulgent meal.
  • Salad: A lighter option that adds freshness and crunch to your plate.

Extra Tips:
Here are some additional tips to help you serve your baked chicken nuggets:

  • Opt for a bread crumb mixture:
    To achieve a crispy texture, opt for a bread crumb mixture, such as panko or Italian-style bread crumbs.
  • Prepare in advance:
    You can easily prepare your baked chicken nuggets ahead of time and freeze them for later use. Simply store the nuggets in an airtight container and reheat them in the oven when ready to serve.

Remember, there are no limits to the ways you can enjoy your baked chicken nuggets. Combine different sauces, side dishes, and cooking techniques to create a meal that truly satisfies your taste buds.

Healthy Alternatives

When it comes to making homemade chicken nuggets, several healthy alternatives can improve the nutritional content without sacrificing flavor. By using better ingredients and cooking methods, you can enjoy delicious, guilt-free chicken nuggets.

First, choose lean protein like boneless, skinless chicken breasts. White meat is a healthier option compared to dark meat, as it contains less fat. Be sure to trim any excess fat before cutting the chicken into bite-sized pieces.

For the seasoning, opt for natural herbs and spices. A mixture of kosher salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and thyme provides a flavorful and balanced taste without any artificial additives. Feel free to adjust the seasonings based on your personal preference.

Instead of using a traditional egg wash, try marinating the chicken pieces in buttermilk. Besides tenderizing the chicken, buttermilk also adds a subtle tanginess and helps the breadcrumb coating stick. You can easily make your own buttermilk by mixing 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar and letting it sit for a few minutes.

To make a healthier breadcrumb coating, consider using whole grain breadcrumbs or crushed whole grain crackers. These options provide more fiber and nutrients compared to traditional white breadcrumbs. Additionally, use olive oil as a healthier fat for coating the chicken nuggets before baking.

Here’s a simple recipe for healthy baked chicken nuggets:

  1. Cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Marinate the chicken in buttermilk for at least 30 minutes, up to 8 hours.
  3. In a bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, kosher salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and thyme.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Remove the chicken pieces from the buttermilk, allowing any excess liquid to drip off.
  6. Coat the chicken in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing gently to ensure even coverage.
  7. Place the nuggets on the lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the nuggets are golden brown and cooked through.

Since these chicken nuggets are freezer-friendly, you can make a large batch, freeze them, and reheat as needed. To prevent them from sticking together, arrange the nuggets on a baking sheet and freeze for an hour before transferring them to an airtight container.

Pair your healthy chicken nuggets with a nutritious side, like oven-roasted veggies or mashed potatoes made with olive oil and low-fat milk. By making these healthier choices, you can enjoy delicious, wholesome chicken nuggets without the guilt.

Storage and Leftovers

Storing leftovers of your baked chicken nuggets is simple and easy. Following these guidelines will help you keep your nuggets fresh and tasty for future meals.

When you have finished enjoying your baked chicken nuggets, allow them to cool completely. Once cooled, transfer the leftovers into an airtight container or resealable plastic bags. To maintain their texture, try to avoid stacking them on top of each other in the container.

For short-term storage, place your airtight container in the refrigerator. Your leftover baked chicken nuggets will last in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Ensure that your refrigerator maintains a temperature of 40°F (4°C) or lower.

If you intend to store your leftovers for a more extended period, opt for freezing your baked chicken nuggets. Lay the cooled nuggets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, making sure they are not touching each other. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for about 1-2 hours or until the nuggets are frozen. This will prevent them from sticking together when you transfer them to a container or plastic freezer bag. Label the container or bag with the date, and your frozen chicken nuggets will last for up to 3 months in the freezer.

When you’re ready to enjoy your leftovers, you can reheat them using an oven, microwave, or air fryer. To maintain their crispy texture, it is best to use an oven or air fryer. Preheat your oven or air fryer to 400¬∞F (204¬∞C), and reheat the nuggets for 10-15 minutes, flipping them halfway through. If using a microwave, reheat at medium power in 30-second intervals, checking for doneness between each interval.

By following these storage and reheating tips, you can enjoy your baked chicken nuggets anytime with minimal effort and maximum flavor.

Kid-friendly Variations

When making homemade chicken nugget recipes for your kids, it’s essential to create a meal that is both tasty and appealing while also remaining nutritious. There are several ways you can tweak traditional recipes to make them more enticing for children, without sacrificing quality or taste.

First, consider adjusting the breading for the nuggets to create a crispier, crunchier texture that children often enjoy. You can experiment with different breadcrumbs or crushed cereals, such as using panko breadcrumbs or cornflakes. To do this, simply coat the chicken pieces in your preferred breading mixture before baking.

Example breading mixtures:

- Panko breadcrumbs
- Crushed cornflakes
- Whole wheat or seasoned breadcrumbs

Next, you can offer a variety of dipping sauces to accompany the baked chicken nuggets. Dipping their nuggets is a fun activity for kids, and it gives them more control over the flavors they experience. You can provide classic sauces like ketchup and barbecue sauce, as well as more adventurous options like honey mustard or ranch. It’s always a good idea to include a healthy choice, such as hummus or yogurt-based dip.

Some popular dipping sauce options:

- Ketchup
- Barbecue sauce
- Honey mustard
- Ranch
- Hummus
- Yogurt-based dips

To make this kid-friendly dinner idea even more appealing, try creating a theme around the meal. As an alternative to the standard fast food or drive-thru experience, design a fun “drive-thru at home” setup. You could use paper bags with custom labels and stickers, and let your children “order” their meal from a pretend menu board.

Finally, remember to include sides that complement the baked chicken nuggets and contribute to a balanced meal. Popular options include steamed vegetables, whole grain dishes, or a simple salad. By offering nutritious sides, you can ensure your kids fill up on healthier options, rather than relying solely on the nuggets.

Balanced side dishes to consider:

- Steamed broccoli or green beans
- Brown rice or quinoa
- Simple garden salad
- Sweet potato fries (oven-baked)

With these variations in mind, you can create a homemade chicken nugget recipe that’s both kid-friendly and nutritious, giving your family a delicious alternative to traditional fast-food drive-thrus.

Nutritional Information

Baked chicken nuggets can be a healthier alternative to traditional fried nuggets, especially when prepared with lean, white meat, such as chicken breast. By baking instead of frying, you can reduce the overall fat and calorie content of the dish, while still maintaining a crisp exterior.

Ingredients such as panko breadcrumbs or crushed cornflakes can add a flavorful and crunchy texture to the nuggets. Including spices like paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder not only improves the taste but also adds nutritional benefits. For example, garlic and onion powder contain antioxidants, while paprika provides a good source of vitamins A and E.

Here is an estimated nutritional breakdown of a serving of baked chicken nuggets (5 nuggets):

  • Calories: 220
  • Fat: 7g (10% of your daily value)
    • Saturated Fat: 1.5g (8% of your daily value)
  • Cholesterol: 45mg (15% of your daily value)
  • Sodium: 230mg (10% of your daily value)
  • Carbohydrates: 19g (6% of your daily value)
    • Dietary Fiber: 1g (4% of your daily value)
    • Sugars: 1g
  • Protein: 20g

To further enhance the nutritional value of your baked chicken nuggets, consider making some adjustments to the recipe:

  • Replace regular breadcrumbs with whole-grain or whole-wheat varieties for a higher-fiber content.
  • Lower the sodium content by using reduced-sodium seasonings or making your own spice blend without added salt.
  • Remove the skin from the chicken, as it can increase the amount of saturated fat present in the nuggets.

By doing so, you can create a delicious and healthier meal option that would be easy to include in a balanced diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ideal oven temperature for baking chicken nuggets?

The ideal oven temperature for baking chicken nuggets is typically around 375°F to 425°F, depending on the recipe. For crispy and golden-brown nuggets, preheating the oven to these temperatures will help to ensure even cooking and reduce the chances of overcooking the chicken.

How long should chicken nuggets be baked?

The baking time for chicken nuggets can vary based on the size and thickness of the nuggets, as well as the oven temperature. Generally, it takes approximately 20 to 25 minutes to bake chicken nuggets at 375°F to 425°F, but always check for an internal temperature of 165°F to ensure they are fully cooked.

What are healthy ingredients to use for homemade chicken nuggets?

For healthier homemade chicken nuggets, consider using whole grain or panko bread crumbs for the coating, as they offer a crispy texture while also providing some extra fiber. Additionally, incorporating grated Parmesan cheese can enhance flavor while keeping them lower in fat compared to using deep-fried breading.

Can I use ground chicken to make baked chicken nuggets?

Yes, you can use ground chicken to make baked chicken nuggets. Simply mix the ground chicken with desired seasonings and other ingredients, such as an egg, to help bind the mixture. Shape the mixture into desired nugget sizes and follow the usual coating process before baking.

Should I flip the chicken nuggets while baking?

Flipping the chicken nuggets halfway through the baking process is recommended as it ensures even browning and crispiness on both sides. To ensure your chicken nuggets maintain their shape while flipping, use a spatula or tongs to gently turn them over.

What are alternative methods to cook chicken nuggets without frying?

If you’re looking for alternative methods to cook chicken nuggets without frying, you have a few options. Baking or oven-frying in a preheated oven is a popular and healthier alternative. Additionally, using an air fryer is another great way of achieving a crispy exterior while keeping the nuggets moist and juicy on the inside. To maintain a crispy texture, avoid microwaving or steaming the nuggets, as these methods can make them soggy.

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