Copycat Chick-fil-a Nuggets
Tender, juicy homemade Chick-fil-a Chicken Nuggets you can make at home in no time! Just a few simple ingredients (and NO PICKLE JUICE) turn regular chicken breast into crispy, perfect nuggets any day of the week.
Chick-fil-a Chicken Nuggets
Where are my Chick-fil-a fans? If you love them as much as we do, then you know the disappointment when a craving hits on Sunday afternoon.
But no worries anymore because you can make crispy Chick-fil-a Nuggets at home faster than it takes to get through the drive-thru line!
Chicken nuggets are a fan favorite just about everywhere you go and they’re always a hit with the kids.
Whether it’s Chick-fil-a nuggets or KFC Popcorn Chicken, it’s always a win in our house but we all go for the Chick-fil-a chicken nuggets before anything else.
They’re crispy coating is slightly sweet adding a great contrast to the savory chicken chunks making them completely addicting.
The problem is the long line and the price tag make them something I don’t really want to buy on the regular……so I made my own.
How To Make Them
Some people say that Chick-fil-a’s nuggets are brined in pickle juice but I have an inside source that told me that’s not true. Which was fantastic because I hate waiting for chicken to brine. So, anytime I can skip an unnecessary step is a win in my book.
The crispy coating is a combination of regular and panko bread crumbs with powdered sugar for the sweetness. If you don’t have panko bread crumbs, regular bread crumbs will work just fine.
Cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes.
Place the chicken in a large zip top bag.
Whisk together the buttermilk and egg.
Pour the mixture into the bag with the chicken, seal and let it sit for 30 minutes.
Pulse the breadcrumbs and panko in a food processor until fine.
Heat the oil in a large dutch oven or heavy bottom pot.
Add the breadcrumbs, flour, sugar, salt, pepper, chili powder and paprika to a bowl.
Whisk to combine.
Dredge the chicken in the breadcrumb mixture to coat.
Add the chicken into the oil in batches. Cook until golden, crispy and cooked through.
Transfer to a cooling rack to drain. (Do not drain on a paper towel because it will make them soggy.)
To ensure you end up with chicken nuggets that are better than Chick-fil-a’s I’m sharing my best tips for chicken perfection.
- DO use boneless, skinless chicken breasts for best results. To save time, buy the chicken tenderloins and just make chicken strips instead.
- Chick-fil-a uses peanut oil to fry their nuggets. We used canola oil to keep it allergy safe. You can really use any oil you prefer with the exception of olive oil. I’d save that for your salads.
- Don’t drain your nuggets on a baking sheet or paper towel lined plate. A cooling rack is the best way to ensure your chicken nuggets stay crispy.
- If you don’t have buttermilk, or don’t care for it, you can use regular milk or Half and Half in place of it.
What To Serve With Them
While the standard for Chick-fil-a chicken nuggets is waffle fries, we like to up the ante with some Parmesan Truffle Fries.
Or you can serve with these easy Potato Chips.
More Easy Chicken Recipes
If you love our chicken nuggets, make sure you try these easy Baked Chicken Tenders. They’re always a hit with the littles.
Get the Recipe: Copycat Chick-fil-a Chicken Nuggets Recipe
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika, OR smoked paprika for an extra flavor boost!
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- canola oil, for frying
- dutch oven
- Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces (approximately 1″ chunks.)
- Place the chicken in a zip top bag and set aside.
- In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and buttermilk.
- Pour the buttermilk mixture over the chicken and seal the bag. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Add the panko breadcrumbs and regular breadcrumbs to a food processor. Pulse the breadcrumbs several times until a fine crumb forms.
- Add the breadcrumb mixture, flour, sugar, salt, pepper, paprika and chili powder to a bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Add the chicken pieces to the breadcrumb mixture tossing to coat all sides (you can do this in a separate zip top bag, too.)
- Add the oil to a large dutch oven or heavy duty pot so that it’s approximately 3 inches deep (you may need up to 3-4 cups of oil depending on how large your pot is.)
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot. (To test your oil, drop a small piece of bread into the oil and when it immediately starts to bubble your oil is ready.)
- Add your chicken to the oil, a few pieces at a time to avoid overcrowding the pan, and cook until golden brown, crispy and cooked through.
- Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer your chicken nuggets to a cooling rack set over a towel to catch the oil. Repeat with the remaining nuggets.
- Serve immediately with sauce, if desired.