Homemade Chicken Nuggets (Chick-Fil-A Copycat)

This post may contain affiliate links. Affiliate links come at no extra cost to you. These links allow me to share the products I authentically recommend (and use) and support Live Simply by receiving a small commission.

You will definitely want to 'Eat Mor Chikin' when you taste these delicious homemade chicken nuggets Chick-Fil-A copycat nuggets!

A few weeks ago, we swapped out the processed, freezer-style waffles for real food waffles (aren’t they amazing?). Now, it’s time to move on to one of the biggest food groups in the American diet: chicken nuggets.

Yes, chicken nuggets are technically a food, not a food group. For my family, chicken nuggets made up a large portion of our processed food diet for many years (hello, food group size). Considering our former nugget addiction, it’s pretty amazing that it’s taken me nearly three years to share a chicken nugget recipe here on Live Simply. The wait is finally over!

You will definitely want to 'Eat Mor Chikin' when you taste these delicious homemade chicken nuggets Chick-Fil-A copycat nuggets!

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is how to “convert” a reluctant family over to the real food side. My answer is very simple, and a bit surprising to some people, but it guarantees real food success in the early days…

My best advice is to ask the reluctant family members what kind of foods they love to eat, and then start making these foods at home. Instead of throwing out the words chicken nuggets and waffles, make these comfort foods at home. Each week introduce a homemade alternative, or a “cleaner” store-bought option.


FREE Real Food Crash Course

I get it, switching from processed food to a real food lifestyle can feel overwhelming and confusing. Friend, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Here’s what to expect: 

  • printable charts (real food defined, a seasonal produce guide, meal planning)
  • how to get started with a real food lifestyle
  • how to create a meal plan and stay within a budget
  • 7 real food recipes
  • emails from me to help you enjoy real food
  • Bonus: Step-By-Step Guide to Real Food

 


Meal Prep Rules to Simplify and Succeed at Real Food Prep

You will definitely want to 'Eat Mor Chikin' when you taste these delicious homemade chicken nuggets Chick-Fil-A copycat nuggets!

Why do I recommend going the homemade alternative route in the beginning? Because that, my friend, is the easiest way to win a Standard American Diet family over to the real food side. Once a family understands and tastes a juicy homemade burger and fries, homemade nuggets, or homemade macaroni and cheese, it’s much easier to rally the troops. And trust me, rallying the troops is essential for making real food a long-term lifestyle. No divided households here.

Yes, the long-term goal is to introduce more veggies (like a simple side of roasted veggies), leafy greens, and maybe even kombucha and/or kefir.  In the beginning, the most important task of a real foodie is to rally the troops, and show them the delicious, homemade ways of real food. Win them over with a basket full of homemade nuggets.

You will definitely want to 'Eat Mor Chikin' when you taste these delicious homemade chicken nuggets Chick-Fil-A copycat nuggets!

Today’s recipe is one that I hope you’ll be able to use in your rallying-the-troops mission. Or, if your troops are already on board with real food, I hope this recipe will be a comfort meal to add to your meal plan, along with a vegetable or easy weeknight salad.

You will definitely want to 'Eat Mor Chikin' when you taste these delicious homemade chicken nuggets Chick-Fil-A copycat nuggets!

My homemade chicken nuggets are super easy to make, and only require a few minutes of hands-on dipping and frying time. Yep, we’re going to fry them in a heat-stable, real food oil for the ultimate nugget experience.

You will definitely want to 'Eat Mor Chikin' when you taste these delicious homemade chicken nuggets Chick-Fil-A copycat nuggets!

To start, chopped chicken breasts are marinated in milk and pickle juice. I know, the combo sounds unusual, but the final result is flavorful and moist nuggets that resemble the nuggets found at Chick-Fil-A. After the marinating time, the nuggets are dipped into a simple combo of flour, bread crumbs, salt, and seasoning. Then, into the hot avocado oil they go.

You will definitely want to 'Eat Mor Chikin' when you taste these delicious homemade chicken nuggets Chick-Fil-A copycat nuggets!

Finally, let’s talk about the sauce options for these nuggets. I believe there are two sauce options for these nuggets: 1) a “cleaner” store-bought or homemade ketchup 2) homemade honey mustard sauce (recipe coming soon). Of course, another option is to serve these nuggets without a sauce on the side, or serve them over a big salad with homemade dressing.

You will definitely want to 'Eat Mor Chikin' when you taste these delicious homemade chicken nuggets Chick-Fil-A copycat nuggets!

Here’s to rallying the troops, my friend! Small, practical changes are the building blocks to a doable long-term real food lifestyle.

Homemade Chicken Nuggets Chick-Fil-A Copycat
5 from 1 vote
Print

Homemade Chicken Nuggets (Chick-Fil-A Copycat)

My homemade chicken nuggets are super easy to make, and only require a few minutes of hands-on dipping and frying time. Yep, we’re going to fry them in a heat-stable, real food oil for the ultimate nugget experience.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Homemade Chicken Nuggets
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 24 nuggets, more or less
Calories 99 kcal
Author Kristin Marr

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup pickle juice
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs I use 365 brand from Whole Foods. Look for bread crumbs that are fine.
  • 1/2 cup flour I use all-purpose einkorn flour.
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TB Simply Organic's Salt-Free All-Purpose Seasoning
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil more may be needed

Instructions

  1. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, nuggets. To do this, I cut the chicken in half lengthwise, and then cut the long strips into small nuggets. Try to keep the nuggets relatively uniform in size. Place the nuggets, pickle juice, and milk in a Ziploc bag or baking dish (be sure to cover the baking dish while the chicken is marinating). Marinate the chicken in the fridge for at least 3 hours, or up to 12 hours. I usually start the marinade in the morning, marinate the chicken during the day, and then make the nuggets in the evening.
  2. After marinating the nuggets, in a bowl, combine the bread crumbs, flour, salt (skip this if your all-purpose seasoning contains salt), and all-purpose seasoning. Heat the oil in a skillet. I use my 10-inch cast iron skillet, and 1/3 cup of oil covers the bottom of the skillet. The nuggets won't be fully submerged in the oil, the oil should just cover the bottom of the skillet. Feel free to add more oil based on the size of your skillet. Heat the skillet over medium heat.
  3. In batches, transfer the nuggets from the marinade to the breadcrumb mixture. Roll the nuggets in the breadcrumb mixture until they are completely covered in the mixture. Then, once the oil is hot, transfer the nuggets to the skillet, and cook them for 4-6 minutes on each side, until they are crispy and golden on the outside and cooked through on the inside. The cooking time will be determined by the size of your nuggets. If your oil gets too "dirty" from the breadcrumb mixture, you're welcome to dump the oil and add more oil. I don't mind the "dirty" bottom, and I don't find that it changes the flavor of the nuggets.
  4. When the nuggets are done cooking, place them on a baking/cooling rack with a towel or napkin underneath. This will keep the nuggets from getting soggy before enjoying them.

 

Ingredient Notes: 

I prefer Simply Organic’s Salt-Free All-Purpose Seasoning, but any all-purpose seasoning should work. If you don’t want to use an all-purpose seasoning, you could use a variety of spices (a bit of garlic, onion powder, oregano) to add flavor. If your all-purpose seasoning contains salt, skip the salt in the recipe.

I love Bubbie’s pickles. I highly recommend finding a brand of pickles, like Bubbies, that are made with clean ingredients versus yellow dye and other questionable products.

Avocado oil is a heat stable, neutral tasting, real food oil option. I purchase avocado oil from Costco, and love to use it for high temperature cooking. Olive oil will not work in this recipe because the oil will burn. Coconut oil is another option, but it may impart a coconut flavor on the nuggets.

Frying Note: 

To achieve the Chick-Fil-A copycat status, these nuggets need to be lightly fried in the oil. I’ve tried baking these nuggets, and, to be honest, they just don’t have a great texture. I’m currently working on a blog and family worthy baked nugget recipe. I’ll let you know when it’s ready!

You will definitely want to 'Eat Mor Chikin' when you taste these delicious homemade chicken nuggets Chick-Fil-A copycat nuggets!

More from Kristin Marr

Immune-Loving Turmeric Tea

This post may contain affiliate links. Affiliate links come at no extra...
Read More

14 Comments

  • I’ve always wanted to cook with avocado oil, but haven’t because of the cost. Thanks for the tip about purchasing at your local club store. I will have to check out mine.

  • What is your opinion on peanut oil? I use this when deep frying fish and do have olive oil but do not use this for frying. I actually use a light olive oil so I am not exactly sure how real this is. I have recently started using ghee and am loving it. What oil do you use with roasting veggies?


  • I love these do much. I used chicken tenders instead of breasts. The 3 year old who opts to just not eat new things, ate 6 of them. That’s saying something. ^_^

  • I’ve wanted to make these for a while and I did tonight! They tasted great but breading fell off a lot of them. I only marinated for 2 hours but followed the rest of recipe. I also used tongs to flip. Any suggestions for next time? Thanks!

    • Hey Cathy, The big trick for keeping the breading on, at least for me, has been using very fine breadcrumbs. If that’s not working, you could try dipping the nuggets in a beaten egg, then breading the nuggets. Were the nuggets fully submerged in the liquid ingredients during the soaking stage? I also use tongs to flip the nuggets, so I don’t think they would have been the issue.

  • Hoping to try these for my toddler to enjoy! I noticed in the pictures you use Bread and Butter pickles, do you recommend this over regular dill pickles for the pickle juice?

    Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *