My kids love chicken nuggets. It’s one of those things that is a go-to when it comes to fast food, or quick meals. But there is no need to pay a corporation to make “dinosaur-shaped chicken for my kids. Making our own homemade chicken nuggets is easy, and the kids love to make them. In fact, as I prepared this post, my 4-year-old daughter saw the images and said, “Yummy! Messy! Can we make those again?”
The secret of chicken nuggets is to start with good chicken. A simple a simple breading with generous amounts of salt and pepper makes it extra succulent. After I quickly brown the chicken in oil, I then finish the chicken by baking it for a short time in the oven.
The cut of chicken is immaterial: chicken breast, chicken thighs (my favorite), and chicken tenderloins all work well. Just make sure it is good chicken, and take the time to salt and pepper it generously.
The dredging station is the kid’s favorite. Although one can use tongs to move the batches of chicken bites, it is much easier to simply use clean hands to move them from one bowl to the next. Make sure to shake the excess off after each bowl. Nevertheless, your fingers will get messy in the breading!
I did not get a picture of our messy chicken breading hands. Since we were working with raw chicken and hot oil in a frying pan, I did not want to let my concentration be distracted from assisting my young sous chefs. I promise, though, that they enjoy this step!
I was in charge of the hot oil and oven steps. It does not take long to brown the chicken each time, but it does take time to do all of it. It is nice to me that I can then put the chicken in the oven for a moment while I clean up and get ready to serve the rest of the food.
On this particular night, Raisin made mashed potatoes to go with our supper. Broccoli was a nice addition as well. This made our meal much improved over a restaurant chicken nugget option!
- 2 each chicken breasts (or equivalent thighs or tenderloins)
- 2-3 cups flour
- 2 each eggs
- 1 cup water cool
- 2-3 cups bread crumbs store bought is easiest, but you can also chop and crumble toasted bread into small bits
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper generous amounts
- Prepare the chicken by chopping in to bite-sized pieces. Generously salt and pepper all sides of the chicken.
- Set up dredging station with a bowl for flour, a bowl with two eggs and a cup of cool water (beat together), and a bowl with the bread crumbs. Add generous amounts of salt and pepper to each bowl and stir. Preheat oven to 325.
- Set up dredging station with flour, then eggs, then bread crumbs. Prepare a large frying pan. Put olive oil in the pan on the stove and set heat to hot. Once it is at temperature, lower to medium hot. Working in batches of 5-8 chicken bites, dredge first in the flour. Shake off excess. Then dip in the egg wash until fully covered. Let excess drip off. Then roll the chicken in the bread crumbs. Again, shake off excess.
- Put chicken in the hot pan. Cook 2-3 minutes until golden. Flip chicken and cook on the back 1-2 minutes more until golden. Chicken may not be fully cooked at this point. Place each piece of chicken on a baking rack on a baking sheet.
- When all the chicken nuggets have been fried, place the baking sheet in the oven for 5-10 minutes more until chicken is cooked through. (The time necessary depends on size of each piece of chicken.) Remove from the oven.
- Serve with dinner of your choice. You may want to dip the chicken nuggets in ketchup, mayonnaise, or barbecue sauce too!