Chicken Nuggets

June 5, 2019

Homemade Chicken Nuggets made with real ingredients! Plus these are oven baked instead of fried so they’re a healthier option. They’re deliciously tender and perfectly crisp, both kids and adults alike will love them! 

Chicken nuggets on a serving platter with a side of barbecue sauce and honey mustard.

Oven Baked Chicken Nuggets Recipe

Schools out and if you’ve got kids at home now you’re back to “what should I make the kids for lunch?” question. This is the perfect thing to make because not only will they love these but you’ll love them too!

They’re a million times better than what you’d get at a fast food restaurant and far healthier. Made 100% with real chicken breast and no deep frying. This version is easier too, no tending to pieces as they cook.

They’re the perfect finger food for dunking in your favorite dip (see below for ideas) and they’re perfectly hearty and filling.

Pair them with a side salad or oven baked fries and you’ve got a delicious lunch or dinner everyone will want on repeat!

Chicken Nuggets on a serving plate with a side salad.

Homemade Chicken Nuggets Ingredients

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts – trimmed thighs will work here too, they’ll just need to bake a little longer.
  • Panko bread crumbs – these Japanese style bread crumbs are what make the chicken nuggets so crispy. You can usually find them by the traditional bread crumbs or near Asian foods.
  • Olive oil – this is added to moisten the bread crumbs a little and help brown them.
  • Paprika, garlic powder, dried thyme and cayenne pepper – these spices add a nice background flavor that pairs well with the chicken.
  • Salt and pepper – I like to season both the egg mixture and the breadcrumb mixture.
  • Eggs – this acts as the “glue” to help the breadcrumbs stick to the chicken.

Ingredients needed to make chicken nuggets shown here including chicken breasts, panko, thyme, paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, eggs, olive oil.

How to Make Chicken Nuggets

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Set a large wire rack over an 18 by 13-inch baking sheet, spray rack with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Pour panko into a mound on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and toss with fingertips to evenly moisten. Spread into an even layer on a baking sheet (wiggle baking sheet to level as needed).

Showing how to toast panko on a baking sheet.

  • Bake in preheated oven 3 – 5 minutes until slightly toasted and golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and scoop together in a mound in center, add paprika, garlic powder, thyme, cayenne pepper and season with salt and pepper to taste (about 3/4 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper). Toss mixture with a spatula.

Tossing panko breadcrumbs with seasonings.

  • In a bowl whisk together eggs with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper.
  • Dip chicken pieces (about a handful, 8 – 10 at a time) in egg, then transfer to panko mixture. Toss to coat, while pressing breadcrumbs so they stick well.

Showing how to make chicken nuggets. Tossing chicken pieces with egg then dressing in panko breadcrumb mixture on baking sheet.

  • Transfer pieces to prepared wire rack, leaving a little space between pieces. Repeat process with remaining chicken (scoop Panko bake together in mound between batches).
  • Bake in preheated oven until center of chicken registers 165 on an instant read thermometer, about 15 – 19 minutes. Serve warm.

Showing how chicken nuggets look on wire rack over baking sheet before baking.

What Sauces Should I Serve with Them?

Chicken Nuggets shown on wire rack over baking sheet after baking.

Can I Add Parmesan?

Yes. For one more layer of flavor you can try replacing 1/2 cup bread crumbs with grated parmesan, add after you’ve toasted bread crumbs and cooled slightly. Replace paprika, thyme and cayenne with 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning.

Can I Use Traditional Bread Crumbs?

For best results stick with panko bread crumbs, you’ll get the crispiest end result with them.

Can I Fry the Chicken Nuggets?

Yes. It should work well to fry these in a large skillet with about 1/2 cup of vegetable oil over medium-high heat if you’d rather. Cook about 4 – 5 minutes per side until 165 in center.

Pile of chicken nuggets on a white serving platter set over a grey napkin on a marble surface.

More Chicken Recipes You’ll Love:

Close up image of Chicken Nuggets nuggets showing crispy panko coating.

Chicken Nuggets (Oven Baked)

5 from 5 votes

Homemade Chicken Nuggets made with real ingredients! Plus these are oven baked instead of fried so they're a healthier option. They're deliciously tender and perfectly crisp, both kids and adults alike will love them! 

Servings: 6
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 38 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs bonless skinless chicken breasts, cut into even 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Set a large wire rack over an 18 by 13-inch baking sheet, spray rack with non-stick cooking spray.

  2. Pour panko into a mound on a separate baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and toss with fingertips to evenly moisten. Spread into an even layer (wiggle baking sheet to level as needed).

  3. Bake in preheated oven 3 - 5 minutes until slightly toasted and golden brown (toss once halfway if needed, for even toasting). 

  4. Remove from oven and scoop bread crumbs together in a mound in center, add paprika, garlic powder, thyme, cayenne pepper and season with salt and pepper to taste (about 3/4 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper). Toss mixture with a spatula.

  5. In a bowl whisk together eggs with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.

  6. Dip chicken pieces (about a handful, 8 - 10 at a time) in egg, then transfer to panko mixture. Toss to coat, while pressing breadcrumbs so they stick well.

  7. Transfer pieces to prepared wire rack, leaving a little space between pieces. Repeat process with remaining chicken (scoop panko back together in mound between batches).

  8. Bake in preheated oven until center of chicken registers 165 on an instant read thermometer, about 15 - 19 minutes. Serve warm with a dipping sauce if desired.

Recipe Notes

For a healthier honey mustard whisk together 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, 2 1/2 Tbsp honey, 3 Tbsp light mayonnaise, 1 1/2 Tbsp dijon mustard, 1 1/2 Tbsp prepared yellow mustard, 1 tsp lemon juice and season with salt to taste.

Nutrition Facts
Chicken Nuggets (Oven Baked)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 267 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 108mg36%
Sodium 680mg30%
Potassium 487mg14%
Carbohydrates 15g5%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 28g56%
Vitamin A 305IU6%
Vitamin C 1.4mg2%
Calcium 50mg5%
Iron 1.8mg10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chicken Nuggets
Author: Jaclyn