Chicken Nuggets

Homemade Chicken Nuggets that are juicy, mega crunchy and exploding with flavor plus they’re Baked, not fried so they’re better for you!

This chicken nugget recipe is life changing!  It’s the BEST way to devour crispy chicken nuggets without any of the guilt plus it’s simple, easy and made with pantry friendly ingredients. To make homemade chicken nuggets, the bite-size chicken is briefly marinated in buttermilk, breaded in seasoned, toasted panko then baked to golden perfection that’s so crunchy you won’t believe they’re not fried!  These homemade chicken nuggets make a fun snack or an easy weeknight dinner dunked in honey mustard, ketchup, BBQ sauce or ranch alongside mashed potatoes or mac and cheese and a salad. You can also prep the chicken nuggets ahead of time and just bake when ready OR freeze for later so you’re ready for whenever those crunchy cravings strike!

There’s nothing like juicy chicken enveloped in a crunchy coating.  Some must try crunchy chicken recipes include popcorn chicken, buffalo popcorn chicken, oven fried chicken, Nashville hot chicken, Parmesan chicken tenders, cheddar ranch chicken tenders, and coconut cashew chicken tenders.

up close view of baked chicken nuggets stacked on a plate showing how crispy they are

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the secrets to the best chicken nugget recipe

Raise your hand if you love chicken nuggets!  What about baked chicken nuggets?  All too often baked chicken nuggets are lacking in juiciness or crunch – not this recipe!  For this chicken nugget recipe, I wanted to bring you a baked version that is still addictingly juicy, crunchy and flavorful – so much so you won’t even be able to tell they’re fried.  In fact, my husband exclaimed “these are so crunchy, they taste fried!” Mission accomplished. Here’s why this recipe works:

  • Easy one dredge batter so the breading sticks! Instead of breading the chicken in flour, egg, then breadcrumbs, I’ve combined the flour, egg and a little mayonnaise together to replicate a thin deep-fried batter which glues the breading in place – no loose breadcrumbs here!
  • Tender and juicy from a quick marinade. The homemade chicken nuggets are not only crispy on the outside but juicy and tender on the inside.   The chicken is marinated in buttermilk so it becomes amazingly tender and juicy in less than 30 minutes.  And don’t worry if you don’t have buttermilk, a little milk mixed with a splash of lemon juice or vinegar works great.
  • Extra crunchy thanks to toasted panko.  The shatteringly crispy exterior comes by toasting the panko in the oven for just a few minutes, transforming it from pale to a golden, unbelievable crunchy coating.
  • Baked and not fried. Just line the chicken on a baking rack and bake for 12 minutes – so much easier and less messy than frying – plus it’s better for you!
  • Easy, everyday recipe with pantry friendly ingredients.   Even when you’re running low on groceries, time or energy, you still have everything you need to make this chicken nuggets recipe!  Chicken, breadcrumbs, flour, seasonings and buttermilk/DIY sour milk substitute is all it takes. The chicken breading is spiced to perfection with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder and paprika – no weird or exotic seasonings in this classic – just pantry staples! Soak the chicken, bread the chicken, bake the chicken! 
  • Family friendly for the kid approved win!  This chicken nuggets recipe will be the highlight meal of the week and will become a fond memory and new family tradition.  Plus, you can make it part of a nutritious meal with salad or roasted veggies instead of a burger.
  • Make ahead and freezer friendly.  Skip the freezer chicken nuggets or drive through because these homemade chicken nuggets can be entirely prepped in advance or frozen for an easy thaw and heat snack, lunch or dinner.

WHAT ARE CHICKEN NUGGETS AND WHERE DID THEY COME FROM?

Chicken nuggets are a worldwide phenomenon – a favorite from kids to adults of all ages.  Chicken nuggets are made of small pieces of chicken that is breaded then deep fried or baked.  Chicken nuggets are not only are a staple at fast food joints but in the frozen aisle of every grocery store and in various shapes from boots to dinosaurs!

Chicken nuggets were invented in the 1950s by a food science professor at Cornell University, Robert Baker.  Baker published his work as the “Chicken Crispie,” as an answer to the meat industry’s dilemma of not being able to hold ground meat together.  To solve this, the chicken was first treated with vinegar, salt, grains and milk powder and then battered and fried.  Today, ingredients and production methods vary between manufacturers, so if you really want to know what’s in your chicken nuggets – make this homemade chicken nuggets recipe!  

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHICKEN NUGGETS AND POPCORN CHICKEN?

Essentially, popcorn chicken is smaller and crispier than chicken nuggets.  If you are dining out, some chicken nuggets are not specific poultry parts but rather, a smorgasbord of poultry parts processed together – so consume at your own risk!   Popcorn chicken, however, is widely understood to be white breast meat. Of course, this homemade chicken nugget recipe is also made of chicken breasts without any mystery ingredients.

top view of homemade chicken nuggets on a white plate served with BBQ sauce, ranch and honey mustard dip

Ingredients for Homemade Chicken Nuggets 

Homemade chicken nuggets are so much easier to make than you might think! The chicken is first marinated in buttermilk to tenderize the meat, then it’s coated in a seasoned panko mixture for tons of flavor. 

Here’s what you’ll need to make chicken nuggets: 

  • Chicken breasts: You’ll need boneless skinless breasts for this recipe. Cut them into 1-inch cubes. You may need to pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness if one side of the breast is noticeably thicker than the other. 
  • Panko breadcrumbs: A type of Japanese breadcrumb that can be found next to the traditional/Italian breadcrumbs at your grocery store. Panko breadcrumbs are lighter, larger and dryer than normal breadcrumbs. They absorb less moisture, which produces a crispier breading.
  • Buttermilk: Tenderizes the chicken as its acidic enzymes break down the protein in the chicken. You may also substitute with DIY sour milk (2 cups regular milk + 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice). 
  • Batter:  Eggs, milk and flour combines to glue the panko to the chicken.
  • Dried herbs and spices: Chili powder, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper flavor the homemade chicken nuggets so they are mega delish even without a dipping sauce! 

Can I use Chicken Thighs? 

I recommend chicken breasts for chicken nuggets, but in the end, it comes down to personal preference.  The breasts will emerge buttery tender from the buttermilk bath, deliver the characteristic flavor of chicken nuggets and are easier to cut into uniform pieces than thighs. If you only have thighs on hand during, you can certainly use them, but be aware the pieces will be thinner so watch the baking time.

What Can I Use a DIY Buttermilk Substitute? 

If you do not have any buttermilk on hand, don’t worry, I rarely do! You can make DIY buttermilk (or sour milk) for this recipe by adding 2 tablespoons of white vinegar or lemon juice to a measuring glass. Add enough milk (not nonfat) to equal 2 cups.  Give it a stir and let sit 5-10 minutes in order to activate and slightly curdle.

How can I make Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets?

This chicken nuggets recipe is easy to make gluten free!  Use your favorite gluten free flour such as Bob Red’s Mill Baking Flour and gluten free panko.  Gluten free panko should be relatively easy to find.  My husband accidently picked up Aleia’s Gluten-Free Panko made of rice and potato flour (among other ingredients), and it was fantastic!

Can I make Dairy free chicken nuggets?

Yes!  Swap the buttermilk for your favorite non-dairy milk plus 2 tablespoons white vinegar or lemon juice.

Can I Use Traditional Bread Crumbs?

Technically yes, but traditional breadcrumb won’t delivery crispy chicken nuggets.  Please do NOT substitute with traditional breadcrumbs and expect the same crunchy results. For the BEST baked chicken nuggets, stick with panko bread crumbs. 

chicken nuggets recipe stacked on a white plate

Recipe Variations to Try 

  • Spice it up. Add extra cayenne to the panko breading or add hot sauce directly to the buttermilk.
  • Swap seasonings. Mix up the flavor profile by swapping the seasonings for Cajun seasoning, ranch seasoning, Italian seasonings, etc.
  • Add Parmesan.  Add ⅓ cup finely, freshly grated Parmesan to the panko for a nutty, salty flair.  This would also be tasty combined with Italian spiced panko.
  • Serve with sauces. The easiest way to make this meal feel brand new is to serve it with an array of dipping sauces each time you make it. 

How to Make Chicken Nuggets 

Homemade chicken nuggets are so easy to make, but they do require some specific techniques. Here are the basic steps to making baked chicken nuggets in the oven followed by helpful tips and tricks: 

Step 1: Marinate chicken.  Add the buttermilk to a large freezer bag or a bowl. Stir in the chicken pieces. Let that stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to give the chicken time to tenderize. 

showing how make chicken nuggets recipe by marinating chicken in buttermilk in a glass bowl

Step 2: Toast panko. While the chicken marinates, make the panko coating. Pour the panko breadcrumbs onto a baking sheet, spray with cooking spray or toss with olive oil, and toast at 400 degrees F for about 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer the toasted panko to a large bowl, then stir in the spices. 

showing how to make chicken nuggets by toasting panko in the oven on a baking sheet until golden
showing how to make chicken nuggets by stirring spices into toasted panko on a baking sheet

Step 3: Batter chicken.  Make the batter by whisking the flour, eggs and mayonnaise together in a large bowl.  Strain chicken from buttermilk using a slotted spoon or strainer and add to the batter and stir to evenly coat.  

showing how to make chicken nuggets by adding chopped chicken to batter

Step 4: Bread chicken.  Use a spider strainer or slotted spoon to scoop up some chicken and shake to remove excess batter.  Using your fingers, transfer chicken to panko so the pieces aren’t touching.  Scoop panko over chicken with a clean hand, then press the panko into the chicken. Transfer chicken to prepared baking tray so they aren’t touching. Repeat with remaining chicken.

showing how to make chicken nugget recipe by removing chicken from batter using a strainer and adding to panko on a baking sheet

Step 5: Bake chicken.  Bake at 400 degrees F until cooked through. Serve with your favorite dipping sauces and dig in!

showing how to make chicken nugget recipe baking chicken until crispy on a baking rack

How Long to Marinate Chicken Nuggets? 

If you plan ahead, it is best to marinate your chicken the morning you are going to make your homemade chicken nuggets — this will create the juiciest, melt-in-your mouth chicken. The absolute minimum of marinating should be 30 minutes at room temperature, which will still produce delicious chicken because the chicken is so small. To that end, don’t marinate longer than 12 hours or the chicken will turn to mush.

How Long to Bake Chicken Nuggets? 

These homemade chicken nuggets need to bake for roughly 12 to 16 minutes at 400 degrees F. You’ll know they’re done when they’re completely white inside and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.  Don’t overbake or they won’t be as juicy.

Can I bake chicken nuggets without a wire rack?

If you don’t have a wire rack, then line the baking sheet with lightly greased foil and place it in the oven to get nice and hot while you prep the chicken. Take care when adding your chicken because your pan will be HOT!  Flip the chicken over halfway through baking with tongs.

CAN YOU DOUBLE THIS RECIPE?

Yes!  Whether you’re looking to feed a crowd or freeze some chicken nuggets for later, this recipe is easy to double, triple or quadruple!  You’ll simply need to cook the chicken in batches.

Tips for Making Crispy Baked Chicken Nuggets 

  • Chop chicken uniformly. Try and chop your chicken into uniform size pieces so they cook evenly. This will help you not overcook the small pieces.
  • Don’t chop chicken too small.  The chicken should be chopped 1” thick, erroring on the side of larger so that it doesn’t overcook and dry out. 
  • Marinate chicken.  This step is optional but SO easy and hand’s off so I highly recommend it.  Marinating the chicken is important because the chicken can easily dry out when baked, especially because the pieces are so small.  The highly acidic buttermilk helps to break down protein structures in the chicken so it retains more moisture AKA is juicy!
  • Toast the panko breadcrumbs for CRUNCH!  The shatteringly crispy exterior comes from first toasting the panko in the oven for just a few minutes until golden before tossing it with seasonings. If you don’t toast the panko first separately, it will never get as crunchy because it’s clinging to the moist batter of the chicken.
  • Spray panko with cooking spray. Cooking spray mimics deep frying and promotes golden perfection.
  • Don’t burn panko. Make sure to check your panko at 3 minutes and bake on if needed, but keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn – it can go from pale to burnt very quickly!
  • Dab off excess batter. We don’t want extra batter clinging to the chicken as it dives into the panko breading because it will cause gooey pockets instead of a thin binding layer. So, take care to remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and dab off excess batter if needed.  
  • Space chicken when adding to panko.  When you transfer the chicken to the panko, don’t just plop it down in one massive lump or the panko will get all gooey and grimy as you try and break up the chicken while coating. Instead, transfer the chicken to the panko so it’s not touching each other.  The breathing room allows each side of the chicken to be evenly coated in panko and for the panko to stay clean and crispy.
  • Use clean fingers.  Use the opposite hand you used to add the battered chicken to the panko to scoop up the panko and toss it over the chicken.  This will help prevent gummy fingers and gummy panko.
  • Thoroughly bread chicken.   If you notice any of the chicken pieces aren’t fully coated in the breading, spoon a another scoop of panko over the chicken and use your hands to press the breading into the chicken.  The more breading, the crispier the chicken!
  • Bake on a wire rack.  Elevating the chicken on a baking rack allows the hot air to circulate all  around the chicken.
  • Don’t crowd the pan. Leave a little space between your chicken nuggets on the baking rack while cooking. Overcrowding the pan will cause steam and make your breading soggy. When nicely spaced, the hot oven air can circulate evenly around the chicken so they can get nice and crispy.
  • Don’t stack chicken.  Resist the urge to stack the baked chicken nuggets when they come out of the oven or the chicken will steam and you’ll lose that shatteringly crispy coveted exterior. It is best to serve the chicken nuggets lined in a single layer with a little breathing room in between each morsel.
showing how to serve chicken nugget recipe with ranch and bbq sauce

HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN Nuggets IN THE AIR FRYER

I prefer the oven over the air fryer for this homemade chicken nugget recipe because baked chicken nuggets are still crazy crispy and can all be baked in one batch whereas it takes several batches to cook chicken nuggets in the air fryer.  The air fryer is fantastic, however, to reheat leftovers. 

To make chicken nuggets in the air fryer:

  • Spray the air fryer basket with nonstick spray. Preheat air fryer at 400 degrees F for 8-10 minutes. 
  • Place prepared chicken nuggets in a single layer in the basket without touching, don’t overcrowd.
  • Air fry at 400°F for 7-9 minutes or until golden.   You can air fry without flipping them over, but for best results, flip halfway through cooking with tongs. Please note Air fryer models can vary in so watch the first batch closely and adjust the time accordingly.

Can I Fry these Chicken Nuggets?

I do not recommend frying this chicken nuggets recipe because the panko can easily burn. Instead, use this popcorn chicken recipe.  

My Favorite Dipping Sauces for Chicken Nuggets 

These healthier chicken nuggets are delicious as is, but I think we can all agree these babies taste even better when slathered in BBQ sauce or honey mustard! A few of my favorite sauces and dips to serve with these baked chicken nuggets are: 

Here is how to make a few of our favs:

SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE

Sweet and Sour Sauce might not be what you immediately think of for dipping chicken nuggets -but it is AMAZING and SO easy!  This Sweet and Sour Sauce recipe is simpler than those served with Egg rolls, rangoons, etc. with a less Asian flair because it doesn’t contain soy sauce or pineapple juice. To make, combine the following in a small saucepan:

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup 
  • 2 tablespoons water 
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Whisk until the sugar and cornstarch have dissolved.
  • Heat over medium, while often, until it begins to simmer. Simmer until thickened to desired consistency.

HONEY MUSTARD DIP

Honey Mustard Dip is creamy, sweet and tangy with a light kick.  To make, whisk together:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (or half sour cream or Greek yogurt)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1-2 teaspoons hot sauce

HONEY BUFFALO DIP

Honey Buffalo Dip is creamy, slightly sweet and as spicy as you want it.   To make, whisk together:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (or half sour cream or Greek yogurt)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon Frank’s hot WINGS Sauce, more or less to taste

HONEY BBQ DIP

Honey BBQ Dip is sweet and tangy and you can add hot sauce to spice it up if you wish.  To make, combine the following in a small saucepan over medium heat, until it begins to simmer; simmer until thickened to desired consistency.

  • ¾ cup BBQ sauce (I like Sweet Baby Rays Original)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • Hot sauce to taste

Can I Prep This Recipe in Advance? 

Yes! You can prepare the individual components of this baked chicken nugget recipe in advance. 

  • Chicken: Chop into 1-inch cubes, soak in the buttermilk for up to 12 hours in advance. Do NOT soak longer than 12 hours, otherwise the chicken will turn to mush. 
  • Panko coating: Toast the panko breadcrumbs, then mix together with the spices. Store in an airtight container until ready to use. 
  • Bread chicken:  Batter and bread the chicken and spread on greased baking rack.  Cover with foil and refrigerate.  Uncover and let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature before baking. Note this method will produce ever so slightly less crispy chicken nuggets.
  • Entire recipe: You can also make the entire recipe as written, let the chicken nuggets cool, then freeze for up to 3 months. I’ve given freezing instructions below. 
top view of homemade chicken nuggets scattered on parchment paper for serving

How to Store Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Homemade chicken nuggets should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  When properly stored, they’re good for 3 to 5 days. For best results, don’t stack your chicken directly on top of each other as this will make the breading soft. Instead, place a piece of parchment paper in between the layers. 

How to Reheat Chicken Nuggets 

  • Microwave: The chicken won’t be nearly as crispy if reheated in the microwave, but it will still be flavorful. Transfer chicken to a microwave-safe plate in an even layer.  Microwave for 60 seconds, then in additional increments of 15 seconds as needed.
  • Air fryer: Place chicken in a single layer in the basket without touching. Air fry using the “snack” setting for 4-6 minutes, checking at 4 minutes to ensure the chicken doesn’t burn.
  • Oven: Spread chicken on a lightly greased baking rack set in a baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees F for 10 minutes or until heated through.

Can You Freeze Baked Chicken Nuggets? 

Yes! Chicken nuggets freeze extremely well for a hassle-free snack, appetizer, lunch or dinner.

To freeze:

  1. Bake chicken according to directions then let cool to room temperature.
  2. Transfer the entire baking sheet to the freezer.
  3. Let the chicken freeze for 1-2 hours or until the chicken is solid. This prevents the chicken from clumping together.
  4. Add chicken to a freezer bag, squeeze out excess air, and label.
  5. Freeze for up to 3 months. 
  6. Bake chicken nuggets straight from frozen (so they don’t become soggy) on a lightly greased baking rack placed over a baking sheet at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, or until heated through.

What to Serve with Chicken Nuggets 

Looking for More Easy Chicken Dinners? 

up close of baked chicken nugget dipped in honey mustard sauce

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Chicken Nuggets

This chicken nugget recipe is life changing! It’s the BEST way to devour crispy chicken nuggets without any of the guilt plus it’s simple, easy and made with pantry friendly ingredients. To make homemade chicken nuggets, the bite-size chicken is briefly marinated in buttermilk, breaded in seasoned, toasted panko then baked to golden perfection that’s so crunchy you won’t believe they’re not fried! These homemade chicken nuggets make a fun snack or an easy weeknight dinner dunked in honey mustard, ketchup, BBQ sauce or ranch alongside mashed potatoes or mac and cheese and a salad. You can also prep the chicken nuggets ahead of time and just bake when ready OR freeze for later so you’re ready for whenever those crunchy cravings strike!
Servings: 6 -8 servings
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes

Ingredients

Chicken

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cups buttermilk or DIY in notes*
  • Cooking spray

Panko Breading

Easy Batter

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Instructions

  • Add buttermilk and chicken to a freezer bag or bowl. Let chicken marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes or refrigerate up to 12 hours. Meanwhile, toast panko.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread panko into an even onto a baking sheet and spray generously with cooking spray (spray at an angle so the panko doesn’t fly everywhere); toss with your hands, then spray again. Spread panko into an even layer (wiggle baking sheet to level as needed).
  • Bake at 400 degrees F for 3 - 5 minutes (check at 3 minutes) until golden. Remove from the oven and stir in all panko breading spices; set aside.
  • Set a wire rack over a second baking sheet; spray the rack with cooking spray; set aside.
  • Whisk the Batter ingredients together in a large bowl. Strain chicken from buttermilk using a slotted spoon or strainer and add to the batter and stir to evenly coat.
  • Use a spider strainer or slotted spoon to scoop up some chicken and shake to remove excess batter. Using your fingers, transfer chicken from strainer to panko so the pieces aren’t touching. Scoop panko over chicken with a clean hand, then press the panko into the chicken. Transfer chicken to prepared baking tray so they aren’t touching. Repeat with remaining chicken.
  • Bake chicken at 400 degrees F for 12-16 minutes or until cooked through (temperature registers 165 degrees F with a meat thermometer). Serve with BBQ sauce, honey mustard, ranch, ketchup, sweet and sour sauce etc.

Notes

  • *DIY Buttermilk/Sour milk: Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar or lemon juice to a measuring glass. Add enough milk (not nonfat) to equal 2 cups.  Give it a stir and let sit 5-10 minutes in order to activate and slightly curdle.
  • Panko breadcrumbs: A type of Japanese breadcrumb that can be found next to the traditional/Italian breadcrumbs at your grocery store. Please do NOT substitute with traditional breadcrumbs and expect the same crunchy results.
  • Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets: Use your favorite gluten free flour such as Bob Red’s Mill Baking Flour and gluten free panko.  Gluten free panko should be relatively easy to find.  My husband accidently picked up Aleia’s Gluten-Free Panko made of rice and potato flour (among other ingredients), and it was fantastic.
  • Dairy Free Chicken Nuggets: Swap the buttermilk for your favorite non-dairy milk plus 2 tablespoons white vinegar or lemon juice.

Tip and Tricks:

  • What if I don’t have a baking rack?  If you don’t have a wire rack, then line the baking sheet with lightly greased foil and place it in the oven to get nice and hot while you prep the chicken. Take care when adding your chicken because your pan will be HOT!  Flip the chicken over halfway through baking with tongs.
  • Chop chicken uniformly. Try and chop your chicken into uniform size pieces so they cook evenly. This will help you not overcook the small pieces.
  • Don’t chop chicken too small.  The chicken should be chopped 1” thick, erroring on the side of larger so that it doesn’t overcook and dry out.
  • Don’t burn panko. Make sure to check your panko at 3 minutes and bake on if needed, but keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn – it can go from pale to burnt very quickly!
  • Dab off excess batter. We don’t want extra batter clinging to the chicken as it dives into the panko breading because it will cause gooey pockets instead of a thin binding layer.
  • Space chicken when adding to panko.  When you transfer the chicken to the panko, don’t just plop it down in one massive lump or the panko will get all gooey and grimy as you try and break up the chicken while coating. Instead, transfer the chicken to the panko so it’s not touching each other.
  • Use clean fingers.  Use the opposite hand you used to add the battered chicken to the panko to scoop up the panko and toss it over the chicken.  This will help prevent gummy fingers and gummy panko.
  • Don’t stack chicken.  Resist the urge to stack the baked chicken nuggets when they come out of the oven or the chicken will steam and you’ll lose that shatteringly crispy coveted exterior. It is best to serve the chicken nuggets lined in a single layer with a little breathing room in between each morsel.
  • Dipping Sauces.  See post for my favorite dipping sauce recipes.

Make Ahead 

You can prepare the individual components of this baked chicken nugget recipe in advance or the entire recipe:
  • Chicken: Chop into 1-inch cubes, soak in the buttermilk for up to 12 hours in advance. Do NOT soak longer than 12 hours, otherwise the chicken will turn to mush.
  • Panko coating: Toast the panko breadcrumbs, then mix together with the spices. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
  • Bread chicken:  Batter and bread the chicken and spread on greased baking rack.  Cover with foil and refrigerate.  Uncover and let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature before baking. Note this method will produce ever so slightly less crispy chicken nuggets.
  • Entire recipe: You can also make the entire recipe as written, let the chicken nuggets cool, then freeze for up to 3 months. I’ve given freezing instructions below.

How to store and reheat 

  • Storage:  store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  When properly stored, the chicken is good for 3 to 5 days. For best results, don’t stack your chicken directly on top of each other or the breading will become soft. Instead, place a piece of parchment paper in between the layers.
  • Microwave:  the chicken won’t be nearly as crispy if reheated in the microwave but it will still be flavorful.   Transfer chicken to a microwave safe plate in an even layer.  Microwave for 60 seconds, then in additional increments of 15 seconds as needed.
  • Air fryer:  place chicken in a single layer in the basket without touching, air fry using the “snack” setting  for 4-6 minutes, checking at 4 minutes to ensure the chicken doesn’t burn.
  • Oven: spread chicken on a lightly greased baking rack set in a baking sheet.  Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes or until heated through. You can also fry the chicken again to reheat.

How to Freeze

  • Bake chicken according to directions then let cool to room temperature.
  • Transfer the entire baking sheet to the freezer.
  • Let the chicken freeze for 1-2 hours or until the chicken is solid. This prevents the chicken from clumping together.
  • Add chicken to a freezer bag, squeeze out excess air, and label.
  • Freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Bake chicken nuggets straight from frozen (so they don’t become soggy) on a lightly greased baking rack placed over a baking sheet at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, or until heated through.

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2 Comments

  1. Shelly Burge says

    These sound great. I wondered if I could cut the chicken into slightly larger pieces to make boneless wings?

    • Jen says

      Absolutely! Just bake for 5-10 minutes longer.

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