Sometimes I look back fondly on the days when Meghan was a toddler. You know, before evening activities. Dinner was so much easier back then. Now there’s these activities that steal my time in the kitchen, forcing me to either be uber organized and on top of my game or cut corners somewhere.
I remember clearly the first time I was not uber organized and not on top of my game at all. The activity was over, it was already later than our normal dinner time, and I wasn’t sure what we were having. We stopped at the grocery store on the way home from the activity and I snatched up a box of Applegate Farm organic chicken strips. The ingredients were better than most others you’d find in a box of chicken nuggets, so I figured it wasn’t that terrible of a choice. At least I didn’t bring them to McDonald’s, right?
One stinkin’ box was $8.00 and not quite enough to satisfy my hungry husband, but it got the job done. Despite the price, the convenience factor was strong. Every once in a while I found myself picking up a box to have on hand, just in case I had another n0t-quite-prepared night.
One of those times Meghan took a bite of her chicken strip and declared, “It’s too spicy!” Seriously, kid? I checked out the ingredient list again, and sure enough, cayenne pepper. I didn’t taste a bit of spice, but apparently after having the strips half a dozen times, Meghan noticed it and they became too spicy.
Cross that easy option off the list.
I’d tried a number of different homemade baked chicken strips and homemade chicken nugget recipes, but never had much luck with the kids liking them. I finally had an ah-ha moment and realized it was because I was using whole, cut-up chicken breasts to make them. The kind you buy in the store are soft. I needed to use soft chicken! Duh!
So instead of using whole, cut up chicken breasts for these homemade baked chicken nuggets, I decided to try using ground chicken. Bingo! It worked perfectly. They are soft like the store-bought kind, lightly seasoned so they aren’t bland, but not spicy for my kids with sensitive palates.
These are also super easy to make. It’s basically two ingredients with a few spices. It doesn’t get any easier! This recipe makes a huge batch of nuggets. If you don’t need so many for one dinner, just freeze half. Freeze them on a tray, uncooked, and then once they are frozen transfer them to a freezer-safe container and add a few minutes to the baking time when you are ready to make them.
I know I’m going to be making big batches to have in the freezer for those unprepared nights! I hope your family enjoys these, too.Print
Homemade Baked Chicken Nuggets
- Total Time: 28 minutes
- Yield: 40 nuggets 1x
A healthy alternative to a family favorite!
2 pounds ground chicken
2 1/2 cups whole wheat bread crumbs, divided
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare two baking sheets by either oiling them, or lining them with parchment paper or a nonstick mat.
In a large bowl, mix together the ground chicken, 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and thyme. Use your hands and make sure everything is well combined.
Place the remaining bread crumbs ( 1 1/2 cups) in a separate bowl.
Form the chicken mixture into nuggets shapes, roll the nuggets in the bowl of breadcrumbs to evenly coat them on all sides. Place the nuggets on the prepared baking sheets. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, flipping the nuggets half way through the cooking time. Enjoy!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 18 minutes
- Category: main meal
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 4 nuggets
- Calories: 227
- Sugar: 1.5g
- Sodium: 608mg
- Fat: 10.6g
- Carbohydrates: 15g
- Protein: 19.3g
Keywords: chicken nuggets
Yummy dish, my kids loved it..
Thanks for recipe. Sorry if this is old post, your recipe popped up when I was looking for homemade nuggets. I was wondering if you need the bread crumbs mixed with chicken? It seemed like too much breading for us. Is purpose for binding? Could I substitute grated Parmesan instead?
Thank you so much again!
Part of the breadcrumbs are for binding and part are for breading. I haven’t tried using parmesan cheese in these so I’m not sure how it would work!
Nicole Luciani says
Reluctantly substituted with turkey ground (store did not have chicken ground). Kids loved them.
Glad to hear that!
I absolutely LOVE this recipe! I was looking for a healthier version of frozen chicken nuggets and this is it. I used my own spice blend and both my son and husband gobbled then up. I did bake them first and then freeze them. A couple of minutes in the microwave and they were perfect! Thank you for an amazing recipe!
So happy to hear this!
I’ve always wanted to make my own chicken nuggets, since buying store bought can be a little out of my budget as a college student with multiple expenses. I made these using crushed pork rinds as a substitute for breadcrumbs so they would work with the Keto/low carb diet as well and they were perfect! Thanks for the great recipe!
They turned out very good. I added a little bit of grated fresh apple to make them more juicy.
Ol Tom says
Followed recipe ceptin’ used firm tofu ( We’re vegan [ cept fer bacon] )… used 2 1/2 cups ground jalepeno chips, 1T smoked paprika, 1 t garlic salt, 1 t onion salt, 1t table salt and 1 t dried jalepeno.
Deep Fried em at 375 bout 10 minutes… then – to ensure healthy eatin’ – nuked em bout 4 minutes and served em with 1 cup hot sauce and 1 cup melted lard – mixed up real good…. dogs didn’t like em but we all sure did!!
I can’t tell if this is legit or sarcastic.
Lard for dipping sauce??
Any thoughts about adding shredded carrots to these? I was thinking about adding it so that there’s protein and veggie and whole wheat in one pop. What do you think???!!!
I think it would totally work!
These were great! I was able to substitute a blend of crushed cheerios and crushed potato chips for the bread crumbs because of my daughter’s multiple food intolerances and it worked perfectly! She ate two whole nuggets at lunch yesterday (which is good since she is only 16 months old and very petite). Thank you so much for this recipe. Now she can have nuggets of her own when our other kids get them and not feel left out!
I’m so glad to hear that, Heather! 🙂
Awesome! I will try these for sure! Love the fact you can prepare and freeze them. My 4 year old, like many kids, won’t eat any chunks of meat, but he LOVES chicken nuggets. It has reached the point where he eats the store-bored nuggets on a regular basis as a substitute for whatever my husband and I are having for dinner. Where we live you cannot get any chicken nuggets that don’t have lists of stabilisers ad artificial flavour enhancers which is why I am not thrilled to buy them. Will feel so much better feeding him homemade ones without additives 🙂
I hope he loves these! Please keep me updated!!
Made these tonight. My picky 2.9 yr old finished her plate with 0 convincing / bribery!! Thank you ??
That’s awesome! Thank you for letting me know! 🙂
Candiss Oleski says
Have you ever tried drained Italian Bread crumbs instead of the whole wheat. I buy ones that are sodium-free so they are still healthy,
I haven’t tried it, but I’m sure it would work fine. Let me know how it goes!
felly sherly says
nice recipe, I’ll try cooking it! Thankyou 🙂
I hope you enjoy these!
Did you use the white meat or dark meat for the ground chicken?
Also when you say breadcrumbs I assume not panko crumbs?
Made these last night using almond flour/meal because that is what I had on hand. They were wonderful! So glad you figured out the key to making these…great texture and just like chicken nuggets. Love that there are only a few ingredients too!
I’m glad to hear it worked with the almond flour! I love that as an alternative to breadcrumbs. Thanks for sharing! 🙂
ok, what is ground chicken and how do I make it? Thank you
I buy the chicken already ground. Where I live there is a local grocery store that sources chicken from local farms and they grind their own chicken with no added fillers. If you can’t find ground chicken in your grocery store, try a butcher. They will grind it for you. If you have a meat grinder you could do it on your own. Or try putting some cooked chicken breast into your food processor, but I haven’t tried that.
how much additional time do you add to cook them if they are frozen?
3-5 extra minutes.
Dietitian Jess says
Hmm… ground chicken- thats genius! I’ve made chicken strips but never trip it with ground, but I’m definitely trying it asap for my toddler- aka my husband, haha.
Little kids and big kids like these! 🙂
Nicole Q-Schmitz says
These look so good! I’ll be making a batch soon 🙂
You mentioned that you freeze half before you cook them; have you ever cooked them, then frozen them afterwards? I’m thinking this might make it more convenient for the next time.
I think that would work, my only concern would be that the chicken would get more dried out if you are cooking it, freezing it, and then reheating it.
These came out so good! I added grated carrots and zucchini and added more breadcrumbs to account for the veggies. I substituted sage for the thyme and doubled the spices except for salt and added Parmesan cheese. My family devoured them and even the picky 1 year old loved them as well. Thank you for this amazing recipe!
Thanks so much for your feedback!
Zen Tree Wellness says
And I use almond meal/flour in place of the bread crumbs and it works GREAT!!
That is good to know! Thanks!