Best-Tasting Healthy Homemade Ground Chicken Nuggets

The best-tasting, Healthy Homemade Ground Chicken Nuggets are made with regular or gluten-free bread crumbs or almond flour, egg, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder. These better-than-fast-food chicken nuggets are lightly brushed with butter and baked, NOT deep-fried, in less than 20 minutes.

Homemade chicken nuggets with dipping sauce.

Make the Best-Tasting, Healthy Homemade Ground Chicken Nuggets that can be made with gluten-free bread crumbs or almond flour. My easy recipe for a homemade version of McDonald’s chicken nuggets tastes MUCH better and is healthier with simple ingredients, including ground chicken, panko bread crumbs, egg, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder. These golden nuggets are lightly brushed with butter for crispy finger food that is one our favorite easy meals for a quick lunch or busy weeknight dinner. 

My better-than-fast-food chicken nuggets quickly bake in the oven in less than 20 minutes. I also include directions for air fryer chicken nuggets. They’re tasty enough to be considered kid food but also have a delicious depth of flavor adults will love, too! And they’re perfect for dipping in your favorite ranch dressing, barbecue sauce, or ketchup along side healthy french fries. 

Why are these homemade chicken nuggets healthier than fast-food chicken nuggets?

This recipe for homemade chicken nuggets offers a healthier alternative to deep-fried fast food options for a few reasons. First, it skips the deep-frying altogether. By baking the nuggets instead, you significantly reduce the amount of fat consumed. Deep-fried nuggets absorb a lot of oil, adding unhealthy saturated and trans fats.

Secondly, this recipe allows you to control the ingredients. You’re using lean ground chicken and whole foods for the breading, like almond flour or gluten-free breadcrumbs. This means less processed fillers and unhealthy additives that are commonly found in fast food nuggets. Additionally, you can adjust the seasonings to your preference, letting you limit sodium intake compared to the often high-sodium fast food varieties.

YouTube video

Why You’ll Love This Oven-Baked Chicken Nugget Recipe

  • You only need a few simple ingredients.
  • It is super easy to make for an impressive result.
  • The flavor-rich ingredients make it taste amazing!
  • All the ingredients are easily digestible for a gentle tummy.
Homemade chicken nuggets on a wire rack.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Here is everything you need to make the best-tasting homemade chicken nugget recipe:

Ground Chicken: Ground chicken breast meat and/or chicken thigh pieces works best. You can also use ground turkey, or ground pork can be used instead.

Panko Bread Crumbs: Italian bread crumbs, crushed cornflakes, or crushed crackers can also be used. To make chicken nuggets gluten-free, use gluten-free bread crumbs or almond flour.

Milk: Any milk can be used, including cow’s milk, almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk.

Parmesan Cheese: Nutritional yeast or vegan Parmesan cheese can be used for dairy-free chicken nuggets.

Butter: Olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, or ghee can be used instead.

Tapioca Flour: Cornstarch or potato starch can be used as alternatives. You can use regular flour if you don’t need it to be gluten-free.

Homemade chicken nuggets on a wire rack.

How to Make My Easy Parmesan Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets Recipe

Here are easy, step-by-step instructions for the best way to make better-than-fast-food nuggets:

Step 1: Prepare the Chicken Mixture

Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, combine bread crumbs (or almond flour)and milk and stir until well coated. Then add the garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, onion powder, and black pepper and mix well until combined. Then add in 1 pound of ground chicken and mix it all together with your hands just until all the ingredients are blended.

Adding ground chicken to seasonings.
Mixing ground chicken with seasonings.

Step 2: Coat the Homemade Nuggets

Set up a breading station with three bowls: one with tapioca flour, one with the beaten egg, and one with a mixture of bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, and salt. Using a spoon, medium-sized cookie scoop or small ice cream scoop, scoop out a ball of soft chicken mix and drop it into the

tapioca flour mixture, then the egg wash, and finally the bread crumb mixture, ensuring each nugget is evenly coated. Press the whole nugget into an oval shape while it’s in the bread crumbs, shake off excess batter, and then place the coated nuggets on the prepared baking sheet.

Melt the butter and brush it over the nuggets.

Coating chicken nuggets with tapioca flour.
Dipping chicken nuggets in egg wash.
Coating chicken nuggets in bread crumb mixture.

Step 3: Bake the Nuggets

Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, flip over the nuggets, and brush the tops with melted butter. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 8 minutes or until the nuggets are cooked through and a golden color.

Allow them to cool and serve the chicken nuggets with your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!

Brushing butter on chicken nuggets.

How to Make Air Fryer Crispy Chicken Nuggets

Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C) for about 3-5 minutes.

Place the coated nuggets in a single layer in the air fryer basket, making sure they are not touching or overcrowded.

Cook the nuggets in the air fryer for about 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time, or until they are golden brown and cooked through.

Depending on the size and model of your air fryer, you may need to cook the nuggets in batches to avoid overcrowding.

Serve the air-fried chicken nuggets with your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!

Homemade chicken nuggets on a wire rack.

Healthy Homemade Chicken Nuggets Recipe Notes

Ground Chicken: Use paper towels to dab off any excess moisture from the ground chicken before adding it to the mixture.

Seasonings: Feel free to adjust the seasonings to suit your taste. Add more or less garlic powder, Italian seasoning, or salt according to your preference.

Breading: Assign one hand as your dry dipping hand for dipping the nuggets in the flour and bread crumbs. Then use the other hand for dipping in the egg wash to keep your fingers from getting too messy.

Baking: To ensure even cooking, flip the nuggets halfway through baking and brush butter on the second side.

Healthy Chicken Nugget Serving Suggestions

Some delicious dips you can enjoy with your chicken nuggets include my healthy ranch dressing, greek yogurt tartar sauce, ketchup, hot mustard, bbq sauce, buffalo sauce, and honey mustard.

Refrigeration: Store any leftover nuggets in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Freezing: To freeze the nuggets, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer the nuggets to a freezer-safe container or bag. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Reheating: Reheat the refrigerated or frozen nuggets in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) until heated through, about 10-15 minutes for refrigerated nuggets and 15-20 minutes for frozen nuggets. Alternatively, you can reheat them in an air fryer for a crispy texture.

Crispiness: To help retain their crispiness when reheating, place the nuggets on a wire rack set over a baking sheet instead of directly on a baking sheet. This allows air to circulate around the nuggets, preventing them from becoming soggy.

How do you get the breading to stick to the chicken with homemade ground chicken nuggets?
First we dredge the chicken in tapioca flour. This creates a base for the wet ingredients to stick to. Then, we dip them in an egg wash. The egg acts as a glue to hold the breadcrumbs. Finally, we press the chicken firmly into breadcrumbs and then lightly baste with butter.

Can I use ground turkey instead of ground chicken in homemade nuggets?
Yes, ground turkey can be used as a substitute for ground chicken in this recipe.

Can I use a different type of flour for coating the nuggets?
Yes, you can use almond flour, cornstarch, or regular flour instead of tapioca flour for coating the nuggets.

Can I use this recipe for gluten-free chicken nuggets?
Yes, you can use gluten-free breadcrumbs or almond flour for the coating to make the nuggets gluten-free.

Can I make these nuggets ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare the nuggets ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator until ready to bake. You can also freeze the unbaked nuggets and bake them straight from the freezer, adding a few extra minutes to the baking time.

Can I omit the butter for a healthier option?
Yes, you can omit the butter or use a light spray of cooking oil to reduce the fat content.

Can I use this recipe for dairy-free chicken nuggets?
Yes, you can use a dairy-free milk alternative and omit the parmesan cheese or use a dairy-free parmesan cheese substitute.

Can I add other seasonings or spices to the chicken mixture?
Yes, feel free to customize the seasonings to your liking. You can add smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, or any other spices you enjoy.

Homemade chicken nuggets with dipping sauce.

Best-Tasting Healthy Homemade Ground Chicken Nuggets

Gluten-Free diet-friendly recipe
The best-tasting, Healthy Homemade Ground Chicken Nuggets are made with regular or gluten-free bread crumbs or almond flour, egg, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder. These better-than-fast-food chicken nuggets are lightly brushed with butter and baked, NOT deep-fried, in less than 20 minutes.
5 from 13 votes
Servings 6
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs (or almond flour)
  • 3 tablespoons milk (any kind)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • dash black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup butter

Breading:

  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    In a mixing bowl, combine bread crumbs (or almond flour)and milk and stir until well coated. Then add the garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, onion powder, and black pepper and mix well until combined. Then add in 1 pound of ground chicken and mix it all together with your hands just until all the ingredients are blended.
  • Set up a breading station with three bowls: one with tapioca flour, one with the beaten egg, and one with a mixture of bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, and salt. Using a spoon, medium-sized cookie scoop or small ice cream scoop, scoop out a ball of soft chicken mix and drop it into the
    tapioca flour mixture, then the egg wash, and finally the bread crumb mixture, ensuring each nugget is evenly coated. Press the whole nugget into an oval shape while it's in the bread crumbs, shake off excess batter, and then place the coated nuggets on the prepared baking sheet.
    Melt the butter and brush it over the nuggets.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, flip over the nuggets, and brush the tops with melted butter. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 8 minutes or until the nuggets are cooked through and a golden color.
    Allow them to cool and serve the chicken nuggets with your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!
  • AIR FRYER INSTRUCTIONS:
  • Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C) for about 3-5 minutes.
    Place the coated nuggets in a single layer in the air fryer basket, making sure they are not touching or overcrowded.
    Cook the nuggets in the air fryer for about 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time, or until they are golden brown and cooked through.
    Depending on the size and model of your air fryer, you may need to cook the nuggets in batches to avoid overcrowding.
    Serve the air-fried chicken nuggets with your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!

Video

YouTube video

Notes

Ground Chicken: Use paper towels to dab off any excess moisture from the ground chicken before adding it to the mixture.
Seasonings: Feel free to adjust the seasonings to suit your taste. Add more or less garlic powder, Italian seasoning, or salt according to your preference.
Breading: Assign one hand as your dry dipping hand for dipping the nuggets in the flour and bread crumbs. Then use the other hand for dipping in the egg wash to keep your fingers from getting too messy.
Baking: To ensure even cooking, flip the nuggets halfway through baking and brush butter on the second side.

Nutrition

Calories: 266kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 17gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 115mgSodium: 1030mgPotassium: 462mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 490IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 103mgIron: 2mg
Keyword chicken nuggets, gluten-free breadcrumbs, healthy, homemade, oven baked, parmesan cheese
Did you make this recipe?Please let me know in the comments below how it turned out 🙂

13 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    My husband made your chicken nugget recipe, and it tasted amazingly delicious!
    We loved the seasoning! He will definitely make it again!

  2. 5 stars
    It turned out delicious. My son is a professional chicken nugget eater and very picky. He absolutely loves this recipe so we have a new favorite entree. Thank you so much for this healthy version of nuggets. Keep the yummies coming chef!!

    1. Hi Angela, thank you so much for sharing this with me and reviewing my recipe. Your son has great taste 🙂 I will do my best to keep sharing clean, healthy recipes!

  3. 5 stars
    I have said goodbye to store bought chicken nuggets because these are a hit! So much more flavor and so much less junk. highly recommend!!

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