I used to have a deal with my wife, Betsy, that if she ever had a craving for a certain fast food restaurant, I’d reproduce whatever dish she was craving. Nine times out of ten, that meant I was making chicken nuggets or french fries.

Over the years, I found the best way to make fried chicken nuggets is to use shredded chicken meat with just a few other ingredients. The breading is the key part to this recipe. It’s light and super-crispy. I serve these guys with a honey-mustard sauce.

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

Nuggets

  • 12 ounces (3 cups) shredded chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup chicken stock or milk
  • Salt and pepper

Breading

  • 1 cup buttermilk or milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 quart canola or vegetable oil for frying

Method

  1. Chop your shredded chicken until it’s in small pieces. Try to make it an even consistency, but don’t worry about it if there are some bigger pieces. Also, buck the trend and use white and dark meat. It’ll result in a moister nugget.
  2. Combine chopped chicken with egg, flour, and chicken stock or milk to provide some moisture for the filling. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and stir well to combine.
  3. Mix buttermilk (or milk) and egg together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix flour together with paprika, baking soda, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. Form balls of chicken filling about two tablespoons in size (a bit smaller than a golf ball). The filling should stick together loosely, but if it doesn’t, add a few tablespoons of flour to your chicken filling until it sticks together and holds a ball shape.
  5. Dip each nugget in flour mixture, then buttermilk, then again in flour, and set aside on a baking dish. Prepare all the nuggets before you start frying.
  6. Heat frying oil to 350°F in a deep pan or skillet and fry nuggets until they are a nice golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Work in batches and don’t crowd the pan.
  7. Remove the nuggets to a plate lined with a paper towel and sprinkle immediately with a pinch of salt.
  8. You can keep the nuggets warm in a 250°F oven on a baking sheet (no paper towel in the oven) while you fry the others.
  9. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. I like a honey-mustard sauce that’s two parts Dijon mustard and one part honey.

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