Easy homemade chicken nuggets from scratch is made with chicken breast and coated in a layer of panko breadcrumbs. They are perfectly golden and crisp on the outside, and juicy and tender inside. They are freezer-friendly too so double the batch and store any extras in the freezer for another day. This one is a crowd pleaser especially for the youngest mouths (super kid-friendly).
What is in Homemade Chicken Nuggets?
- chicken breasts - you will need 2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts, about 1 lb. each.
- Italian seasoning - I use Italian seasoning on so many recipes because it's so versatile and contains a great blend of dried herbs and spices, including oregano, parsley, basil and thyme. To use dried herbs instead, add 1 teaspoon each of dried oregano, dried basil, and dried parsley.
- garlic powder - I used garlic powder to makes things easier and because it doesn't add any texture, which I like. You can used minced garlic instead if you so prefer.
- salt and pepper
- panko breadcrumbs - for coating the chicken nuggets.
- egg (optional) - this will create an even thicker coating.
- vegetable oil - only if deep frying. You can also bake or air fry the nuggets instead.
- cooking oil spray - helps the nuggets achieve a crispy and golden crust if baking or air frying.
How to Make the Best Homemade Chicken Nuggets (Three Ways)
- Prepare the chicken. Cut chicken breasts into cubes and put in a food processor. Pulse on and off for a minute to get a thick consistency with small chunks, but not ground meat texture. Add Italian seasoning, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.
- Shape the nuggets. Apply some water to your hands to prevent sticking and shape the chicken nuggets by hand into a rounded ⅕-inch long square or rectangle.
- Coat the nuggets. Coat the nuggets with breadcrumbs. You may need a bit more or less panko breadcrumbs depending on the size of the nuggets. For a thicker coating, dip in beaten egg first and then in the breadcrumbs.
- Freeze the nuggets. Place nuggets on a baking tray and leave in the freezer for at least 1 hour.
- Cook the nuggets. Cook the nuggets by deep frying, baking or in the air fryer.
How to Deep-Fry Chicken Nuggets
Preheat oil in a small cooking pot and deep fry the nuggets for about 8 minutes until golden, or until the internal temperature reaches 165F. The nuggets should be just submerged in oil. Turn the nuggets over occasionally to get an even golden crust on both sides. Transfer the nuggets onto a plate with a strainer and let cool for 3-5 minutes before serving.
How to Bake Chicken Nuggets
For a healthier option, bake the chicken nuggets (just like our baked crispy chicken tenders). To bake, place nuggets on a parchment-lined baking tray. Lightly spray the nuggets with cooking oil spray to achieve a crispy and golden crust. Bake at 375˚F for 15 minutes, turning them over halfway through.
How to Air Fry Chicken Nuggets
You can easily bake these nuggets in the air fryer as well (just like our air fryer breaded fried chicken wings). To air fry, lightly spray the nuggets with cooking oil spray and place 9 to 10 nuggets at a time in the air fryer basket. Cook at 350 F for 12 minutes. For extra crispy nuggets, cook for 3 more minutes. Shake the air fryer basket halfway through cooking.
Tips for Making Homemade Nuggets
- How to serve. Serve these nuggets with a side of BBQ sauce, homemade honey mustard, or ketchup.
- Double the recipe. This recipe makes about 24 chicken nuggets (1.5-inches in length). They are super easy to eat so you may consider making a double or triple batch. Just stick the extras in the freezer and cook as desired.
- How to store chicken nuggets. Place the frozen nuggets into an airtight container or freezer ziploc bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can cook directly from frozen with this recipe.
More Easy Bites
- Baked Mozzarella Sticks
- Honey Garlic Chicken Wings
- Baked Sweet Potato Wedges with Homemade Honey Mustard
- How to Bake Turkey Meatballs
- Baked Tuna "Crab" Cakes
Did you make this recipe? I would greatly appreciate a comment and rating below, letting me know what you thought of the recipe. You can also snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @aheadofthyme or share it on the Pinterest pin so that I can follow along.