Easy homemade chicken nuggets with chicken breast are golden and crisp on the outside and juicy and tender inside. They're freezer-friendly so make extra.
- 3 large chicken breasts, boneless and skinless (about 1 lb.)
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 + 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 egg, beaten (optional)
- 1 + 1/2 cup vegetable oil (only if deep frying)
- cooking oil spray (if baking or air frying)
- 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.
- Apply some water to your hands to prevent sticking and shape the chicken nuggets by hand into a rounded 1/5-inch long square or rectangle.
- 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.
- Place nuggets on a baking tray and leave in the freezer for at least 1 hour.
- Cook the nuggets by deep frying, baking or in the air fryer.
- To deep fry the 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.
- To bake the nuggets: Transfer nuggets to 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.
- To air fry the nuggets: 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.
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.
- Category: Chicken
- Method: Air Fryer
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: chicken nuggets, chicken tenders, chicken bites, chicken breast nuggets, homemade chicken nuggets