This easy recipe for Homemade Chicken Nuggets are baked in the oven with olive oil for a healthy alternative to your favorite fast food! They’re coated in a delicious breadcrumb and parmesan mixture for a perfectly crispy coating that sticks to the nuggets, perfect for dunking in your favorite dipping sauce.
I’ve been wanting to make homemade chicken nuggets for a while, and I can’t believe I put it off for so long.
Even though I try to avoid picking up Chick-fil-A nuggets, IT HAPPENS SOMETIMES, ok?
But now that I know I can make equally delicious – but healthier – chicken nuggets at home? With a homemade honey mustard sauce to boot? I’m definitely not going to be as tempted to go there anymore!
These nuggets are made of cut up chicken breast meat, coated in a mixture of olive oil, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. You can add other spices to the mix if you want. And because the chicken is cut into such small pieces, it only takes about 12 minutes to bake!
You’re going to love this easy kid-friendly dinner idea that’s delicious whether you’re 2 or 92. I mean, who doesn’t love a good chicken nugget?
How to make homemade chicken nuggets
These healthy chicken nuggets are baked in the oven for a quick and easy, mess-free meal! Here’s how.
- First, cut some chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces, about 1-inch in size. Place them in a bowl and coat them in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Mix up the coating: stir some breadcrumbs, grated parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl until everything is really well coated in the oil.
- Then, coat each piece of chicken really well in the coating.
- Bake on a rimmed baking sheet (no need to line it or grease it!) for 8 minutes on one side, 5 on the other.
You may need more or less time depending on how hot your oven runs. Checking the internal temperature to make sure it’s 165 degrees F is a good way to make sure they’re cooked. I usually like to just slice one in half to make sure there is no pink inside.
How to make the coating stick
It can be frustrating when the coating doesn’t stick on homemade chicken nuggets or chicken tenders. Here are some tips and tricks to helping it stick on.
- Pat the chicken dry as best you can before drizzling it with olive oil. I like to do this before cutting into the breasts with a couple of paper towels.
- Really SQUEEZE the coating onto each nugget. I literally put the nugget in the center of my hand and made a fist to make sure all the coating really stuck well onto each piece.
- Use a thin metal spatula to flip them, which will help scrape them off the bottom of the baking sheet in a way that doesn’t disturb the coating. Here’s my favorite metal spatula. Note: don’t use this if you are using a nonstick baking sheet- you won’t have an issue flipping them if you are using nonstick. I used an aluminum rimmed baking sheet.
Can you freeze them?
YES! Make a bunch of these healthy baked chicken nuggets in bulk and stash in your freezer for an easy dinner or lunch option.
Cook them as directed. Flash freeze the chicken nuggets by placing them on a baking sheet in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Freezing them this way will prevent them from sticking together in the freezer.
Once they’re flash frozen, and store them in an airtight bag, squeezing as much air out as possible. You can keep them in the freezer for about 2 months.
Then, when you are ready to bake, place the frozen nuggets on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until fully heated up, flipping once halfway through.
Ingredient Substitutions and Variations
- For a dairy free version, omit the parmesan cheese and use 2 tablespoons more breadcrumbs. If you do this, add more salt as well to make up for the lack of salty cheese.
- For a gluten-free version, use gluten-free breadcrumbs.
- For a low-carb version, use crumbled up pork rinds instead of breadcrumbs.
- Add some other spices to the breadcrumb mixture, such as Italian seasoning, oregano, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, paprika… get creative!
- Romano or Asagio or another hard, aged cheese may be used in place of the parmesan cheese.
- Melted butter or another oil may be used instead of the extra-virgin olive oil.
- Chicken thighs may be substituted for chicken breasts.
What kind of sauce to dip them in
I’m a big fan of honey mustard sauce for dipping chicken nuggets. You can make your own by mixing 1/4 cup mayo, 2 tablespoons mustard, 2 tablespoons honey, and 1/2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar!
Or make a really easy one by just mixing equal parts honey and mustard.
Or, serve them as an appetizer with marinara sauce for dipping!
Other easy chicken breast recipes
- Homemade Oven-Fried Chicken Tenders
- Poached chicken breasts
- Honey soy chicken breasts
- Classic Chicken Piccatta
- Honey Mustard Chicken
Browse all my quick and easy dinner recipes here.
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Homemade Baked Chicken Nuggets
- 1 lb. chicken breasts (about 2 large breasts)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 1/3 cup breadcrumbs (preferably whole wheat, unseasoned, see notes)
- 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- spices such as Italian seasoning, dried oregano or thyme, paprika, garlic powder, cayenne, etc. optional
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Cut the chicken into 1- 1.5 inch bite-sized pieces. Place in a bowl and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and coat evenly using a spoon.
- Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, breadcrumbs (1/3 cup), grated parmesan (2 tablespoons), kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon), black pepper (1/4 teaspoon), and any other seasonings you are using in a bowl until everything is well-coated in the oil.
- Coat each piece of chicken evenly in the breadcrumb mixture, getting it as thick as possible and pressing it into the chicken so it sticks. Place on an ungreased rimmed baking sheet.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes at 425 degrees F. Flip and bake for another 4-5 minutes, or until completely cooked through to 165 degrees F.
- Serve with your favorite dipping sauce, such as ketchup, honey mustard, BBQ sauce, or marinara sauce.
- Ingredient substitutions:
- Melted butter or another oil may be substituted for the olive oil.
- The parmesan cheese may be substituted with 2 tbsp. more breadcrumbs for a dairy free version. Add more salt if you omit it.
- Romano or asagio can be substituted for the parmesan
- Pork rinds can be used for a low-carb version of breadcrumbs.
- Chicken thighs may be substituted for breasts.
- Use gluten-free breadcrumbs for a GF version.
- If using seasoned breadcrumbs, omit the salt and pepper, if the breadcrumbs already have them included.
- Make your own easy honey mustard dipping sauce by mixing 1/4 cup mayo, 2 tablespoons mustard, 2 tablespoons honey, and 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar.
- Freeze cooked chicken nuggets by flash freezing first on a baking sheet for 30 minutes, then transferring the flash frozen nuggets to an airtight bag for two months. Bake frozen nuggets on a baking sheet for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, flipping once halfway through.
- Two small bowls