Betsy used to have a serious McDonald’s addiction. I find most things at McDonald’s to be pretty horrible. So it’s been my goal over the last decade to bring her back from the dark side. This Baked Chicken Nuggets recipe is my best effort to easily improve on the fast food version without busting out the deep fryer!
My loving wife really only ever orders two things from there so it means that I make a lot of fries (or she’ll allow a tater tot substitution) and nuggets. The girl loves her nuggets. Luckily Betsy is far from picky so I get the chance to play around with how I make them. If I fry them, I call them NickNuggets because they taste the same (but better) as the McDonald’s variety.
This time though, I decided to make these baked chicken nuggets. Worked like a charm thanks to a simple Parmesan breading!
I made these for our kiddos recently and they were absolutely demolished!
- This recipe was updated March 19, 2019 to add images and improve directions.
Baked Chicken Nuggets
- 1 ½ pounds boneless chicken thighs, cut into, well, nuggets
- ½ Cup all-purpose flour
- 1 Cup breadcrumbs
- 1 Tablespoon dried basil
- 1 Cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- A good pinch of salt, pepper, and any kind of Italian seasoning you want to use.
- 3 Eggs, whisked
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (optional I guess)
- Grate Parmesan and mix with breadcrumbs, dried basil, and a big pinch of salt and pepper.
- Whisk eggs with milk to form an egg wash.
- Trim off fat from chicken and cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
- Toss chicken in flour to dust it and dry it out. Then dredge each piece in the egg mixture and finally the breading mixture. Make sure to really press on the breading so it sticks well.
- Lay all the nuggets in a baking dish and drizzle melted butter over the nuggets.
- Bake these at 425 degrees F. for about 25 minutes, turning them halfway through.
- Serve finished nuggets with ketchup, honey mustard, or BBQ sauce.
Did you make this recipe?
Making the Parmesan Breading
I decided to use basil for this variety because I had some laying around the house, but you could sub out parsley if you wanted to make these more like chicken parmesan in nugget form.
Add the basil, grate the Parmesan, and mix everything in with the breadcrumbs. The Parmesan is very important. Use good parmesan and pile it high. It forms a great crust after baking.
You’ll also want to set up your egg wash which is just a few eggs whisked together with either water or milk.
Prepping the Chicken Nuggets
You can use either boneless skinless breasts or thighs for this. My personal preference is thighs, but I used breasts on this particular day. Regardless of what you use, try to trim off as much fat as possible and cut your chicken into bite-sized bits.
Once all your chicken is chopped up, toss the nuggets with a light dusting of flour just to dry out it out a bit so everything else sticks to it.
Next, dredge each nugget (or you can do a handful at a time) into the egg mixture and then into the breading mixture. Be sure to really press the breading mixture into the nuggets so it sticks nicely.
Making the Baked Chicken Nuggets
Once your chicken nuggets are breaded, layout all the nuggets in a baking dish. You can pack the nuggets pretty close, but just try not to have any that are overlapping. I like to brush mine with a little melted butter before baking, but that’s optional.
Whether or not you do the butter drizzle, bake these for about 10-12 minutes and then take them out and give them a turn. This just makes sure that they are browning and cooking evenly.
Another ten minutes or so in the oven and you’ll have some deliciously crunchy nuggets. They may not be as perfectly uniform as the fast food version, but that’s kind of weird anyway.
Be sure to test one by cutting into it to make sure that the juices run clear and the chicken is cooked all the way through before serving them. You could serve these with any kind of mustard or ketchup. Strangely, I hate ketchup and Betsy hates mustard. So we normally have to have both with meals like this. We both like honey though so that makes an appearance sometimes also.
These baked chicken nuggets are really easy to make and I’d put them up against the Big M variety any day of the week.
Someday, when I have children, they will think that this is fast food. It’ll be a good time. (UPDATE: Can confirm. Kids like these.)