Chicken nuggets make for a quick and tasty dinner. Can we agree on that? Crunchy on the outside, easy to prepare (from freezer to oven to plate), perfect for dunking in your choice of condiment, be it ketchup, BBQ sauce, ranch or honey mustard.
But I’m going to level with you…the fact that chicken nuggets come in dinosaur shapes creeps me out in a big way. Sandwiches and fruit in cute shapes are one thing, but meat is an entirely different ballgame. What kinds of processing do they have to do to that chicken to get it to assume the form of creatures other than chicken?
I don’t want to know.
I am even less inclined to think about such things while eating said chicken nuggets. And dinner should not be a time to disengage from the food you are consuming, so I thought I’d take a stab at making my own to bypass the questionable processing altogether.
I came across this recipe from Skinny Taste on Pinterest and decided to give it a shot. This recipe calls for coating the chicken pieces in olive oil then dunking them in a mixture of seasoned breadcrumbs and panko breadcrumbs.
At the same time, I figured it would be fun to do a little experiment and compare that recipe to my standard method for breading chicken―dredge in flour, egg mixed with milk, and breadcrumbs.
I had originally intended to show you some cool comparison pictures, but what do you know…there’s not a lot to compare. Rather than play a game of What Is The Difference Between These Pictures?…I’m going to skip to the good part: the verdict.
Standard breading won hands down compared to the new recipe we tried. The underlying layer of flour and egg seemed to hold in the chicken’s moisture a lot better, and it also held on to the breadcrumbs better, which resulted in a more substantial crunchy outside layer.
Phase II of the experiment involved freezing them, then cooking them while frozen. I’m happy to report both recipes held up very well in the freezer. We flash froze the nuggets on trays, then transferred them to big gallon bags to store until we were ready to eat them. The 6 pounds of nuggets we started with were gone within two weeks…which tells me that DIY chicken nuggets are a huge success, and we will be making more in the near future.
DIY Chicken Nuggets Recipe
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.
Prepare 3 bowls for breading:
- One with flour mixed with a bit of salt & pepper
- One bowl with an egg, lightly beaten, mixed with a couple tablespoons of milk
- One bowl with seasoned breadcrumbs (you can use regular breadcrumbs, or a mix of regular and Panko. I used both.)
Dredge the chicken first in the flour bowl, then in the egg/milk bowl, then coat the piece with breadcrumbs. Bake on a lightly greased baking sheet for about 15 minutes or until cooked through.
If freezing, let the chicken nuggets cool completely, then freeze on a tray. Transfer the nuggets to an airtight container or bag after they’re frozen.
To reheat, bake in a preheated 425 degree oven until heated through.