Chick-fil-A Nuggets (Copycat)

Chick-fil-A Nuggets made with chicken breast meat and no pickle juice are an spot on copycat of the original nuggets without the hefty price tag!

Chick-fil-A Nuggets made with chicken breast meat and no pickle juice are an spot on copycat of the original nuggets without the hefty price tag!
Chick-fil-A Nuggets with Sauce

Chick-fil-A Nuggets are a sore subject in our house because we are evenly divided between these nuggets and KFC popcorn chicken. As a mom, when we’re out and about to stop in a fast food option I tend to go with Chick-fil-A or In-n-Out just for small wins that make me feel like at least they seem freshest.

Chick-fil-A has become our non-burger favorite spot. It also helps that they make the best lemonade of all time (recipe coming soon). One of my only frustrations with them is the lines and the cost. Anytime we go there is a giant line in the drive-thru and with little kids in the car my patience is usually shorter than the wait.

We LOVE these Chick-fil-A nuggets and they're so easy to make!So when we buy these chicken nuggets I also drive through to get popcorn chicken to avoid hearing about the “I don’t like sweet nuggets” from the peanut gallery. Yes, Chick-fil-A nuggets have a hint of sweetness in them (recreated here with powdered sugar), I personally like them but given my options I would probably choose a less sweetened version of chicken nuggets.

Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets with dipping sauce.

Looking for more Copycat recipes? I have a TON of them on the blog! Here is a whole Index of Copycat Recipes.

The best and easiest copycat for Chick-fil-A Nuggets.

Tools Used in the making of these Chick-fil-A Nuggets:
Lodge Cast Dutch Oven: – I use this dutch oven for a lot of frying and braising.
Pig Tail Flipper: – I use this *almost* more than I use tongs in the kitchen. Flipping is so quick and doesn’t smash foods.
Spider Strainer: Love these strainers for quickly draining oil away and scooping out fried food.
Breadcrumbs: Great plain breadcrumbs, I normally use panko, but for this recipe I recommend these.
Breading Station: I use this because the pans are wide with a flat bottom. If you have small rectangular plates use those, I wouldn’t use curved bowls for breading stations as it could knock some breading off.

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Chick-fil-A Nuggets (Copycat)

Chick-fil-A Nuggets made with chicken breast meat and no pickle juice are an spot on copycat of the original nuggets without the hefty price tag!
Yield 4 servings
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 pound chicken breasts cut into 1" chunks
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 inches of peanut oil

Instructions

  • In a food processor, add the breadcrumbs and process until very fine.
  • In a large ziplock bag or a bowl add the chicken pieces, the milk and the eggs and combine. (I usually just close the bag and squish it together)
  • Put the chicken in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.
  • In a large dutch oven fill it 3 inches deep with peanut oil and heat to 365-375 degrees (medium high heat until a piece dropped in immediately bubbles up but doesn’t burn quickly).
  • Put the breadcrumbs, flour, powdered sugar, Kosher salt, white pepper, chili powder in a bowl and whisk together.
  • Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture and let dry for a few minutes.
  • Fry in batches (avoid crowding them) until golden brown (2-3 minutes) and remove to a sheet pan.
  • Don’t drain on paper towels, it’ll create steam and soften the nuggets.

Nutrition

Calories: 379kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 160mg | Sodium: 1502mg | Potassium: 595mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 290IU | Vitamin C: 1.3mg | Calcium: 128mg | Iron: 2.9mg
Keyword: Chick Fil A Nuggets (Copycat)
Chick-fil-A Nuggets made with chicken breast meat and no pickle juice are an spot on copycat of the original nuggets without the hefty price tag!
Chick-fil-A Nuggets made with chicken breast meat and no pickle juice are an spot on copycat of the original nuggets without the hefty price tag!
Chick-fil-A Nuggets made with chicken breast meat and no pickle juice are an spot on copycat of the original nuggets without the hefty price tag!
Chick-fil-A Nuggets made with chicken breast meat and no pickle juice are an spot on copycat of the original nuggets without the hefty price tag!

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Comments

  1. Hi, I followed the recipe and my nuggets came out bland. I sprinkled salt at the end and it did bring out some flavor. It did not taste anything like Chick Fil A. The nuggets lacked those crumb parts that you find on the Chick Fil A nuggets. I may just process half of the crumbs. Was I supposed to double dredge? Season the egg wash? I’ll try this recipe again, but my way. I think I have to double the salt, pepper, chili powder, maybe add some MSG to give it that umami flavor. Also, season the chicken and the milk. Thank you for inspiring me to make the nuggets, my first time ever making nuggets at home.

    1. Thank you for trying this recipe. I’m sorry they didn’t turn out so well but I’m glad you have the inspiration to keep cooking.

  2. So the nuggets were good! I did soak mine in pickle juice and yeah i didnt really notice any thing different about it.
    I would really emphasize setting them *dry out* after putting the breading on cuz my second batch turned out way better than my first.
    I guess the one thing was that i spent about 18$ on ingredients and it took almost an hour and a half to make. And thats not the recipe makers fault hahah thats just how it is. At least this is an alternative to supporting homophobes!

  3. These are AMAZING. My family actually liked them better than Chick-Fil-A! The only subs were vegetable oil instead of peanut oil and finely ground black pepper instead of white pepper. My twelve year old sister is super picky and she loved them. Definitely a new menu staple. Thank you so much Sabrina!!!

  4. Love this recipe, use it all the time. Question: can you bread the nuggets a couple of hours in advance or would they lose texture that way?

    Thanks,
    N

  5. So delicious. My very picky 8 year old stuffed himself! I have a terrible habit of not measuring with recipes like these and next time I’m going to follow the proportions to a T. They were so close to chick fil a, i dont know if I could have told the difference in a taste test. Definitely a keeper.

  6. Amazing! My boyfriend ate them all and I had to make more! He even said they were BETTER than the real thing! 10/10

  7. My family of eight loved these nuggets! We decided they need a bit more sugar, but otherwise they are such a win for us. Will definitely be making again. Thanks so much

  8. Tried other copycat recipes and this is the one that tastes nearly identical (and better because it’s SO fresh!) The only change I made was using spicy breadcrumbs that we already had on hand and omitted the chili powder.

  9. I would have given 5 stars except for two issues…

    First off the whole point of making things at home is to make a healthier version of an unhealthy favorite. That being said, why would you add sugar? There is no need to add the sugar and they still taste great. Secondly by Air Frying them instead of pan frying them in fatty oil makes them so much better for you and they still come out crispy and delicious.

    1. Hi Monica, we make this at home to cut the cost, no where in the blog do we state its to make it a healthy version. We add the sugar because Chick Fil A nuggets are a bit sweeter than the average nuggets. Air frying does sound delicious though!

    2. These nuggets were amazing. Where does this recipe claim to be healthier? You must be SUCH a FUN mom!!

    3. usually copycat recipes are not an alternative because your trying to make a healthy recipe, its just so you can save some money and make an identical version of it at home. Chick fil a nuggets arent really healthy so the copycat recipe wouldnt be either.

  10. At what temperature should I bake the nuggets at and for how long, if reheating after freezing, or refrigeration?

  11. Can I use Vegtable oil instead of peanut oil? Will it still taste the same? What would the nutrition facts be with vegetable oil instead and only 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar.

    1. Chick fil a uses peanut oil, there is a slight flavor to it. You can sub vegetable oil, but that’s flavorless, so just realize it won’t be 100% spot on.

  12. Just made this for dinner since their sauce is now available in the store. Was skeptical, but this is both the texture and flavor. Did add salt at the end after frying. Also a whole chicken breast gives you 24 nuggets or more. Thank you!

  13. It was amazing since we live in the mountains and nearest restaurant is 40 miles. Just like eating there. Love it.

  14. Maybe our chick filets’ are different here but although the look was good, these tasted nothing like the nuggets I’ve had. Back to the drawing boards

  15. Our nearest Chik-Fil-A is 45 minutes away in a town we have no other reason to visit often. I have tried so many recipes (pickle juice, etc) and it just never quite got it right. I was very skeptical but yours was the first I had seen to include bread crumbs. I really think this makes the difference! So good and just like Chik-Fil-A. Thank you so much!

  16. Great recipe! My daughter and grandchildren are here and the are big fans of Chick-Fil-A. They all loved your version. I made it according to the recipe and I will definitely make it again. Thanks for sharing it!

  17. I don’t normally leave reviews but this one deserves it. All the flavor was there, spot on.
    I did modify a few things and cooked them in an air fryer:
    I did let them brine in pickle juice for about 40 min before I started
    I used coconut sugar instead of powder sugar, almond flour instead of flour, and almond milk instead of milk.
    Still all the same taste; perfect amount of sweetness.

    I do prefer to use air fryers but I think for the next time I make this I’ll stick with the peanut oil.
    Thank you!!

  18. Had been craving Chick Fila all week and my daughter told me about looking up recipe. They are extremely delicious! Made the copycat sauce too and it’s also a big hit. Thanks for sharing!

  19. These turn out much better when fried according to directions. This recipe really doesn’t work in the air fryer. SO, with that being said, I fried up a few pounds and then will reheat them in the air fryer. This recipe is pretty spot on, really good! I will be making these again, and again, and again! Thanks!

  20. Loveee this recipe! Has anyone tried to freeze some for a quick make? Would be awesome to be able to just pop some in the oven!

    1. That would work. I’d suggest flash freezing them on a cookie sheet and then moving them to a storage bag so you can easily pull out the amount you’d like. Someone else suggested reheating in an air fryer and that might help to crisp them back up. Good luck!

  21. For sure the right look and texture. Flavor is definitely off from Chick-fil-a. What is missing? Has anyone figured it out?

    1. Maybe it is missing the pickle juice flavor, the original recipe or other copycats use pickle juice to marinate the chicken before coating and frying.

  22. YES!!! Honestly, sooo close to the real thing. Finally I can enjoy the pleasure of Chickfila while knowing the chicken is organic and free range!!

    To top it off, we bought Chickfila sauce from Chick-fil-A and dip ours in there.

  23. Do you think you could make a bunch, breaded and all, and freeze them? Just wondering if you think that would work!

    1. I’d fry them up before freezing. I’d suggest flash freezing them and placing them into an airtight storage bag or container so you can pull out however many you’d like to use each time.

  24. These are delicious, and so very close to the real thing!! The texture and taste of the breading is closer than any other recipes out there – trust me. You have to follow the instructions to a T (Peanut Oil & have a thermometer!!!), or else they’re not going to be the same. I made a couple tweaks to make them absolutely addicting. 1. Added a teaspoon of onion powder 2. Double breaded for that extra crispy exterior. Thank you so much! Nearest Chik Fil A is 2.5 hours away, so this recipe is a life-saver.

  25. This worked great! I didn’t have pickle juice, so I used olive juice instead (basically the same, right? Nope, haha. They came out a little bit too salty. Still good though, so it would work in a pinch, but I’d use less next time.)

    Make sure to use the right temperature on these too. The first batch we made came out not quite as crispy as they could have been because the temperature wasn’t quite high enough. If yours come out like–crispy, but only sort of crispy–turn up the heat and try again.

    Pro tip to go along with this: Chick-fil-A sells their sauce in 8oz containers, so if you want to skip some steps and buy it straight from Chick-fil-A instead, they make it pretty easy.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  26. These are Legit!! My daughter the nugget Queen loved them. Ate 20 in one sitting. So they pass as real chic fil a! I’m saving this one!!

      1. I made it exactly as written They are good, but it’s lacking the zing flavor. Not sure what, perhaps more chili powder, some black pepper or paprika? Will try again.

    1. I just tried making these in the air fryer, and while they taste decent enough, and aren’t bad, I think that I will fry them according to directions next time for that “true” chick -fil-a experience.

    1. I worked at Chick-fil-A and used to prepare the raw chicken, and I can tell you with certainty that no, the chicken is NOT brined in pickle juice.

  27. Really liked the nuggets, I added some kosmos Q garlic Parmesan wing dust to the batter to add some flavor, if you’ve never tried it I highly recommend checking it out.

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