Chick-fil-A Nuggets (Copycat)

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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.

Recipe

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Chick-fil-A Nuggets (Copycat)

4.98 from 38 votes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Course: Main Course
  • Cuisine: American
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder
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!

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

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. In a food processor, add the breadcrumbs and process until very fine.
  2. 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)
  3. Put the chicken in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.

  4. 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).
  5. Put the breadcrumbs, flour, powdered sugar, Kosher salt, white pepper, chili powder in a bowl and whisk together.
  6. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture and let dry for a few minutes.
  7. Fry in batches (avoid crowding them) until golden brown (2-3 minutes) and remove to a sheet pan.

  8. Don’t drain on paper towels, it’ll create steam and soften the nuggets.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 4 servings, Amount per serving: 379 calories, Calories: 379g, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 33g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 160mg, Sodium: 1502mg, Potassium: 595mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 290g, Vitamin C: 1.3g, Calcium: 128g, Iron: 2.9g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keyword: Chick Fil A Nuggets (Copycat)
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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!

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Comments

  1. I made this recipe tonight. OMG! So delicious! I wouldn’t change a thing. I served it with sweet potato fries and mixed up some honey and mustard for dipping.

  2. I got chick-fil-a a couple days before and had some extra Polynesian sitting in the fridge so I decided to make this.I ran down to the store down the street grabbed some chicken and potatoes (to make potatoes wedges).This recipe was super easy and simple to make.i hate making chicken because it always ends up raw in the middle but these came out moist,crunchy and deliciousss.when dipping these in my sauce I couldn’t tell the difference between these and the real thing.i’ll be making these again

    1. I’ve made these in the air fryer before! I just did the coating the same as listed in the recipe and then spritzed the air fryer with some oil, filled the bottom of the air fryer with some of the nuggets, and shook them around a bit so the oil got on them a little. Then, just check them periodically and spritz with more oil if they look too floury! They turned out great!

  3. Have you tried doing this with whole chicken breasts to make the chicken sandwich? Do you think it would turn out okay?

  4. Should I use nonfat milk, since that is the type in the ingredient list from Chick-fil-a? I’m really excited about trying this recipe. Thank you!

  5. My daughter found this recipe online and was excited for me to make it. I just finished making this recipe and it came out fantastic! My family and I agree that this is pretty darn close to the real thing, and will be making this on a regular! Thank you for such an awesome recipe!

  6. This is a great basic recipe that really inspired me! On my second try I cut the bread crumbs and flour down to 1/2 cup each and I didn’t process the crumbs. I think it’s a little closer! I also cut back to one egg and half the milk and it was plenty. Just make sure you put it in a container where all the chicken is covered.

  7. This recipe was great. Wondered if without the pickle juice, the strips wouldn’t be as tender. They were so good. Doubled the spices and made copycat canes sauce. My new go to….

  8. I have made this recipe many times now. I make a double batch of the dipping sauce, my husband loves it. One shortcut, is powdered buttermilk, I can make the chicken marinade any time I have a craving. I use the liquid smoke hint, as recommended in the sauce recipe dialogue, and I used my spice grinder to process the panko bread crumbs, as recommended for the chicken dredge. I keep my panko in the freezer just for this recipe. The only thing I add is a slight sprinkling or dusting of Knorr Aromat seasoning on the chicken nuggets after they are fried. The Aromat adds an umami touch to the finished chicken. This is a really easy and tasty copycat recipe.
    We use the leftover chicken on a salad too. Yummy cold.

    1. You can make a bigger batch and just take from there but once the chicken touches the mixture, you want to toss whatever you don’t use because you’ve got a contamination risk.

  9. We live in Taiwan and my husband was wanting an American-style meal. I made this for Father’s Day. I made A LOT of chicken, so we invited some South African friends over, too. Everyone raved about the chicken. My own children kept saying it was like Chick-fil-A, and our friends were asking what is Chick-fil-A, haha! I had to make my own panko, but I found a how-to online, too. Everything worked out wonderfully. I am so pleased to have found this recipe and I love how it’s worded. Easy to follow! Thanks, Sabrina! You’re the best!

  10. Not sure what I did wrong. I followed the recipe exactly and did not taste great at all. No flavor whatsoever. Really disappointing =(

  11. I looked around and saw a number of different recipes which seemed really complicated. Saw this one and it seemed so simple, so I gave it a try. First time I did it with Panko pulsed, but they were too crunchy and oil was to hot. Second time used the bread crumbs you suggested and they were awesome. Powdered sugar works so well, I added some Ancho chile powder to the breading.

    I asked my 9 year old daughter if they tasted like chix fil-a and she said”…yes, but better!”

  12. I can’t say these taste like Chik-Fil-A nuggets, but this is a solid recipe, and my family actually liked this recipe better than the real thing! The one thing I love is that they aren’t too salty, which is one of my issues with Chik-Fil-A nuggets. Paired with the knockoff Chik-Fli-A sauce, this is definitely a make again!

  13. What kinda breadcrumbs I use !? Should I make my own with wheat bread !? Or which one you recommend !?
    I am adding my ingredients to make this. My kids and my toddler 1 year old. Loveeee chick fil a chicken nuggets !
    For feedback ! I will love to see a video in how you make this chicken nuggets for clarifications. Thanks

    1. You can store it for up to 6 months and reuse. Just make sure that all the food particles have been filtered out before storing.

  14. Very excited to try this recipe but we don’t have peanut oil, only vegetable/canola. Will it still work? any suggestions?

  15. These were excellent and super easy to make! My husband says they taste exactly like Chick-fil-A, and my picky toddler ate lots of them.

  16. I have a question. It seems like there may be to much egg/milk liquid. Do I drain the extra liquid before putting in the breadcrumbs?

    1. You’ll be removing the chicken from the egg/milk mixture and dredging it into the flour/breadcrumbs mixture before frying. Hope this clears things up. Enjoy!

  17. I keep telling my son I need to find the website I found these nuggets on and send them money and roses. He has an eating disorder called arfid, short for avoidant restrictive food intake. He doesn’t eat much at all and he LOVES these nuggets!!!! I can’t thank you enough! Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!

  18. Sorry. I marinated mine in dill pickle juice because according to my sister and step daughter who both worked at Chick-Fil-A, they do use dill pickle juice.
    Attempted this before on my own and it sucked. With the exception of the pickle juice, I used this recipe and it was AMAZING!! I never thought about the sweetness of the nuggets! That made a huge difference for me in flavor.
    Drenching then in milk, than flour, letting it dry, than egg and bread crumbs made for a wonderfully crispy nugget! Hubby wants me to make them again soon!

    This recipe can be adapted for celiacs. I used gluten free 1 to 1 flour and 4C gluten free Panko bread crumbs that I ground up in the food processor.

    Made too much, but hubs and I are circling the leftovers like sharks on a feeding frenzy four hours later. Lol
    Thank you!

  19. I’m going to make this tomorrow. I looked up the ingredients on the Chick-Fil-A site & did not see pickle juice listed. Did see MSG & soybean oil which is disappointing. Glad to make them homemade without the MSG! My son loves their nuggets. Below is the list of ingredients from the site-

    Chicken (boneless, skinless chicken breast meat nuggets, salt, monosodium glutamate, sugar, spices, paprika, enriched bleached flour [with malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid], sugar, salt, monosodium glutamate, nonfat milk, leavening [baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate], spice, soybean oil, color [paprika], pasteurized nonfat milk, pasteurized egg, fully refined peanut oil [with dimethylpolysiloxane {an anti-foam agent} added])

    1. Hey there! So pickling spices are easily hidden in “sugar, spices” and using a pickle juice at home lets us achieve similar flavors without trying to reinvent the spice blend they’re using. While they don’t use a pre-made pickle juice they do use a lot of ingredients that create this flavor. I have had more people than I can count (many of them kids) swear by the flavor, I hope you try it and like it too!

          1. Can’t wait to try this recipe! As a healthier option, could I do these in an air fryer? Maybe bake and then air fry?

          2. I haven’t tested it this way before. If you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turns out. Thanks!

  20. This recipe was absolutely amazing! My family loved this recipe this is actually the 3 night I’m making it! All 6 of us couldn’t get enough of the chicken!