Chicken nuggets. What can we say about them? They’re so simple, so ubiquitous, such a steady component in the diet of American kids. And okay—American kids’ parents. And the choices—they’re abundant! From fast food restaurants to big bulk bags in the freezer section of the grocery store, there are countless chicken nuggets to choose from in this great land of ours. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: The best chicken nuggets are ones you make yourself.
For one thing, you can see exactly what’s goin’ in ‘em.
For another thing, you can make as many as you want. No deciding whether you want the 4, 6, or 10 pack!
For another, they’re completely fresh and delicious.
Let’s make these chicken nuggets, baby! They are seriously the best in the west.
One secret to these chicken nuggets is the size of the chicken pieces: You want them to be small enough to allow the chicken to cook through before the breading gets too dark. So cut the chicken breasts into 1/2 inch strips…
A note: While I love panko breadcrumbs, they tend to burn before the chicken has a chance to cook. Regular breadcrumbs are definitely the way to go!
And hey! Guess what? You can totally flash freeze the breaded chicken, then pop them into a large zipper bag and store them in the freezer for up to six months.
But I’m in the mood for chicken nuggets and I don’t want to wait that long.
Heat some vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-low to medium heat. To test the oil to see if it’s ready, drop in a few breadcrumbs. If they sizzle gently, the oil’s ready! (If they brown very quickly, the oil’s too hot.) When the oil is perfect, carefully drop in a few pieces at a time.
Let them cook for a minute (or a little longer) on the first side…
You don’t want the nuggets to brown too quickly—the chicken needs a chance to cook through—so keep the oil at a nice, steady temp.
- 2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut Into Small Pieces
- 1 cup All-purpose Flour
- 1 Tablespoon Seasoned Salt (such As Lawry’s)
- Salt And Black Pepper To Taste
- 2 whole Eggs
- 2 Tablespoons Water
- 2 cups Seasoned Breadcrumbs
- Vegetable Oil, For Frying
- Ketchup And Mustard, For Serving
First, make the breading assembly line: In one bowl, stir together the flour, seasoned salt, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and water. In a third bowl, add the breadcrumbs. Bread a few pieces of chicken at a time by dredging them with flour, then quickly dunking them in the egg mixture, then rolling them in the breadcrumbs until they’re coated. Shake off the excess and place them on a plate or pan as you bread the rest.
In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat (place the skillet on the backburner!), heat 1 1/2 to 2 inches of vegetable oil over medium-low to medium heat. (You want it to be hot enough to sizzle gently when you add the chicken, but not so hot that it browns too quickly.)
Carefully drop in 8 to 10 pieces of chicken and use metal tongs to spread them out to give them room. Let them fry on the first side for a minute or so, then carefully turn them over to brown on the other side. The chicken should cook until the breadcrumbs are deep golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes total; if the chicken pieces are small, this should be enough time for the chicken to cook through.
Remove the chicken to a paper towel lined plate and repeat with the rest of the chicken until it’s all fried. Serve warm with ketchup and/or mustard!