The Baker Upstairs: Crispy Baked Chicken Nuggets

9.07.2020

Crispy Baked Chicken Nuggets

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These crispy baked chicken nuggets are way healthier than fast food, and way more delicious!
These crispy baked chicken nuggets are way healthier than fast food, and way more delicious!
If there's one meal that I can guarantee will put a smile on everyone's face, it's my homemade chicken nuggets! I've been making some variation of these ever since my thirteen year old was a toddler, and they are always a favorite with everyone in my family. They're easy to make, kid-friendly, and super delicious! I've tried a few different types of liquids to dip the chicken in before rolling in bread crumbs (eggs, milk, olive oil, etc.), but I think this variation using buttermilk is my absolute favorite. Marinating the chicken in buttermilk before breading it makes it tender and juicy, and adds a lot of flavor. The bread crumbs stick to the chicken really well and don't separate from the chicken after baking. 
These crispy baked chicken nuggets are way healthier than fast food, and way more delicious!
Adding seasonings to both the buttermilk mixture and the bread crumb mixture ensure that the nuggets are flavorful all the way through. It might sound like a lot of salt, but a lot of it gets discarded in the excess marinade and excess breading. Spraying both the pan and the nuggets themselves with cooking spray helps them get nice and crispy in the oven, without all of the mess of frying them. 

I like to make a big batch of these nuggets and save half in the freezer for another day. I've tried freezing them both before and after cooking, and both ways work well. If you're freezing them uncooked, just plan on adding an extra 10-15 minutes to the baking time. If you're freezing them after cooking, then you can just warm them up in the microwave or toaster oven. My kids love it when I have a bag of these nuggets in the freezer, so they can make their own lunches. They usually just pull out 5-6 nuggets, put them on a paper towel, and microwave for 2-3 minutes until they are warmed through. (And if you've noticed that I'm posting a lot of meals that are easy to freeze, it's because I'm trying to stock my freezer before this baby makes her debut, so my brain is in total freezer-cooking mode right now!)
These crispy baked chicken nuggets are way healthier than fast food, and way more delicious!

These chicken nuggets are a staple at our house, and I make them so often that I could probably make them in my sleep. My husband loves to toss his in buffalo sauce and dip them in blue cheese dressing for  boneless buffalo wing-style nuggets, and they're also really delicious tossed in barbecue sauce. You definitely need to give these a try!

Crispy Baked Chicken Nuggets

for the marinade:
2 pounds chicken breasts, cut into nugget-sized pieces
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika

for breading:
2 cups bread crumbs
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Place the chicken pieces in a large zipper bag or a container with a lid. Add the buttermilk, salt, and paprika, and toss to combine. Refrigerate at least one hour. When you're ready to cook the nuggets, preheat the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with a parchment or silicone liner, then spray with cooking spray. In a large shallow dish, whisk together the bread crumbs, panko, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Dip the chicken pieces in the bread crumbs, coating all sides, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Spray the tops of the nuggets with cooking spray. Bake 20-25 minutes, until cooked through, flipping halfway through to ensure even browning.
These crispy baked chicken nuggets are way healthier than fast food, and way more delicious!

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