These “little golden nuggets of goodness”, as my hubby fondly calls them, aren’t just for little kids. Us big kids love them, too! And if you’ve been searching for a copycat recipe that actually tastes like theirs, your search is finally over! This is my very own, and it’s just simply the best!
Just one bite, and you’ll see why my hubby can easy inhale a half of a batch of these babies! (I just keep my fingers and toes back, let him have at ’em, and everything is fine.)
Though Chick-fil-A uses chicken breasts for their nuggets, I used boneless, skinless thighs for this batch, as that’s what I happened to have on hand. The meat is more tender and juicy, and we enjoyed them even more than the white meat!
But you can certainly use boneless, skinless chicken breasts if you prefer.
Just cut up 2 pounds of meat into 2-bite-sized pieces, “nugget-sized”, and place them into the lemon water to lightly marinate.
Add your flour and all the spices, herbs, and goodies into a doubled, brown paper lunch bag, twist the top closed, and give it a good shake to mix. Then coat the pieces well.
Heat up some oil….
…and fry away!
This should only take about 4 minutes until golden-delicious, and tender and juicy inside with a light crisp on the outside.
*Don’t overcrowd your pan. Only drop in a few pieces at a time doing several batches.
Place the finished ones onto a paper towel-lined rack placed over a baking sheet. When the paper towel has absorbed the little bit of oil from the bottoms, move them off of the paper towel to the open side of the rack.
These will stay quite hot for quite awhile, so you really don’t even need to keep them warm in a low oven. But if you’re making a ton of them, or enjoy them SUPER hot, place them into the oven (at 200º-250º F) while cooking the next batch.
Truth be told, I was never really a big fan of chicken nuggets…until now!
Honestly, I could easily eat these for lunch or supper twice a WEEK and never tire of them! They really are that good!!!
I mean, just look at all that deliciousness going on in there!!! Very flavorful breading, yet not so overpowering that you can’t taste the chicken.
Just – – well – – exactly what you WISH chicken nuggets would taste like, but never do.
THESE babies deliver!!
I served them with my homemade, copycat Chick-fil-A sauce, and I promise to give you that recipe next!
But until then, you can certainly serve them with my homemade Ranch, Blue Cheese, or Honey Mustard Salad Dressing, my homemade Tartar Sauce, barbecue sauce, a sweet ‘n sour Asian or Polynesian-style sauce, buffalo sauce, or even my easy, melty queso cheese sauce!
But seriously, once you’ve made these, you might not want to ever go back to that Chick place. After having mine, theirs just don’t taste as good anymore!
So make the REAL deal, my homemade Copycat Chick-fil-A Chicken Nuggets if you’re craving the best. You won’t be disappointed!
Hope you all enjoy, wear those masks, keep a safe distance, and hang in there! Stay safe and take care!!
Copycat Chick-fil-A Chicken Nuggets
20 – 26 nuggets depending on size of chicken and size of nuggets you desire
- 6 – 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs or 2-3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (2 lbs.), cut into nugget-sized pieces (*butterfly large chicken breasts first if needed)
- 1/3 cup cold water
- 1 Tbl. lemon juice concentrate
For Seasoned Flour:
- 1 cup flour
- 1 Tbl. powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 2 tsp. regular table salt
- 1 tsp. regular black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. celery salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground rosemary powder
- 1/2 tsp. dried dill weed
- 1/4 tsp. dried basil
- 1/4 tsp. sage
- 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp. celery seeds
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne
Rest of Ingredients:
- peanut or canola oil, enough until pan is at least 1″ deep full
Cut each chicken thigh into approximately 4 – 5 pieces, depending on their size as well as the size of nuggets you prefer. (*For chicken breasts, you may need to butterfly them first, then cut them into nugget-sized pieces.)
In large bowl, marinate chicken pieces in lemon water while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.
In doubled, brown paper lunch bags, add flour and seasonings, twist top closed, and shake until well mixed.
Drop each piece of chicken, a few at a time, into seasoned flour mixture, twist top closed, and shake coating well. Gently shake off excess flour.
Place each piece as you go along, onto a cooling rack placed over a baking sheet, sprinkle with a little more of the leftover flour mixture, and let rest in the fridge. (*You can hold the chicken pieces in the fridge for several hours if need be.)
When you’re ready to fry, heat up the oil to about 350º F. in a deep frying pan (or Dutch oven) over medium heat.
Carefully drop several pieces into the hot oil, (just don’t overcrowd the pan), and fry for 4 – 5 minutes, depending on size and thickness of pieces, turning each as needed to lightly brown and crisp a little. (*I always do one first, as a test, to see how long. Add just a bit more time when frying a whole batch, as the temp of the oil will drop a bit when adding a lot more pieces.) *Chicken breast pieces may take a little bit longer. Just do one and see how it does. My chicken thigh pieces took exactly 4 minutes.
Remove pieces of chicken with a fish skimmer or tongs, placing cooked pieces onto a paper towel-lined (clean) cooling rack placed over a baking sheet to absorb any excess oil. Move pieces several times while frying second batch to make sure all excess oil is absorbed. Then move to an open spot. Replace paper towel as needed.
Repeat process until all pieces are cooked.
*Chicken will stay hot for quite awhile, but you can keep them warm in a low oven if needed.
*Serve with my copycat Chick-fil-A Sauce (*coming soon!)