Baked Chicken Nuggets
Betsy used to have a serious McDonald’s addiction. Of course, I find most things at McDonald’s to be pretty horrible. So it’s been my goal over the last few years to bring her back from the dark side. I’ve done my part over the years by promising to make anything that McDonald’s would make whenever she gets the craving. The idea of course is to prove that it’s not that hard to make their food and also it’s a whole lot better when it’s homemade.
She really only ever orders two things from there so it means that I make a lot of fries (or she’ll allow a tater tot substitution) and nuggets. The girl loves her nuggets. Luckily Betsy is far from picky so I get the chance to play around with how I make them. If I fry them, I call them NickNuggets because they taste the same (but better) as the McDonald’s variety.
This time though, I decided to bake them.
I wanted to make sure that the crust would be nice and crispy for these so I decided to use Panko instead of normal breadcrumbs.
Baked Chicken Nuggets
Yield: Serves 2-4.
1-2 pounds boneless chicken thighs, cut into, well, nuggets
1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
1 Cup Panko breadcrumbs
3 Tablespoons basil, chopped
1/2 Cup Parmesan cheese, grated
A good pinch of salt, pepper, and any kind of Italian seasoning you want to use.
2 Eggs, whisked with 2 Tablespoons water or milk
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (optional I guess)
1) Chop up basil, grate Parmesan, and mix with Panko breadcrumbs.
2) Whisk eggs with milk to form an egg wash.
3) Trim off fat from chicken and cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
4) Toss chicken in flour to dust it and dry it out. Then dredge each piece in the egg mixture and finally the Panko mixture. Make sure to really press on the Panko so it sticks well.
5) Lay all the nuggets in a baking dish and drizzle melted butter over the nuggets.
6) Bake these at 450 degrees for about 25 minutes, turning them halfway through.
7) Serve finished nuggets with ketchup, honey mustard, or BBQ sauce.
I decided to use basil for this variety because I had some laying around the house, but you could sub out parsley if you wanted to make these more like chicken parmesan in nugget form.
Chop up the basil, grate the Parmesan, and mix everything in with the Panko crumbs. Of course, Parm and Panko look very similar so it’s hard to tell that it’s in there. Trust me. It is.
You’ll also want to set up your egg wash which is just a few eggs whisked together with either water or milk.
You can definitely use boneless skinless breasts for this, but I actually like dark meat more and it happens to be a lot cheaper because everybody is on the chicken breast bandwagon. Regardless of what you use, try to trim off as much fat as possible and cut your chicken into bite-sized bits.
Once all your chicken is chopped up, toss the nuggets with a light dusting of flour just to dry out it out a bit so everything else sticks to it.
Next, dredge each nugget (or you can do a handful at a time) into the egg mixture and then into the Panko mixture. Be sure to really press the Panko mixture into the nuggets so it sticks nicely. Then layout all the nuggets in a baking dish. You can pack the nuggets pretty close, but just try not to have any that are overlapping.
Now, you could just bake these like this in a 450 degree oven, or if you wanted to kick them up a notch, drizzle some melted butter over all the pieces. That’ll really show McDonald’s who’s boss!
Whether or not you do the butter drizzle, bake these for about 10-12 minutes and then take them out and give them a turn. This just makes sure that they are browning and cooking evenly.
Another ten minutes or so in the oven and you’ll have some deliciously crunchy nuggets. They may not be as perfectly uniform as the fast food version, but that’s kind of weird anyway.
Be sure to test one by cutting into it to make sure that the juices run clear and the chicken is cooked all the way through before serving them. You could serve these with any kind of mustard (homemade is always good) or ketchup. Strangely, I hate ketchup (unless I have to defend it) and Betsy hates mustard. So we normally have to have both with meals like this. We both like honey though so that makes an appearance sometimes also.
These are really easy to make and I’d put them up against the Big M variety any day of the week.
Someday, when I have children, they will think that this is fast food. It’ll be a good time.