chicken nuggets
Easy Eats

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.

Serves 2-4.
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...


Baked Chicken Nuggets

Nuggets of boneless chicken thighs are coated with a delicious basil and parmesan crust and baked.


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)
Print Recipe  


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.

The Prep

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.

basil and cheese

Yummy crust makings.

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.

bread crumb

Really tasty crust.

You’ll also want to set up your egg wash which is just a few eggs whisked together with either water or milk.

The Nuggets

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.

flour toss

Just to dry them out.

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.

ready to bake

Ready to bake… almost.

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!

butter drizzle

I guess you could leave this out… but come on.

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.

halfway done

Give them a turn halfway through.

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.

finished nuggets

Crispy and tasty.

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.

bite of nugget

Very tender.

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.

29 comments on “Baked Chicken Nuggets

  1. I wish you the best of luck convincing your kid. You will be up against jingles, commercials, and peer pressure. My son has the battle cry "nuggets!" when he wants them. Impressively enough, he knows about the clown, the name of his castle, and even how to get there. LOL.

    That would be my fault. :D

    I love what you are doing here, but sadly, I am not sure I can have this type of stuff anymore. Panko is basically white bread without even the crusts, so it is like a big old bowl of sugar for me.

    Now, give me that chicken roasted, and I'll even dip it into the mustard. Then all will be good.

    Thank you for a great post!

  2. yum, those look so good! good for you for taking on the giant, i bet your's are waaay better! (ask betsy if she gets grossed out by the little bits of grisle like i did when i ate mcdonald's nuggets.)

    1. Nah… she's a champ. I think she liked McDs because it was easy… which is true for probably 90% of their customers I'd say.

  3. i really like your blog, but this post takes my appreciation to a whole new level. i'm with betsy, i sometimes crave chicken nuggets and french fries from mcdonald's (and always order the same thing). i can't wait to try this out!

  4. Wow! I've seen a lot of recipes for baked nuggets lately but these look delicious! I'll have to try them!

    I read Jason's comment above. Aren't there whole wheat panko crumbs now? If not, he could make coarse ground crumbs out of sprouted whole wheat bread in the food processor, making sure to grind them coarse. Baked in the oven until just toasted, they would stand in pretty well for the panko but be lower glycemic.

    1. Correct! They definitely do make a whole wheat Panko. I've tried it out and it's very solid. The white version just happened to be what I had on hand for this time around though.

  5. The best part is — it IS fast food.
    These really do look good. And the fact that they’re not deep-fried is a big bonus.

    LOVE the whole wheat panko. So good.

  6. Hah! We do this, too! Well, so far we’ve only done it with one thing: the Egg McMuffin. I woke up one morning craving it SOMETHING FIERCE and we luckily had everything on hand (even the Kraft Singles cheese, which is rare in our household). It blew my husband’s mind that we could make this stuff at home. Though he kind of does his own thing with the eggs (he scrambles them; rather than frying or poaching or whatever it actually is McDonalds does). And I’m still working on getting my hash browns up to a level where I feel comfortable feeding them to someone other than my husband…fun post!

  7. No comparison to how much BETTER these are for you than McDonald's(they look/sound delicious too)! I just read an article that McDonald's nuggets have 20(!) ingredients(MOSTLY preservatives)! Burger King was even worse-30 ingredients!

  8. Do you think I could make them then freeze them? I hate to give my son processed chicken nuggets but he loves them…….

    1. I think you could definitely freeze them. I could bake them first and then freeze them. Just make sure to let them cool completely then wrap them well in foil and put them in a freezer bag. They should keep fine for a few weeks.

      Your best bet for reheating is probably the oven so they stay crispy, but the microwave would work in a pinch I guess.

  9. Made these for my roommates tonight! used italian bread crumbs (because I had them on hand vs Panko) and my roommates loved them! Thank you so much for this website! I love it so much, when I plan meals, this is where I turn!

  10. Ohhh I’m sooo full!! I just ate a mountain of these! For some reason, mine didn’t look as crispy as yours. Did you dry your chicken before adding flour? When I added flour, some of it ended up being batter-like. Does adding butter help brown it too?

    1. Hmm… yea… if your chicken is really wet then just pat it dry with a paper towel. The flour should be a super-light coating just to help the egg stick to it.

      Butter helps with the browning but is also just delicious. You could leave it out or drizzle with olive oil though also. Good luck!

  11. I will have to try these! We’ve replicated them at home too ( for the same reasons) but I used cornstarch for the batter and it’s almost identical to McDonalds. I have fried them, but this gives me even more inspiration to limit that place from our lives!

  12. I’ve got a batch on the oven right now, my third time making these for my boyfriend. I’m vegetarian, so I’ve never actually tried them. But the reviews are fantastic. Last time I made these, I was out of eggs & I tried a ground flax-faux egg wash. He was none the wiser & they got gone just as fast! Your site is so bookmarked for awesome & healthy meat recipes. Thanks!

  13. I just made these (happened to have all the ingredients on hand) tonight, and they were soooo good! The parmesan and basil were just the right touch. I was going to take a picture of it, but my family and I ate it too quickly. It was just that good! I dipped mine in honey.

  14. Theses turned out great but I did have to alter the recipe because I did not have any Panko. In its place I used Corn Flakes. My family all said these are a keeper. Yum!

  15. These were really good! My daughter also has a McD’s addiction, which we are trying very hard to break. We tried these on her tonight, and she actually ate one! She even said she liked it! I see a light at the end of the crappy-fast-food-tunnel.

  16. Tried it tonight. Loved it. Hey! I love ketchup, its a food group isn’t it? My son who hates dark meat even liked it. Impressive.

  17. I lost my recipe for homemade chicken nuggets. I’ve looked through at least a dozen recipes tonight, and yours looks fantastic! I prefer thigh meat as well, so that caught my eye first-off. These are baked, which is also a very good thing :) I am making a huge batch and intend to freeze the rest. I’ve found that putting the frozen ones into the oven doesn’t work so well – I usually heat up the frozen ones in a frying pan with just a little oil so they’ll be crisp and more like when they were first done. Thanks for this great recipe!

  18. Weird that I hadn’t tried this recipe yet! Yummy. Baby girl loved these too. Thanks, friend!

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