Homemade Chicken Nuggets

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There are no nasties in these chicken nuggets: if you make your own nuggets you know the quality of the meat you are using. You can use white breast meat, or darker thigh meat (which has more iron), or a combination of both! I recommend making a big batch, as adults love these too (I would just serve with a spicy dipping sauce).  

This recipe is a great standby for nights, when the fridge is looking empty. Once prepped I freeze them raw, and then cook as needed. Just make up a tray of nuggets wrap the tray tightly in clingfilm and freeze for 2-3 hours. Once frozen you can then decant the chicken nuggets into a labelled zip lock bag.

I marinate the chicken pieces for 2-3 hours in the fridge, this really tenderises the chicken meat and is well worth doing. You can marinate for more, or less time, depending on how much time you have. But I would say 30 minutes minimum if you want really well tenderised meat. I have added a list of ideas for different flavourings you can use: make this recipe your own with different breadcrumb options and flavourings, or alternative marinades. For smaller children you can omit flavourings (like garlic, lemon zest and paprika); and just keep it simple with a basic yogurt marinade. Happy cooking!

 
  • x4 free range chicken breasts, taken off the bone and skin removed

  • 2 tablespoons natural yoghurt

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (optional for older kids to add flavour)

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

  • 200g breadcrumbs, I use wholemeal

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

 

Cut the chicken breasts into chunks or strips, the size you would like the finished chicken nuggets to be (smaller nuggets will cook faster but don't freeze as well). 

To make the marinade: in a large bowl (that can hold the chicken pieces) add the yoghurt crushed garlic, paprika (if using) and chicken pieces. Coat the chicken evenly in the mix and marinate for 30 mins to 1 hour. 

Meanwhile prepare the bread-crumbing assembly line:

  • Mix the breadcrumbs you are using with a tablespoon of oil, scatter on a large tray to plate, ready for coating there chicken. (If making the breadcrumbs from leftover bread - take some wholemeal bread and blitz with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil).

  • Take another tray, or large plate and add the lightly beaten egg

Once the chicken has finished marinating: add the chicken pieces to the egg and coat, then add to the breadcrumbs and coat evenly in the breadcrumb mix. 

If freezing: take a lined tray and line up the chicken nuggets (so they aren't touching), wrap the tray tightly in cling film. Place in the freezer for 1-2 hours, or solid to touch. Then take the semi-frozen chicken nuggets and place them in a zip lock bag, label and date. (This method means the chicken nuggets don't freeze in one big lump, but remain separate).

If cooking: place the chicken nuggets on a tray and bake at 180°C,  for 20 minutes approx (longer if cooking from frozen). They should be completely cooked through. Test one chicken nugget, by cutting it in half: the meat should be white and completely cooked through. If there are any traces of redness, return to the oven until cooked.  Drain on kitchen paper and serve warm with lemon wedges and a dip of your choice.

 
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other fun ideas, to make this recipe your own ~

*to the marinade add

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 teaspoon low-salt soy sauce

*to the breadcrumbs add other flavourings:

finely grated Parmesan (for an extra crispy coating)

finely chopped herbs

freshly ground black pepper

*use other breadcrumb options:

gluten free bread crumbs

wholemeal bread (blitzed)

ground almonds (although not suitable for nut allergies)

 
meatMiriam Cooper