These gluten-free Homemade Chicken Nuggets are crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and so flavorful! Made with ground chicken and crispy pork panko, they’re a quick and easy snack or appetizer that kids and adults alike will love! Plus, these chicken nuggets are egg-free, grain-free, and AIP/paleo!
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These Homemade Chicken Nuggets are juicy and tender inside with a perfectly golden brown, light, and crunchy exterior! This chicken nuggets recipe is ideal for people with allergies since it’s free of grains, gluten, eggs, dairy, and nuts! They come together in no time and include only six ingredients.
Ground chicken is seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder, and salt, formed into nugget pieces, then coated in pork panko or crushed pork rinds. Pork panko is a salty, grain-free, and gluten-free alternative to bread crumbs that creates a wonderfully crispy, crunchy coating that gets golden brown when cooked. I made these in the air fryer but you can also easily make these on the stovetop with some additional olive oil!
These homemade chicken nuggets are served with an optional tangy sweet and sour sauce for an easy, kid-friendly meal that adults will also love!
- ground chicken
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- olive oil
- pork panko
- You can replace the ground chicken with ground turkey.
- You can substitute pork panko with plantain chips crushed into a very fine powder (with a food processor) or use unsweetened shredded coconut to coat the chicken pieces. Readers have also had success using crushed cassava crackers.
How To Make Chicken Nuggets
Step 1. Season the chicken
In a large bowl, add ground chicken, olive oil, sea salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Use a spoon to mix and fully combine.
Step 2. Shape the Nuggets
Use your hands to form nugget-sized chicken pieces, about 1 inch long and 1/2 inch wide. Ensure they are uniform in size so they cook evenly.
Step 3. Bread the chicken
Dip or roll each chicken piece in the pork panko, ensuring it is completely covered with the pork panko coating.
Step 4. Cook the chicken nuggets
In the air fryer: Brush or spray the basket with a light coating of olive oil or avocado oil and preheat the air fryer to 400F. Add the nuggets in an even layer, ensuring the basket isn’t overcrowded. You can work in batches to avoid crowding. Air fry the chicken for 10 minutes, using tongs to flip each piece at the halfway mark.
On the stovetop: Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 TBSP olive oil. Evenly layer nuggets in the pan and lightly pan-fry the chicken until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip the chicken pieces with tongs and cook another 3 minutes on the other side. Remove them from the skillet with a slotted spoon and gently blot them with a paper towel to absorb excess oil, if necessary.
Expert Tips & Tricks
- You can make your own pork panko by crushing pork rinds or pork chicharrones in a bag, then pulsing them in a food processor to break them up further.
- Check for doneness by checking the internal temperature is 165F.
- Double this nugget recipe during meal prep so that you always have a kid-friendly AIP snack on hand. It’s easy to reheat from frozen – check the Storage Instructions.
- Note on Air Fryer: Many have asked and this is the air fryer I have. It’s my first air fryer and I’m happy with it so far. I chose this one because I wanted an Instant Pot and love the 11 in 1 functionality. After speaking with the manufacturers on Instagram they confirmed that the air fryer basket coating was made of ceramic and did not include PTFE or PFOA chemicals.
What To Serve With Homemade Chicken Nuggets
As an appetizer or snack, serve these chicken nuggets with the suggested homemade tangy sweet and sour dipping sauce, nomato sauce, guacamole, or other condiments like honey mustard or BBQ sauce (both AIP reintros).
As a main dish, these chicken nuggets pair perfectly with green banana fries, or sweet potato wedges. Serve with greens like smashed broccoli, cucumber salad, or sautéed kale salad to make it a complete meal.
Frequently Asked Questions
These homemade chicken nuggets might not get crispy if the pork panko or pork rinds you use are stale. Otherwise, this chicken nuggets recipe is pretty foolproof and you should get crispy, crunchy nuggets regardless of which cooking method you use!
In this recipe, the pork panko breading or coating holds the chicken nuggets together in lieu of a flour and egg mixture, traditional breadcrumbs, or other meat fillers used to bind fast-food chicken nuggets.
Unlike panko breadcrumbs, you don’t need to toast pork panko! Pork panko is made from finely ground pork rinds or chicharrones; pork skin that has been dehydrated and then deep fried. Since the pork rinds have already been cooked until crispy, airy and golden, they don’t need to toast.
I haven’t tested baking this chicken nuggets recipe in the oven, but suspect it should work! I recommend preheating the oven to 400F and lining a baking sheet with parchment paper. Evenly layer the nuggets onto the parchment-lined baking sheet, and spray, drizzle or lightly brush them with olive oil or avocado oil. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, using tongs to flip them halfway, until chicken nuggets are golden brown and the internal temperature is 165F.
Storage & Reheating Instructions
Fridge: Store leftover chicken nuggets in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave, oven, toaster oven, or air fryer.
Freezer: Store the cooled, cooked nuggets in a freezer-safe container or bag for up to 3 months. You can place parchment paper between layers to prevent them from sticking together. Reheat in the oven to let them re-crisp.
Looking for more AIP appetizers? Check out:
- Green Banana Fries
- Balsamic-Glazed Chicken Wings
- Guacamole with Preserved Lemons
- AIP Beef Patties
- Juicy Beef Meatballs
- Stuffed Sweet Potato Cakes
If you try these Homemade Chicken Nuggets I would appreciate it if you would give it a rating and short review. Also, be sure to snap a picture of the finished product and share it with me on Instagram by tagging @healmedelicious.Print