Copycat Chick-Fil-A Nuggets Recipe

My daughter, loves Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets. She says there is something in the breading she really likes that is not like my breaded chicken. Why not make a copy cat recipe with that same texture, I thought.

Copycat Chickfila Chicken Nuggets - gluten free chicken nuggets

Enter my intern Monica. Monica shared her recipe with her readers (and with me) but my toughest critic, Sofia, said something was “missing.” I made one batch baked and one pan fried. The baked batch did not brown or turn crispy so I ditched that idea.

Instead, I tweaked the seasoning a little and fried it in coconut oil. When I say, “fry” I don’t mean deep fry… I mean about 1/2 an inch deep in your large pan.

Copycat Chickfila Chicken Nuggets - gluten free chicken nuggets

My son, who can’t eat a regular Chick-Fil-A nuggets (he eats gluten free), ate these 3 days in a row. He was so excited to help me make the recipe that he begged to photograph them as well (thus the plain, un-styled by a 6 year old, photos). I guess we should thank him, since I wasn’t going to photograph or post it this recipe at all.

Copycat Chickfila Chicken Nuggets - gluten free chicken nuggets

Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets

I actually love this recipe now for more reasons than the taste. He has gotten past his severe texture issues with chicken and throughly enjoys these. When I say “severe” the last time he ate chicken was 5 years ago… sometime around 1.

This recipe can be enjoyed by everyone, not just gluten and grain free people. It was the breading texture I was after and not without the “odd texture” that some grain free/gluten free foods can have. Of course, if you don’t have coconut flour, feel free to use all purpose flour but the texture will not be the same.

You can also pack leftovers inside a lunchbox and make an awesome school lunch!

I send them at room temperature, but if you child prefers them hot, pack them inside a thermos.

Copycat Chickfila Chicken Nuggets - gluten free chicken nuggets

If you’ve been around this site for long, you know that I am passionate about creating recipes that are not just tasty, but also made with whole, fresh ingredients.

When I created my Family KickStart program, I took everything I loved from other 21-30 day whole eating plans and turned it into a program that’s easy to do with the whole family.

Serving up recipes like this and even two different recipes for whole-food pancakes every recipe in the 30 day Family KickStart Program is kid approved. You won’t have to make several meals to please everyone and stick to your diet.

Join the Family KickStart Program today and I’ll send you everything you need from meal plans to recipes and even shopping lists to help you succeed as a family in eating whole food for 30 days straight!

More about these gluten free chicken nuggets though, this week I bought 3lbs of organic chicken breasts on sale. I plan to make extra chicken nuggets and freeze them since my son loves them so much.

To freeze, follow all the steps prior to cooking them. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread breaded nuggets on the tray. Freeze for an hour and then transfer them to a freezer safe bag.

Letting him help me cook and photograph these has meant a lot to me. While they may not be the prettiest pictures in my blog, my son thinks they are amazing! Sometimes posts aren’t about perfection… it’s about showing the love you have for all that’s in them.

Copycat Chickfila Chicken Nuggets - gluten free chicken nuggets

I hope you enjoy this recipe nearly as much as my son. He really wanted to share “his favorite nuggets” with you. You can also watch this short video and check out how easy they are to make.

Copycat Chick-fil-A Chicken Nuggets

homemade chick fil a nugget recipe also gluten and grain free!

Homemade gluten free chicken nuggets with the same texture and taste as the original Chickfila chicken nuggets.

  • Author: Laura Fuentes
  • Yield: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • coconut oil for frying

Instructions

  1. On a cutting board, prepare chicken, pat dry.
  2. Beat eggs in a shallow bowl, set aside.
  3. In a shallow dish, mix coconut flour and seasonings.
  4. Dip chicken pieces into egg mixture, transfer into dish, turn to coat evenly with egg.
  5. Transfer egg-coated chicken into seasoned coconut flour, coat well with coconut flour, and place chicken nugget on a separate plate.
  6. Heat 1/2 cup coconut oil in a shallow pan over medium heat (around 325F). Cook 2-3 minutes per side, transfer out onto a paper towel lined plate.
  7. Repeat process with remaining chicken, serve.

Notes

If your oil is too hot, the coconut flour will burn. Some coconut flour will fall off chicken onto bottom of pan. After each batch, you might want to remove some of the fallen flour off the pan, especially if you are doubling the recipe.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 209
  • Fat: 5.6g
  • Carbohydrates: 8.2g
  • Protein: 30g

Keywords: gluten free chicken nuggets

 

Leave a Reply 81 comments

Amy Hamer - January 9, 2014 Reply

Love this idea! How do you cook the frozen nuggets, though? Thanks for all you do!

    Laura Fuentes - January 9, 2014 Reply

    Same way you’d cook any other frozen nuggets… they take a bit longer to fry though. Since I make a plan for the week, I usually take them out the night before and they thaw overnight in the fridge.

      Adriana - February 20, 2015 Reply

      Is it better to freeze them cooked or uncooked?

        Laura Fuentes - February 20, 2015 Reply

        I freeze uncooked. Just like on the video.

      Kelly E - November 23, 2016 Reply

      Lauren I just LOVE the photo your son took! A budding photographer. So excited to try this recipe. I HATE cooking but I want my kids to eat better so I’m leading by example! Wish me luck! ~ Kelly E

        Laura Fuentes - November 23, 2016 Reply

        Thanks Kelly! They freeze great. Make a big batch and you have them for later.

Stephanie - January 10, 2014 Reply

My kids love Chik fil a, Im going to have to try this recipe!

Laura N. - January 12, 2014 Reply

Just wondering if you find this lunchbox to truly be leak proof? I am shopping for next school year and a new Kindergarten student!! Thank you for your input.

mom of 5 - January 13, 2014 Reply

my kids LOVE chik fil a, and it’s the only place i’ll take them to eat out since its ‘real’ chicken, not processed nuggets like other fast food places might serve. but with 5 *starving* kids, it’s very expensive, so we only go a few times a year. i had always heard that chik fil a soaked their nuggets in buttermilk to keep them so moist. have you ever heard that?

i can’t wait to try this recipe tomorow for dinner! you said regular flour would work, right? i don’t have coconut flour on hand. but if this is a success, i may have to get some! 🙂

    Laura Fuentes - January 14, 2014 Reply

    yes, regular flour will work but don’t expect it to have the same “texture” at all. you’ll need to add breadcrumbs too.

Taneenart - January 13, 2014 Reply

What kind of coconut oil do you use to fry them in? Refined or unrefined? I have the unrefined one at home but I just want to know if the coconut smell will be too much to fry these little cuties in.

    Laura Fuentes - January 14, 2014 Reply

    Either. It won’t. the coconut smell sort of cooks off… if that makes any sense.

Elizabeth - January 14, 2014 Reply

I made this tonight. The only thing I added was that I brined the chicken and pounded it to make it a softer texture (one of my kiddos has texture issues), My family LOVED it. My husband (who hardly ever takes leftovers with him for lunch) said he’d take them for his lunch. He also said that he didn’t need the honey mustard he normally eats with his nuggets because of the flavor. Thanks so much.

    Laura Fuentes - January 14, 2014 Reply

    So glad your entire family loved these!

mom of 5 - January 15, 2014 Reply

laura, thanks for the response and for letting me know to add breadcrumbs. maybe thats why my homemade tenders don’t turn out as expected! i’m going to make these tonight for dinner.
i have heard that chik fil a soaks their chicken in buttermilk to keep the meat moist. is there any truth to that? will soaking in buttermilk make a difference? thanks again!

    Laura Fuentes - January 15, 2014 Reply

    I don’t think soaking in buttermilk makes a difference…. other people soak them in pickle juice too. I find that not over cooking your chicken is the most helpful way to having juicy tenders. next time you are out and about… get some coconut flour. or get it on amazon. it’s not that expensive and it gives it the exact texture! plus it saves you a step!

aimeedewar - January 18, 2014 Reply

My kids are excited to try these. Question: in the pics the nuggets look bigger than 1/2″ cubes stated in the recipe. Is the 1/2′ right? Thanks, Aimee

    Laura Fuentes - January 19, 2014 Reply

    Aimee, 1/2 inch high give or take. Of course, you could make these into strips as well. the picture is a closeup and my son help me cut it… give or take… since nuggets are not an exact science. 🙂

mom of 5 - January 19, 2014 Reply

laura,
made these yesterday for my kids and they LOVED them! thanks for sharing this recipe with my family!!!
I laughed when I read your comment about overcooking the chicken. my husband was so accustomed to eating dry chicken when we first met that he always insisted that my chicken was ‘raw’ since it was so juicy! I had to buy a meat thermometer to prove the chicken was perfectly cooked to 165′! 🙂

    susan - April 3, 2014 Reply

    How do you get the chicken nuggets cooked fully without getting them dry? I’m so afraid of salmonella that I always overcook chicken to make sure it’s safe. Do you put a meat thermometer into every nugget? I don’t mean to sound ignorant but I love things like chicken piccata and making my own nuggets but I’m just paranoid, especially of kids eating undercooked chicken.

    Thanks,
    Susan

      Laura Fuentes - April 3, 2014 Reply

      Susan, it’s funny you asked…. I typically use a food thermometer in the thickest pieces… and when it says 165-170 they are good! 🙂

Jenna - January 29, 2014 Reply

I am just beginning my journey with eating G-free. I am the only one in my family that needs gluten free food, so most of the time, if the food I am fixing for the family is NOT gluten free, I just eat something else. I am excited to try this recipe for several reasons. 1. It’s Gluten Free! 2. As a family, we LOVE Chick-Fil-A. 3. I had taken a couple BSCBs out of the freezer for dinner, but had no idea what I was going to make them with them. Now I do!
I only have one question. I have an “all-purpose” gluten free flour. It is rice flour based. Do you know, will rice flour work for these nuggets? Thanks for any knowledge or experience shared!

    Laura Fuentes - January 30, 2014 Reply

    Jenna, if you use a gluten free flour you won’t get a “breaded” feel without bread crumbs. In other words, you’ll need to bread them as you would traditionally, all purpose flour, then egg, then bread crumbs. When you use coconut flour (as shown here) it’s a single step breading process. egg wash, coconut flour, period. It’s the coconut flour that make them have the same texture as CFA. Will it work the other way? sure. but not with all purpose flour alone.

Grecia - February 26, 2014 Reply

Hello ! I was wondering if I could ” bake ” instead of frying the chicken nuggets for this recipe

    Laura Fuentes - February 27, 2014 Reply

    I am sure you could but they won’t be crispy and the crust won’t be as good.

      susan - April 3, 2014 Reply

      I made some recipe I found for baked parmesan chicken nuggets and they were perfectly crispy. I think the recipe may have called for dipping the meat in olive oil first. They were really good though. The kids loved them and so did I.

        Laura Fuentes - April 6, 2014 Reply

        as long as you liked them… these are not dipped in oil though, just pan fried.

Pinero Paulette - March 5, 2014 Reply

Hi!

Were can I get that small white box “stage” or what is the correct name for it.

Thanks!

Kris - March 27, 2014 Reply

Would a different grain free flour such as Almond or Chestnut work instead of Coconut Flour?

    Laura Fuentes - March 27, 2014 Reply

    the Almond flour didn’t “stick” for me. You’d have to do the traditional egg wash first, then bread with almond/chestnut. When you use the coconut flour you skip that step completely.

Jennifer - March 27, 2014 Reply

My son has an egg allergy – any suggestions for a wash other than egg?

Thanks and looking forward to trying these!

    Laura Fuentes - March 28, 2014 Reply

    Can you do milk? You’ll need the coating to stick to something “wet” or I’m guessing a flax egg will work too.

Jennifer - March 29, 2014 Reply

Yes we can – thank you! I appreciate your quick response – can’t wait to try these!

Mindy - April 14, 2014 Reply

These are delicious! Thank you! Have you ever tried baking them instead? I want to pass this recipe along to my sister, but I’m afraid pan frying might be too much for her at this point. She is just getting started with this real food cooking thing and I don’t want her to set the kitchen on fire. 🙂

Thanks!

    Laura Fuentes - April 14, 2014 Reply

    I’m thrilled you loved them Mindy! Yes, I’ve tried baking them but they don’t turn crispy unless they are coated with oil spray. Can she pan fry them (with less oil than here) and then transfer them to the oven for another 10min to cook them through after? Otherwise, these coconut chicken strips (she can omit the coconut) are just like Cane’s and they are baked 🙂

Suzanne - April 16, 2014 Reply

I tried these tonight and our 6 year old daughter loved them as much as I did!! Thank you for a great gluten-free recipe. I’ll be making these again soon.

    Laura Fuentes - April 16, 2014 Reply

    So glad it was a winning recipe at your house!

Susan - July 31, 2014 Reply

Just found your blog yesterday (thanks to 100daysofrealfood.com) and am loving it! Ordered your cookbook, too! 🙂 I plan to try these nuggets tonight. Quick question, though – can I cook prior to freezing them and then just heat the frozen nuggets up in the toaster oven? Or do you think they wouldn’t have the crispness to them? Thanks!

    Laura Fuentes - August 1, 2014 Reply

    Hi Susan! you can cook and freeze them. Just thaw them out and then toast them. otherwise, you’ll have burnt nuggets and frozen centers.

LadyLep - August 11, 2014 Reply

I discovered your website a while ago thru 100days of real food and love the ideas you have! Unfortunately my boys (13,10,8&3) are stuck in a rut and are not good about trying new foods. But these look really good! I was wondering if these have a coconut flavor? I don’t have coconut flour but I can probably get it from Whole Foods. I have coconut oil but have only used it once because I really don’t like coconut flavor, it tastes like suntan lotion to me… 🙂

    Laura Fuentes - August 11, 2014 Reply

    this won’t taste like coconut but it’s the coconut flour that gives it the chick-fil-a breading like texture. Of course, you can fry them in vegetable oil if you like.

Nina - August 11, 2014 Reply

I’ve made these twice now for my very picky, chicken-hating 8-year-old and they have been a huge hit!! The texture is fantastic and the nuggets come out so tender. I used half coconut flour and half tapioca starch as we can’t do too much coconut at a time. Also didn’t use eggs but dipped chicken in milk substitute before rolling in flour and it works great. I pan-fry in a little grapeseed oil. Thank you so much for offering more and more gluten- and grain-free recipes, they are perfect for my family!

    Laura Fuentes - August 11, 2014 Reply

    Thank you for letting others know that they were a hit for you Nina!

Xan - August 21, 2014 Reply

I can’t wait to try this recipe. My son is so picky; it’s so hard to get him to eat chicken of any kind. My question, is it possible to send these nuggets to school warm. I haven’t been able to find anything out there that can keep food like that warm. Both my kids have allergies so I am always looking for great ideas! I love your website and can’t wait to order your book!

    Laura Fuentes - August 21, 2014 Reply

    Hi Xan! I dont know if you own a thermos but here are the thermoses that I recommend. You can definitely send these warm to school inside a thermos. Remember that kids are very resilient and that they don’t really need to be catered to as much as we think.

Susan - October 19, 2014 Reply

Laura – I saw this link from your sweet potato tater tots on a Buzzfeed list of great sweet potato recipes and I had to laugh! I wish I had found this recipe 15 years ago when I had a picky eater, he would’ve eaten these up – now of course he’s a college freshman who runs, rock climbs, lifts weights and eats like a horse! So I especially appreciate your last comment about kids being resilient and don’t need to be catered to as much as we think, truly words of wisdom. Seems like a big problem at the time, but they usually do thrive and grow out of it! So grateful for the Internet and Pinterest and sensible, creative and fun blogs like yours, keep up the great work (now my husband has been told to try GF and these will be a fun, easy dinner to try). Thanks!

    Laura Fuentes - October 20, 2014 Reply

    Susan, I am so glad I was able to “speak” to you with my comment! You’ll find lots of gf recipes on here since two of us in my family are gf. Here is to an easy transition into gluten free!

jess - October 20, 2014 Reply

Just found these a couple of days ago and made them! In my haste I accidently put the seasoning in the egg wash…haha! But it turned out so darn tasty. My oil cooked off quickly so I had to keep adding more in between batches. Bummer. The taste is so good though and the texture of the “breading” is FUN

Robin - October 25, 2014 Reply

These look fabulous! My grain free little guy will be so excited! Stupid question…..when you send them for lunch the next day do you warm them? Or straight from the fridge to the lunch box? Do you put a cold pack with them? Sorry…..I’m somewhat phobic about chicken 🙂

    Laura Fuentes - October 26, 2014 Reply

    I send them straight from the fridge in the lunchbox. they sort of get eaten at room temperature. I’m more phobic about where their hands have been… (school bathrooms, desks, playground, noses….lol)

Amy - November 2, 2014 Reply

I made these, but I marinated the chicken with salt, spices and vinegar overnight for more taste. I have to say I was surprised by the lack of crisp and the “soggy sauce” of wasted coconut flour in my pan of expensive oil. I guess I was expecting it to be more like commercial nuggets. It’s a good alternative to the unhealthy fare in fast food restaurants though, but my kids eat chicken as is, don’t need it breaded or fried. Thanks for a gluten alternative for me to experiment.

    Laura Fuentes - November 3, 2014 Reply

    Amy, some of the coconut flour will fall at the bottom of the pan. It’s just how it goes.

JoAnn - February 28, 2015 Reply

Hmmm…thinking I’ll try these with almond meal. I’ve had success using it to bread chicken strips before. We’ll see how it goes!

    Laura Fuentes - February 28, 2015 Reply

    let me know how it works out!

Kat - March 14, 2015 Reply

We are just starting out GF. But we have a load of other allergies and coconut is one. What would you suggest for a replacement? We also have soy and nuts allergies. Thanks!

    Laura Fuentes - March 16, 2015 Reply

    you can use a rice based gluten free all purpose flour mix. However, the texture won’t be the same. If you can find gluten free bread crumbs you can use those too.

Amy - April 27, 2015 Reply

As a mom of four boys, I have to say, each one said, ” this is so yummy!”
Thanks for the great recipe!

    Laura Fuentes - April 29, 2015 Reply

    I’m glad they loved the recipe Amy!

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Alyson - May 27, 2015 Reply

How do you get them to get crispy??? Mine turned out soggy and gritty 🙁

    Laura Fuentes - May 28, 2015 Reply

    Did you bake them? I assume you did. You have to spray them with coconut oil spray prior to baking them otherwise they don’t bake well. For optimal results pan frying is the best.

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Nicole - July 28, 2015 Reply

My daughter is gluten, dairy & egg free. Would this work with a flax or chia egg substitute?
Looks delicious!

    Laura Fuentes - July 28, 2015 Reply

    Nicole, I have not tried binding the “breading” with an egg substitute. Let me know if they work for you. Enjoy!

Adrienne S. - September 2, 2015 Reply

Laura,
You nailed this recipe! We had it for dinner last night. This tastes just like Chick Fil A and was a big hit with my family. Thanks for sharing!

    Laura Fuentes - September 3, 2015 Reply

    I’m so glad it was a success! I hope you enjoy this recipe for many years to come.

JenniferQ - October 2, 2015 Reply

Thank you for the great recipe and clear instructions. We made up 4 pounds of these tonight and they were gobbled up by my hungry family who felt they were being treated to the best dinner ever! Not having coconut flour, we whizzed up rice in the dry Vita-mix container until it was a flour. It seemed to work just fine, though I cannot compare it to your original recipe.

I am receiving inspiration from your approach. After 20 years of parenting, I still need inspiration for the daily question of “what’s for dinner?”! Thank you.

    Stephanie Schneller - October 4, 2015 Reply

    I’m thrilled these were enjoyed at your house Jennifer! 4lbs! wow. that was one big family meal. I’m thrilled to provide you with kichen inspiration any day 🙂

Erin - November 14, 2015 Reply

Hi! Do you think I could make these with ground chicken?? Thanks so much!

    Laura Fuentes - November 15, 2015 Reply

    Not this recipe Erin. For ground chicken you are going to want to use this recipe. Enjoy!

Kristi - November 23, 2015 Reply

Just wondering if you ever found a suitable egg substitute for soaking the chicken? My son has a whey (which is in milk) and egg intolerance.

    Laura Fuentes - November 23, 2015 Reply

    not that will make the mixture stick. sorry!

    Sterling - February 1, 2016 Reply

    I am noshing on a fresh set that was dipped in coconut milk wash before the flour mixture. It’s shedding a bit more than the egg might, but they’re plenty coated.

Patty - July 23, 2016 Reply

Was excited to try, but disappointed . Texture was sandy. Also, overkill on coconut flavor. However, the mix of spices was good, but didn’t remind me of CFA.

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Sabrina Garcia - March 18, 2018 Reply

Hi Laura!!!
Have you try using an Air Fryer?

    Laura Fuentes - March 22, 2018 Reply

    Hi Sabrina, you can totally use an Air Fryer with these nuggets. These are fried in a pan but an airfryer will be great. I no longer have one but I did love it when I had it.

Tiffany - October 4, 2018 Reply

Wow. My kids loved it. My husband thought I brought home store bought chicken. I think we all are more than we should! My son asked for seconds. (he hardly ever asks for seconds) my daughter tried to sneak some before supper! I made them exactly as instructed. If anyone is nervous to try these, don’t worry they are great! Thanks for all your great recipes. Umm I NEED to subscribe! Lol

    Laura Fuentes - October 7, 2018 Reply

    I’m so glad these were winners Tiffany! Definitely, subscribe. Recipes to your inbox weekly!

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