My kids love Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets. My daughter 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. Watch how easily these homemade chick-fil-a nuggets come together.
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 ½ an inch deep in your large pan.
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.
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.
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.
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.Print
Copycat Chick-fil-A Chicken Nuggets
Homemade gluten free chicken nuggets with the same texture and taste as the original Chickfila chicken nuggets.
- Yield: 4-6
- 1.5 lbs chicken breasts, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ½ cup coconut flour
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Oil for frying
- Pat dry the chicken breasts with a paper towel and with a sharp knife, cut them into 1-inch, nugget-sized pieces.
- In a bowl, beat the eggs and set aside.
- In a dish, combine the coconut flour, and seasonings.
- First, dip the chicken in the egg, then in the seasoned coconut flour mixture, making sure to turn the chicken to coat all sides.
- Meanwhile, fill your frying pan with oil to about ½″ to ¾″ high and heat to medium heat, about 325F (160C).
- Pan-fry the nuggets, for about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove them from the pan onto a paper-towel-lined plate and repeat with remaining nuggets.
- NOTE: Between each batch, remove the excess coating/breading from the nuggets that fall off while frying from the bottom of the pan. If you’re doubling the recipe, you might have to drain the oil from the pan, remove the fallen debris, and continue.
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.
- Serving Size: 2 nuggets
- Calories: 210
- Sugar: 2.2g
- Sodium: 83.3mg
- Fat: 5.6g
- Saturated Fat: 1.8g
- Carbohydrates: 8.3g
- Fiber: 3.7g
- Protein: 30g
- Cholesterol: 144.7mg
Keywords: gluten free chicken nuggets
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!
Thank you for letting others know that they were a hit for you Nina!
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… 🙂
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.
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!
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.
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.
So glad it was a winning recipe at your house!
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. 🙂
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 🙂
Yes we can – thank you! I appreciate your quick response – can’t wait to try these!
My son has an egg allergy – any suggestions for a wash other than egg?
Thanks and looking forward to trying these!
Can you do milk? You’ll need the coating to stick to something “wet” or I’m guessing a flax egg will work too.
Would a different grain free flour such as Almond or Chestnut work instead of Coconut Flour?
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.
Were can I get that small white box “stage” or what is the correct name for it.
Paulette, this is the one I have.
Hello ! I was wondering if I could ” bake ” instead of frying the chicken nuggets for this recipe
I am sure you could but they won’t be crispy and the crust won’t be as good.
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.
as long as you liked them… these are not dipped in oil though, just pan fried.
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!
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.
mom of 5
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′! 🙂
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.
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! 🙂
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
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
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!
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!
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.
So glad your entire family loved these!
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.
Either. It won’t. the coconut smell sort of cooks off… if that makes any sense.
mom of 5
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! 🙂
yes, regular flour will work but don’t expect it to have the same “texture” at all. you’ll need to add breadcrumbs too.
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.
I do. These are all of the lunchbox supplies I use. 🙂
My kids love Chik fil a, Im going to have to try this recipe!
Love this idea! How do you cook the frozen nuggets, though? Thanks for all you do!
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.
Is it better to freeze them cooked or uncooked?
I freeze uncooked. Just like on the video.
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
Thanks Kelly! They freeze great. Make a big batch and you have them for later.