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What’s for dinner?: 15-minute chicken nuggets

Categories: Food & Cooking

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Katie Workman is the Editor in Chief and Chief Marketing Officer of , a website devoted to great, tested recipes from chefs and cookbook authors, so she knows her way around the kitchen.

Ever bite into one of those warmed up frozen chicken nuggets only to peer inside and think…”What in the world in in here?”  Sometimes you get lucky and inside it looks like actual chicken.  Sometimes it looks grayish, or like some indeterminate filling that may or may not have a significant percentage of chicken inside.  And a whole lot of other miscellaneous ingredients besides.  There are over 30 ingredients in McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets*, according to their very own recipe on their website, including imethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent. Yikes. Gross.

I have been making chicken nuggets at home for a long time now, and not once have I ever foaming issues.  Look, it’s not like I haven’t bought my kids a Happy Meal once in a while, and God knows those french fries are to die for, at least while they’re hot.  But once you try your hand at these homemade chicken nuggets or tenders or strips, whatever you want to call them, you will breathe a sigh of relief at being able to give your kids something they will happily snarf down, and something you can not add to your list of things to feel guilty about.  Moms’ guilt lists are long enough already, thank you.

Use eggs or milk, or skip that step altogether if allergies or time is an issue.

15-Minute Homemade Chicken Nuggets


1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken tenders
2 eggs, or 1 cup milk or buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour
salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil


Cut the chicken into 1-inch thick strips, if you are using breasts.  Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl, or pour in the milk.  Stir up the flour with salt and pepper in another shallow bowl. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

Dip the chicken strips into the egg mixture, and let the excess drip back into the bowl.  Coat the chicken pieces in the flour mixture. Saute the chicken for about 3 minutes on each side, in batches (don’t crowd the pan) until lightly browned, and the chicken is cooked through.  Rest on paper towels for a minute to cool.

Serve with dipping sauces if you want — barbecue sauce, ketchup, mustard, whatever your kids like.


  • Use bread crumbs or panko (Japanese bread crumbs) instead of all or part of the flour
  • Add a few shakes of paprika, mustard powder or dried oregano to the flour or bread crumbs
  • Mix in 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan into the flour


Chicken McNuggets ingredients: *Brace yourself: this is lifted straight from the McDonald’s website.

White boneless chicken, water, food starch-modified, salt, seasoning (autolyzed yeast extract, salt, wheat starch, natural flavoring (botanical source), safflower oil, dextrose, citric acid, rosemary), sodium phosphates, seasoning (canola oil, mono- and diglycerides, extractives of rosemary).  Battered and breaded with: water, enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), yellow corn flour, food starch-modified, salt, leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, calcium lactate), spices, wheat starch, whey, corn starch.  Prepared in vegetable oil (may contain one of the following: Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness),
dimethylpolysiloxane (added as an antifoaming agent).

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One comment so far...

  • I have the most picky eater kid anybody can imagine he will just eat nuggets from mcd’s and he loved these, they are so easy to quick and easy to make, definitely will be in my faves recipes.

    Nancy  |  August 20th, 2009 at 2:18 am