Skip the drive-thru and save some cash with this easy copycat Chick-fil-A Chicken Nuggets recipe! With a perfectly golden exterior and a tender, juicy center, this is THE chicken nuggets recipe you need in your life.

Best of all, they are made with fewer than 10 ingredients and will be ready for munching in just 40 minutes!

Pair them with our homemade Jalapeno Ranch Dressing or your favorite honey mustard sauce for the perfect bite!

Copycat Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets and waffle fries with a mustard sauce sitting on a pieces of brown paper.

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Why I Love This Recipe

As much as I love Chick-fil-A, I have to admit: I’m not one for waiting in line. No matter when I drive by our fast food haven, there seems to be a line around the block!

When I discovered how to make this copycat recipe I was floored – they taste just like the real thing!

These copycat Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets are:

  • Quick & Easy. It turns out, you can have your very own pickle-brined bits of chicken goodness ready in less time than it’d take you to get some from the take-out line. The whole recipe takes just 40 minutes, start to finish!
  • Wholesome & Nutritious. Made with boneless, skinless chicken breasts and all-natural ingredients, you can feel good about feeding these tasty little bites to the whole family!
  • Budget-Friendly. Making your own copycat nuggets means you have 25-30 perfectly golden bites of goodness for about the same price as an 8-piece order from the restaurant.

Ingredients

  • Chicken Breasts – Boneless skinless chicken breasts are essential to creating a perfect dupe for Chick-fil-A’s famed nuggets, but there’s no law against using dark meat if you prefer!
  • Pickle Juice – Chick-fil-A’s chicken has a slightly sweet undertone, which I think comes from using bread and butter pickle juice. Feel free to swap in tangier dill pickle juice if you prefer.
  • Seasonings – Smoked paprika, black pepper and coarse sea salt.
  • White Flour – I use regular all-purpose flour for this recipe, but you can easily swap in a cup-for-cup gluten-free flour mixture if needed.
  • Whole Milk – Whole milk has a denser viscosity than 2% or skim, which helps with adhesion. If all you have on hand is a lower-fat milk option, it’ll be fine.
  • Egg
  • Oil – Choose a neutral oil with a high smoke point whenever you plan on frying. I suggest vegetable oil, corn oil, or peanut oil.

How To Make Copycat Chick-fil-A Chicken Nuggets

See recipe card below for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

Making a batch of Chick-fil-A nuggets is actually pretty straightforward. Here’s how it’s done:

  • Brine Chicken. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and place them into a bowl. Pour the pickle juice over the chicken and allow the chicken to marinate for 20 minutes in the fridge.
  • Set Up Your Breading Station. Remove the chicken from the fridge and combine the spices and flour together in a shallow dish. In another shallow dish, whisk together the milk and egg until homogenous.
  • Dredge & Repeat. Dip chicken pieces in the milk mixture and toss in the flour mixture. Complete this dredging process twice for each chicken nugget.
  • Fry. Heat a pan with ½ inch of oil over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, gently drop in the chicken nuggets in a single layer and allow them to cook for about five minutes, or until golden brown. Flip the nuggets and cook for an additional five minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Drain. Set the finished nuggets on paper towels to drain.
Collage of images showing how to make chicken nuggets.
Chicken nuggets and waffle fries on brown paper.

Recipe FAQs

Oh no, I’m out of pickle juice! What can I use instead?

Don’t fret! So long as you have either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar plus a few spices on hand, you can make a quick pickle brine. Pro Tip: Have some leftovers after making the brine? Use it to make a pickle ranch dipping sauce. YUM!

Can I make these copycat nuggets gluten-free?

Absolutely! That’s one of the bonuses of making your own food at home. Simply swap in a cup-for-cup gluten-free all-purpose flour substitute.

Can I freeze the chicken nuggets after I fry them?

Yep! They’ll keep for up to 2 months. Simply reheat them in the air fryer at 390°F, oven at 375°F, or microwave until they are heated through.

How To Serve

Once I make a batch of these Chick-fil-A-style chicken nuggets, I have a hard time not finishing them before guests arrive. They’re so dang good! That said, here are my favorite ways to serve them:

  • With dipping sauces. Tangy ketchup, smoky barbecue sauce, creamy ranch, honey mustard, or even my delicious Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce – the options are nearly endless. Chick-fil-A has also started selling bottles of their famed dipping sauces at major retailers like Target and Kroger if you want to be super authentic.
  • Atop mashed potatoes. A big bowl of mashed potatoes topped with crispy chicken nuggets, some crunchy sweet corn, and a drizzle of sauce? That’s comfort in a bowl.
  • In salads. Want to spruce up that boring plate of greens? Add some fried chicken to your favorite Garden Salad or Arugula Salad.
  • In wraps. Chicken nuggets, crispy lettuce, melty cheese, & some kind of sauce wrapped up in a tortilla? That’s my kind of lunch.
Chicken nugget dipped in sauce.

Variations

As I’m sure you already know, Chick-fil-A nuggets are pretty perfect. However, there’s always room for customization in my kitchen. Here are a few ideas to get your wheels turning:

  • Make them spicy. Add a little bit of spice by adding one-half teaspoon of chili powder.
  • Make them bigger. Turn them into chicken tenders by cutting your breasts into strips instead of cubes. 
  • Or turn them into a chicken sandwich! Pound out your chicken breast until it is an even thickness, then follow the recipe as written. When the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, slap it on a toasted bun with a swoosh of mayo, a crispy piece of lettuce, and a slice of American cheese. YUM!

Storage

  • To freeze, let the nuggets cool completely, then lay them out on a baking sheet and pop them in the freezer. Once they’re solid, transfer to a freezer where you can store them for up to two months. 
  • Refrigerate leftovers, stored in an airtight container, for about 3 days after being cooked.
  • Simply reheat them in the microwave, air fryer at 390°F, or oven at 375°F until heated through.

Expert Tips

  • Don’t overdo the pickle brine. It is important not to over-marinate the chicken in the pickle juice. The acidity will tenderize the chicken up to a point, and then it’ll start to give the nuggets a bit of a funky, mushy texture. 
  • Have a dry hand and a wet hand for the dredging process. You want the breading to stick to the nuggets, not your hands! Check out this video to see what I mean. 
  • Buy frozen chicken breasts to save cash. I often find that frozen chicken breasts are cheaper by the pound than fresh. Check prices at your grocery store to be sure, but don’t write off the frozen aisle!
  • Save your fry oil. Speaking of saving money, there’s nothing more wasteful than using a bottle of oil to fry a batch of nuggets only to toss it out! You can easily strain and reuse your fry oil several times to save resources.
Chick Fil A Chicken nuggets copycat with waffle fries in a basket.

More Chicken Appetizers

Recipe

  • 3 large chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup pickle juice
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • Oil for frying
  • Pour the pickle juice over the chicken and allow the chicken to marinate for 20 minutes in the fridge.

  • Remove the chicken from the fridge and combine the spices and flour together in a shallow dish. In another shallow dish, whisk together the milk and egg until homogenous.

  • Dip each piece of chicken in the milk mixture and toss in the flour mixture. Complete this dredging process twice for each chicken nugget.

  • Heat a pan with ½ inch of oil. Once the oil is hot, gently drop in the chicken nuggets and allow them to cook for about five minutes, or until golden brown. Flip the nuggets and cook for an additional five minutes, or until golden brown.

  • Serve and enjoy!

As an appetizer/snack, this recipe will make about 6 servings of 3-5 pieces. As a meal, you’ll get about 4 servings of 6-8 pieces.

Calories: 402kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 28gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 103mgSodium: 737mgPotassium: 503mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 283IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 49mgIron: 2mg



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