Crispy Baked Chicken Nuggets – With a semi-picky 21-month-old and several nights a week that it’s just the two of us for dinner, I run out of ideas (and patience) of what to feed him in order to get the necessary nutrients into his body. I really do not want to default to chicken nuggets, especially store-bought or fast-food, all the time. I want him to eat a variety of foods and be well-rounded. Right now, though, it seems like all he’s going to eat are chicken nuggets, fruit, and sweet potatoes. Awesome. 🙂
When I picked up an America’s Test Kitchen Light & Healthy issue and saw crispy baked chicken nuggets as one of the recipes, I knew I had to try it to see if it would win the approval of Jack.
It won and it won in a BIG way. He didn’t even need to dip them in ketchup. 😉 He did, however, dip several in applesauce (what??) at the end of the meal.
This isn’t a super fast recipe because the chicken pieces need to marinate for 30 minutes, then you dip and batter them, then they rest, and finally they are baked. It comes together quickly once it gets going, but it’s definitely not a 30 minute type of meal. Well worth the extra few minutes, though. I froze the extra pieces for later emergency meal options, too.
Crispy Baked Chicken Nuggets
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
- 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ½ tsp. onion powder
- ½ tsp.
- garlic powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 3 cups panko bread crumbs
- 2 tbsp. canola oil
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- 2 large eggs
- Vegetable oil spray
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Cut each chicken breast into thirds and then crosswise into ½-inch thick pieces. In a medium bowl, toss chicken with Worcestershire, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt, then add in buttermilk and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 475°F. In a large skillet over medium heat, combine panko and oil and toast bread crumbs, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Transfer toasted bread crumbs to a shallow dish and let cool.
3. In a second shallow dish combine flour and baking soda. Beat eggs in a third dish with a fork until foamy.
4. Spray an oven-safe wire rack with vegetable oil spray and set inside of a parchment lined baking sheet.
5. Remove chicken from refrigerator and marinade and pat dry. Season to taste with black pepper. Working with a few pieces at a time, dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess. then coat with egg mixture and the bread crumbs, pressing bread crumbs to chicken pieces if necessary. Transfer chicken to prepared wire rack and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
6. Lightly spray tops of chicken pieces with vegetable oil spray and bake until chicken reaches 160°F, 10-12 minutes.
adapted from America’s Test Kitchen, Light & Healthy 2012.