We live miles away from a Chick-Fil-A, so the only way for us to enjoy those perfect chicken nuggets is to make our own Copycat Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets at home!
Homemade Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets Recipe
There’s a reason they call it “the Lord’s chicken” – these two-bite golden nuggets are gooooood.
I first had Chick-Fil-A when I was in Bentonville, Arkansas for the Crystal Bridges museum review, and those nuggets definitely lived up to their reputation! Slightly sweet, juicy and perfectly crispy coated nuggets that tasted “almost homemade” but better than any chicken nuggets I had eaten before.
My daughter had watched a “Mukbang” video on Youtube sampling all of the different Chick-Fil-A sauces, so while I couldn’t bring back the nuggets for her, I did bring back a whole bag of the sauces! (Yes, one of the employees definitely gave me a stink eye for that request.)
While she was content to sample her sauces with Burger King nuggets, I wanted to give her the full “Chick-Fil-A experience” and set out to perfect a copycat version of their famous nuggets – including how to make homemade Chick-Fil-A sauce.
Even if you live close to a Chick-Fil-A, it’s awesome to be able to make these Chick-Fil-A nuggets at home if you have peanut or milk allergies to consider, or just want to save money. (While our recipes calls for milk and peanut oil, you can swap those out for coconut milk or vegetable oil, respectively. I have heard that peanut oil is often safe for people with allergies because the processing separates the protein from the oil, and the protein is what triggers allergies – but please do your own research to ensure that this is safe for you.)
These homemade chicken nuggets are best enjoyed fresh and hot. We had some leftover and reheated them in the oven the next day and they weren’t nearly as good.
Keep in mind that these nuggets need to soak in a dill pickle brine for 2 hours or overnight before you start cooking them, so give yourself enough time. That brine is essential to the final flavor of the nuggets, as it delivers a punchy flavor without being overpowering. (The pickle juice is also balanced out by adding the powdered icing sugar, resulting in a umami, tart, sweet and salty taste combination that is sheer perfection.)
I hope your kids love these homemade chicken nuggets as much as my daughter does – and if you make them, let me know whether or not you think they measured up to Chick-Fil-A!
Can these Chick-fil-A nuggets be frozen? Yes, you can freeze these nuggets either after coating (before frying) or after frying. However, the taste will be different than if they were enjoyed fresh.
Can I used another cut of meat instead of breast meat? Yes, you can use any chicken cut that you like, but I personally recommend chicken breasts or chicken tenders. The taste won’t be exactly the same if you use a fattier cut, like chicken thighs, but it will still taste great.
Can I make the coating crunchier? Yes, you can achieve this by either double-coating the nuggets with the egg and flour breading, or by adding in crushed crackers or fine bread crumbs to the flour coating.
Why use peanut oil? Peanut oil has a high smoke point, so you won’t experience burning oil or the oil smoking, which adds an unpleasant taste to the food you are cooking. (Exceeding an oil’s smoke point also destroys beneficial nutrients and phytochemicals, while releasing free radicals.) Peanut oil also has a very neutral taste and you can strain and re-use it several times. It may also be healthier than other traditional frying methods. If you can’t get peanut oil, vegetable and canola oils both have high smoke points for frying food.
Can I use something else to brine the chicken instead of pickle juice? I highly recommend using dill pickle juice to brine the chicken for the most accurate copycat results, however, you can use buttermilk (or milk with a tablespoon of vinegar) or a salt water brine in it’s place.
Chick-Fil-A Nuggets Ingredients
Chicken breasts, cut into 2″ pieces <– you can use thigh meat, but I prefer the less fatty breast cut for this recipe
Dill pickle brine (just the liquid from the pickle jar)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Peanut oil <– highly recommended for any frying due to it’s high smoke point and neutral flavor, but can be replaced with vegetable or canola oil
For the Copycat Chick-Fil-A Sauce:
- Yellow mustard
- Dijon mustard
- BBQ sauce <– you can alternatively just use brown sugar in place of the BBQ sauce and honey, if desired
- Lemon juice
Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.
Tip: if you need to avoid milk, use coconut milk. Use vegetable oil if there is a peanut oil allergy concern.
Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful
- Deep fryer or dutch oven, for frying <– dutch ovens are great for deep frying, making stock, homemade tomato sauce, etc. They keep a consistent temperature, don’t warp, and can seamlessly transition from stovetop to oven. I love the versatility of mine and it has lasted for over a decade and still going strong!
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Sharp kitchen knife
- Small bowls
- Spiral strainer <– this is essential for any deep frying recipe, as it removes the food without the oil and is super easy to clean
How to Make Chick-Fil-A Nuggets
Place the dill pickle brine in a container with a lid.
Cut the chicken in nugget pieces and then place in the dill pickle brine.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
In a shallow dish, combine the flour, powdered icing sugar, and seasoning. Set aside.
In a second dish, combine the milk and egg.
Place the 2 cups of peanut oil in a heavy pot (like a Dutch oven) over medium heat.
Dip each piece of chicken in the milk mixture, then dredge in the flour mixture.
When the oil is hot, add the nuggets 4-5 at a time and fry until golden, about 3-4 minutes.
Remove the nuggets from the oil and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
Repeat with all nuggets.
How to Make Chick Fil A Sauce
For the Chick-Fil-A sauce, combine all sauce ingredients together and whisk until well-blended.
Grab your free printable for our copycat Chick-Fil-A Nuggets recipe:
I highly recommend doubling or tripling this recipe if your family would want more than a few nuggets each. As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases. Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.
For the Copycat Chick-Fil-A Sauce:
Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 481Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 106mgSodium: 805mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 2gSugar: 19gProtein: 25g
I highly recommend doubling or tripling this recipe if your family would want more than a few nuggets each.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.
These homemade chicken nuggets are a great way to save money while still feeling completely indulged!