Move over fast food nuggets, because Healthy Chicken Nuggets are here! These mouth watering nuggets can be made in either the oven or an air fryer. They’re made complete with copycat Chick-fil-A sauce!
How to make chicken nuggets video
The best chicken nuggets of all time
Here are three words that you don’t normally expect to find in the same sentence: healthy chicken nuggets. Surprisingly, however, the truth is that if prepared using certain methods, you can actually create chicken nuggets that really aren’t that “bad” for you!
In fact, this recipe creates little bites of perfectly baked or air fried nuggets that in my opinion are better than the “real” deal or what you’d get at your favorite fast food joint. We use almond flour and bread crumbs (more on the how in a minute) to create “crispy” nuggets baked or fried to perfection.
As if this recipe wasn’t already great enough, we’re taking it a step further by creating our very own dipping sauce! If you’ve had Chick-fil-A sauce, this will taste pretty similar. It’s a great copycat option if you’re trying to achieve the delicious flavor at home!
This recipe is absolutely perfect for serving to guests or kiddos. Anyone who takes a bite will instantly be hooked! Now, let’s dive into the nitty gritty.
Ingredients used to make healthy chicken nuggets and dipping sauce
We’ll be using two sections of ingredients for this recipe. Part will be for breading and preparing the air fried chicken nuggets, and the rest will be for creating the dipping sauce!
- Chicken breasts
- Pickle juice
- Almond flour
- Very finely crushed crackers, I used Simple Mills almond flour crackers (or breadcrumbs also work)
- Smoked paprika
Chick-fil-A Dipping Sauce:
- Dijon mustard
- Yellow mustard
Tools used to make baked chicken nuggets (or air fried!)
We’ll need a variety of tools to create this recipe, including mixing bowls, measuring cups, and more. Below is a complete list!
- Baking sheet (if baking)
- Aluminum foil (if baking)
- Nonstick spray
- Cutting board
- Cutting knife
- Small mixing bowl
- Large mixing bowl
- Stirring utensil
- Measuring cups: 1/4 tsp, 1/2 tsp, 1 tsp, 1 tbsp 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, and 1 cup
How to make healthy chicken nuggets
Creating healthy chicken nuggets involves choosing your own method. You can select the oven for a classic breaded baked chicken option, or you can use an air fryer for a crispier faux fast food feel. Either way, it’s an easy recipe!
To begin making this recipe, first determine whether you’ll be using the oven or an air fryer.
If baking, preheat the oven to 450F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Grease well.
If air frying, preheat the air fryer to 400F.
Next, cut the chicken breasts into nugget sized bites.
Whisk the eggs and pickle juice together.
In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cracker crumbs, paprika, salt, and pepper.
Dip each chicken nugget into the egg mixture, and then into the flour mixture. Be sure to coat the chicken along the sides and press down to cover all of the surfaces. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
Next, skip to either the baking or air frying steps.
Line the nuggets on the foiled and greased baking sheet.
Bake for 5-6 minutes, and then flip. Bake for another 5-6 minutes, or until golden brown. The internal temperature should reach 165F before removing from the oven.
To air fry:
Once the fryer is preheated to 400F, spray the basket with nonstick spray.
Place the chicken nuggets in the basket in an even layer, being sure not to stack on top of each other.
Fry for 9-11 minutes, shaking once halfway through.
The chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165F before removing from the fryer.
Healthy chicken nugget FAQs
Here’s some recipe information that should help you when creating this meal. If you still have questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!
Can I omit pickle juice?
If you’re not a fan of pickles, feel free to leave out the juice. It does help to give the nuggets their slight tangy punch, but it’s not a required ingredient.
Do frozen chicken nuggets work in the air fryer?
Yes! They can actually be cooked from frozen and should take about 10-12 minutes.
Can you store baked chicken nuggets?
I do not recommend storing already cooked chicken nuggets, as the breading can get soggy when the temperature changes. Instead, try to prepare exactly what you’ll need.
How do you store the sauce?
Unlike the chicken nuggets, the copycat Chick-fil-A sauce can be stored for later. Keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator and eat within a couple of days.
In the mood for some more healthy chicken recipes?
Here are a bunch! Chicken is a great base for creating a filling, protein-rich meal. Below are some of my favorite chicken entrees that the entire family will love!
- Healthy Chicken Pot Pie Soup (Dairy-Free)
- Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potato Casserole
- Healthier Buffalo Chicken Dip
- Barbecue Chicken Spaghetti Squash Boats
- 3 large chicken breasts
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp pickle juice
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/3 cup very finely crushed crackers (you can also use breadcrumbs, but I used Simple Mills almond flour crackers in a food processor)
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
Chick-Fil-A Dipping Sauce
- 1/4 cup mayo
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp yellow mustard
- 1 tbsp ketchup
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- If baking, preheat oven to 450F and line baking sheet with aluminum foil and oil well. If air-frying, preheat air frier to 400F.
- Cut chicken breasts into nugget size bites.
- Whisk together eggs and pickled juice.
- In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cracker crumbs, paprika, salt, and pepper.
- Dip each chicken nugget into the egg mixture, then into the flour mixture, being sure to coat both sides and pressing the mixture on to cover all surfaces. Repeat with remaining chicken.
- Line nuggets on foiled + greased baking sheet. Bake for 5-6 minutes, then flip, and bake for another 5-6 minutes or until golden brown and internal temp reaches 165F.
TO AIR FRY:
- Once preheated to 400F, spray basket with nonstick spray. Place in chicken nuggets, in an even layer, not stacking on top of each other.
- Fry for 9-11 minutes, turning once halfway through. Chicken should reach internal temp of 165F.
There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use myself. Thank you for supporting Erin Lives Whole, it helps keep this blog afloat 🙂