Healthy Baked Chicken Nuggets

DF GF

These healthy baked chicken nuggets are coated in a crispy almond flour breading and baked instead of fried. And you only need 8 ingredients!

I have been a chicken nugget fan for as long as I can remember. I used to think they were the healthy option at fast food restaurants. While they probably are healthier than some options on the menu, they still weren’t that healthy! You went wild for my baked chicken tenders so I decided to create a healthy chicken nugget recipe that rivals Chick-Fil-A nuggets… I actually think mine are better, but you can be the judge.

Plate with baked chicken nuggets and a dipping bowl with homemade Chick-Fil-A sauce.

How to Make the Perfect Baked Chicken Nuggets

I have a secret tip for you. Are you ready? Marinate the chicken breasts in pickle juice. Sounds so weird, right? But many believe that’s exactly what Chick-Fil-A does to really flavor their chicken and it makes sense!

So to make these nuggets, you’ll start by marinating them in pickle juice for 8-12 hours, or overnight. After marinating, discard the pickle juice and make your breading.

In a shallow bowl, mix the almond flour and spices. Crack and whisk the egg in a different shallow bowl. One at a time, take the chicken pieces and dredge them in the egg. Wipe excess egg off and then dip in the almond flour mixture – making sure the entire piece is coated.

Hand placing an almond flour breaded chicken nugget on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper

Place nuggets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a wire rack that fits on a baking sheet. Using a wire rack will result in crispier nuggets! Cook until golden brown and completely cooked through.

Are Chicken Nuggets Healthy?

Most of the time I wouldn’t consider chicken nuggets to be a healthy food option, but these are! They are made with minimal ingredients and baked instead of fried! Here’s what you need for these healthy chicken nuggets:

  • chicken breasts
  • dill pickle juice
  • beaten egg
  • almond flour
  • spices – garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper

Compared to McDonald’s chicken nuggets (which involve lots of oil, white flour and natural flavors), I’ll take my version any day.

What to Serve With Chicken Nuggets

First things first: SAUCE! You can’t have chicken nuggets without dipping sauce, right?! I love honey mustard sauce, vegan ranch, healthy BBQ sauce or my new fave: healthy Chick-Fil-A sauce.

Fries are an obvious choice to pair with nuggets! My sweet potato fries are fan favorites, but if you’re feeling creative, I highly recommend my turnip fries or jicama fries.

If you’re dealing with a picky eater, this is the perfect example of how healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring. Chicken nuggets and vegetable fries for dinner? Kids love this meal! You can also pair nuggets with protein-packed healthy mac and cheese or vegan mac and cheese.

Of course, if you want to go the extra healthy route you could pair the nuggets with a green veggie side like roasted brussels sprouts or green beans or serve the nuggets over a salad.

A plate piled with healthy baked chicken nuggets and honey mustard sauce.

More Healthy Chicken Recipes to Try

Baked Chicken Nuggets

4 from 57 votes
These healthy baked chicken nuggets are coated in a crispy almond flour breading and baked instead of fried. And you only need 8 ingredients!
Plate with baked chicken nuggets and a dipping bowl with homemade Chick-Fil-A sauce.
Prep Time 12 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lb organic boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks/nuggets
  • ½ cup dill pickle juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Marinate chicken 8-12 hours in pickle juice.
  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Place almond flour, paprika, garlic, sea salt and black pepper in a small bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Crack egg into another shallow bowl and whisk.
  • One by one, dredge each chicken nugget in the egg bowl, wiping off any excess and then dip each into the almond flour mixture. Roll until each nugget is covered completely. Place the coated nuggets on a baking pan lined with parchment paper or a wire rack that fits on a baking sheet. The wire rack will make for a crispier texture. Bake for 20-30 minutes, flipping the nuggets once at the 10 minute mark. When done the chicken nuggets should be golden brown, crisp and completely cooked through. Remove nuggets from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of recipe Calories: 339kcal Carbohydrates: 6g Protein: 43g Fat: 16g Sodium: 846mg Fiber: 2g Sugar: 1g
Course: Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baked chicken nuggets

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

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Recipe Rating




    71 comments
    1. Gommy
      October 26, 2021 AT 4:19 pm

      5 stars
      Very tasty and I’ll be baking these again. It fits into my new gluten free/sugar free diet change. It’s a whole lot easier when the recipe turns out tasty and doesn’t leave the rest of the family unsatisfied.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        October 27, 2021 AT 10:53 am

        So happy to hear you enjoyed this baked chicken nuggets, Vicky. Thanks so much for trying them out and coming back to leave a review. I really appreciate it!

    2. Amy
      August 24, 2021 AT 4:26 pm

      Hello, is there any way I can make this without the pickle juice? I am allergic to pickles. I know it is just the marinade, but can I use it without it?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        August 24, 2021 AT 9:39 pm

        Totally! No need to use the pickle juice if you are allergic. The recipe will still turn out well!

    3. Tammy Frankenberger
      August 14, 2021 AT 8:02 pm

      Could these be made with a gluten-free flour that’s not almond meal for those who have a nut allergy?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        August 16, 2021 AT 5:17 pm

        I haven’t tried a sub for the flour in this recipe. Maybe oat flour or GF all-purpose flour would work? Let me know if you try it and how these nuggets turn out.

    4. Courtney
      April 9, 2021 AT 8:12 pm

      5 stars
      My nephew was recently put on a highly restrictive diet to help with a variety of issues. To a 9 year old, that was crushing. I knew to lift his spirits, I’d have to make a meal that tastes like something he loves! These chicken nuggets are now famous in my family. Made them once and I am never allowed to make ANY other kind! This is not my first recipe from EBF but my first review. Any recipe I’ve ever tried from Brittany has gotten rave reviews from my picky husband! Thanks Brittany for providing the world with your delicious and healthy recipes!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        April 9, 2021 AT 9:46 pm

        Woo!! This makes me so happy to hear! So glad this recipe was a hit, Courtney. Thanks for coming back to leave a review 🙂

    5. Nicole
      March 26, 2021 AT 11:33 am

      3 stars
      I made a double batch and followed this recipe exactly and my results were only so-so.
      Pros: still edible with ketchup or bbq sauce, lasted us 3.5 meals (2 people)
      Cons: chicken was dry, especially after storing in fridge. Pickle flavor was way too strong. Coating does not stick to the chicken very well so it becomes basically just baked chicken nuggets with little breading.
      Overall I was not a fan and will look for other ways to make healthy chicken meals.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 26, 2021 AT 5:24 pm

        So sorry this recipe didn’t turn out for you, Nicole! Did you change anything about the recipe for the coating? And how long did you cook the nuggets? I’m wondering if they were baked too long which caused them to be dry.

Parchment paper lined with protein balls.

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