Healthy Baked Chicken Nuggets

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!

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:

If you try these healthy chicken nuggets, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how they turned out! Your feedback is super helpful for the EBF team and other EBF readers.

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

Baked Chicken Nuggets


  • Author: Brittany Mullins
  • Prep Time: 12 hours
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 12 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4

Description

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


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

  1. Marinate chicken 8-12 hours in pickle juice.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  3. Place almond flour, paprika, garlic, sea salt and black pepper in a small bowl. Stir to combine.
  4. Crack egg into another shallow bowl and whisk.
  5. 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.
  • Category: Lunch/Dinner
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories: 339
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Sodium: 846mg
  • Fat: 16g
  • Carbohydrates: 6g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 43g

Keywords: baked chicken nuggets

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Recipe rating

    65 comments
    1. Courtney
      April 9, 2021 AT 8:12 pm

      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 🙂

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

      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.

    3. Angie
      March 2, 2021 AT 7:10 pm

      Flavor was amazing, whole family loved them even my 2 year old who normally won’t eat chicken nuggets. Here are a few tips for anyone reading the comments:

      Don’t cut your nugget chunks too small, you’ll end up needing more “coating”halfway through.

      They turn out crispier if you put them on parchment paper and not the rack. I tried both methods and the breading was softer on the rack.

      I didn’t try this yet but next time I will not be flipping the chicken. Too much breading came off while flipping.

      If anyone has tried these in an air fryer please comment on how it turned out and what settings you used.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 2, 2021 AT 11:16 pm

        Thanks for sharing, Angie!! So glad these chicken nuggets turned out for you. I appreciate you coming back to leave a comment + star rating!

    4. Brittney
      February 6, 2021 AT 12:16 pm

      How would you recommend reheating these? I want to meal prep them for the week.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 6, 2021 AT 6:35 pm

        Hey Brittney, You could reheat them in the oven/toaster oven or microwave, but I would do the oven/toaster oven!

    5. Heidi
      January 24, 2021 AT 11:09 am

      My family loves chick-Fil-a, so I am looking forward to trying this recipe. Just to clarify however, is it sweet, dill or sour pickle juice that the chicken is to be marinated in?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 24, 2021 AT 8:08 pm

        Hey Heidi – I used dill pickle juice. I’ll make that note in the post!

    6. Stefani
      October 5, 2020 AT 9:41 pm

      Sooo good! I forgot to marinate in the pickle juice all day- so I chopped up my chicken and let marinate for about 30 minutes while I prepped everything else – worked great! We used a baking rack and did have issues with the bottom breading sticking so I will spray the rack with avocado oil next time. Definitely a keeper in our house though, the flavors and ease of the recipe were amazing!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        October 7, 2020 AT 10:02 pm

        So glad this recipe was a hit, Stefani. Thanks for making it and for coming back to leave a comment + star rating. I appreciate it!

    7. Ryan
      September 25, 2020 AT 8:42 pm

      Oh my god… these are frigging amazing!! Just came out of the oven and damned if they’re not the tastiest chicken nuggets I’ve ever had.
      Did them just as instructed and marinated them for 8 hours in dill pickle juice. Cooked on parchment paper and unlike many, no issues with the almond flour staying on when I flipped them at the 10 minute mark. Another 13 minutes and they were done to perfection.
      I going to have a hard time not eating the entire lot of them immediately after I submit this review. 😃

      1. Brittany Mullins
        September 28, 2020 AT 3:04 pm

        Ahh that makes me so happy to hear, Ryan!! I’m so glad these nuggets turned out for you. Thanks for making them and for coming back to leave a comment + star rating. I so appreciate it!!

    8. Jenna
      July 9, 2020 AT 8:54 pm

      They came out super dry and tasted way to much pickle juice. Do not recommend.

      1. Lauren
        July 20, 2020 AT 8:19 pm

        I normally bake chicken strips at 350 for 12 minutes. I did these for 14 min at 425 and they came out about the same, I was worried about over dryness. GF all purpose flour didn’t make it crispy, but I love the flavor

      2. Brittany Mullins
        July 9, 2020 AT 11:41 pm

        Hey Jenna – I’m sorry to hear this recipe didn’t turn out for you. Did you change anything about the recipe?

    9. Brandi
      May 5, 2020 AT 11:21 pm

      I’ve tried lots of healthy chicken nugget recipes and the “breading” always falls off. After reading the comments and seeing other people were struggling with the breading falling off with this recipe, I decided not to turn them at the 10 minute mark. We had no problems. They were crispy and delicious. And we didn’t even have time to marinate in pickle juice! Also used your CFA sauce copy cat with avocado oil mayo instead of cashews and it was amazing! #guiltfreeCFA Thank you!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        May 6, 2020 AT 11:22 pm

        Thanks so much for sharing your tips, Brandi! I’m glad these chicken nuggets turned out for you. 🙂 And I’m glad you also enjoyed the CFA sauce!! Thanks for trying and for coming back to leave a comment and star rating. It’s super helpful to other readers!

    10. Conan
      May 4, 2020 AT 7:23 pm

      wonderful recipe

    11. Maureen Russell
      April 17, 2020 AT 3:06 pm

      What type of pickle juice do you use?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        April 17, 2020 AT 6:39 pm

        Dil pickle juice!

    12. Nic
      April 2, 2020 AT 2:56 pm

      Hi Brittany – these were really really tasty. I didn’t modify the recipe or instructions but the breading didn’t stay on the chicken very well. The bits that survived cooking fell off as soon as I dipped them into the sauce (which was delish!) The flavors were all excellent but I’d have preferred the breading remain. Any thoughts?

    13. Lisbeth Wastlund
      March 8, 2020 AT 1:41 pm

      My husband and I enjoyed these on top of a big salad with homemade honey mustard dressing. They were so tasty!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 9, 2020 AT 4:38 pm

        Yay!! So glad these baked nuggets were a hit!! Thanks for trying my recipe and for coming back to leave a comment and star rating. It means the world to me. <3

    14. SUNAH KIM
      February 17, 2020 AT 8:52 pm

      Hi, should I use a certain kind of pickle juice?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 18, 2020 AT 3:14 pm

        No! I just used regular dill pickle juice.

    15. Lauren
      February 17, 2020 AT 8:11 pm

      So sad – I used the cooking rack on top of the baking sheet to make it crisper, and when I flipped the chicken after 10 minutes, the breading came completely off the bottom! I guess it’s just plain white chicken now.

      1. Olivia H
        February 20, 2020 AT 8:03 pm

        the same thing happened to me and the flour didn’t cook through all the way 🙁

      2. Brittany Mullins
        February 18, 2020 AT 3:15 pm

        Oh no!! I’m so sorry to hear that, Lauren. 🙁 Did you change anything about the recipe?

    16. Tiffany
      January 22, 2020 AT 6:26 pm

      These are my “go-to” chicken nuggets. I love them! Easy and great tasting! Perfect for kids and adults.

      ❤️❤️
      Tiffany
      Phlanx’s Marketing Specialist

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 23, 2020 AT 4:20 pm

        Ahh that makes me so happy to hear, Tiffany! I’m so glad these nuggets are a hit. 🙂

    17. Vanesa
      January 22, 2020 AT 4:29 pm

      I am an EBF fan so I hate to leave a bad review but these didn’t work for me either. I followed the recipe exactly and did the wire rack as suggested to come out more crispy. Did you mean to put directly on the wire rack or on parchment paper on top of a wire rack? I did parchment paper over a wire rack over a baking sheet and so far I tried flipping at 10 min and 15 min and batter was still falling off 🙁

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 23, 2020 AT 4:25 pm

        Hey Vanesa! I’m so sorry to hear that these nuggets didn’t turn out for you. 🙁 So, you could have either placed the nuggets directly on the baking sheet with parchment paper OR just the wire rack on top of the baking sheet without the parchment paper. Using the wire rack will result in crisper nuggets, so the added parchment paper with the rack might have caused your nuggets to not crisp up as good.

    18. Bailey
      January 20, 2020 AT 11:33 pm

      These were awesome! My husband and I devoured these. Very good lightened up version of chicken nuggets. I am going to try making a big batch to freeze next time for a quick meal later.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 21, 2020 AT 12:02 pm

        Yay!! That makes me so happy to hear, Bailey. Thanks so much for coming back to leave a comment + star rating. I so appreciate it!

    19. Ashley
      January 17, 2020 AT 9:36 pm

      These are so good! Make them with the sauce and you’ll never need to go to ChickFila again.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 18, 2020 AT 5:32 pm

        Yay!! I’m so happy that these nuggets turned out for you, Ashley! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment and star rating, I so appreciate it! <3

    20. Alesia
      January 16, 2020 AT 7:33 pm

      The batter didn’t stay on the chicken once done. Good flavor but it just didn’t stick and crisp up like I was hoping.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 17, 2020 AT 12:59 pm

        Hi Alesia! I’m so sorry that the batter didn’t stick to the chicken for you. Did you change anything about the recipe?

    21. Alesia Mitchell-Bailey
      January 16, 2020 AT 1:18 pm

      I plan on making these soon. Do you have any idea if they would come out the same in an air fryer? Thx.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 16, 2020 AT 1:53 pm

        I haven’t tried these in the air fryer, but I bet it would work great! Let me know if you try it.

    22. Bevie
      January 15, 2020 AT 3:44 pm

      Did you make a dipping sauce with these ?

    23. Janelle
      January 14, 2020 AT 1:13 am

      This is the only nugget recipe I need- ever! I just made these with some garlic-y pickle brine I made this Summer (similar to Claussen’s), and I can’t believe how amazingly delicious they are. I could eat the whole bird I think! 👏🏼👏🏼

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 15, 2020 AT 1:07 am

        Ahh this makes me so happy reading, Janelle!! Thanks for trying my recipe and for coming back to leave a comment and star rating. It means the world to me. <3

    24. Kristi
      January 13, 2020 AT 1:24 pm

      My kids loved these! They already want to know when I’m making them again.

      These were delicious and fairly simple to make. We loved both the Chick-fil-a sauce and the BBQ sauce on its own.

      Next time, I’ll make tenders to save a bit of time on prep. I had a problem with a lot of the breading falling off — not sure what the issue was there, but I’ll try again, maybe with a different flour.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 13, 2020 AT 2:33 pm

        Hey Kristi – I’m so glad your kids loved these nuggets! 🙂 What flour did you use, almond?

        1. Kristi
          January 22, 2020 AT 12:45 pm

          Hello! I used Wegman’s Almond Meal Flour.Maybe Bob’s Red Mill would be better?

    25. Sharon Johnson Theodore
      January 13, 2020 AT 11:50 am

      Hi,
      I love your recipes. However, I am allergic to almonds and cannot use almond flour. Can you recommend an alternative?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 16, 2020 AT 2:09 pm

        Hi Sharon! Good question. If you’re not worried about the nuggets being grain-free/gluten-free, you could try regular flour. Let me know if you decide to experiment and how they turn out!

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