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
  • 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

Baked Chicken Nuggets


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

Description

  1. 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 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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    43 comments
  1. 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?

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

  3. 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.

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

    ❤️❤️
    Tiffany
    Phlanx’s Marketing Specialist

  5. 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 🙁

    • 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

  9. 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! 👏🏼👏🏼

  10. 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.

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

  12. This recipe looks great! I have a child with an egg allergy. Do you have a suggestion for an egg replacement for this recipe? Thanks!

  13. We followed this step by step, used an entire jar of pickle juice, the Almond flour absolutely did not come out golden as the picture shows. This was a waste of time and food. I would suggest anyone making this use regular flour and fry not bake your nuggets. Mine was a white almond tasteless m

  14. Hi! Would it work in an air fryer? I just got one for Christmas and i really want to use this recipe for that.. it sounds amazing

  15. Can I freeze this and re-heat in the microwave? My daughter LOVES chicken nuggets and I’d like a healthier (and cheaper) option that I can make at home.

    • Hey Dakia – I haven’t tried freezing these nuggets, so I can’t say from personal experience, but I think it would be just fine to freeze and re-heat in the microwave. Definitely come back and let me know if you do try this so I know how they turn out once frozen. 🙂

  16. What if I don’t have any pickle juice? Any other options? I don’t really want to go buy pickles I won’t eat…lol
    Also, I have some pecan flour…do you think that would work also? I understand it would give a different flavor, but have you ever used it this way?

    • Hey Melissa – You can definitely skip the pickle juice, it just adds nice juiciness and flavor to the chicken. I haven’t tried using anything besides almond flour, but I’m sure pecan flour would work just fine! Definitely let me know how these nuggets turn out for you if you try them. 🙂

  17. I would have never thought to marinate the chicken in pickle juice. Very interesting. I’m looking forward to trying this one!

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