Healthy Baked Chicken Nuggets
Healthy Baked Chicken Nuggets aren't just for kids! They make a quick and easy lunch or dinner that we all love. These gluten-free and paleo chicken nuggets are crispy and delicious and can easily be made ahead and frozen. Perfect for meal prep!
The last time I ate chicken nuggets I was probably a teenager. And why (WHY?) haven't I had them since? They're every bit as good as I remember them being. I feel like a fool for waiting so long to reacquaint myself with my childhood favorite lunch.
The chicken nuggets I remember from when I was a kid came in a package stored in the freezer. They were easy enough for 7-year-old me to pull out the package, put a few (several dozen) onto a baking tray and pop in the oven. I've got a batch of these healthy baked chicken nuggets in my freezer right now cause somedays 40-year-old me still needs an easy to make lunch.
What's awesome about these healthy baked chicken nuggets
- Crispy on the outside and tender meat inside = delicious.
- They're super easy to make. Not as easy as opening a pre-made bag, but 100% worth the few extra steps.
- They are made with all good for you ingredients.
- Paleo + gluten-free chicken nuggets.
- Freezer friendly so you can make a big batch and cook them as you want them.
Gluten-free chicken nuggets ingredients
The nice thing about making homemade chicken nuggets is that you control exactly what goes into them. There are no scary or hard to pronounce ingredients. There are 4 things you'll need to make these:
- Chicken. I cut up chicken breasts but you could easily substitute chicken tenders. Boneless thighs give these nuggets even more flavor.
- Egg. This is what helps the breading stick. If there is an egg allergy in your family, a little oil or some milk works, too.
- Starch. I opt for tapioca starch as it's paleo and grain-free. Potato starch, cornstarch, and rice flour all work just as well.
- Spices. Onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper give the chicken nuggets the right amount of flavor. Cayenne is nice if you want to add a hint of heat.
To make these nuggets, all you have to do is dip the chicken in the egg, then in starch mixed with spices, then bake them. So easy!
How to freeze homemade chicken nuggets
There are few better things than coming home starving and remembering that you're a domestic rockstar and have dinner waiting for you to pull out of the freezer and pop into the oven. These healthy nuggets are the best for meal prep.
- Make the chicken nuggets (but don't bake them.)
- Pop the nuggets (on the baking sheet) into your freezer.
- Let them freeze then put them into a resealable plastic bag.
- When you're ready to eat them, put them back on a tray and into your oven. Add about 15 extra minutes to the baking time.
That's it! It's super easy to make a big batch and save some for later.
Dipping sauce ideas
It's hard to go wrong with classic nugget dips like ketchup, BBQ sauce, ranch dressing, or mustard. My childhood favorite was an equal parts mix of honey and mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip!) which we creatively called Honey Mayo Sauce. Here are a few other ideas to kick it up a notch:
- Easy Guacamole
- Roasted Caramelized Onion Dip
- Pesto Hummus
- Creamy Avocado Sauce
- Emerald Isle Dipping Sauce (not healthy but SO good!)
What to serve with homemade chicken nuggets
When lunch or dinner needs to be on the table stat, I will often keep the side easy and quick roast (ie: at 500 degrees) some broccoli or cauliflower tossed in a little oil and salt. Here are a few other simple ideas:
- Honey Roasted Carrots
- Sesame Garlic Miso Butter Mushrooms
- Cheesy Irish Cheddar Cauliflower
- The Best Greek Salad
- Sweet and Spicy Yam Wedges
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Favorite Family-Friendly Chicken Recipes
- Honey Garlic Chicken Fingers
- Sweet and Spicy Paleo Chicken Fingers
- Saucy Peanut Chicken with Broccoli and Peppers
- Asian Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner
- Cheesy Fajita Stuffed Chicken
- Sheet Pan Faux Honey Mustard Chicken
Baked Chicken Nuggets Recipe
If you love this recipe as much as we do, let us know with a 5-star rating!
- ½ cup tapioca starch
- 2 teaspoons each: garlic powder and onion powder
- ½ teaspoon each: salt and pepper
- 1 large egg
- 3 chicken breasts, cut into nugget-sized pieces
- 2 teaspoons oil
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the tapioca starch, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk the egg in another medium-sized bowl.½ cup tapioca starch, 2 teaspoons each: garlic powder and onion powder, ½ teaspoon each: salt and pepper, 1 large egg
- Drop all the chicken pieces into the bowl with the egg. One at a time pull them out and drop them in the bowl with the tapioca starch, making sure that each piece is completely covered before placing it onto the prepared baking sheet. (Keep one hand for pulling the chicken out of the egg and the other for coating it in the starch.)3 chicken breasts
- Drizzle the oil over the chicken nuggets then put them in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, broiling the last 5 minutes to brown the tops.2 teaspoons oil
What size pieces should I cut the nuggets?
We make them 1-2 bite sized – about 2 inches.
Thanks for the recipe! Made them today and they were so good and easy to make
So good!! These were super easy to make, and so satisfying. Also my cat tried to steal them so you know they were good. I didn’t have any tapioca flour so used a combo or arrowroot and coconut flour. It worked well.
Is the green stuff on top just parsley? Do you put it on before baking or afterwards? Thanks! I’m making these for dinner tonight.
That’s right. Just for a little color in the pictures. 🙂
Hi! I’m excited to try these for my kids homeschool lunches but want to cook them fresh each time I make them. How long do you bake them when they are cooking from raw frozen?
I usually add about 15 minutes to the time when cooking them from frozen. 🙂
Delicious, thank you! To cook from frozen: In the article you state to add about 15 extra minutes to the baking time, but here you say to add 5 minutes. Which is it?
That was a typo. I add about 15 minutes when cooking them from raw frozen.
How do you think these would turn out to freeze then cook in the air fryer?
I’m so excited to try them!
Yes! We often keep some in the freezer. While I bake mine from frozen, I have no doubt that an air fryer would work just as well – maybe even better!
Greetings from the Netherlands. Thank you for the endless inspiring recipes – you’re all over my meal plan lately :). For how long would you suggest cooking these in the air fryer – not frozen?
I’m so happy to hear you’re finding lots of recipes you like here! While we haven’t tested this recipe in an air fryer, based on other air fryer chicken nugget recipes they should cook in 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees. I hope that helps!
Thanks for the recipe!! I will try it out cause it looks delicious. My boyfriend also loves chicken nuggets -and I can make them for him!:)
Are these Whole30 compliant as well as Paleo? I’m still learning how whole30works but i want to try these!they look delicious and easy.
They are! Just make sure to serve them with a Whole30 approved dipping sauce. 🙂
Your Chicken Nuggets look 100x better than anything you could buy in the freezer section of the grocery store or anything you could order in a restaurant. And I love that they are healthier and can be frozen to pull out at a later date. Also, your photos are so enticing and mouthwatering. Thanks again for sharing.
Awww thank you so much! I’m so happy to hear you like them!!
I tried this and it was amazing, I have been looking for a healthy version of of chicken nuggets for my grand kids.
I added dried oregano and paprika, also I used almond flour instead of tapioca flour. I have used some of your recipes in the past loved them. Keep at it you are good.
I’m so happy to hear it was a hit!
I love this recipe… I’ll try it as soon as I can.
These look amazing……I bet you could do them up and freeze them in a bag for the kids to take out and re-heat. I love your healthy version.