Delicious and healthy ground chicken nuggets you can make at home without deep frying. These are perfect for serving as protein-rich appetizers or sides at a party or family dinner.
What do you usually make with ground chicken?
More recently, I have started making these homemade chicken nuggets with ground chicken, and I am totally in love with them.
Keep reading for more details and the recipe.
What is special about This Dish
- Healthy – These chicken nuggets are prepared using ground chicken breast/thighs, which is a lean meat with less fat. Also, these are made with very little oil without deep frying as opposed to the ones we get in restaurants.
- Quick and easy – its preparation is very easy and quick.
- Bake or Air Fry – you can either bake or Air Fry them with a little bit of oil. You can even shallow-fry them in a frying pan over the stovetop.
- Serving – you can serve these as a healthy appetizer or side dish.
- These are egg-free nuggets.
- Ground chicken – buy organic chicken whenever possible. If you have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, you can make ground chicken at home using a meat grinder attachment. Our local meat shop gives us freshly ground chicken. We get ground, boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
- Bread crumbs – in this recipe, I used fine white breadcrumbs. You can also use panko whole wheat breadcrumbs to make wholesome, healthy chicken nuggets.
- Fresh garlic – fresh garlic adds a nice flavor to the dish. Add finely minced garlic to the ground chicken. Fine pieces will be distributed evenly and will bring out the garlic flavor nicely.
- Seasonings – generously add freshly ground black pepper and salt to the chicken as well as bread crumbs.
- Fresh parsley – finely chop and add them to flavor the chicken and breadcrumbs.
- Oil – use oil spray to evenly coat the ground chicken nuggets before baking/air-frying.
- Optional – Add finely ground parmesan cheese to the breadcrumbs for added deliciousness, and sprinkle them on cooked nuggets as a garnish.
See the recipe card for quantities and detailed instructions.
How To Make ground chicken nuggets?
The recipe for homemade nuggets with ground chicken is very simple and easy. It involves three steps — preparing the chicken and breadcrumbs with seasoning, coating the nuggets with seasoned breadcrumbs, and then cooking.
In a medium bowl, combine ground chicken with finely minced garlic, freshly chopped parsley, salt, and black pepper. Mix well to distribute the flavors evenly.
In another small deep bowl, combine breadcrumbs with finely chopped parsley, salt, and black pepper. Mix well.
Step 2 – coating nuggets with seasoned breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven.
Scoop out a small portion of seasoned ground chicken and drop it in the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle some breadcrumbs on it and gently press to prepare nuggets. Flip it a few times to evenly coat the breadcrumbs on the nuggets. Assemble the coated nuggets on a metal wire rack and place the rack on a baking tray.
Note – If you do not have a metal wire rack, then simply use a lightly greased baking tray and place the prepared nuggets on a flat surface. Also, keep some space between each nugget.
Step 3 — Cooking nuggets
Lightly spray oil on the coated nuggets using an oil sprayer. Place the baking tray on the middle rack in the preheated oven. Bake the nuggets for 15 minutes, turn the oven to broiler setting, and broil them for 2 minutes; flip and broil for 2 minutes on the other side. See below if you plan to cook the nuggets in the Air Fryer.
Remove the tray from the oven and let it cool slightly before serving.
Air Fryer chicken nuggets with ground chicken
You can easily prepare the nuggets in an Air Fryer. Preheat the Air Fryer to 360F temperature. Then, place breaded chicken nuggets on the Air Fryer basket without them touching each other. Spray oil to coat them evenly. Cook for about 10-11 minutes. There is no need to flip them; they will cook evenly on both sides.
My Phillips XL Air Fryer can fry up to 12 nuggets at a time. So, I cook them in 2 batches for the quantity given in this recipe.
- Serve breaded ground chicken nuggets with ketchup or creamy avocado dip or your choice of dipping sauce. These are perfect to serve as healthy appetizers or snacks.
- You can also serve them as a healthy side to make the meal satisfying and protein-rich. These nuggets pair well with roasted vegetable pasta salad, healthy green peas pasta, or sauteed eggplant and tomatoes with whole wheat focaccia bread.
- Shaping nuggets – Use a tablespoon to scoop out the ground chicken, and use a small rubber spatula to scrape it and drop it in breadcrumbs. This will help to make even-sized nuggets without getting your hands messy. Sprinkle some breadcrumbs on top of the ground chicken and gently press to form a nugget shape. This way, your hand will stay clean (check out the video).
- Use oil spray to coat the nuggets evenly with oil. It will help to develop an even nicer brown crust on the nuggets.
- Use fine breadcrumbs as it helps to coat the nuggets evenly. If you want to use panko breadcrumbs, then pulse them in a blender to make them fine-grained.
- Add finely minced parsley to the breadcrumbs to evenly distribute the flavors and color.
- Spicy – add chili flakes or paprika to the ground chicken to make spicy nuggets.
- Use whole wheat breadcrumbs for making wholesome nuggets.
- Deep fry – if you prefer, you can also deep fry them in oil.
- Add grated carrots (½ to 1 cup) to ground chicken to increase the quantity and nutrition.
How to store and reuse leftovers?
Store leftover nuggets in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. To refresh, Air Fry them at 360F for 1-2 min or heat them up in a frying pan on the stovetop just before serving. Avoid reheating them in the microwave, otherwise they will become soft and moist.
This recipe does not involve coating with egg. I find regular fine-size breadcrumbs work best in this recipe to coat the ground chicken evenly.
These nuggets taste amazing when they are fresh. If possible, you can prepare the breadcrumbs and the ground chicken (and refrigerate) in advance and make the nuggets an hour before serving.
Flash-freeze the prepared nuggets on a flat baking sheet for 1-2 hours. Then, store them in the freezer bags for about 1-2 months. To reuse, cook them (from frozen) in an Air Fryer @360F for 4-5 min. Or bake them (from frozen) in the oven at 400F for 5-7 min.
More appetizer recipes to try
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Homemade Crispy Ground Chicken Nuggets Recipe
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 2-3 small garlic cloves finely minced
- 3 tablespoon finely chopped parsley divided
- ½ teaspoon black pepper divided
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- tablespoon cooking oil use oil spray
- In a large mixing bowl, combine ground chicken with minced garlic, chopped parsley, black pepper, and salt; mix well.
- In another small bowl, combine breadcrumbs with parsley, black pepper, and salt; mix well.
- Scoop out 1 tablespoon ground chicken and drop it in the seasoned breadcrumbs. Sprinkle some breadcrumbs on top and gently tap to form flat nuggets. Flip it a few times in the breadcrumbs for even coating.
Baking in the oven
- Preheat the oven to 400F while preparing nuggets.
- Place prepared nuggets on the metal rack placed in a baking tray. Lightly spray them with oil and bake for 15 min.
- Turn the oven to broil mode and broil them for 2 mins; flip the nuggets, spray some oil on the other side, and broil for 1-2 mins. Serve warm with your choice of dipping sauce.
Air Fryer nuggets
- Preheat the Air Fryer to 360F.
- Place breaded nuggets on the Air Fryer basket and cook them for 10-12 mins or until they get the desired color and texture.
- Keep checking every minute after 9 mins of cooking. There is no need to flip them. They get a nice golden brown color on both sides in the Air Fryer.
- Optionally, add some parmesan cheese to the breadcrumbs for enhanced taste. It will also help to develop a nice crust on the nuggets.
- You can skip the broiling step if you want. However, broiling helps to develop a golden brown color on the nuggets. Turn on the oven light and monitor while the nuggets are broiling. If left unattended, they can quickly burn at that high temperature.
- While cooking in the Air Fryer, do not overcrowd the basket. You may need to cook them in batches for better results.
- These nuggets taste amazing and crispy when they are fresh.