Make a big batch of these healthy chicken nuggets for dinner or lunches for kids! They're gluten-free (no bread crumbs!) and full of protein and healthy carbs. This easy recipe is great for meal prep and kids love them.
Homemade chicken nuggets can be really healthy because you get to control the ingredients and cooking techniques. Make them with whole foods and bake or air fry them for a healthier option.
This recipe calls for 4 simple ingredients so you know they're good for you.
This Homemade Chicken Nugget Recipe Is:
- Easy to make.
- Perfect for the whole family.
- Good option for meal prep.
- Made in the oven (no deep frying!)
- A simple gluten-free option for dinner.
- Full of healthy, whole-food ingredients.
- Free from breadcrumbs.
Here are the simple ingredients for these homemade nuggets. Most are pantry staples and easy and affordable to find in your local grocery store. Jump down to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for full ingredient list and exact measurements.
- Ground chicken: it's full of protein and the base of this recipe. Unlike regular breaded and fried nuggets that use chicken breast, we're opting for ground to get the best texture.
- Sweet potato: this is the secret healthy ingredient that binds the nuggets together! You can' even taste it but it makes these healthy chicken nuggets paleo and whole30.
- Tapioca flour (or arrowroot starch): this is a ground powder similar to cornstarch that helps find everything. It's easy to find in the baking aisle with the rest of the flour:
- Spices: onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper.
How to Make Healthy Chicken Nuggets
Mix the ingredients: Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor for about 1 minute or until the mixture starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Shape into nuggets: Use a tablespoon to scoop out the mixture and place them ½ inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Use your hands to form them into nugget shapes—you should end up with about 20 nuggets. Arrange them in a single layer on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Pro tip: For best results, dip your fingertips in a little bit of water while you mold them to help keep them from sticking.
Bake and serve: Bake at 400 degrees f for 20 minutes, turning halfway through. They should be golden brown on the outside and the internal temperature should reach 165°F. Serve them with your favorite dipping sauce like ketchup or ranch dressing.
You can bake chicken nuggets in the oven, air fry them, or use a toaster oven. Ensure they're cooked to 165°F or warmed all the way through if they're frozen.
Chicken nuggets, like the ones you find at fast food restaurants, are breaded and fried. In contrast, something like Asian-inspired orange chicken has more of a batter.
Yes, you can cook any chicken nugget recipe in the air fryer. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F for 5 minutes. Add the chicken nuggets and air fry at 400 for 15-18 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Flip halfway through. Cook time will vary depending on the size and shape of the chicken nugget.
Video: Watch How to Make Healthy Chicken Nuggets
Store leftover chicken nuggets in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
To freeze, flash freeze on a sheet pan until solid then transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Warm from frozen in the oven, microwave, or air fryer.
Pro tip: make a double batch and freeze half for quick meals for kids.
If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
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Homemade Healthy Chicken Nuggets
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 2 cups finely grated or chopped sweet potatoes (1 medium-large sweet potato)
- 2 tablespoons tapioca flour, arrowroot starch or cornstarch
- 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon EACH: paprika, garlic powder, and kosher salt
- Food Processor
- Large baking sheet
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with olive oil spray. Set aside.
- Add all of the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor. Blend on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until the mixture is combined and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
- Use a tablespoon to scoop out the mixture and place ½ inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Use your hands to form the mixture into chicken nugget shapes. You should have about 18-21 chicken nuggets. The mixture will be wet and sticky. Dip your fingers in water to keep them from sticking while you shape the nuggets.
- Bake chicken nuggets in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, turning halfway through. They should be golden brown and the internal temperature should reach 165°F. Broil for 1-2 minutes at the end for crispy edges if desired.
- Cool slightly and serve with your favorite sauce like sugar-free ketchup, BBQ sauce, honey mustard or sriracha.