Oct 26 2007

Homemade Chicken Nuggets (mcdonald’s-style) – recipe

Last week I was stuck in bed with the flu. While I was dozing off, my husband was stumbling. He happened to stumble upon a cooking video site called I’m Cooked – it’s similar to YouTube in that anyone can submit their video footage, but way different in that it’s only for cooking videos. Don’t check it out unless you plan on spending hours there – there are so many great video recipes it’s hard to stop!

Anyways, the video that my husband happened to stumble upon was one on how to make chicken nuggets. When I caught the voice in the video saying to blend the chicken, I perked up and had my husband restart the video so I could also watch. This was the “secret” to making reconstituted chicken nuggets (like that kind you find in many fast food chains).

The recipe seemed pretty straight forward. And, I’ve made it twice in 2 days b/c it was such a hit the first time that we didn’t have enough for lunch the next day! And, they were sooooo easy to make! The original recipe called to breading the nuggets in breadcrumbs, but I chose a simple flour coating. They were fabulous!

2 boneless skinless Chicken Breasts (that’s 4 breast fillets)
1 teaspoon of Salt
1/2 teaspoon of Parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon of Oregano
1/4 teaspoon of Onion powder
1/4 teaspoon of Pepper
2 Eggs, beaten
1 Cup of Flour
about 1.5 Cups of Oil for frying (I used Sunflower seed oil)

Heat oil in a heavy-duty skillet (like a cast iron skillet) on medium-high heat while preparing the chicken nuggets – it should be ready to work with once half of your nuggets are ready to go in.

Cube chicken and place in a food processor. Blend chicken until it has all been taken apart and is a fine paste. Remove to a bowl and add salt, parsley, oregano, onion powder, and pepper, and combine well.

Pour out flour on a plate and have your beaten eggs in a small bowl ready to work with.

Roll the chicken paste mixture into 34 ping-pong ball-sized balls (smaller than a golf ball).

Roll ball a “chicken ball” in flour, then in egg, and then in flour again. Then, press the ball down to make a nugget. Watch this video to see how to do it. Set nuggets aside.

Sprinkle the hot oil with some flour and if it bubbles really quickly right away, your oil is ready for frying. Place as many nuggets as possible in the oil, and fry until the bottoms are golden, turn and fry until the other side is golden. Will take about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove to a towel-lined plate (to catch any excess oil).

Serve with honey of honey mustard (1 Tablespoon of honey + 1 teaspoon of mustard) or spicy honey mustard (1 Tablespoon of honey + 1 teaspoon of mustard + a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce) or catchup or ranch dressing – get the idea :) , just use your favorite condiment(s).

Makes about 34 nuggets

Edit: I would like to address some problems people have had with this recipe.  Note, not everyone has had these issues.

  • Too dense:  You may be able to avoid this next time by making them smaller.  The balls I made were about 3,5cm (1,5 inches) in diameter.
  • Not enough flavor: When I made the batch again I also realized that the flavor was a bit plain, my husband suggested next time to add salt/flavoring to the flour mixture.
  • Oil temperature: I’m sorry I didn’t supply a cooking temperature for the oil.  I don’t currently have a way to measure the temperature of my oil which is why I suggested to sprinkle in some flour – if it bubbles quickly and right away, it’s ready.
  • Over crowding in your pan: As to the over-crowding issue, I over crowded my nuggets and had no issues as all.  The reason I may not have had a problem is because I used a cast iron pan (click on the link to the left to see the type of pan I use) and they heat very evenly throughout.  If you don’t have a cast iron pan you may want to add less nuggets per frying batch.

If you’ve come up with a better recipe, my readers and I want to know!  Leave your link or recipe change in the comments

My site was nominated for Best Food Blog!

63 responses so far

63 Responses to “Homemade Chicken Nuggets (mcdonald’s-style) – recipe”

  1. Martha (mom)on 26 Oct 2007 at 3:44 pm

    They look so good and easy to make. I can’t wait to try then. I am sure this will be a hit with David

    Love you,

  2. [...] myamii wrote an interesting post today on Homemade Chicken Nuggets (mcdonaldâs-style) – recipeHere’s a quick excerpt… .flickr-caption { font-size: 0.8em; margin-top: 0px; } Last week I was stuck in bed with the flu. While I was dozing off, my husband was stumbling. He happened to stumble upon a cooking video site called I’m Cooked – it’s […] [...]

  3. Vallion 26 Oct 2007 at 5:11 pm

    I will have to give these delectable morsels a go!

  4. Steamy Kitchenon 27 Oct 2007 at 12:36 pm

    And they look just like the “real” thing!

  5. kimon 28 Oct 2007 at 1:35 am

    I made these tonight and mine didnt get as “golden” as yours did. Was my oil not hot enough maybe?
    Pretty close to mcnuggets :)

  6. myamiion 28 Oct 2007 at 8:13 am

    kim: It’s highly possible that your oil was not hot enough, or that you just didn’t leave them in long enough. Did you test your oil by sprinkling in some flour? Did it bubble really quickly and right away when you did that? It may also depend on the type of pan you used. I use cast iron which heats very evenly through out.  Are you using gas or electric?  Gas heats more evenly as well.  I have an electric stove top, and that’s why I use cast iron in this case so that my food doesn’t burn.  When I was just using a non-stick pan my food would either not get the nice golden color I wished for or would burn.
    You can check out some great cast iron cookware here: http://astore.amazon.com/forfood-20/002-6081295-0586467?node=1&page=2
    Cast iron is expensive, there is no question about it, but it is worth every penny.  I use this pan for everything – even popping pop corn!  And, it will never break or go bad – you can pass it on for generations and it will still work just as well as the first day, if not better.

  7. Cindyon 28 Oct 2007 at 3:20 pm

    Oh they surely look good,
    Gonna be the perfect snack for me!

  8. Abbyon 30 Oct 2007 at 6:21 pm

    I think I’m going to have to try these soon! I (secretly) adore McDonald’s nuggets.

  9. Judyon 30 Oct 2007 at 7:40 pm

    These were absolutely delicious. One of the most important things about frying chicken is that the oil has to be very hot so that the coating does not get so greasy. You have to watch them closely during the cooking process, however, keeping in mind that the white meat of the chicken cooks much faster than the dark.

  10. [...] However, thanks to the folks at YumSugar, I don’t have to pine away any longer. On Monday, they linked to a post over at For the Love of Food in which they make homemade Chicken McNuggets (following the instructions from this video). I am totally enamored (and I’m not someone who fries things often). I do believe I see these in my future. [...]

  11. [...] However, thanks to the folks at YumSugar, I don’t have to pine away any longer. On Monday, they linked to a post over at For the Love of Food in which they make homemade Chicken McNuggets (following the instructions from this video). I am totally enamored (and I’m not someone who fries things often). I do believe I see these in my future. [...]

  12. Timon 01 Nov 2007 at 11:41 pm

    This may be an asinine question, but did you cook the chicken before you made the nuggets? Or do they cook through when fried?

  13. myamiion 02 Nov 2007 at 8:32 am

    Tim: Not an asinine question at all. The nuggets do not need to be pre cooked. They will cook completely while frying. To make sure, after taking one out, carefully break it open or cut it in half if it’s still hot to make sure that it’s cooked through. Because the meat has been ground, it cooks really quickly.

  14. [...] However, thanks to the folks at YumSugar, I don’t have to pine away any longer. On Monday, they linked to a post over at For the Love of Food in which they make homemade Chicken McNuggets (following the instructions from this video). I am totally enamored (and I’m not someone who fries things often). I do believe I see these in my future. [...]

  15. Garryon 06 Nov 2007 at 7:34 am

    Just finished a batch of these and they are the BUSINESS. The spices make the chicken itself into something McDonald’s can’t even touch. Add Heinz and you have a brown, crunchy miracle on your hands.

    I read once that the secret to KFC’s chicken coating was loads of MSG. I wonder if a little magic spice might be just the ticket…

  16. Matsakion 09 Dec 2007 at 9:09 pm

    Hey Garry,
    For a non English, what is “MSG”? By the way I have the original recipe for KFC’s original fired Chicken =)

  17. Marieon 10 Dec 2007 at 11:25 pm

    I love this. I don’t like to make homemade chicken nuggets because they don’t taste or look like the McDonald’s ones. I love the texture of these so much better than others I have seen. Healthier and my kids will eat them. Thanks for the find. I will be making some.

  18. Erikaon 12 Dec 2007 at 12:11 am

    msg is monosodium glutamate

  19. Evanon 12 Dec 2007 at 12:55 am

    MSG is monosodium glutamate.

  20. SouLon 12 Dec 2007 at 2:05 am


    Please share that KFC recipe….original, of course…thank you !

  21. Lindaon 09 Jan 2008 at 2:13 am

    I tried these today and you would not believe how many compiliments I got from your recipe. Thank you so much! Will you please share the KFC recipe mentioned by Soul? Have a great day.

  22. Stefanieon 09 Jan 2008 at 8:00 am

    Can you make a lot of these ahead of time and freeze them? If so, what would the best way to do this? I can’t wait to try these


  23. Matsakion 09 Jan 2008 at 8:35 pm

    Sorry for late reply and KFC’s recipe emailed to the owner of this chicken recipe cloning discussion =)

  24. Patriciaon 24 Jan 2008 at 2:44 am

    So glad to have discovered this site! I’m going to try those nuggets this weekend for sure! But I think I’ll try with cooked chicken as I’m not sure if my food processor will perform well for raw chicken…I’ll let you know! :)

  25. ashleyon 28 Jan 2008 at 3:08 am

    wow these were delicious!

  26. Sharleenon 03 Feb 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Thanks for sharing these! I made these the other night and they were delicious, but I found that they were actually too salty so I think next time, I will cut the salt in half. Other than that though, perfect nuggets!

  27. h gctfrx uyron 05 Feb 2008 at 5:00 pm


  28. amyon 10 Feb 2008 at 1:42 pm

    i love the way you make them

  29. amyon 10 Feb 2008 at 1:44 pm

    i have the cravings for some chicken nuggets right now thanks for the recipe.

  30. CapHappyon 11 Feb 2008 at 3:16 am

    Nice recipe!
    A few notes as I deviated a bit but still had great results:

    - I used Turkey tenderloins instead of chicken. They work well but can get a bit dry. Next time I will add some stock or demi glace to the food processor.

    - Due to egg allergies in the home, I replaced the egg with an egg replacer ( a mix of tapioca flour and Xantham gum). worked just as well.

    - I omitted the second dip in flour and replaced it with a dip in crushed corn flakes (makes it super crunchy and golden)

    - I am just geeky enough to have a candy/deep fry thermometer, I found that at about 250* f the nuggets will cook in about 5 min (put in enough oil to submerge them and no turning is required. )

  31. Mooreganicson 04 Mar 2008 at 7:11 pm

    I love this recipe!!! I used 1/4c corn flakes put in food processor to grind really fine and 3/4c gluten free all purpose baking mix in place of the flour. I also used Onion Onion from Tastefully Simple in place of the powdered onion. My kids and husband loved – LOVED – these nuggets. I think I could even sneak in some additional veggie puree into them as well. I cooked them in coconut oil too. THANKS!!!! Finally an alternative to McDs and Tyson’s.

  32. Gary Lon 29 Mar 2008 at 11:22 pm

    Love this recipe but to much oregano for my family’s taste. Next time I will cut back on it and add a little more onion powder and also salt to the chicken. They also turned out better if I only single dipped the nuggets in ONLY the flour.

  33. Drakeon 13 Apr 2008 at 5:07 am

    These are great!!!!!!!Do u have one for KFC hot wings and honey BBq wings???

  34. Kristinon 23 Apr 2008 at 5:35 pm

    These look FABULOUS! I may be trying these tonight, and will share photos & a review on my blog if I wind up making them! :)

    Thank you!

  35. [...] The original recipe can be found here. [...]

  36. Rachelle ~"Mommy? I'm Hungry!"on 18 Jun 2008 at 11:57 pm

    Came by from Flickr to get the recipe! :) Thanks!

  37. Charlotteon 24 Jun 2008 at 6:59 am

    Great recipe! I recently went vegetarian but have had a horrible craving for maccas nuggets. I cooked these but replaced the chicken with soy fillets (taste a lot like chicken!) and it’s perfect!

    It was mostly the coating and the texture that I missed, so this definitely fixed my cravings. Thanks!

  38. Valerieon 08 Feb 2009 at 3:57 pm

    I made this recipe yesterday and it was fantastic. We were so surprised as close this recipe is from the chicken mc nuggets one. I will not buy any frozen chicken nuggets anymore, this one is very good and very easy to make. Next time I will try to freeze them (not sure yet if I will freeze them raw or with cooked 2 minutes…)
    Thanks again this recipe will be now one of my classic :)

  39. Pinkyon 20 Feb 2009 at 4:18 am

    Has anyone tried using ground chicken from the store in place of grinding up your own? Anyone? I don’t have a food processor or other appliance to grind the chicken.

  40. [...] of you may be familiar with a previous post of mine featuring my homemade McDonald’s-style chicken nuggets. Well, it was a big hit, and I thought [...]

  41. [...] Chicken Nuggets and Roasted Parsnips and Carrots with a Balsamic [...]

  42. Rachelon 15 Mar 2010 at 9:47 pm

    These were awesome!!! The only thing I changed was onion salt instead of onion powder, decreased the amount of regular salt, but I also added more salt to the flour as some suggested. I fried them at 375 degrees.

  43. myamiion 15 Mar 2010 at 10:04 pm

    I’m glad you liked them!

  44. Eliseon 16 Mar 2010 at 8:37 pm

    Hi, These look so amazing – ready to try (even went out and bought a cast-iron skillet per your suggestion since I have have an electric stove). I am new to cooking but am always on the hunt for delicious & easy recipes to teach myself!

    One quick question for you: I do not have a food processor. Do you think a blender will work just as well with the uncooked chicken? (Wanted to ask first before taking the risk of breaking it.)

    Thank you for your help :)

  45. myamiion 16 Mar 2010 at 8:51 pm

    Hi Elise,
    Thanks for your comment. And, I’m really excited for you that you
    got a cast iron skillet. I use mine for almost everything and have
    been happy with it for 2 years now.
    As for the food processor…I have something similar to a food
    processor, nothing fancy. It is more like a blender than a food
    processor, so I think one would work just fine. It may not move the
    chicken around enough, so you may have to loosen it with a spatula.
    I’d love to know what you think of them. They are a really big hit
    around here. I play around with the spices sometimes, but plain is
    just as popular as mixed with herbs.

    Happy cooking!

  46. Rodneyon 11 Apr 2010 at 11:17 pm

    Anyone try this recipe in a deep fryer?

  47. myamiion 12 Apr 2010 at 9:15 am

    I havn’t, but I imagine it would work well.

  48. Samanthaon 11 May 2010 at 7:40 pm

    I tried this recipe last Saturday. I did make one change. I added 1/4 cup of cooked spinach to the raw chicken. I pulsed the chicken and spinach until the spinach was just chopped and incorporated, but not smooth. They were wonderful!!!! My 2 1/2 year old and my husband both loved them. Also, I really hate cooked spinach, but I couldn’t even tell it was there (except for the way they looked on the inside, which was kinda of pretty). Thanks so much. I think I’m going to try freezing them, baking them, and frying them from frozen in a deep fryer.

  49. myamiion 11 May 2010 at 8:54 pm

    I’m glad you like them. I really need to make these again soon myself!

  50. Brianon 13 Jun 2010 at 11:49 pm

    Every time I make these the inside is always grey (yours is so white and pretty). Could this be from overcooking or what?

    Thanks a lot for the recipe – I’ve already made them about 10 times!

  51. myamiion 14 Jun 2010 at 9:02 am

    Hmm, I’ve never heard of the insides being grey…What spices do you
    add to the mixture? Also what type of meat do you use? I use chicken
    breast. If you use leg or thigh meat (which is more tender…and have
    dark meat) you meat could be grey and not white. Next time you make
    them can you send me a picture of the insides??

    I’m glad you like the recipe, it’s one of my favorites as well.

  52. [...] mad (det plejer mestendels at være hr. kæreste, der gør det nemlig…) Jeg har opskriften her fra, men skriver opskriften med mine mindre modificeringer: Kyllingenuggets a la McD (2 pers., men vi [...]

  53. Chicken Nuggets « Like a Light Bulbon 17 Jul 2010 at 5:48 am

    [...] And without further ado, here’s the recipe, from For the Love of Food! [...]

  54. Savannahon 05 Sep 2010 at 5:30 am

    These were nothing like McD’s, tasty if you are in the mood for parsley and oregano nuggets in flavorless breading, but definately not your normal nugget. My advice, put salt, garlic and onion powder in the flour instead of the meat, and add water to the eggs then maybe. This recipe was messy, time consuming and didn’t taste anything like a chicken nugget, really disappointing.

  55. myamiion 05 Sep 2010 at 8:09 am

    Hi Savannah – thanks for your comment. It’s a shame that they didn’t come out tasting so delicious for you as they do for me or the others who have enjoyed making them. We all have different tastes. These are not supposed to be an identical copy cat recipe for the nuggets, but rather a healthy homemade alternative.


  56. Jacquelineon 16 Sep 2010 at 7:17 pm

    These were so delish! they look exactly like the McDonald’s nuggets and my 1 and 2 year old couldn’t stop eating them :) I really liked the honey mustard idea too, that was the best honey mustard I’ve ever had :) the only bad thing was that it’s hard to stop eating them esp after making 34 of them lol

  57. Donnaon 29 Sep 2010 at 10:44 pm

    What would happen if you use ground chicken? Is it not pasty enough?

  58. myamiion 30 Sep 2010 at 10:27 pm

    That’s correct Donna – it needs to be pastier than ground chicken…you could further puree ground chicken and see how that works. I would be interested in the results.

  59. Nikkion 30 Oct 2010 at 10:47 pm

    Yummy! Made these yesterday for lunch. They were so good that I’m experimenting with them for dinner! We have milk and corn allergies in the family, so all fast food is a no no. These are a nice treat for the kids since they don’t get stuff like this often. They did need more salt and I added sugar in the flour. It sweetened them up just enough. Tonight I am adding some zucchini and red bell pepper as I try to get veggies in my kids at every dinner. I will let you know how they turn out!

  60. turlingon 03 Nov 2010 at 6:04 am

    Tried your recipe today.and I’m quite impress with the texture taste and colour of the nuggets. Follow your recipe to the letter. Oh except I added some onion salt on the flour. It turn out really really nice and crunchy.

  61. Erinon 06 Nov 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Another trick for checking oil for readiness if you don’t have a fry thermometer – stick the handle of a wooden utensil into the oil if it starts bubbling as if it’s being fried, you’re good to go!

    Moving on, these look and sound yummy! My two year old loves chicken nuggets but I am concerned with her not chewing her food enough and choking on a bigger, unchewed chunk. I’ll feel much better about her eating these since they’ve been processed down into a paste and I’m sure she’ll love them too!

  62. S Bloomon 14 Dec 2010 at 11:48 pm

    Is it possible to bake them? What if you did made the balls, rolled them in flour, then egg, and then some sort of breadcrumbs or cornflake crumbs? Could you then bake them? (I know they prob wouldn’t be as yummy as frying them, but I really try not to fry, especially deep fry…)

  63. myamiion 15 Dec 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Thanks for the comment. I have never done it myself, but I actually have all the ingredients to make some for tomorrow and I had planned on trying to bake them. I think they may do better if they are “oven fried” – when they are sitting in a bit of oil on the baking sheet. I plan on coating them with a mixture that I use when I bake chicken wings (from the Pioneer Woman’s Buttermilk Friend Chicken: http://forfood.rezimo.com/2010/01/pioneer-woman%E2%80%99s-buttermilk-fried-chicken-homemade-french-fries-recipes/ ) that doesn’t require egg:

    5 cups all-purpose flour
    3 tablespoons seasoned salt (like Lawry’s)
    2 teaspoons black pepper
    2 teaspoons dried thyme
    2 teaspoons paprika
    1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1/4 cup milk
    1/4 cup buttermilk

    You mix all dry ingredients together and then pour in the two milks and mix with a fork until the whole mixture is tiny little crumbs. I keep a bag of this in the freezer and just pull it out to use anytime I make chicken wings. So, I will be trying this tomorrow with baked chicken nuggets. I’ll let you know how it comes out.

    I’m also not a fan of deep frying. I fry anywhere from 2-4 times a year. I love fried food, but my stomach would complain otherwise – and it’s such a mess/hassle to clean up afterwards!

    Let me know if you try something else out and if you have any success!

    Many cheers,

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