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Copycat Chick-Fil-A Nuggets

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This copycat Chick-Fil-A nuggets recipe tastes just like the original—crispy, juicy, and full of flavor! Now you can enjoy your favorite nuggets 7 days a week!

Overhead view of chicken nuggets in basket with waffle fries and dipping sauce

I hate Sundays. Not because it’s the last day of the weekend, but because I seem to crave Chick-Fil-A only on Sundays and I can’t fulfill that craving because they’re closed.

Well, this copycat recipe for Chick-Fil-A solves nuggets that problem. It’s the closest I’ve had to the real thing, and when you pair it with copycat Chick-Fil-A sauce, you seriously won’t be able to tell the difference. The crispy coating? It’s oh-so-light and perfect. The flavor? On point, right down to the pickle juice. (Seriously, that’s the secret to nailing copycat Chick-Fil-A nuggets. Don’t skip it!)

Basket of chicken nuggets and waffle fries with dipping sauce, with nuggets on napkin in foreground

What You’ll Need

Some of these ingredients may sound puzzling. Pickle juice? Powdered sugar?! Trust and believe, this is the way—it all comes together to make the perfect copycat Chick-Fil-A nuggets.

  • Chicken breasts
  • Milk 
  • Pickle juice – This doesn’t just add flavor, it also makes the chicken tender.
  • Egg 
  • Flour
  • Powdered sugar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Cornstarch
  • Peanut oil – Yes, you’ll be frying these nuggets. Want a recipe for baked nuggets instead? Try my Easy Three Ingredient Chicken Nuggets.
Copycat Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets on napkin with basket of nuggets in background

How to Make Copycat Chick-Fil-A Nuggets

Make sure you account for the time needed to marinate the chicken when planning for this recipe!

Marinate the chicken. Lightly beat the egg, then combine it with the milk and pickle juice in a large zip-top bag. Add the chicken and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight.

Combine dry ingredients. Whisk the flour, powdered sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder and cornstarch together in a large bowl.

Prepare your workspace. Set a wire rack next to the bowl of dry ingredients. Line a plate with paper towels and place it next to the stove.

Coat the chicken nuggets. Remove the chicken from the marinade with tongs or a slotted spoon and place it in the bowl with the flour mixture, then toss to coat. Place the coated chicken pieces on the wire rack to rest while you heat the oil. 

Fry the nuggets. Set a Dutch oven or deep skillet over medium heat and add the oil (the oil should go in before the pan gets warm). Once the oil is ready, begin to fry the chicken; it’s important not to crowd it, so I recommend cooking no more than half of the chicken at a time, or even less if you have a smaller cooking vessel.  Fry the chicken nuggets until they’re golden brown and cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Place the fried chicken nuggets on the paper-towel-lined plate and repeat until all of the chicken is cooked.

Serve. Serve your copycat Chick-Fil-A nuggets with my copycat Chick-Fil-A sauce!

Closeup of copycat Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets

Deep Frying Tips

If you’ve never tried deep frying before, you might feel a little intimidated, but don’t be! It’s easier than you think. Here are some tips to help you get started with this copycat Chick-Fil-A nugget recipe.

  • Use an oil with a high smoke point. I use peanut oil for these chicken nuggets; if you’re allergic to nuts or want to swap it for something else for any other reason, I suggest safflower oil, sunflower oil, or canola oil. Do not use olive oil.
  • Let the nuggets rest. The step where you put the nuggets on the wire rack to rest is important! It helps the coating stick once the chicken is placed into the oil.
  • Use a deep, heavy skillet or Dutch oven. The oil will bubble up when the chicken nuggets are added and you don’t want it to overflow onto the stovetop.
  • Don’t add too many nuggets at once. If you put too many nuggets in the skillet at the same time, the oil’s temperature will drop and the nuggets will absorb the oil instead of getting crispy.
  • Keep water away from the skillet. This means if you wash your hands, make sure they are completely dry before you go to the stovetop to put the chicken in or take it out of the pan. Even a drip of water into the hot oil will cause spattering.

How to Store Leftovers

Refrigerate these chicken nuggets for up to 2 days in an airtight container. You can reheat them in the oven at 350ºF for 5-10 minutes, or in the air fryer at 400ºF for 5 minutes. (The air fryer is the best way to reheat these!)

Can I Freeze This Recipe?

You can freeze copycat Chick-Fil-A nuggets for up to 3 months in an airtight container or freezer bag. Reheat them in a 350ºF oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or in a 400ºF air fryer for 8 to 10 minutes.

Chicken nuggets in basket with dipping sauce and waffle fries
Overhead view of chicken nuggets in basket with waffle fries and dipping sauce

Copycat Chick-Fil-A Nuggets

This copycat Chick-Fil-A nuggets recipe tastes just like the original—crispy, juicy, and full of flavor!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Marinating Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Julie Chiou
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Ingredients 

  • 2 chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup pickle juice
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3 cups peanut oil

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

Instructions

  • Mix the milk and pickle juice in a large ziplock bag. Whisk the egg slightly and add it to the marinade.
  • Then add the bite size chicken pieces to the marinade. Set this in the fridge for at least 2 hours. (overnight is fine)
  • Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl: flour, powdered sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder and cornstarch.
  • Set a wire rack next to the bowl of dry ingredients. Prepare a plate next to the stove, lined with paper towels, to set the fried chicken on.
  • When the chicken is done marinating, remove it from the marinade (I used tongs, or you could use a slotted spoon) and put it into the bowl with the flour mixture. Toss all of the chicken pieces well. When all of the pieces are coated, place the chicken pieces onto the wire rack and allow the chicken to rest while you heat the oil.
  • Heat the oil to medium (about 350 °F) in a deep skillet or dutch oven.
  • Fry about half of the chicken at a time, or even smaller batches, don’t crowd the chicken as you fry it. Fry the chicken nuggets until golden brown. (3-5 minutes until cooked through. I recommend testing a couple first)
  • Place the fried chicken on a paper towel lined plate. Then fry the rest of the chicken.
  • Serve the chicken nuggets with the dipping sauce on the side.

NUTRITION FACTS

Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 428 kcal | Carbohydrates: 59 g | Protein: 33 g | Fat: 6 g | Saturated Fat: 2 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g | Trans Fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 116 mg | Sodium: 1768 mg | Potassium: 556 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 8 g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chick-fil-a chicken recipe, chick-fil-a nuggets recipe, homemade chicken nuggets
Recipe Rating




Roxanne

Saturday 26th of February 2022

Where did the sauce recipe go?!? That was our go to

Amanda

Friday 6th of May 2022

@Julie Chiou,

Do you still have the old recipe? It was our go to as well, my family wasn’t a big fan of this one.

Thanks!

Julie Chiou

Monday 28th of February 2022

sorry about that! i broke it out into two separate posts so it was easier to link to in other posts. i also updated the sauce recipe a bit. here it is: https://www.tablefortwoblog.com/copycat-chick-fil-a-sauce/

Carrie

Monday 8th of April 2019

Hi. I haven’t tried this, but it’s on my list. Do you think this would work just as well in an air fryer? Thank you, Carrie

Julie Wampler

Wednesday 10th of April 2019

I haven't tried because I don't have an air fryer but I bet it would be awesome!

Joyce

Wednesday 23rd of January 2019

Tried the sauce just added a little bbq's sauce and a spri Kleenex of turmeric...love love love it...ty

Betty morris

Wednesday 2nd of May 2018

I loved your wraps,but you changed them,it is all lettuce not much of anything else.nothappy with the change..Betty morris

Natalie

Thursday 7th of December 2017

Did you remove the recipe? I'm confused as to why I can't find it.

Julie

Friday 8th of December 2017

Sorry, it's there now. During recipe plugin converting, it didn't convert correctly so it didn't display. Now it's there :)