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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!
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!)
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
- Pickle juice – This doesn’t just add flavor, it also makes the chicken tender.
- Powdered sugar
- Garlic powder
- Peanut oil – Yes, you’ll be frying these nuggets. Want a recipe for baked nuggets instead? Try my Easy Three Ingredient Chicken Nuggets.
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!
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.
Copycat Chick-Fil-A Nuggets
- 2 chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
- ½ cup (118 ml) milk
- ½ cup (118 ml) pickle juice
- 1 egg
- 2 cups (250 g) flour
- 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 3 cups (710 ml) peanut oil
- 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 (177 °C)) 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.
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