I’m sitting here, staring at my screen, trying to figure out how to tell you that these little bites are the closest I’ve come to finding a replica of Chick-fil-a’s chicken nuggets. I didn’t want to title them as such, because they are not the exact recipe. Plus, I definitely do not want to infringe on any copyrights. Regardless, these are very close and I am extremely excited to know that leftovers are still in my freezer, ready to be enjoyed at a moment’s notice.
Our life is full of irony, and one of the major examples involves Chick-fil-a. Ben and I both, equally, love the Christian-based fast food restaurant; for its principles and its food. Unfortunately, while we lived in the Chicago area, the closest one was a little over an hour away. Finally, after five years, they announced they were going to expand to the Chicago area starting in our western suburb! The irony stumbles in here: We moved to Southern California a month before the restaurant opened!
Now, the closest Chick-fil-a to us is about 45 minutes. So, you can see why it’s so exciting for me to find somewhat of a copycat recipe to cook up in the convenience of our home. And, it’s definitely a money saver!
Again, I will not say that this is the exact recipe from Chick-fil-a, because it’s not. But, if you want something similar…sweet, peppery and crispy…then look no further. Some people might try to tell you that you need to soak the chicken in pickle juice, first. While that may be true regarding Chick-fil-a’s chicken sandwich, it is not true of their nuggets. The real secret here is the powdered sugar in the coating. Yum, yum!
This recipe makes a large amount since I doubled it from the original source. In my world, I don’t fry things often. So, if I’m going to make such a mess, then I plan to fry up extras to store in the freezer for future, quick weeknight meals or lunches. Just don’t plan on eating with your family the night that you make these, because while you are standing at the stove frying up the entire batch, they will be picking off the finished product, licking their fingers and filling themselves up without you. So, you might as well just pick at them right then, too! If you do not desire to have leftovers, then halve the recipe below and get ready to regret your decision.
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 lbs skinless boneless chicken breasts (about 6 breasts), cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 4 teaspoons salt
- 3 teaspoons black pepper
- Peanut oil (is best) or canola oil, for frying
Combine the eggs and milk in a medium-sized bowl. Add the chicken bites and stir briefly to coat in the milk mixture. Cover and allow to marinate in the fridge for 2 to 4 hours, or up to overnight.
Using a gallon size storage bag, combine the flour, powdered sugar, salt and pepper. Seal and shake to combine. Heat the oil in a deep fryer or dutch oven (or another deep stockpot) over medium high heat until the temperature reaches 375F.
Using tongs, transfer half of the marinated chicken from the milk mixture into the storage bag with the flour. Seal and shake to coat the chicken pieces. Fry 6 to 8 nuggets at a time until cooked through and golden brown, turning once halfway. The timing will depend on the size of your nuggets, but I found that I needed to fry each batch a total of 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Repeat with remaining nuggets. Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce.
To freeze: Allow nuggets to cool completely, then transfer to a labeled freezer bag. Freeze for up to 1 month. Bake frozen nuggets lined on a baking sheet with a wire rack at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
Source: Adapted from My Name is Snickerdoodle