Chicken Thigh Nuggets

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Anyone who says they don’t love chicken nuggets is probably lying. You can find vegetarian nuggets, nuggets tossed in sauce, nuggets on sandwiches, and any big sporting event there’s probably a tray of something resembling a nugget there.

Sure, you can buy frozen nuggets and rewarm them in the oven or a fry. You can run out and hit a the drive through. But they’re also surprisingly easy to make yourself. Plus, with homemade, you know exactly what’s in them.


Now, there are a lot of recipes out there for things that say “Chicken Nuggets” that are really somewhere on the Chicken Finger to Popcorn Chicken spectrum. What I’m talking about are “real” chicken nuggets. Amorphus bits of unrecognizably delicious chicken fried in a crisp coating – perfect for dipping in sauce

To make our chicken nuggets, we’re going to make a ground chicken that’s really more of a chicken sausage, coat it in a simple breading, and fry it until it’s crispy. It’s fast, delicious, and kind of hard to stop eating once you start.


One note, these are a little salty. They’re meant to be a little salty – bothe because chicken nuggets are salty, but also because the salt is key to making the shaping process work . You can cut back on the salt, but the salt in the chicken mixture is what gives it the bouncy and sticky texture you need for it to hold together in the fryer.

Chicken Thigh Nuggets

Recipe by DrewCourse: Snacks, MainCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time



Nuggets! Delicious, cripsy, juicy nuggets!


  • Chicken Mixture
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

  • 1/2 tsp very finely ground black pepper

  • 1/2 tsp Monosodium Glutamate (optional, see note)

  • Breading
  • 1 cup AP flour

  • 1/2 cup corn starch

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper

  • 1 pinch turmeric

  • 1/2 cup butter milk or 1/2 cup whole milk + 2 tbsp yogurt

  • Honey Mustard Sauce
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise

  • 2 tbsp yellow prepared mustard

  • 1 tsp cider vinegar

  • 1 tbsp honey

  • 1/8 tsp xanthan gum powder (optional, see note)


  • Prepare the chicken mixture
  • Cut the chicken into 1 inch pieces
  • Add the chicken, salt, pepper, and MSG (if using) to the bowl of a food processer.
  • Process until nearly smooth.
  • Bread and Fry
  • Mix all dry coating ingredients together. Pour onto a plate or sheet pan.
  • Using wet hands, gather a 1 inch ball of the chicken mixture. Press this into the dry coating mixture, pressing down to flatten the ball into a 1/4 inch thick piece. Turn to coat lightly.
  • Set each piece aside and continue with the remaining chicken mixture.
  • After all pieces are lightly coated, dip each piece into the buttermilk or milk & yogurt mixture, then back into the remaining coating mixture.
  • Allow coated chicken to rest 5 minutes.
  • Deep fry at 350 degrees until deep golden brown.
  • Honey Mustard Sauce
  • Combine all ingredients, whisk until smooth.


  • Monosodium Glutamate is a natural substance isolated from soy. The same chemicals occur naturally in tomatoes, mushrooms, and parmesan cheese. In this case, it deepens the chicken flavor. You may omit it if desired.
  • Xanthan gum is a natural thickener derived from fermentation of sugars with a natural culture. In this sauce, it will help maintain a good dipping texture. Without it, the sauce may be very thin.

Be sure to check out my other food project, The Weekly Menu!


  1. Pingback: Chicken Thigh Nuggets — The Chicken Thigh Guy | My Meals are on Wheels

  2. Thanks for the recipe! And respect for not demonising msg.

    • Drewwwww

      My eight year old daughter, in the middle of telling me how she doesn’t like chicken, gave these a 10/10. Both the nuggs and the honey mustard was perfect – I made my nuggets a little too big, so they were more akin to mini chicken patties. In lieu of the MSG (just didn’t haven’t any) I used chicken bullion powder.

      Total winner, will make again!!

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