Juicy and moist on the inside and amazingly crispy on the outside. This gluten-free chicken nugget recipe is one you will make again and again. Perfect for picky eaters.
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We love these homemade chicken nuggets because they are easy to make using simple ingredients. And they are baked rather than deep fried making them a healthy alternative.
Perfect for game day or make a batch and freeze them for an after-school snack. Serve them up with homemade honey mustard or your favorite gluten-free BBQ sauce.
📖Why This Recipe Works
This recipe is fairly simple using basic cuts of chicken, not ground chicken, and the 3 dip method for breading the chicken. I keep the seasonings to a minimum because it is all about dipping sauces for me.
Chicken- You want a boneless skinless cut of chicken (or even turkey!). I usually opt for chicken breast but tenders and thighs work just as well.
White Rice Flour- You can also use your favorite gluten-free flour blend. Xanthan gum is not required for this recipe.
Seasonings- I like to keep it simple with kosher salt, black pepper, and paprika.
Hot Sauce- Optional but I like a dash in the egg batter.
Gluten-Free Panko Bread Crumbs
We recommend any of the following brands of panko for this recipe. We have experience working with them all. And while we like them all, Ian's is the easiest to find in our neck of the woods and generally works the best for coating the chicken nuggets.
- Ian's Original Panko Bread Crumbs
- Aleias Gluten Free Panko Crumbs, Original
- Schar Gluten Free Bread Crumbs
🍞 Gluten Free Panko Substitutions
Don't have panko on hand? No worries. There are several substitutions for gluten-free panko in a pinch.
- Chex Cereal- You can use either the rice or corn varieties. Pulse in a food processor until just broken up, about 15 seconds.
- Rice Krispies- Be sure to grab the gluten-free variety. Again, pulse in the food processor until just broken, about 1-2 pulses.
- Gluten-Free Cornflakes- While most brands are not gluten-free if you have one on hand they work the same as the corn Chex cereal.
- Make Your Own- Places pieces of torn-up gluten-free bread in your food processor and pulse until you have crumbs. Spread on a baking sheet and toast in a 325 F degree oven for 5 to 7 minutes.
We do not recommend gluten-free pretzels or potato chips for this recipe. They are way too salty for the amount of coating on each piece.
⏲️How to Make Gluten-Free Nuggets
We recommend brining chicken breasts in a basic salt water bath for one hour prior to cooking them. Brines help seal in moisture creating the juiciest chicken bites possible.
Step 1- Prep the Chicken
To prepare the chicken, trim off any excess skin and cut it into 1-inch cubes. Try to get the pieces to be similarly sized for the most even baking possible.
Step 2- Gluten-Free Coating
We are going to use the 3 dip method for our homemade chicken nuggets. Meaning a flour coating, an egg dip, and then a final coating of bread crumbs. You will need three shallow bowls or plates.
The first bowl will contain the flour mixture of rice flour with salt, pepper, and paprika. The second bowl will contain the beaten egg and any hot sauce you are using. The final bowl will contain panko bread crumbs.
If you made your own bread crumbs may want to give them a sprinkle of salt as well.
Using a pair of tongs, drop each piece of chicken into the rice flour coating it well. Then dip into the egg mixture before dropping each piece into the panko bread crumbs.
Allow any excess egg mixture to drip off before dipping it into the panko. The nuggets should be fully coated with panko. Use your hands to press the bread crumbs in, if needed.
Step 3- Bake
Lightly brush or spray your baking sheet with oil. I typically use coconut oil spray for this recipe. Place the breaded chicken in a single layer on the baking sheet. The pieces should not be touching.
Bake for 20 minutes in a preheated 425 F degree oven. Turning the nuggets halfway through. The chicken nuggets are done when the internal temperature reaches 165F degrees and they are lightly golden brown.
🥗What to Serve with Chicken Nuggets
Homemade nuggets deserve nothing but the best sauces for dipping. I always serve chicken nuggets with our honey mustard dipping sauce. You can make it sweet or spicy. Ranch, BBQ, or spicy mustard are all crowd pleasers too.
On the side, we love a blue cheese potato salad, a simple green salad, roasted carrots, or sauteed green beans.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
- Skip the parchment paper or Silpat on the baking sheet. Direct contact will yield the crispiest crust.
- If you live in a high-humidity area you can increase the crispiness of the chicken by baking it on a cooling rack set inside the baking sheet.
- Substitute Italian-flavored bread crumbs and serve with a homemade marinara dipping sauce for a fun variation.
🌡️ Storing Leftovers and Reheating
Allow the chicken nuggets to completely cool before placing them in an airtight container. The chicken will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
While you can reheat the nuggets in the microwave, gluten-free nuggets are best reheated in the oven or the air fryer. Place them on a baking sheet in a 325 F degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through.
You can also store the cooled nuggets in a ziptop bag and stored them in the freezer for up to 2 months. Pop them directly into the oven for an easy dinner or a snack.
More Classic Gluten-Free Recipes
💬Frequently Asked Questions
Yes you can cook homemade chicken nuggets in an air fryer, howver I recommend baking in an oven because the air fryer basket is so small. With this recipe you would have to do multiple batches.
If you want to use an air fryer preheat to 390 F degrees. Cook for 8 minutes. Check to ensure the internal temperature is at least 165 F degrees.
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Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets
- 1 pound chicken breast, boneless and skinless
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 cup gluten free panko breadcrumbs
- olive oil or oil spray for pan
- honey mustard sauce for dipping
- Preheat oven to 425 F degrees. Brush or spray baking sheet with oil
- Trim any skin off the chicken and into 1-inch cubes. Set aside.1 pound chicken breast, boneless and skinless
- Prepare three shallow bowls or plates for your breading station. In the first bowl combine rice flour, salt, pepper, and paprika. In the second bowl whisk together the eggs and hot sauce. In the third bowl add the gluten-free panko crumbs (see note for panko alternatives).1 cup rice flour, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon paprika, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon hot sauce, 1 cup gluten free panko breadcrumbs
- Using a pair of tongs, coat each piece of chicken with the rice flour, dip into the egg mixture, and then into the panko bread crumbs. Be sure to allow all the egg mixture to drip off before dipping into the panko.
- Place the breaded chicken on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, turning halfway through. The chicken nuggets are done when the internal temperature reaches 165F degrees and they are lightly golden brown.olive oil or oil spray for pan
- Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.honey mustard sauce
- See post for gluten free panko suggestions and substitutions.
- Leftover chicken nuggets can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- We recommend reheating in a 325F degree oven on a baking sheet until warmed through.
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This are the best. Finally no need to buy bagged chicken nuggets. My kids love them. Thank you!!
That is fantastic to hear. Thanks for leaving a review.
Hi, I would love to try this. Can we substitute with panko bread crumbs (not gluten free) and is there a way to prep and freeze them? Thanks
Yes, totally fine to use all-purpose flour and regular panko if gluten is not a concern. In order to prep and freeze them you want to fully cook them. Once cooled freeze them on a baking sheet for a few hours. Then pop into a ziploc freezer bag. This will prevent them from sticking. You can reheat in the oven to crisp them back up.
Makenna H says
This was the best chicken nugget recipe so far. For being celiac and gluten free, it was very good. The tip about brining the chicken made a huge difference. Very juicy. Thanks!
Makenna H says
*celiac and dairy free
So glad you enjoyed it. And thank you for taking the time to review- we really appreciate it!
So simple yet so good! Nothing beats homemade!
Thanks for the review and comments!
Loved the alternatives you gave for gf bread crumbs. My sister-in-law is coeliac and I always struggle finding good alternatives for breading. Such a nice and easy recipe, perfect for finger-food style dinners!
Thank you so much for the review!
Mmm these look so good and big points for being gluten free so everyone can enjoy too! 😀
I'm interested in trying the Chex alternative! That sounds so interesting. I've never tried using it as breading.
It works surprisingly well.
Love chicken nuggets and this gluten free version Looks fantastic. Perfect for any parties too. Thanks for sharing.
I'm glad to hear that Ian's is the best! I ordered some a while ago (I live in Germany). Thanks for all the awesome tips! Can't wait to try these.
Let us know how they turn out!
Sandhya Ramakrishnan says
This is so easy and such a delicious recipe. Love your gluten free substitutes for the panko and these are something that I didn't even realize that I had in hand.
Our local grocery is ALWAYS out of GF panko so sometimes I have to get creative. Thanks for the recipe review!
My absolute favorite food in the world is chicken nuggets. I have gluten sensitivity and always buy gluten-free. Your recipe is so superior to all the store-bought versions! I Will never buy again, your recipe is THE one! Thanks so much!
This makes me so happy. Glad you enjoyed them so much.
I'm always looking for allergen-free recipes to share with my friends. This looks like a great add to any gameday spread. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for commenting
Thanks for the tip about brining the chicken. With smaller pieces chicken breasts can dry quick, now problem with your method. So tender and juicy. This is a keeper!
Thanks for the review!