Easy Baked Chicken Nuggets {gluten free with paleo option}

Looking for an easy meal that's guaranteed to please? These Homemade Gluten-Free Baked Chicken Nuggets fit the bill.

These gluten-free chicken nuggets always get rave reviews, and are suitable for almost any special diet--they're Egg & Dairy Free with a Gluten-Free & Grain-Free option, and they freeze well too!

plate of baked chicken nuggets with ketchup on the side

Today I'm sharing with you a recipe that is truly one of our favorites--Baked Chicken Nuggets. I'm always on the lookout for easy recipes since my life is full. full. full. And since Hamburger Helper isn't on the menu for this whole foodie family (though this healthy version is) anymore, I have to figure out alternative ways to get dinner on the table in a flash.

If you struggle like I do, and you're tempted to go through a drive through when time is tough, then this gluten-free chicken nuggets recipe is for you! It's a super-easy recipe that you can put together in almost no time flat that will make your family feel like you really went out of your way for them.

Recently we've been so busy that our meals have gotten a bit blase. Meat, eggs, or beans, a grain and a veggie. Good, but a bit boring.

Truly, a highlight for my kids would be when I served them healthy no-nitrate, no-antibiotic hot dogs :-).

But the other night I pulled out some thawed chicken breast out of the fridge and served up this great chicken recipe for yummy chicken chunks and well, you should have seen the smiles on my kids' (and my husband's) faces.

You know by now that my criteria for a great recipe is one that is:

  • healthy
  • fast
  • frugal
  • tasty and
  • kid friendly

With all of that being true about this recipe, this just might be the best homemade chicken nuggets recipe ever.

Not that fried chicken is necessarily unhealthy (I think it depends on the type of chicken and the fat that you fry in), but instead of deep fried chicken, you can use this easy baked chicken nuggets recipe instead (and it's less messy than fried chicken too :-)!)

The origin of this recipe

To start with, here is where this Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets Recipe came from ......I found the inspiration for this recipe in Simple Choices for Healthier Eating, a cookbook that was recommended to my by Linda, the owner of Whole Approach.

Simple Choices for Healthier Eating paperback

Whole Approach focuses on providing products and resources for those suffering from systemic candida. Unfortunately (:-)), I became acquainted with Whole Approach about 3 years ago when it became quite clear that candida had a pretty bad hold on me.

I had to move on from Whole Approach when it was obvious that I had more going on than candida, but I have stayed pretty close to some form of the candida diet since then, and one of my boys has as well. Most likely another will be joining us soon as we have seen the effects of too many carbs on him.

In any case, Linda told me what a great book this is -- filled with simple, tasty, and pleasing dishes. I couldn't agree more.

Making healthy changes

I'd has a sugar problem my whole life, but didn't want to talk about it or face how bad it had become. In fact, there was one day that I was standing listening to some friends of mine talking about some health issues and how they were related to sugar intake.

I basically almost covered my ears with my hands and walked away because I didn't want to think about what changes might lie ahead.

But ....eventually I faced the music and had to do something.

It was one of the big turning points for our family's health as several of us had to deal with sugar problems head on.

The first change we made was going sugar free, and we also went gluten free.

As time has progressed, we have eaten more and more low carb, and on and off I have dabbled with the AIP diet to address autoimmune issues.

Plate of chicken nuggets and ketchup

Serving Options:

You can serve these alone or serve with dipping sauces.

I mentioned the Homemade Vegan Ranch Dip in the recipe, but this Easy Marinara Sauce would make a great dip as well.

This AIP Guacamole is another great option.

Substitutions for Special Diets

  • Flour Option: I am not an “iron chef” when it comes to flour choice most of the time. I typically use a blend of mostly sweet brown rice, some millet, some buckwheat and sometimes GF oats. Especially with a recipe like this where the flour is just a coating, it will work just fine!
    Organic almond flour is a good grain-free option. Use organic coconut flour or organic tiger nut flour for AIP--note that coconut will absorb a lot of moisture so blending it with another flour is best.
  • Garlic Powder: If you would prefer to make your own garlic powder, see Easy Homemade Garlic Powder.
  • Oil: You could use another oil suitable for high heat instead of avocado oil.
  • AIP: If you use cassava or tiger nut flour and adjust the spices, these baked chicken nuggets work for the AIP diet!
  • THM: This recipe qualifies as an "S" if you are on the Trim Healthy Mama plan.
  • whole30: Use almond flour.

Recipe Notes

  • Size of Cuts: The smaller you cut the chicken, the faster the chicken nuggets will bake. Don’t cut them so small that you have crispy bitty pieces of chicken, but not as big as commercial nuggets.
  • Oil: I know that it seems odd to add the oil after the coating, but this recipe really works. Trust me! The original recipe recommended a spray bottle for the oil to coat the chicken. I recommend using a solid oil like coconut for this recipe as its smoke point is higher and you will not be creating free radicals by cooking at a high temperature.
  • "Spicy-ness:" Experiment with the cayenne and pepper to adjust the “spicy-ness” to your taste.
  • Meal Prep: For even faster meal prep, cut up chicken into chunks, coat, and store in small plastic bags in the freezer. Just take out of the freezer and bake in the oven for a ready-in-a-flash meal! The chunks will only take about 5 minutes longer to cook.
  • How to Serve: Serve with rice, in pitas, grain of choice and with or without a dipping sauce. These would also taste great with the homemade barbecue sauce from my Oven Barbecued Chicken!
Hand dipping chicken nuggets in ketchup and a plate of chicken nuggets placed on top of a red and white checkered napkin

Easy Baked Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets Recipe

These Easy Gluten-Free Baked Chicken Nuggets taste like you spent a TON of time in the kitchen. But they come together in a flash. Grain & egg free and they freeze well too!
4.95 from 19 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Entree
Cuisine: AIP, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Keto, Low-Carb, Paleo, THM:S
Keyword: Gluten-free Chicken Nuggets
Prep Time: 13 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 173kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Cut chicken into small chunks, about 1 – 1½ inch chunks. Place in bowl.
  • Mix flour with seasonings.
  • Sprinkle flour and seasoning mixture over chicken and mix well to coat thoroughly.
  • Melt oil (if necessary). Drizzle over chicken and mix to coat lightly.
  • Bake in preheated oven (425 degrees for convection / 450 for conventional) until chicken’s internal temperature reaches 180 degrees (about 10 minutes for a convection oven [I love my Hamilton Beach convection oven] and 14 for conventional).

Nutrition

Calories: 173kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 569mg | Potassium: 442mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 350IU | Vitamin C: 1.7mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 0.7mg | Net Carbs: 2g

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is merely an approximation. Optional ingredients are not included and when there is an alternative, the primary ingredient is typically used. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts since they have been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.

More "Ready in a Flash" Recipes:

Indian Lentils (ready in as little as 9 minutes!)
Fast and Yummy Bean Dip (it's a real winner!)
Quick Whole Grain Biscuits (w DF & GF options)
Pakistani Kima (ground beef curry).  My kids ask for this all the time.  Enjoy!

How about you?  Do you have a quick and healthy "treat your family" meal?

Photo Credits: Naomi Huzovicova

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253 Comments

  1. Hi, to freeze, do I do all the instructions up to and including the drizzle of oil, then freeze? Or do the oil before baking? Also, do they need to be thawed before baking? Thanks a bunch.

    1. Hi there. I think drizzling after freezing is best and the least messy. You don't have to thaw before baking, but they will take longer to bake if you start with frozen nuggets. So hope you like them!

  2. Whoops! Just saw your Freezer directions. Please disregard my previous question! 😊

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. Looking forward to trying it. Question for you. I have already-cooked chicken pieces in the freezer. Do you think I should thaw them first or just coat them and bake a bit?

    1. Awww you made my night (again--after your comment on the ranch recipe) - thank you! How did they look..did they turn out looking like real nuggets at all - or do you think they kind of needed more breading? Thanks again!

      1. They were lightly breaded, almost similar to what I remember of chick-fil-a, but way better. I did add a little more gluten free flour since we can’t do nuts and my 3 year old was helping (so we lost some). They were so good, he was thrilled, and my 18 year old picky daughter had some too!

        1. So glad to hear! I want to get the photos redone---time to work on that. I'm sooo happy your kids loved them. That means a lot!

          1. Sooooo glad I found this recipe. It has been life's trying to find allergy friendly food recipe for my 3 years old. This recipe is a life saver. However, I did omit most spices as I am still worried, but will incorporate in a little later. I only used, salt, Brown rice flour, and canola oil and it was a hit with my three years old. Now we have more food options too. Thanksfor sharing the recipe!

            1. Yay I am so glad to hear this! Hope the spices work out too! Hang in there....I know how hard food allergies are. My oldest is now losing his - it's pretty much a miracle. You can see a little bit about it here: wholenewmom.com/about-me/.
              Thanks for taking the time to come and comment and say hi to your Little One for me. ♥️

        2. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Looking forward to trying it. Question for you. I have already-cooked chicken pieces in the freezer. Do you think I should thaw them first or just coat them and bake a bit?

  3. Hi, It was yummy but maybe we didn't make it right as it was not very crunchy. Do you have a recommendation on how to get the coating to be a little crunchier?

      1. Glad you liked them and sorry for the delay in responding....Did you get a chance to try that and if so, how did it go?

  4. We loved this! Unfortunately it didn’t come out very crispy, but I think my oven Temperature wasn’t high enough? I am always weary with my oven temp when I try a recipe for the first time. Next time, and there will definitely be a next time because it tasted so good, I will put it on a higher temp!

    1. Hi there -- so glad you liked them! Were you able to try again with a higher temp? Maybe get an oven thermometer to see? It can make all the difference.

  5. 5 stars
    Thank you thank you for this recipe! My son has an egg allergy and my husband is gluten free, and we plow through the GF nuggets from Costco. These taste so much better and will save me some money! I actually used tenderloins and they were so yummy!

    1. So so glad to hear this. Wow the great reviews have been just pouring in on these recently. May I ask you a question--did you do the drizzle of oil on top after the topping and did you think they had enough coating? I'm just wondering if I should make any changes---did they look good re: appearance? Thanks in advance and again, so glad!

      1. Yes I did the drizzle, and I was a little unsure about how that would affect the coating, but I trusted your instructions and they turned out great! I did double the amount of flour since I was using tenderloins (I think I had about 10) and there was a little extra in the bowl pre-oil. But after adding the oil and mixing more the extra flour sort of just stuck on, if that makes sense? Ha! I don’t know if I can post a pic but I’d be happy to share one if there’s a way.

        1. Thanks much! So basically you doubled the flour and then did the drizzle and stirred a little and put more flour on?

          Or you doubled the flour and put it all on the chicken and there was extra so after you drizzled you mixed a little?

          You could send a photo to me at adrienne (at) wholenewmom (dot) com if you'd like - thank you!

  6. 5 stars
    How do I rate more than 5 stars? These are so good and this is the first time I've ever seen my picky toddler eat meat without spitting it out. Instantly in the rotation!

    1. I'm sooo glad to hear this! I have been getting a LOT of great reviews of these recently. Makes me so happpy!