Easy Baked Chicken Nuggets (gluten free with paleo and keto options)

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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 a recipe that is truly one of our favorites–Easy Baked Chicken Nuggets.

I’m always on the lookout for easy recipes since my life is full. And since traditional Hamburger Helper isn’t on the menu for this whole foodie family (though this healthy Hamburger Helper is) anymore, I have to figure out alternative ways to get dinner on the table in a flash.

If 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 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.

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.

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.

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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.

I Recommend
Simple Choices for Healthier Eating

Simple Choices for Healthier Eating

Simple Choices for Healthier Eating is a great resource for anyone who wants to get lots of helpful recipes for eating healthier without all the fuss! 

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.

Ingredients

boneless skinless chicken breast
almond flour (or gluten-free flour blend)
salt
garlic powder
paprika
cayenne pepper
black pepper
avocado oil

Directions

Cut chicken into about 1 – 1½ inch chunks. (Photo 1)
Coat the chicken with flour and seasoning. (Photo 2)

chicken chunks in bowl and seasoned chicken collage

Bake in the oven for 425 degrees for convection and 450 for conventional. (Photo 3)
Place on a plate with your choice of dip like ketchup. (Photo 4)

chicken nuggets in pan and nuggets on a plate with ketchup dip on the side collage

Serving Options

Serve with rice or other grain of choice, in pitas, with or without a dipping sauce. These would also taste great with the homemade barbecue sauce from this Oven Barbecued Chicken.

As mentioned, this Homemade Vegan Ranch Dip or this Easy Marinara Sauce would make great dips as well.

This AIP Guacamole is another great option, but this Healthy Chick-fil-A Sauce is by far the best option.

homemade chicken nuggets with dipping sauce on white plate.

Substitutions for Special Diets

  • Flour Option: For a recipe like this, most gluten-free flour blends should work 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.
  • Oil: You could use any other 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. Omit the pepper and paprika, and cayenne. There aren’t really any good substitutes for these, but this AIP Taco Seasoning would likely taste great on these nuggets.
  • THM: This recipe qualifies as an “S” if you are on the Trim Healthy Mama plan.
  • whole30: Use almond flour or other non-grain flours on their own or as a blend.

Recipe Notes

  • Extra Coating Option: The recipe as is tastes great, but you can also increase the amount of the coating by half or double it if you’d like.
  • 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.
Hand dipping chicken nuggets in ketchup and plate of chicken nuggets placed on top of pink 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 20 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, grain-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).

Stovetop Option

  • Cut chicken into small chunks, about 1 – 1½ inch chunks. Place in bowl.
  • Mix flour with seasonings, using 1 1/2 times the amount of the coating ingredients for the recipe.
  • 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.
  • Cook in large shallow pan over medium heat, stirring often enough to prevent burning. Cook until chicken’s internal temperature reaches 180 degrees.

Notes

    • Extra Coating Option: The recipe as is tastes great, but you can also increase the amount of the coating by half or double it if you’d like.
    • 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!

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)
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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Recipe Rating




 

259 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These are my go to homemade nuggets! I’ve made them GF, whole wheat, white flour, but always with coconut oil! They’re so good and we never have leftovers 🙂

    1. Awww Rachel – thanks for taking the time to tell me. I’m so happy! I have a yummy recipe coming tomorrow hopefully that goes with these (and another one soon after that)—-stay tuned! You can subscribe here if you’d like (it’s really good!)

    1. Gosh good question! I am checking online for what makes sense….I’ll have to try it but how about try 375 degrees, coat the basket w/ some oil or a healthy cooking spray, and air fry for 7-9 minutes until done, flipping 1/2 way through. Do let me know how it goes!!

  2. 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!

    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!