|The Best Oven Fried Chicken Nuggets|
Making your own herb and spice coating mix and oven baking with very little canola oil ensures that they are low fat, preservative free and much healthier...plus this version tastes better than any fried version I've ever encountered. The trick to getting them crispy is to bake them very quickly at very high heat. My kids absolutely love them and enjoy them most with a little drizzle of honey or in Noah's case a little honey mustard.
This recipe makes about 3 1/2 cups of the coating mix, all of which you will not use. I store the leftover coating in the freezer until I use it a second time. DO NOT store it in the fridge, because it has come into contact with raw chicken it needs to be frozen to be safe to use next time.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Preheat a cookie sheet in the oven as it heats up. This helps prevent the nuggets from sticking.
- 4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken tenders
- salt and pepper to season
- 1 cup buttermilk
Cut the chicken breasts into nugget sized pieces or into strips. Season with salt and pepper. Soak the chicken pieces in buttermilk for 1/2 hour to an hour. You can substitute buttermilk with 1 cup milk plus 1 tbsp lemon juice.
Herb and Spice Dredge Mix
- 3 cups flour (you can use whole wheat flour if you like)
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp powered thyme
- 1 tbsp powdered sage
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried marjoram
- 1 tbsp dry mustard powder
- 1 tbsp powdered ginger
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Mix all the dredge ingredients together very well. I use my food processor or stand mixer to do this to make sure all ingredients are well blended. Drain the buttermilk off of the chicken nuggets and toss them in the herb and spice dredge mix. I like to leave the chicken in the bowl for 5 minutes, pressing the nuggets down into the mix as they are surrounded by it to get really good contact. This helps the mix stick to the chicken.
Take the hot pan from the oven and brush the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of canola or peanut oil. Remove the chicken nuggets from the coating mix and place them on the hot oiled pan. Using a spray bottle, spray a thin coat of oil all over the top of the chicken pieces as well. Bake for 13-15 minutes until fully cooked. You can turn them once, half way through the cooking time if you like.
Store any leftover herb and spice dredge mix in an airtight container or Ziploc bag IN THE FREEZER until the next time you use it. I generally discard any leftovers after the second use.