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Crispy chicken nuggets that are baked, not fried make for a perfect healthier family favorite meal that kids and adults both will love!
Chicken nuggets are an American staple. It seems children can survive for years on a diet of almost solely chicken nuggets – I know this was the case for me. But, fried chicken nuggets simply won’t do so it’s much better and healthier to be eating baked chicken nuggets instead. These baked chicken nuggets are made with more tender and flavorful chicken thighs instead of the standard chicken breasts.
Chicken breast meat in general tends to dry out easily and is not very forgiving if you happen to overcook it even by a couple minutes. Chicken thighs on the other hand are higher in fat content so maintain their moisture and tenderness so much better. They also happen to be cheaper and more wallet friendly too! For this recipe you’ll need boneless skinless chicken thighs.
For the coating to make these baked chicken nuggets the crispiest you’ll need a 50/50 mix of flour and Argo® Corn Starch. Argo® Corn Starch is my secret ingredient here and makes sure that these baked chicken nuggets come out super crispy! It adds a great light and airy texture to the nuggets every time!
Argo® Corn Starch, which is naturally gluten free, is often used as a thickening agent for sauces and soups and is commonly used in Asian cooking for flash fried stir-fries. It can also be used in a batter for fried chicken or as a dredging mix for baked chicken. Argo® Corn Starch is a versatile pantry staple that can be used for all sorts of different recipes and meals. I always have it in my pantry and it comes in handy any time I’m making a stir fry as well as curry, stew and soup. It’s the perfect thickener and adds an awesome coating to stir fry meats to give them a crisp as well as thicken the stir fry sauce simultaneously. A little of it goes a long way!
Now it’s become my go to for making the crispiest chicken with an airy texture too.
As for the flour to use in this recipe you have a few options. I made several batches of these crispy chicken nuggets testing it with all purpose flour, gluten free flour, almond flour, chickpea flour and cassava flour. I also tested dipping the chicken nuggets in only the flour cornstarch mix, versus dipping them first in the flour cornstarch mix then in beaten egg then back in the mix, versus dipping first in the beaten egg and then into the flour cornstarch mix.
The results came back indicating that the chicken is crispiest with the addition of dipping each piece into the beaten eggs. There was not a huge difference between dipping in the flour cornstarch mix, then egg, then flour cornstarch versus dipping directly in the beaten eggs and then the flour cornstarch mix, though it was slightly crispier with the double coating of cornstarch and flour. So if you’re not short on time give it an extra dip in the flour cornstarch mix.
In terms of flour used they all work – the secret to the crisp is the Argo® Corn Starch!
Naturally, since these chicken nuggets are baked they will not taste the same as the deep fried ones – though if you ask me they’re still perfectly crisp while being way healthier and practically oil free. It’s barely a compromise, more of a win win situation. If you do prefer fried chicken nuggets feel free to to shallow fry these in a hot skillet with 2-4 tablespoons of oil.
Crispy Chicken Nuggets Ingredients:
- Boneless skinless chicken thighs
- Argo® Corn Starch
- Garlic powder
- Salt & pepper
Why these crispy chicken nuggets are the best:
- Baked not fried for a healthier meal
- Made with chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts for more tender and juicy chicken nuggets
- Perfectly seasoned with garlic flavor and a kick from the paprika
- Perfectly crispy from the Argo® Corn Starch as the secret ingredient
- For the crispiest chicken nuggets bake on a wire rack instead of baking sheet
- Use the convection oven setting
- Combine flour with Argo® Corn Starch for a coating that crisps up perfectly in the oven
- Chickpea flour and cassava flour make for slightly crispier chicken nuggets, but you can use all purpose flour, gluten-free flour or almond flour too
- Brush with olive oil or spray with olive oil for perfect browning
- Use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts (which tend to get super dry)
- Broil for the last few minutes of cooking to get even more crisp
How to make my crispiest baked chicken nuggets:
Start by preheating the oven to 450 degrees F convection setting. The convection setting creates a more even cooking environment so the chicken nuggets will all be perfectly cooked.
Cut the chicken into 2 inch pieces, trimming off any excess fat and discarding it. Chicken thighs are a bit harder to form into uniform pieces than chicken breasts but try to keep the pieces similar in size.
Beat the eggs in a bowl.
Combine the flour, cornstarch and seasoning in a separate bowl.
Dip each piece of chicken in the flour cornstarch mix, shaking off excess, then in the beaten egg, then back in the flour cornstarch mix. This double dip allows the coating to really stay on.
Place each chicken nugget on a sheet pan or wire rack. Baking these chicken nuggets on a wire rack will allow you to skip having to flip these over halfway into the cooking time.
Repeat for all chicken pieces. Spray with oil or brush with olive oil for perfect browning (optional). Bake for 20 minutes and broil for 5 minutes.
I love to serve these chicken nuggets with a homemade bang bang sauce. This is a combination of sweet, spicy and sour that makes for the perfect dipping sauce for the nuggets.
Bang Bang Sauce Ingredients:
- Sriracha (or other chili sauce)
- Lemon juice
To make the sauce mix the four ingredients together and adjust to your taste profile.
These crispy baked chicken nuggets make for the perfect family recipe that adults and kids will both love. Serve with homemade bang bang sauce for a party appetizer or easy family meal. Trust me you won’t be able to eat just one!
For more Argo® Corn Starch recipe ideas be sure to check out their page.
Super crispy healthier baked instead of fried chicken nuggets made out of chicken thighs. Read on for the secret to super crispy baked nuggets!
- 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1/2 cup Argo® Corn Starch
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Beat eggs in a bowl.
In another bowl combine cornstarch, flour, paprika, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Mix.
Cut chicken thighs into 2 inch pieces.
Dip each piece of chicken into the flour corn starch mix, then the egg then the flour cornstarch mix.
Place on an oiled baking sheet and repeat for remaining chicken pieces.
Spray the chicken pieces with olive oil or brush with olive oil (optional).
Bake for 20 minutes, flipping the chicken nuggets over after 10 minutes, and broil for 5 minutes.
To make the sauce combine mayonnaise, honey, lemon juice and Sriracha, Mix until smooth.
Serve crispy chicken nuggets with sauce.
Use a wire baking rack instead of a baking sheet for crispier chicken nuggets that you don’t need to flip over during the cooking time.