The staff at my neighborhood Chick-fil-A know my son’s name. Yikes. They’ve stopped asking me if I want to see the menu. Double yikes. I even started to go to the other employee in the double lane drive-through to avoid contact with the one I know. I think it’s time to start eating at home more.
I’ve searched the Internet for copycat Chick-fil-A nugget recipes and landed on a winner. This recipe from Iowa Girl Eats doesn’t involve expensive and extensive kitchenware like Dutch ovens, food processors, or fryers. As an added bonus, this dish is gluten-free (GF).
Fast Food Fake-out
- 2 large chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces then seasoned with salt and pepper
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup dill pickle juice
- 1 egg
- 1-1/4 cups gluten-free or all-purpose flour (dish will not be GF if using all-purpose flour)
- 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup peanut oil, divided (or canola or vegetable oil)
Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1-1/2 Tablespoons yellow mustard
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- Whisk together egg, milk, and pickle juice, and pour into a large ziplock bag or bowl. Add chicken pieces and marinate in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.
- Combine flour, powdered sugar, salt, and pepper in a large ziplock bag. Shake to combine. Remove chicken from the marinade and add into the bag. Shake to coat the chicken completely.
- Heat half the oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat (6 or 7 out of 10.) Test the oil by dropping in a bit of the flour mixture. If it sizzles, the oil is ready, if it pops, lower the temperature a bit.
- Gently place chicken pieces into the oil with tongs. Do this in 2 batches, as you don’t want to overcrowd the pan. Cook the chicken for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown on one side. Turn the chicken over and allow to cook for 3-4 more minutes. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate. Heat the remaining oil and continue with the other half of the chicken pieces.
- Stir together the honey mustard dipping sauce ingredients, and serve with the hot chicken bites.
Fast Food Takeout
Still if you don’t feel like cooking (or can’t get a meal on the table tonight), here’s the nutritional content of Chick-fil-A breaded chicken nuggets, 8 count.
Nutrition (8 pc, 113 g): 260 calories, 12 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 980 mg sodium, 9 g carbs (1 g fiber, 28 g protein
Calories, fat, sodium per gram: 2.30, 0.11, 8.67
According to Eat This, Not That! Chick-fil-A nuggets are in the Eat This! category, ranked no. 11. The Chick-n-Strips are ranked no. 3. The ingredients in the breaded nuggets are favorable. (No worries there, Mama Hen.) However, Chick-fil-A uses an ingredient in their fry oil, an anti-foaming agent called dimethylpolysiloxane, a suspected carcinogen and a known mutagen and tumorigen. (Be careful what you peck…er…pick, Mama Hen.)
(In case you’re wondering, the worst fast food nugget is Popeyes Handcrafted Mild Tenders. The best nugg is a tie between Chick-fil-A grilled nuggets – with real grill marks, not fake like some others – and A&W Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders.)
For the more health conscious, the 6-piece grilled nugget kid’s meal is a nutritional slam dunk, as long as you don’t dunk those nuggets into any sauce. You can get a fruit cup or a superfood side (kale, dried cherries, nuts) and a low-fat milk.
A Final Thought – From the Pillow
Try to serve your children less fast food meals, but don’t feel bad when you can’t or don’t want to cook. Maybe Chick-fil-A nuggets are the only protein your child reliably eats. Maybe you’re craving more than chicken and Miss Jeannie, at your local C-f-A drive-through, is the only adult conversation you’ve had all day.
So feel free to use this recipe tonight or save it for later. Copycat “fast food” recipes are good for your waistline and wallet. A homemade, wholesome meal may end up in the trash (at my home), but it’s never served with a side of guilt.
How do you and your kids like the copycat Chick-fil-A recipe? For nights you don’t want to cook, do you think dinner at Chick-fil-A is A-OK?