These Homemade Gluten Free Nuggets are a simple and more nutritious take on a classic family favorite recipe. Made with a seasoned corn tortilla chip breading, they’re baked in the oven with a cook time of under 30 minutes for crispy, high-protein chicken nuggets that are gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and perfect for dipping into our special sauce or any of your favorite condiments!
Highlights: Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets Recipe
- Easy to make: these baked chicken nuggets come together fast with a prep time of just 10 minutes
- Suitable for a variety of diets: unlike restaurant varieties, these homemade chicken nuggets are non-greasy, gluten-free, nut-free, egg-free, dairy-free, and can be made grain-free, too
- Loved by the whole family: your picky eaters will love that they get to eat their favorite food, and you’ll love that these nuggets are easy to make and contain white meat chicken and healthful ingredients
- Reheat well: on the off-chance you do have leftovers, these nuggets can easily be stored in an airtight container for later and taste good as new when reheated in the oven, a skillet, or the air fryer
Ingredients: What Are Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets Made Of?
You won’t find any corn starch, flour, or breadcrumbs in this recipe. Instead, we use simple, whole food ingredients to create the best gluten-free chicken nuggets and even pair them with our favorite homemade dipping sauce!
Baked Chicken Nuggets
- Tortilla chips – you can use any favorite brand and flavor of tortilla chips to make the crispy coating on these chicken breast nuggets. Since you’ll be grinding the chips into small pieces, you can use whole chips, broken chips, and even those chip crumbles from the bottom of the bag. For grain-free chicken nuggets, use grain-free tortilla chips, such as Siete brand
- Seasonings – garlic powder, onion powder, fine salt, black pepper. You could also add a pinch of paprika for subtle spice
- Boneless, skinless chicken tenders – tenders are convenient, though they can be a bit pricey. You can easily use boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead if that’s what you have on hand
- Avocado oil – may sub olive oil
Homemade Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
- Mayonnaise – we like using Primal Kitchen mayo, but you can always use what you have on hand
- Brown mustard – may sub Dijon mustard
- Honey – can sub maple syrup, but this will create a different flavor profile
- Seasonings – sea salt, dried thyme, black pepper
Find the ingredient list and nutrition information with exact measurements, kcal, carbohydrates, serving size, etc. in the recipe card below.
Ingredient Spotlight: Chicken
We do our best to consume an ample amount of protein to help increase and maintain muscle mass, boost metabolism, lower blood pressure, and keep us full. And chicken is one of our go-to protein sources for a variety of main dish recipes. Not only is it more budget-friendly, but chicken is also extremely versatile and nutritious, too. For example, chicken:
- Has virtually no trans fat on its own, and can be low in saturated fat and total fat, depending on the cut
- Is rich in essential minerals, including niacin, selenium, and phosphorous
- Contains a high amount of of B vitamins
- Is a low carb, low cholesterol protein source
How Do You Make Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets?
With a total time of just 30 minutes, this recipe comes together in less time than it takes to cook those frozen nuggets stashed in the back of the freezer. Here are the basic steps:
- Preheat the oven, and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Crush the chips. Add the tortilla chips to the bowl of a food processor, and process until finely chopped. Or, place them in a sealable bag, and crush them with a rolling pin.
- Make the gluten free breading. Transfer the crumbs to a shallow dish or pie plate, and combine them with the seasonings.
- Coat the chicken. Transfer the chicken to the bowl, and toss to coat each piece completely.
- Bake. Arrange the chicken pieces evenly on the baking sheet, and lightly spray the tops with cooking oil spray. Bake until the internal temperature reaches 165° and the breading is golden brown, flipping the pieces over and spraying them again halfway through.
- Prepare the dipping sauce. While the chicken nuggets bake, whisk all the ingredients for the sauce together in a bowl, if using.
Recipe Notes from Dietitian Jess
Registered Dietitian Jess developed this recipe and has these tips to share:
- Use a clean paper towel to pat the chicken dry before adding the breading.
- For the best results, make sure to really crush the tortilla chips. You want a consistency similar to bread crumbs (more coarse than rice flour or a flour mixture and less coarse than whole-grain oats).
- Use your fingers to really press the breading onto the surface of the chicken, helping it stick to and coat each piece completely. This is how we get that perfectly crisp, golden exterior!
Can Baked Chicken Nuggets Be Made In The Air Fryer?
Yes. If you have an air fryer (or an air fryer lid for your Instant Pot), preheat your device to 400℉, and follow the directions to coat the chicken as normal. Then, arrange 8-10 pieces in the air fryer basket, and mist each one with cooking oil. Air fry for 6 minutes, then flip each nugget over, mist again with cooking spray, and air fry for another 6 minutes. Repeat the steps, baking 8 to 10 nuggets at a time.
How to Serve Homemade Chicken Nuggets
We think that your favorite dipping sauce (or a few of them) is essential when serving nuggets! We love to serve ours with our Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce (recipe is also in the recipe card below). They’re also great with ketchup, Homemade Buffalo Sauce, our date-sweetened Homemade BBQ Sauce, our famous homemade Ranch Dressing.
For the Baked Nuggets:
- 6 ounces tortilla chips (white or yellow corn), crushed to make about 1 ½ cups
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, patted dry and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
- Cooking spray
For the Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce:
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup spicy brown mustard or Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons pure honey
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450℉. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
- To crush the tortilla chips, add them to the bowl of a food processor and process until finely crushed. Alternatively, you can place the chips in a plastic zip-top bag and crush them with a rolling pin.
- Transfer the finely crushed tortilla chips to a shallow dish or pie plate. Add the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper to the crushed chips and mix to combine. Set aside.
- Place the chicken in another bowl. Add the oil then toss to coat.
- Add the chicken pieces, a few at a time to the seasoned tortilla chip mixture. Toss the chicken in the crumbs pressing them onto the surface of the chicken to ensure each piece is well coated.
- Arrange the chicken pieces, evenly spaced, on the baking sheet. Lightly spray the top of each chicken piece with cooking spray before placing the pan in the oven. Bake 8 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, turn over each piece of chicken, and spray them again with cooking spray before returning to the oven. Bake an additional 8-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the coating is lightly browned.
- Meanwhile, whisk together all of the dipping sauce ingredients in a bowl.
- Remove baked nuggets from the oven and serve with Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce or other sauce for dunking. Refrigerate any leftover sauce in a covered container for up to 1 week. If desired, garnish with a fresh herb, such as chopped flat-leaf parsley or thyme leaves.
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Air Fryer Directions: If you have an air fryer (or an air fryer lid for your Instant Pot), you can just as easily bake these crispy homemade nuggets in there instead of an oven. To do so, turn the air fryer to 400℉ and let it heat for 2-3 minutes. Since air fryers work like a convection oven, circulating hot air around the food, it’s important not to overcrowd the basket of the air fryer so the hot air can reach all sides of each nugget. For that reason, you’ll need to bake them in batches, 8 to 10 at a time. Place coated nuggets in the air fryer basket, mist each one lightly with cooking spray, and air fry for 6 minutes. Flip each nugget over, mist again with cooking spray, and bake for 6 minutes more, until the nuggets are cooked through. Repeat the steps, baking 8 to 10 nuggets at a time.
The nutrition analysis for 1/4 of the baked chicken nuggets without sauce is as follows: 448 cals, 17 g total fat (3 g sat fat), 94 mg chol, 22 g carb (2 g fiber, 0 g sugars), 576 mg sodium, 37 g protein
- Serving Size: ¼ of the nuggets with 2 tablespoons sauce
- Calories: 533
- Fat: 29 g
- (Sat Fat: 4 g)
- Sodium: 843 mg
- Carbohydrate: 27 g
- (Fiber: 2 g
- Sugar: 5 g)
- Protein: 38 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Cholesterol: 106 mg
Frequently Asked Questions
Our favorite gluten-free chicken nuggets to buy are the ButcherBox Chicken Nuggets, Applegate Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets, and the Trader Joe’s frozen chicken nuggets, which are gluten free. Some other gluten-free frozen chicken nuggets we like are Tyson Naturals Gluten-Free Breaded Chicken Breast Strips and the Just Bare Lightly Breaded Breast Bites.
The key to crispy gluten-free nuggets is to allow air to circulate around them as they bake or air fry, so don’t overcrowd the baking sheet or the air fryer basket. It also helps to mist the nuggets lightly with cooking spray.
The Chick-fil-A breaded nuggets are not gluten free. The Chick-fil-A grilled nuggets are gluten free. If you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, you’ll want to beware of cross contamination that can happen often at restaurants (for example, if the breaded nuggets and the naked nuggets come in contact on any surface, then they are technically not gluten free).
Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Jess of Plays Well with Butter.
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