Servings: 8 Prep: 15 min Cook: 15 min Total: 30 min
Here’s a fun one, and one that’s likely to delight the whole family! I had some friends over when I made this and asked them to honestly tell me if they could tell that they’ve been de-carbed. They all agreed that there was no lack of flavor and that they were as good, if not better than, the real carb-full thing.
These are a bit messy to make, but I agree with my friends. They were outstanding. In fact, I was frankly caught a little off guard by how wonderful these little chicken nibblets turned out to be. They were golden brown, flavorful, had a spectacular texture and were full of moist and juicy goodness.
Normally, the procedure for breading and frying would be dredge in seasoned flour (to help the eggs adhere to the “goodie”). Then, it would go into an egg bath, followed by being dredged in a seasoned bread crumb mixture. From there, it would be fried (usually in some kind of vegetable oil garbage).
We’re going to right several of those wrongs, by eliminating wheat, an overwhelming majority of the carbs and then fry them in a healthy, stable, high temperature fat.
Dredge Note: I REALLY thought about dredging these in coconut flour, prior to placing them in the egg bath. It would have made them very very slightly “sweet”, but… virtually undetectable in flavor. The idea was to help the eggs and almond meal/parmesan mixture adhere to the “nuggets” with a little more intensity. I opted to go for a more pure Mediterranean flavor and skipped that step. It turns out that it wasn’t necessary!
Fat Note: Good “high smoke point” oils for frying are: coconut oil, lard palm oil, and clarified butter (ghee). Avoid hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils and manmade trans-fats. Processed oils like canola, corn, vegetable and soybean should be avoided.
Note: Photo is taken with Homemade BBQ Sauce, but these are also EXCELLENT with Marinara made with San Marzano Tomatoes.
Chicken NuggetsPrint Rate
- 1 cup high smoke point oil (see recipe notes)
- 1 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1 cup parmesan cheese finely grated
- 2 tsp fresh oregano (thyme rosemary, sage and/or marjoram), rough chop
- 4 each garlic clove minced
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken (I used breast but thigh will work, as well - skin is optional), cut into cubes
- salt fresh cracked black pepper and chile flakes, to taste
- Pre-heat your oil to a temperature between 325 and 350 degrees, in a wide skillet over medium-low heat.
- While the oil heats, in a large and wide-mouthed bowl mix your almond meal, parmesan cheese, oregano, garlic, salt, pepper and optional chile flakes. (I actually used a large wide Tupperware with a lid) Remove half of the mixture and set aside in a small bowl.
- In third bowl, whisk together your egg with 2 tbsp. cold water. Add a little salt and pepper.
- Add your cubed chicken to the eggs and mix well.
- To the best of your ability, spread the almond meal mixture evenly along the bottom of your large bowl or container.
- Evenly drop the chicken cubes around the almond meal mixture, so that they don't really touch one another.
- Dust the tops of the cubed chicken with the remaining almond meal mixture.
- Shake the chicken. If you've got a lid, add the lid and shake shake shake, Senora. Otherwise, just get in there and make sure the nuggets are evenly coated. If all the dredge doesn't fully stick, just let it sit for a few minutes, then give it another mix. Some of the moisture will continue to collect on the surface and little more will stick. Alternately, you can literally just "squeeze" it on, by applying pressure with your palms.
- Once the nuggets are evenly coated, carefully drop them evenly into their own spots within the heated oil. At this point, you probably want to increase the temperature of the burner, as the chicken will drop the temperature of the oil. (be careful not to let the oil go much higher than 350 F, however).
- As one side turns golden brown, flip them to the other side. Continue frying and turning until they are cooked through and golden brown.
- Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a towel to absorb any extra fat.
- Note: If you chose to do a deep fry, rather than a pan fry, as long as your oil never went above 350 F, you can strain it through a coffee filter and re-use one more time. BE CAREFUL not to burn yourself.
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* Learn More: More about this recipe and nutrition …
13 thoughts on “Chicken Nuggets”
That’s good to know re the oil tip at the end of your post.
Thank you, Jennifer! Oil seems to be a point of confusion for many. I’m trying to help clear up some of that confusion. 🙂
I just have to say that I made these, and my kids loved them and so did I. thats saying alot becouse my kids are the most pickiest eater ever. I really felt like I was cheating on my low carb diet. Yum thanks
If you brine them in dill pickle juice first and add some cayenne and garlic to the breading mix they taste just like Chick Fil A.
Arlene … interesting tip. Thanks for sharing! 😀
Why is the temperature of the oil not going over 350 degrees important?
Hi Ken, a few reasons … 1. if it’s too hot, you wind up with chicken that’s overcooked on the outside and raw in the middle. 2. Even some of the highest smoke point oils can start turning funky and degrading over 350 F. This is bad for you, from a healthy standpoint, as well as flavor. It starts to take on a bitter/smokey/burnt taste from the oil. 3. It’s just that much more dangerous! I hope this helps!
LOVE this recipe….and all of your recipes :). Just used this idea (almond flour with seasonings) to fry some fish…..yummy!! Living in South Lousiana is hard when you can’t eat fried fish! Thanks so much for saving me 🙂
My pleasure, Katrina! I’m glad you’ve found some inspiration here! 🙂
Can you bake these instead of frying? And if frying for treat what oil do you prefer?
Keri, yep! Just drizzle them with a bit of fat before baking. No problemo! I like lard, personally … Coconut oil is a great choice, but I personally find the flavor to be overwhelming …
I just made these and wondered why half of my breading mixture stayed behind in the pan instead of on the chicken. I JUST realized I forgot the egg coating step!! Whoops! If you’re wondering, they’re still delicious without the eggs. My three kids and I all gobbled them up. I served them with curried ketchup and broccoli florets. Made for a delicious, kid friendly dinner! Thank you!
—Reply posted by Jenelle on 1/23/2015
I was first exposed to it in Germany (mmm Currywurst). http://www.amazon.com/Hela-Curry-Gewurz-Ketchup-Mild/dp/B000NY3122/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1422065773&sr=8-2&keywords=curry+ketchup
I just make my own, though. The recipe I use now is from foodnetwork.com. It’s 3/4 C Ketchup (I use homemade SF ketchup), Juice of 1 lime (I use 1/2 lemon when I don’t have any limes) and 1/2 tsp curry powder. It’s delicious! It’s always served with chicken nuggets/strips in my house.
—Reply posted by DJ on 1/23/2015
I’m glad you liked them, Jenelle. Whoops on the egg, though! 😉 I am curious … what’s curried ketchup? That’s a new one to me!
Do you know if these freeze well? I’m looking for recipes I can make ahead and either cook or re-heat.
Thanks a bunch (and loving your site!) 🙂
—Reply posted by DJ on 10/20/2015
Hi Agent J. Hmmmm … honestly, I’m not sure! I would probably freeze them raw. I think this would be a better way to go. I fear the crust would fall off during the freezing and thawing process, once cooked, but I think they’d hold together nicely while frozen. Just handle them delicately and I suspect you’ll be ok. I hope this helps! 😀