The Ultimate (And Homemade) Chicken Nuggets

Even as an adult, there are few more satisfying foods to eat than chicken nuggets. Few of us can deny the allure of these crispy treats, but it’s more difficult to enjoy them knowing–or rather, not knowing*–what’s exactly in them. Luckily, you don’t have to deny your kids the delicious with this this healthy homemade dino chicken nugget recipe, which is baked, fun in shape, and made of chicken for certain.

Photo by Matt De Turck

I particularly enjoyed using oatmeal as a more nutritional filler in this recipe, inspired by MOMables, instead of bread like most recipes recommend. I love these dinosaur cookie cutters, but you can of course use any shape like flowers, hearts, and other animals.

Whatever you choose, get the kids involved! It’s always great for them to see where their food comes from.  Children can help shape the nuggets or even knead all the ingredient–just make sure they thoroughly wash their hands after touching raw meat.

*We hate to remind you about the exposing photo that came out in October 2010 that began the”What’s Really in Chicken Nuggets” question. Watch this video at your own discretion.


  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oatmeal or 1 slice of white bread
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning (or substitute with paprika)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs


Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit if you plan on baking the nuggets straight away. (This is a make-ahead recipe that you can freeze for 2 or 3 months.)

In large bowl, combine chicken, oatmeal, garlic powder, and pepper with halfof the Parmesan and  Zatarain’s. Knead dry ingredients into ground chicken. If you’re using sliced bread instead of oatmeal, first dip the slices into water and dampen until the bread reaches a dough-like consistency.

Make 1-tbsp balls from the chicken mixture and press into a cookie cutter. Tip: To prevent sticking, moisten hands before forming balls.

In small bowl, combine breadcrumbs with remaining Zatarain’s seasoning and grated Parmesan. Coat nuggets evenly by pressing the nuggets into the mixture on both sides and patting the crumbs in.

Freeze OR line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and arrange nuggets on cookie sheet. Optional: For a crunchier texture, lightly spray the nuggets with cooking spray or olive oil. Bake 15-20 minutes, turning once. Check the nuggets regularly so that they don’t overcook–they won’t brown very much unless they’re broiled for a few minutes at the end.