Copycat Chick-fil-A Nuggets and Chick-fil-A sauce

These Chick-fil-a nuggets taste just like the real thing! They are perfectly crispy and salty with the slightest hint of sweetness.  Pair them with the Chick-fil-a sauce and make the perfect family meal!

I especially love to make other super easy homemade sauces like fry sauce and BBQ sauce to dip them in too!

Chic fil a nuggets in a stacked on top of each other with toothpicks.

Chic Fil A Nuggets and Chic Fil A Sauce

My family’s favorite fast food restaurant is Chick-fil-A.  I think mostly because it is the one place we can all agree on.  We all know we will always get consistently high quality food we love when we go there!  So, when I found this recipe I hesitated at the thought that there was no way I could get them to taste as good!   But, let me tell you, my hubby took one bite of these and turned to me and said, “Honey, THESE ARE CHICK-FIL-A!!” He also told me that they are an A+.

So, spoiler alert… the secret ingredient is…. pickle juice!?  Whatever it was that made these taste identical, they were amazing. The whole family gobbled them up just like they do when we buy them! Then they begged me to make another batch!  I do think having the Chick-fil-a sauce to dip them in really added to the whole experience too! If your family is always begging for Chic-fil-a you must stop and make these now!

Chic Fil A Nugget Ingredients:

Nugget Ingredients

  • Chicken breasts:  Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and season with salt & pepper.
  • Milk: Combine milk, pickle juice and egg for the wet ingredients.
  • Pickle juice:  The pickle juice gives the great vinegary and salty flavor to coating.
  • Egg: You only need one to use to dip the chicken in hold breading on the chicken.
  • Flour:  Dip chicken into egg, then the mixture of flour, sugar, salt and pepper.
  • Powdered sugar:  Using powdered sugar gives a hint of sweetness without adding a course texture.
  • Salt: The salt brings out all the flavors in the chicken and its breading.
  • Pepper: To taste.
  • Peanut oil:  You can also substitute canola or vegetable oil, but I think the peanut oil is part of what gives these nuggets their signature flavor.

How to Make Chicken Nuggets:

  1. Prepare Marinade: Whisk together egg, milk and pickle juice, and pour into a large ziplock bag or bowl.
  2. Marinate chicken: Add chicken pieces to marinate and let it sit in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.
  3. Combine dry ingredients: Add flour, powdered sugar, salt and pepper in a large ziplock bag. Then, shake to combine.
  4. Coat the Chicken: Remove chicken from the marinade and add into the bag. Shake to coat the chicken completely.
  5. Heat the oil: Put 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.
  6. Fry the chicken: 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.

The steps to making chic fil a nuggets.

Ingredients for Chic-fil-A Sauce:

  • Mayo: Creates the oily base.
  • Mustard:  Gives the spice to the sauce.
  • Lemon juice: The lemon juice keeps the flavor of this sauce fresh and light.
  • Honey: The perfect smooth sticky sweetness.
  • Smokey BBQ sauce: The smokiness of the BBQ sauce rounds out all the flavors.

How to Make Chic-fil-A Sauce:

  1. Mix and Enjoy: Mix together the Chick-fil-A dipping sauce ingredients, and serve with the hot chicken bites.

Overhead shot of chic fil a nuggets and chic fil a sauce.

Tips and Variations for Nuggets:

  • Pickle Juice? There is some debate over whether or not to add the pickle juice.  Some people say that is the secret to the signature flavor and ultra-moist texture.  Others, however say that it makes no difference.  My family and I loved this recipe so much with it, so I will continue to add it.  If you have made it without the pickle juice let me know what your opinion is.
  • Season the flour mixture heavily. Don’t worry about there being too much salt or seasoning in the flour. Most of it gets shaken off anyway.
  • Double dip the chicken. The first layer of flour should be very thin. Once wet, it acts as the glue that holds the second layer of flour to the chicken chunks.
  • Let the chicken rest before frying. Chick-fil-A insiders say that allowing the chicken to sit between coating and frying helps the breading hold-tight to the chicken, not bubble and fall off. To do this, place the chicken on a drying rack before heating the oil in order to give the breading time to adhere to the chicken.
  • Create the crumbs. One of my favorite parts of eating Chic-Fil-A chicken is the crumbs at the bottom of the box and the little crispies that stick off the nuggets themselves!  Thankfully, creating these little crunchy pieces is not hard to do at home either!  Just add a little bit of the eggwash to the flour mixture before the second dredge. By mixing the eggwash into the flour with your fingers, you create tiny crumbs that will hold onto the chicken in the second dunk.
  • Fry in peanut oil. Peanut oil helps give Chick-fil-A nuggets their special flavor and texture. If you have a nut allergy, feel free to use canola oil. However, Chick-fil-A insists their peanut oil is specially refined to remove nut proteins and therefore is allergen-free.

Chic fil a nuggets up close photo.

More Copycat Recipes to try:

Copycat Chick-fil-A Nuggets and Chick-fil-A sauce

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers
Servings 6 people

These Chick-fil-a nuggets taste just like the real thing! They are perfectly crispy and salty with the slightest hint of sweetness.  Pair them with the Chick-fil-a sauce and make the perfect family meal!

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword chick fil a, chick fil a nuggets, chick fil a nuggets recipe, chick fil a sauce, copycat chick fil a

Ingredients

Nugget Ingredients

  • 2 large chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces and seasoned with salt & pepper
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup pickle juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/4 cups flour
  • 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup peanut oil divided (or canola or vegetable oil)

Chick-fil-A Sauce

  • 1/2 cup Mayo
  • 2 tsp Prepared Mustard
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp Honey
  • 1 Tbsp Smokey BBQ sauce

Instructions

  1. 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.

  2. 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.
  3. 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.

  4. 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.
  5. Stir together the Chick-fil-A  dipping sauce ingredients, and serve with the hot chicken bites.

Recipe Notes

Updated on 

Originally Posted on November 2, 2012

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 6

Calories461kcal (23%)Carbohydrates16g (5%)Protein19g (38%)Fat36g (55%)Saturated Fat6g (30%)Cholesterol86mg (29%)Sodium1201mg (50%)Potassium336mg (10%)Fiber1g (4%)Sugar11g (12%)Vitamin A124IU (2%)Vitamin C1mg (1%)Calcium42mg (4%)Iron1mg (6%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic

 

Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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  1. I love to make homemade chicken nuggets–they just taste better than the frozen kind for sure! But we do like Chick-Fil-A occasionally–so excited to see this recipe. I will be giving it a try soon and I’m sure it will be a winner.

  2. Oh MAMA! I’m going to give these a try. We LOVE Chick fil A! Ya know, I have this favorite salsa from a interested in town and when I discovered the copy cat recipe the secret ingredient was teriyaki sauce!! SO funny how a lil bit a weird can make things so YUMMY!

  3. I must send this to my friend. She LOVES chick-fil-a and we do not have one with 60+ miles of us!

  4. Just FYI when I pin this and then go to the site it says this has been marked as suspicious or potential spam. Not sure why, I am not seeing any spam but wanted to give you a heads up!

  5. Hey!!!! I just found your site and I’m staying up way past by bedtime looking at all your fab recipes. I was wondering…can these be baked? I am SO not a good fryer (I burn up anything I fry). Thank you SO much in advance for your reply 🙂

    1. I am so glad you found me!! As far as the nuggets go I am not too sure on that one. Especially if you still want them to taste like Chick-fil-A’s! I am usually not a good fryer either but they turned out great! Let me know if you bake them… I would love to know if they turn out! 😀

  6. My husband is from Memphis and we live in North Dakota. Not a single Chick Fil A in our surrounding states. I just made up a batch of these, so excited to see what he thinks! I would love to bring a bit of Chick Fil A to North Dakota 🙂

  7. I just made these, and my husband is going to flip out. PERFECT recipe. I ended up marinating mine overnight. They’re soooo good, and the sauce is amazing. He is going to love me SO much! (Chick fil a is his favorite spot, and we moved and dont have one within hours). THANKS!

  8. Just made this for lunch and my husband and 5 year old LOVED it and wanted more after they were gone. We love chik fil a but have none around, we ate there several times on vacation last year and my daughter said it tasted just like vacation 🙂

  9. O.M.G. Made this last night and it turned out amazing! The pickle juice really gives it that something extra. They didn’t taste exactly like Chic-fil-a because theirs are more breaded, but my husband said he liked these even better because of that, and I will def make again!

  10. chicken was delicious but the sauce tasted way WAY WAY WAY to mayo like. even when I added tons of barbecue sauce it still tasted like i was just eating mayo. but the chicken was absolutely fantastic one of the greatest recipes i’ve ever found!!!!! good job!!!

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