These homemade Chicken Nuggets (with sweet potato!) are an easy toddler dinner that parents will enjoy, too. They’re packed with nutrition and have a veggie right in the mix!

Chicken nuggets on baking sheet after cooking.

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

I know many kids love chicken nuggets, and they are a great option for easy meals that are filled with nutrients, including protein. And this homemade version also has sweet potato, for more flavor and nutrition.

If you start with ground chicken, rather than breast or thigh meat, you can get right to the mixing and shaping the nuggets, without any grinding or chopping of meat required. It’s such an easy method to make a favorite toddler chicken recipe.

Since the last thing you need is a fussy recipe that requires frying or standing by the stove, this homemade chicken nugget recipe is simply baked in the oven. I like to bake my chicken nuggets on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet (or do them in an air fryer) so the cleanup is easy, too.

We like these for dinner with a simple veggie and carbohydrate like rice or pasta. My kids like these most when dipped in ketchup. We’ve also put them into tacos! (You can find my more classic chicken nuggets recipe to try, too.)

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Ingredients You Need

The beauty of this recipe is that it has only a few simple ingredients including the following items.

Ingredients for chicken nuggets with sweet potato on countertop.
  • Ground chicken: This is lean and mellow in flavor, which is a nice complement to the rest of the ingredients.
  • Sweet potato: You’ll want to use fully cooked homemade mashed sweet potato or canned or jarred sweet potato puree.
  • Bread crumbs: Plain or Italian-flavor both work, so use the one you prefer.
  • Salt: This helps to even out the flavors. If you want to skip it for a baby, feel free.
  • Onion powder: This is optional for additional flavor.

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Gluten-free: To make these healthy chicken nuggets gluten-free, try these gluten-free bread crumbs from Ian’s.
  • This recipe is egg-free, dairy-free, and nut-free, and it can be easily made gluten-free, so it’s a great dinner option for kids with food allergies.
  • You can use panko or regular-style bread crumbs.
  • You could use Mashed Butternut Squash in place of the sweet potato if that’s what you have on hand.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s how a look at the process involved in making this recipe so you know what to expect. Scroll down to the end of the post for the full amounts and timing.

how to make chicken nuggets with sweet potato in grid of images.
  1. Cook your sweet potato ahead of time. You can do this a few days ahead and store it in an airtight container in the fridge or the morning you plan to make these. Mash the cooled potato.
  2. Add the potato to a bowl with the ground chicken and salt. Add onion powder if using.
  3. Form into small balls, flatten slightly, and coat in bread crumbs.
  4. Place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake.

TIP: The batter is slightly sticky, so you’ll want to wash your hands well once you have the nuggets formed!

How to Cook Sweet Potato

For the sweet potato, which adds moisture as well as vitamin A and fiber, you can either roast ahead of time, steam cubes, or use a slow cooker.

  • To cook it quickly in the microwave: Simply peel, cube, and place it into a bowl of water. Microwave for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Drain and set aside.
  • To roast the sweet potato: Poke the potato with a knife, place onto a foil-lined baking dish, and bake for 45-60 minutes at 400 degrees F or until soft.
  • Here’s how to make mashed Sweet Potato in the Crockpot.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of bread crumbs are best for chicken nuggets?

You can use plain bread crumbs or panko style, depending on what you have and what flavor you prefer. Panko style, which are slightly bigger pieces than traditional bread crumbs, tend to be a little crispier—which is great for older kiddos. Younger toddlers and babies may be able to handle the texture of regular bread crumbs better at first.

What’s the best way to reheat leftovers?

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Reheat for 6-8 minutes in the oven at 375 degrees F or for about 15-30 seconds in the microwave. (They will crisp up in the oven and be soft when reheated in the microwave.)

Can I make these chicken nuggets in an air fryer?

Yes, they come out a little crispier and cook a little faster.

Serving Suggestions

You can really pair this chicken and sweet potato recipe with anything you and your toddlers like, though we tend to keep it simple with a side of rice and veggies, or rolls and fruit.

Feel free to keep it super basic and just balance it with other food groups—since the nuggets cover protein, you can add dairy, carbohydrates, and produce to round things out.

Chicken nuggets on cookie sheet and storage container.

How to Store and Reheat

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Reheat for 6-8 minutes in the oven at 375 degrees F, about 4 minutes in a 375-degrees-F air fryer, or for about 15-30 seconds in the microwave. (They will crisp up in the oven and be soft when reheated in the microwave.)

healthy homemade chicken nuggets on kids glass plate

Best Tips for Success

  • Use traditional bread crumbs or panko-style. Panko will make the exterior a little crunchier.
  • Use gluten-free bread crumbs if needed.
  • Plan to prepare the sweet potato ahead of time so it has a chance to cool.
  • Using this crock pot sweet potato method is super easy, though you can also roast it or steam it in the microwave.
  • You can omit the salt if making these for a baby.
  • Serve with ketchup or another favorite dip.

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Chicken nuggets on baking sheet after cooking.

Homemade Chicken Nuggets (with Sweet Potato)

Crispy on the outside and tender in the middle, these Homemade Chicken Nuggets are both easy and delicious. You can prep the sweet potato up to 5 days ahead if that's easier for you, too. Try serving these with ketchup, ranch, or marinara sauce.
5 from 186 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Dinner
Calories 122kcal
Servings 8 (Makes about 2 dozen nuggets)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato (or fully cooked and cubed sweet potato)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder (optional; you could also add garlic powder or dried oregano)
  • ½ cup regular or panko-style bread crumbs (plain or Italian-flavor)

Instructions

  • Mash together the chicken, sweet potato, salt, and onion powder in a medium bowl with a potato masher or a large fork. Place the bread crumbs into a separate shallow bowl.
  • Form the chicken mixture into 1-tablespoon-size balls and roll in bread crumbs.
  • Flatten slightly (or form into tot-shapes) and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Optional: Spray or brush lightly with olive oil.
  • Bake for 22-24 minutes at 375 degrees F or until golden brown on the bottom and cooked through.
  • Remove from oven, let cool for a minute or two and serve warm.
  • (To cook in an air fryer, place onto a greased tray or basket and cook for 10-12 minutes at 400 degrees F. I don't turn over in the middle of cooking.)

Notes

  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat for 6-8 minutes in the oven at 375 degrees F, about 4 minutes in a 375-degree-F air fryer, or for about 15-30 seconds in the microwave. (They will crisp up in the oven and be soft when reheated in the microwave.)
  • You can also freeze fully cooked and cooled nuggets in a freezer bag with as much air removed as possible for up to 6 months. Heat the same as above.
  • *To roast a medium sweet potato, wash and poke with a paring knife. (The holes will let steam escape.) Place on a foil-lined baking sheet or pan and bake for 45-60 minutes at 400 degrees F. Remove from oven, let cool, and store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • *To steam a medium sweet potato, remove the skin with a vegetable peeler and dice the flesh. Place into a steamer basket in a pot filled with a few inches of water. Cover, bring water to a simmer, and cook for 6-8 minutes or until sweet potato is soft. Let cool before storing or using.
  • Use traditional bread crumbs or panko-style. Panko will make the exterior a little crunchier.
  • Use gluten-free bread crumbs if needed.
  • Plan to prepare the sweet potato ahead of time so it has a chance to cool.
  • You can omit the salt if making these for a baby.

Nutrition

Calories: 122kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.04g, Cholesterol: 49mg, Sodium: 165mg, Potassium: 366mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 2359IU, Vitamin C: 0.4mg, Calcium: 21mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

This post was first published March 2018.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe is awesome, so awesome I use it to make chicken burgers for the adults and nuggets for my toddler. I don’t even like sweet potato and this is great.

  2. 5 stars
    do you think i could sub the sweet potato for some red lentils? i have some lentils left over from another recipe and trying to figure out what to do with it 🙂

    1. I would recommend blending them into a jar of marinara sauce. I am not confident they would be a good option here.

  3. 5 stars
    My 14 month old and I love these chicken nuggets, I wish my 2.5 year old would eat them! I’m curious what the nutritional facts are for? One serving? How many nuggets? Thank you

    1. If you make about 24 nuggets like I did, it’s 3 nuggets per serving (though remember that serving sizes are not necessarily the amount any kiddo needs, and their appetite and hunger is the best guide.) Glad the younger one enjoys them!

  4. 5 stars
    only change i made was that i used some steamed broccoli too (about 1/3c and 2/3c steamed sweet potato).
    DELICIOUS!!!!
    Toddler loved it but MUCH more surprising is that hubby (super picky and finicky) loves it too! It was nice to be able to confidently say “eat as much as you want” bc of the clean ingredients and it being fresh made. THANKS!

  5. 5 stars
    my son loves these! i want to make more but don’t have regular sweet potato. can i make them without it? or use frozen one?

  6. 5 stars
    I have made this recipe many times for my son, who is 13 1/2 months old. I have used ground chicken, ground turkey, and a combination of both. My son loves these, and I also think the taste is great! I usually use half the salt. I love that this recipe doesn’t require too many ingredients. My nuggets aren’t very crispy but my son and I don’t mind at all.

  7. 5 stars
    This is a great recipe! You can definitely tweak and add more seasoning or change the starch/meat, I’ve added garlic powder and paprika. So so good!

    I found that baked it’s not as tasty as fried so I actually fry in the frying pan because I like the taste better. Maybe I’ll try the air fryer next, the oven just seems to dry it out a bit. By the time 20 min hit the nuggets do not have any color to it. Anyways 10/10 make it, everybody will love it!

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