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 194 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)
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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
    So easy to make and delicious! Followed recipe and directions and 10 month old loves them!!! And I do too 🙂

    Thank you!!!

  2. 5 stars
    Just made these and they were a hit from the almost 8 month old to my husband! I roasted the sweet potatoes last night and we made these during morning nap. So easy my 4yo was able to make about 1/4 the batch! (We added pepper and garlic powder and used Italian breadcrumbs.) We baked them, cooled on a baking rack and put in fridge once cool. When husband got home from work he was able to heat in oven and they crisped right back up. With dip they straight taste like chicken nuggets. Working from home in the evenings rn so these make ahead and reheat recipes are helping so much!

  3. 5 stars
    Thanks for this! I never would have considered sweet potatoes in chicken nuggets but it worked out to be quite delicious (and not really sweet). I put breadcrumbs in the mix, added 1/8 tsp garlic powder (along with the onion powder) and made tablespoon-sized meatballs in the pressure cooker (plunked the balls in water and cooked on high for 5 minutes). The end result was quite tasty and the toddler had 4 servings! Baby is new to self-feeding and meat has been a challenge, but these were nice and soft and easy to gum. I’m going to make a second batch to freeze. Thanks again!!!

  4. 5 stars
    My baby is teething and refusing most solids on top of not really liking chicken, but he loved these!
    I used white sweet potato and whole wheat panko breadcrumbs. I also doubled the onion powder and added 1/8 tsp of garlic powder.
    Thank you so much Amy 🙂
    Maryam

      1. Yes, you can freeze them. I’d warm in the oven at 375 F on parchment or foil coated with nonstick spray for 6-8 minutes or until warmed through.

    1. Yes, freeze in a zip top freezer bag for up to 3 months and following the oven reheating instructions, maybe adding 1-2 minutes more if needed.

      1. 5 stars
        I’ve tried many homemade nugget recipes and this is the first one that my toddler eats as happily as if they were dino nuggets from the store. Thank you for another winner!

    1. I guess you might be able to use carrot puree though I haven’t tried it. Let me know if you do!

    2. 5 stars
      I just made these an hour ago using mashed carrot instead of sweet potato since my toddler has been anti-sweet potato as of late. They came out great! I also added a little bit of grated parmesan to the breadcrumb mixture which is also delicious.

  5. 5 stars
    I’ve made these many times for my toddler, and they’re definitely a hit! I was wondering if you’ve ever tried making these with butternut squash? I have some cooked butternut squash, but I’m wondering if it’s not sticky enough and whether I should even bother trying.

  6. To freeze the nuggets, should I bake them and freeze or the other way round? How long does it last in the freezer?

  7. 5 stars
    OMG! My kids (4 and 8 year old boys) said they LOVED them and wanted seconds!!! They would never eat sweet potato, but they gobbled these up and had No idea about the sweet potato – ha ha! Thank you for showing me a trick to sneak in veggies. Served with whole grain rice and corn. Perfect and easy meal!

  8. 5 stars
    My toddler refuses to eat meat, but he gobbled these down with enthusiasm! So healthy, so easy, so delicious! I feel like Super Mom 🙂 My husband and I enjoy them as well. Thank you so much!