These homemade chicken nuggets make for a super easy toddler dinner and will make the kids so happy at the table. And us parents will delight in knowing that they’re made with just three healthy ingredients!
Homemade Chicken Nuggets with Ground Chicken
The easiest way to make moist and tender homemade chicken nuggets is to use ground chicken. I don’t always see it at our local stores, but I scoop it up when I do and store it in the freezer until I’m ready to cook. The ground chicken lets you jump right to mixing and shaping the nuggets, without any grinding or chopping required.
Baked Homemade Chicken Nuggets
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. Then there isn’t even anything to clean up! You can even reheat fully cooked leftovers to crispy goodness in just 6-8 minutes.
How to Make Homemade Chicken Nuggets Step-by-Step
Here’s how to make this recipe so you know what to expect:
- Roast or steam your sweet potato ahead of time. You can do this a few days a ahead and store it in an airtight container or the morning you plan to make these.
- Mash the cooled potato.
- Add the potato to a bowl with the ground chicken and salt. Add onion powder if you’d like.
- Form into 1-tablespoon size balls, flatten slightly, and coat in breadcrumbs. (The batter is slightly sticky, so you’ll want to wash your hands well once you have the nuggets formed!)
- Place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake.
Ingredients in Chicken Nuggets
The beauty of this recipe is that it only has a few simple ingredients: ground chicken, sweet potato, breadcrumbs, salt, and optional onion powder. It’s egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and can be easily made gluten-free, so it’s great dinner option for kids with food allergies.
How do I cook sweet potato for these homemade chicken nuggets?
For the sweet potato, which adds moisture as well as vitamin A and fiber, you can either roast ahead of time or steam cubes. Or, you can cook it quickly in the microwave: Simply peel, cube, and place it into a bowl covered with water. Microwave for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Drain and set aside. To roast it, 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. (You can also just use a full pound of ground chicken and skip the sweet potato if preferred!)
What kind of breadcrumbs are best for chicken nuggets?
You can use plain breadcrumbs or panko style, depending on what you have and what flavor you prefer. Panko style, which are slightly bigger pieces than traditional breadcrumbs, 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 breadcrumbs better at first. (I like these gluten-free breadcrumbs from Ian’s and I’ve often used Italian-flavored ones in this recipe with great success.)
What to Serve with Homemade Chicken Nuggets
You can really pair these chicken nuggets 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—so the nuggets cover protein, so you can add dairy, carbohydrates and produce to round things out.
Clear plate shown here by Brinware.Print
You can double this recipe to feed a family of 4-6. Or make this smaller batch and serve to your toddler throughout the week. Try serving these with ketchup, ranch, or marinara sauce.
- 1/2 pound ground chicken
- 1/2 cup fully cooked and cubed or mashed sweet potato
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp onion powder (optional)
- 1/4 cup regular or panko style breadcrumbs, plain or Italian-flavored
- 1. Mash together the chicken, sweet potato, salt, and onion powder in a medium bowl with a potato masher.
- Form into 1-tablespoon size balls and roll in breadcrumbs. Flatten and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 22-24 minutes at 375 F or until golden brown on the bottom and cooked through. Remove from oven, let cool for a minute or two and serve warm.
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 or for about 15-30 seconds in the microwave. (They will crisp up in the oven and be soft when reheated in the microwave.)
*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.