“Adult Chicken Nuggets” with Honey-Garlic Dipping Sauce

There’s no reason why grown-ups can’t eat chicken nuggets, too. This recipe is easy, versatile and delicious!

Adult Chicken Nuggets with Honey-Garlic Dipping Sauce

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Time: 30 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

These chicken nuggets are a lighter, more flavorful version of a childhood favorite.

There are some foods that are inextricably intertwined with my childhood.  Most of them are things we ate at home, like my mom’s beef and noodles or my dad’s homemade beef jerky, but some of them are things I mostly got when I was out or at school, like chicken nuggets.  I don’t know about you, but I was always a fan of chicken nugget day at school, and if my family ever went through a McDonald’s or Burger King drive-thru when we were on a road trip, chicken nuggets were my stand-by order.  As I’ve gotten older I’ve stopped eating chicken nuggets from fast-food restaurants, but I’m still an absolute sucker for a fried piece of white meat chicken (I mean, who isn’t?)  So, I played around with a few ingredients and came up with this recipe, which produces nice, light nuggets that can take on pretty much any flavor you’d like and are great in so many different recipes, or just on their own.

These bite size nuggets are a grown-up version of a kid classic, are seriously good finger food, and are an absolute cinch to make.


For the nuggets:

1 package (about 1 pound) chicken tenderloins, cut into bite size pieces

For the batter:

1 cup flour, combined with 1 teaspoon cayenne powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon oregano, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper

*When I developed this recipe, I tried making nuggets with different types of batter.  I tried this flour-egg-flour batter and I also tried a flour-egg-breadcrumb batter with both regular and panko breadcrumbs.  The four-egg-flour batter won in the end because it kept the nuggets nice and light, which is perfect for these bite-size babies that you’re going to want to eat about a million of.

2 eggs, beaten with a few dashes of hot sauce, depending how spicy you want your batter (I used about 6-8 dashes of Frank’s Red Hot, which came out to be a mild spice)

For the sauce:

3 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons soy sauce

3 cloves garlic

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


Add all ingredients for the sauce to a sauce pan and heat on medium-low to heat through.

*Before heating your oil, batter your first batch of nuggets, first coating them in the flour, then the egg wash, and then the flour again.  That way, when the oil is hot, your first batch is ready to drop and you can coat your next batch while the first batch cooks, and so on, until you’re finished cooking all of the nuggets.

Coat a heavy-bottomed pan in a vegetable oil and olive oil (I use a 75/25 mixture, veggie oil to olive oil)

Heat the oil on medium-high heat.

When the oil is hot (I test it by sprinkling a drop or two of water over the oil to see if it sizzles), carefully drop in a batch of nuggets.

Cook for 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

Repeat until all of your nuggets are cooked through.

*You don’t want your oil to get too hot, so after you flip your first batch to the second side, turn the heat down to medium.  The oil will still be plenty hot to cook the rest of your nuggets.

You can either toss the nuggets in the sauce and sprinkle them with toasted sesame seeds, which is an easy and delicious variation on this recipe, or serve the sauce on the side as a dipping sauce.  These nuggets are seriously so versatile and could be used a million different ways.  Try them tossed in buffalo sauce (see the KRG recipe for buffalo sauce here), on top of a cobb salad or in a stir fry.

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