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Kid-Friendly Chicken Nuggets and Homemade Ranch Sauce

  • Author: Nicole Litvack
  • Yield: Makes 4 servings 1x


Making your own chicken nuggets is deceptively fast and simple, and gives you total control over what goes into them — no hidden ingredients, no chemicals, and no preservatives. These can also be frozen and reheated, but they are so easy to make you’ll want to serve them fresh every time. Don’t be intimidated by the prospect of frying. If the oil gets too hot or you need more time to dredge the chicken, simply turn off the heat. This recipe also works very well with two cooks at the helm: one to dredge and the other to fry.



For the Nuggets

For the Ranch

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons buttermilk (optional) 
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill 
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley 
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chives
  • Salt to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper or position a baking rack over the sheet pan. Set out three bowls: one with the flour, one with the eggs, and one with the panko. Use a knife or kitchen shears to cut the chicken into nugget-sized pieces, about 1½ to 2 inches long.   
  2. Fill a cast-iron skillet or heavy-bottomed dutch oven with avocado oil and set heat to high. Working quickly and in batches, dredge the chicken pieces first in flour, then egg, and then panko. Check to see if the oil is hot enough by dropping in a single drop of water – if it sizzles, you are ready to go. 
  3. Set the breaded chicken into the hot oil and leave to sizzle until golden brown on one side, this should take about 1 to 2 minutes. Use tongs to flip and fry the other side. You’ll know they’re done by the color. If you feel the oil is getting too hot, reduce heat slightly.  
  4. Transfer the cooked nuggets to your prepared sheet tray and sprinkle with salt while hot. Set in the oven while you fry the rest. Continue working in batches until all are done. The chicken will be cooked through, but you can always use a thermometer to make sure they reach an internal temperature of 165°F. Finish nuggets with flaky salt just before serving. 
  5. To make the ranch, stir ingredients together, and salt to taste. Serve immediately.