All kids like chicken nuggets right? But good, homemade gluten free chicken nuggets with a nice crunch that are also grain-free can be hard to come by!
Many of you are familiar with my Paleo Chicken Tenders, which use unsweetened coconut as the breading, and are accompanied by a honey mustard dipping sauce. I created those for Asher when he 2 years old and he used to devour them. Then, all of a sudden, he refused to eat them. One day he loved them, the next, he tossed them on the floor! Kids can change their tastes so quickly as they're growing and exploring new foods, and he typically would circle back around to liking something again, but with these he didn't!
With everything happening in the past year, I defaulted to buying frozen gluten-free nuggets from the store for him, which became really pricy! I always wanted to create a recipe that he would like again and I could keep stocked in my freezer. I finally had time to do some testing over the last month and we have a winner! I went with a slightly unconventional flour in my kitchen in attempt to keep things nut and coconut free for all of you.
The use of chickpea (or garbanzo bean) flour makes these nuggets fall outside of the Paleo guidelines, but they are completely grain-free, dairy-free, and nut-free! Chickpea flour is also relatively inexpensive and is also loaded with protein and folate, and is lower in calories and carbohydrates than standard flours. If you're feeding someone with a sensitive digestive system, Pure Living Brand also soaks and sprouts theirs first so it may be a good option for you to try!
You know those beer battered chicken or fish sticks you can get at a good pub? The beer helps make the batter light and airy, while providing a good crunch, so I recreated that effect in a gluten-free and kid friendly way by using sparkling water! I chose to use ground chicken because Asher prefers that, but you can just as easily cut up small pieces of chicken and dunk them in the batter as well.
This batter will also work great for fish, or even for tempura veggies! The nuggets freeze wonderfully, so I make a big batch and have them for weeks to serve when a babysitter is over or we're needing a quick dinner. This recipe makes about 20 nuggets, so if you're feeding multiple kids you may want to double it so they last you longer. The process of making them is simple, but slightly time consuming, so I prefer to make them once a month or so.
Nancy L. Colpitts
Wow this sounds great! And I have palm shortening to use up! Bonus!
Love this! Thank u. I am having the same chicken nugget issue over here. Been buying the applegate gluten free nuggets for a picky 16 month old!
These were awesome with ground turkey too!
OK!! What did I do wrong? My batter was wet. You had said to shake off excess batter and mine was dripping. Taste was good but not really a chicken nugget with a crispy outside. HELP 🙂
All batters are liquidy – this one should be somewhere between a pancake and crepe mix. Just coat the nuggets in it enough to cover the surface then let it drip off a bit before frying.
I’ve never seen dark meat ground chicken. Where can you get that?
Hi Betsy! I’ve had Whole Foods grind meats, (which I purchase there) for me before. They will even grind something as messy as beef liver although they prefer to transfer to a carton not a bag. Other stores with a “real butcher” department may do this as well.
You can pulse meat in a food processor with the S-blade until it’s the texture you want. This works with any kind of meat. You can stop after five or so pulses for chili meat or double that for ground.
I love the idea of veggie tempurah! Could be a fun, gluten-free appetizer…
I tried these and they were delicious. Thanks Danielle!
You. are. amazing. I’ve tried every grain free chicken nugget recipe out there and my sensory good aversion child has rejected them all…until now! I’ve followed you for years, but this is my first time commenting. Thank you for all that you do!
Thank you Carly!
what do you suggest to make these SCD legal?
Hi Jennifer- I would suggest using my other recipe for chicken tenders, which is linked above and is SCD legal.
Would the batter work with rice flour? I still want to keep it glutenfree but do not have any of those flours at my availibility. Thanks!
or with a combination of potato flour?
Just an FYI this batter is SO versatile! I just made an amazing “fish fry” with the same batter above with local fluke caught myself. My husband doesn’t know the difference! 🙂
Winner winner chicken (nugget) dinner! Hubby and 5 year old were fighting over the last one! I think the only thing I will change next time would be to add some more spices and definitely double the recipe! The freezing/reheating instructions worked great too!
Can these be made with almond flour?
How would you do this in the air fryer?
Have you ever baked these?
Hi Danielle, I’ve been addicted to your recipes and have all of your books. I loved them so much I bought them for my mom as well. I really appreciate the newsletters because as busy as we get we’ll see a recipe we haven’t used for a while and call each other up to talk about making them again. Also thanks to your recipes I get to eat my favorite foods without the backlash of allergic reactions. Can’t wait for more!!
Do you think quinoa flour will work just as good?
This recipe is definitely one you get your bank for your buck! Gluten free nuggets from the frozen section aren’t cheap, not to mention the tiny bag, and at the rate my boys go through nuggets… this recipe is a must have!
Would these work in the air fryer?
Hi! I’ve read some reviews where readers have successfully made these in the air fryer, but I personally haven’t tried!
Have made this recipe many times since it was first posted. I use cut up chunks of white meat instead of the ground, and it works really well. Everyone has always raved about it. Thanks!
You’re so welcome! This is one of my kiddos’ favorite recipes paired with my seasoned fries.
Yum! I made these with ground turkey from Costco because chicken is a little harder to find these days. I suggest making these outside if possible! Cooking them inside stunk up my house. I guess anytime you fry things it stinks up the space unfortunately. Delicious and worth it tho…the kids loved them and they will be a great addition to their lunchboxes. Thanks for the idea!