Keto Chicken Nuggets
These are the best crispy, easy keto chicken nuggets to make at home with real ingredients and only 3 grams of net carbs per serving!
Plus, this keto nugget recipe includes an oven-fried option and uses no crushed pork rinds. So keep reading to learn how you can enjoy simple crispy keto chicken nuggets with no guilt!
Before I start sharing this simple keto nugget recipe, let me answer a few questions that probably come to your mind as you started the keto diet.
Are Chicken Nuggets Keto?
Unfortunately, none of the store-bought keto nuggets or homemade classic nugget recipes are keto-approved.
All manufactured nugget recipes include a lot of carbs in the wheat flour and breadcrumb coating.
Plus, you’d be surprised by the other additives that go in the coating, like sugar or vegetable oils, that aren’t keto either.
Are Mcdonald’s Chicken Nuggets Keto?
I couldn’t skip answering this question because I know that most of us have had some Mcdonald’s chicken nuggets at some point, whether because it was convenient or tasty to you.
The Chicken McNuggets are not keto. In fact, Mcdonald’s Nuggets are coated with starch and natural flavoring made of dextrose.
Both will raise your blood sugar level quickly and take you out of ketosis.
Can I Eat Chicken Nuggets On Keto?
So now you probably wonder if it is safe to eat chicken nuggets on a keto diet.
Great news, yes, you can make keto-friendly chicken nuggets! Read more to learn how!
How To Make Keto Chicken Nuggets
There are many different keto chicken nugget recipes online, using different coating options like ground pork rinds, coconut flour, or almond flour.
My favorite way to make crispy, juicy keto nuggets that taste like the real thing is to make almond flour nuggets with a touch of parmesan.
And great news, it is super easy to make your own keto chicken nuggets at home.
You only need a few basic ingredients to make almond flour chicken nuggets. Let’s see what you need to start:
- Chicken breast – breasts are the best part of the chicken to make juicy, tender chicken nuggets.
- Water and vinegar – to soak the meat, break the meat fiber and release the meat tenderness.
- Almond flour or almond meal – almond flour is very low in carbs and crisps very well when fried or oven-fried. This is your keto four replacement for carb-loaded wheat, breadcrumbs, or starch. Read how to choose your keto flour!
- Grated Parmesan Cheese – this is the best part for flavorsome keto cheesy chicken nuggets. A dairy-free option is to add more almond flour to the recipe. However, if you do so, this will slightly increase the carbs per serving.
- Egg and heavy cream – to make an egg wash. If you are paleo or eat dairy-free, coconut cream can be used.
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
All you need to make these low-carb nuggets is to follow 3 simple steps.
Preparing Chicken Breast
The trick to perfectly cooked chicken nuggets, crispy outside and juicy, tender in the middle, is the size of the chicken pieces.
The best is to cut the breast into 1-inch (2.5 cm) wide strips and then cut 2-inch (5cm) length chunks from each strip.
Your keto nuggets should be small enough to perfectly cook the inside without burning the coating. On the other hand, if your nuggets were too small, the meat would cook faster than the coating.
So as a general rule, the perfect nugget size is 1-inch x 2 inches (2.5 cm x 5 cm).
Soaking Chicken In Vinegar
I know it sounds like a weird step but soaking your chicken into acetic acid like vinegar breaks down meat fibers.
It results in tender and flavorsome chicken meat. Regular homemade chicken nugget recipes soak the meat in pickle juice which I don’t recommend as pickle juice is often loaded with sugar.
Follow my recipe to properly soak your nugget meat for tender keto chicken nuggets.
Double-coat the chicken pieces
The best part of a chicken nugget is the outside, the crispy coating.
To achieve the best crispy keto chicken nugget recipe, you must dip each piece of chicken into an egg wash first.
Then dip the chicken into the dry coating ingredients. I always recommend making the egg wash by combining beaten egg and cream rather than milk or almond milk. The cream keeps the chicken meat juicier.
While I prefer to fry my nuggets in coconut oil, you can also oven-bake chicken nuggets.
It takes a bit longer to bake as you will have to cook the nuggets for 10 minutes on one side first, then flip them one by one on the other side and bake for 5-10 extra minutes.
Oven-baked nuggets are firstly sprayed with oil and then baked at 400°F (200°C) for a total of 15-20 minutes on a baking tray, leaving 0.2 inches (0.5 cm) space between each nugget.
Check the baking process by slicing one nugget in the center. If the meat is still pink in the center, it needs to bake for longer.
The result of oven-fried nuggets is crispy, like pan-fried nuggets, but they are less fatty, and the meat is slightly less juicy.
You can freeze your nuggets baked or unbaked. The best way to freeze nuggets is to lay them one by one on a plate covered with parchment paper.
Leave a 1-inch space between each nugget. One hour later, the nuggets are slightly frozen, and it’s a good time to transfer them all into a ziplock bag.
This two-step freezing method will prevent the nuggets from sticking to one another in the freezing bag.
You can rewarm your keto chicken nuggets with almond flour in a preheated oven at 400°F (200°C) for 15-20 minutes.
Place the nuggets on a large baking tray covered with a piece of parchment paper or lightly oil the tray with coconut oil.
Leave 1 inch (2.5 cm) between each nugget and bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping over halfway to make sure both sides bake as well.
You don’t have to thaw the frozen nuggets before baking them.
Dipping Sauce Recipes
The best sauce to dip your chicken nuggets is avocado oil mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, or these other keto dip recipes, along with crunchy keto vegetables on the side or some keto fries!
Have you made these keto chicken nuggets yet? Share a picture with me on Instagram! I love to connect with you.
Keto Chicken Nuggets
Want My Kitchen Equipment?
Keto acidic solution to tender the meat
- 2 tablespoons White Vinegar
- ⅓ cup Water
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 large Egg
- 2 tablespoons Heavy Cream or coconut cream
- 1 lb Chicken Breast
- 1 cup Almond Flour
- ¼ cup Grated Parmesan or more almond flour if dairy-free
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Onion Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Dried Oregano
- ½ teaspoon Ground Paprika
- ½ teaspoon Pepper
To fry the nuggets
- 1-2 tablespoons Coconut Oil or avocado oil
- Cut the breast into 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick strips and then cut 2-inch (5cm) chunks from each strip. Your keto nuggets should be small enough to be perfectly cooked inside without burning the coating. Small nuggets will also use more coating, increasing carbs per serving. So as a general rule, the perfect nugget size is 2.5 cm x 5 cm (1 inch x 2 inches), and you should get roughly 30 nuggets from this recipe.
- Place the chicken chunks in a bowl and cover them with water, vinegar, and salt. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or up to 1 hour until the meat is whiter in color. This step makes the meat juicy and tender, so it is highly recommended.
- When ready to make the nuggets, drain the chicken chunks and roughly pat dry with absorbent paper. Set aside on a plate.
- In a small shallow bowl, beat egg and heavy cream. Set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together: almond flour, grated Parmesan, along with all your spices.
- Dip the drained chicken pieces one at a time into the beaten egg using a tong. Then press down the chicken nuggets on both sides into the almond flour mixture to adhere.
- Set aside each coated chicken piece on a baking tray, covered with parchment paper, leaving 0.2 inches (0.5cm) of space between each nugget. Repeat these steps until all the chicken pieces have been fully coated.
Frying method – highly recommended for crispy nuggets
- Heat a 1 cm-layer of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. The best oils are high-smoke-point oils like avocado oil or coconut oil.
- Fry the chicken nuggets for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crispy. Use a sharp knife to cut the center of one nugget and check the meat color. If it's pink, it needs to fry longer. Keep frying until the meat is white and juicy.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the nuggets from the pan and transfer them onto a plate covered with absorbent paper to soak the extra oil that could make the coating fall off the meat.
- Keep frying until all the nuggets are cooked and serve immediately.
- Preheat oven 400°F (200°C).
- Slightly spray oil on top of the nuggets.
- Bake on the baking tray for 10 minutes then flip each nugget on the other side and bake for 5-10 more minutes or until golden, crispy and meat is white, not pink in the center of the nuggets. The longer you bake, the dryer the meat will be, so check often.
- Serve with avocado oil mayonnaise, dijon mustard, or sugar-free ketchup.
Storage: freezing & rewarming
- You can store leftovers of fried chicken nuggets in the fridge for 2 days in an airtight container.
- Otherwise, freeze the fried or uncooked nuggets onto a plate covered with parchment paper for 1 hour, leaving 0.5 inches between each nugget. Then transfer to a freezing bag. This 2-step method prevents the nuggets from sticking to one another.
- Rewarm in the oven at 400°F (180°C). Lay the chicken nuggets onto a baking tray and rewarm for 5-6 minutes on one side, then flip over each nugget and bake for 5 extra minutes. You can turn the oven to broil mode for 1-2 minutes to crisp the nuggets even more.
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What a great recipe!! I can’t wait to make this tonight with some zucchini fries. Once I do, I’ll tag you on instagram! You always have such fantastic recipes 😀
Made this with egg flour and boneless chicken thigh today. Soo delicious!
Can the chicken nuggets be air fried.
As mentioned above in the recipe post, air frying don’t deliver a crispy crust, it will stay softer and not that golden in color.
Have you cooked the nuggets using an air fryer? If so, what was the temp and cook time? Thanks!
No I didn’t but I tried in the oven and they won’t crisp as much. I really recommend frying for best texture and taste. Enjoy!
Ok so this is a decent recipe but definitely don’t make these in the oven. The breading turns out “doughy” and not crisp. I’m going to try frying next time.
Yes, the recipe recommend frying in oil to achieve the same result as seen on picture. It works in a oven but the crumb stay dry and white in color
Followed the recipe exactly as written, except I used turkey meat…. these were absolutely delicious! Thanks for a great recipe!
Hi is there any substitution for the egg, allergy issues. Great recipe!
Sure, you can use a flax egg. Combine 1 tablespoon of flaxmeal into 3 tablespoon of lukewarm warm and let sit for 1 minutes until an egg like texture form. Use as a keto egg replacer in this recipe. Enjoy ! Carine
I love chicken nuggets
I hope you wil love this recipe then! Let me know how it goes 🙂 Enjoy, XOXO Carine
Why did you say that a smaller nugget will use coating? I am very interested in why this is. Thank you so much.
A smaller nuggets cook faster inside and avoid the crumb to burn.
Hi, can I substitute Apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar?.
Sure! or even lemon juice. Enjoy, XOXO Carine