Chicken nuggets have gotten a pretty bad reputation over the years. I’m definitely guilty of picking through one to see if I can identify any pieces of actual meat. Fast food chicken nuggets are usually made up of “chicken mash,” which is then breaded and deep-fried. This means that 4 chicken nuggets have between 150 and 200 calories and lots of fat. This version has only a fraction of the fat and calories.
It’s another recipe that you can enjoy guilt-free!
To make these chicken nuggets even lighter, I don’t dredge the chicken before coating the pieces in breadcrumbs. Instead, I use a drizzle of olive oil (or even just a little cooking spray). The breadcrumbs still stick, but definitely fall off a little easier. If you want to dredge them, dip the pieces in about 1/2 cup flour, a bowl with 2 lightly beaten eggs, then into the breadcrumbs. This method will also create a thicker crust.
In order to get a beautiful golden-brown crust, I always toast the panko breadcrumbs first. Otherwise, you’ll completely overcook the chicken waiting for the crust to brown. Just toss the crumbs into a hot skillet and stir until they turn a light golden-brown. There is no need to add butter, cooking spray, or olive oil because they will easily brown on their own. That said, they will also burn easily. Keep a close eye on them and stir constantly.
Or all three!
- ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1½ lbs chicken tenderloins
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 3 tbsp parmesan cheese, finely grated
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the dry panko breadcrumbs and cook until the breadcrumbs are a light golden brown (about 1-2 minutes), stirring constantly. Pour the breadcrumbs into a small mixing bowl and set aside.
- Cut the chicken tenderloins into bite-sized pieces. Place the chicken pieces into a medium-sized mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper. Toss the chicken with the olive oil to coat, then set aside.
- Add the dried Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese to the panko breadcrumbs. Stir until combined. Add the chicken pieces to the breadcrumbs in batches to coat, then place on a prepared baking sheet.
- Bake the chicken nuggets for about 8 minutes, then flip. Bake an additional 5 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Serve with ketchup or your favorite dipping sauce.