You Actually Don't Need To Grind Up Chicken For Homemade Nuggets

Fast-food chicken nuggets are delicious and oh-so-easy to pop into your mouth. But once you get past the golden, crispy fried coating, what cut of the poultry are you consuming underneath? Unlike tenders, nuggets are typically made from ground chicken and seasonings. But that knowledge begs the question: What parts of the bird are getting pulverized and ending up in your finger food?

The answer depends on where you're purchasing your fast food, but your nuggets may include the chicken's skin, tissue, nerves, or fat. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), brands can call their products nuggets simply if they're made from chopped and formed poultry. But luckily, you can skip all these murky waters by making your own chicken nuggets at home. If you do so, you don't have to use ground poultry — instead, you can choose the cut of breast or thigh you prefer. Not only will your bites taste fresher and juicier than if you used ground meat, but they may even be easier to make than if you formed little nuggets from piles of ground chicken.

How to make nuggets without ground chicken

If you want to make nuggets without ground chicken, simply cut poultry breasts into bite-sized cubes — it's that easy. If you want richer bites, you can also do the same to chicken thighs. Before you begin, you may want to trim off any excess fat so that you get as much meat as possible in your nuggets. But try to limit yourself to 1- to 2-inch pieces, and keep them a uniform size so that they all finish cooking at the same time. This will completely cover the poultry portion of your nuggets, as the rest is simply breading and a binder to stick everything together.

Feel free to season your breadcrumbs with whatever spices you like, which could include salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, mustard powder, parmesan, paprika, or cayenne pepper. To make that crispy coating, you'll typically want to dip your chicken cubes in flour, then a beaten egg, then your breadcrumb mixture. The beauty of making these at home, besides knowing exactly what you're getting in your poultry, is that you can deep fry, air fry, or bake your nuggets, depending on what method you prefer. But if you want to make your dining experience feel as fun as getting your favorite fast food nuggets, serve your homemade version with a dipping sauce like sweet and sour or honey mustard.