Chicken Nuggets

My eldest daughter is quite taken with the chicken nugget.  She has had them at parties and has started to ask me for them at home.  Now, I am not completely militant about what they eat, they consume more than their fair share of sweet things (don’t tell the dentist) but I don’t like to put food that has most likely come from ill-treated animals, is likely to be the worst bits of those badly treated animals covered in E numbers and other nasty things that we don’t need to eat, in front them for their dinner. So, I don’t mind them having them at parties (no kid wants to seem different from the rest), but I am not going to serve them for an evening meal.

This garbled philosophy of mine – give them good things to eat but try not to make them feel different – came to a head at the weekend when we were driving past a McDonalds.  My children are aged 6 and 4 and I have managed to not take them to a McDonalds yet. I know that McD has attempted to clean up their act and provide healthier food, but it still doesn’t make me want to take my children there to eat.  There are lots of independent cafes and restaurants that we go to regularly so I have never felt the need to sit them down to a Big Mac and fries.

Well, on Sunday as we were driving past the golden arches, the eldest said “What is McDonalds?  Everyone at school talks about it and has been?”, she said this in a voice which suggested that everyone at school might have been a bit shocked to hear that she had never been and she didn’t know what it was.  Oh, the parental guilt flooded over me.  Poor kid. I fear it might not be too long before I have to darken the door of our local McD.

Anyway, in the meantime and as a strategy for keeping that moment a little further in the future I made some chicken nuggets.  These ones are made from organic free-range chickens, who I hope had happy (albeit short) lives.

It is hard to be precise about quantities, particularly of the breadcrumbs as it depends on how thick you like your coating to be.  I double dipped mine, i.e flour, egg, breadcrumbs, back into the egg and then more breadcrumbs.  You will need a thick layer of breadcrumbs on a plate. Sorry I can’t be more accurate.

One good-sized chicken breast makes about eight nuggets.

1 chicken breast
About 3 tbsp flour
salt and pepper
2 eggs


Chop the chicken into small chunks (two bites per nugget is about right).

Spread the flour onto a plate and season with salt and pepper.

Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat together.

Spread breadcrumbs in a thick layer on a plate.

Take a nugget and coat in the flour, tap gently to get rid of any excess flour.  Dip into the egg, making sure it is well coated and then roll in the breadcrumbs.  You can then double dip if you prefer a crunchier nugget.  Dip back into the egg and roll again in the breadcrumbs. Place on a plate. Repeat with the other pieces of chicken.  You can now refrigerate these until you are ready to cook.

Lightly grease a baking tray and place the nuggets onto the tray.  Sprinkle lightly with oil.  Place in a preheated oven at 200°c, gas mark 6 or towards the bottom of the Roasting Oven of the Aga for about 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the coating is golden.  Serve with a salad and hope that your children forget about burger restaurants.

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14 thoughts on “Chicken Nuggets”

  1. Oh no! I had never thought of that. Adam is just beginning to get to that peer pressure stage where he wants what his friends at school have so I don’t suppose it will be long before we have the same problem. I haven’t eaten at McDs, KFC or Burger King since I was a student 10 years ago and I don’t want to have to start now. I am very aware, however, that although I don’t eat at those places and I always but free range chicken to cook at home, I do still occasionally partake of a Chinese or Indian takeaway. Not sure what to do about that as there is always an occasion when you are with other people, or even we are at home ourselves but don’t want to cook, when it is easy to get a takeaway. I know some places are beginning to offer premium takeaways with welfare friendly meat but there are none round here that I know about. Steve and the boys made chicken nuggets on Sunday – lovely – so much better than the processed stuff. Your ones look great – so crispy! Lou.

    1. I know Lou, it is a real dilemma. I think we just have to eat welfare foods whenever it is possible to do so and by doing so hopefully we are helping the campaign to improve conditions for all farmed animals. The McDonalds thing is a pain, I think we will have to take the girls and hope they don’t like it too much. I know they have improved their attitude to supply chains and welfare since I last ate there, which is getting on for 20 years ago, but I wouldn’t eat there out of my own choice. Homemade nuggets are so much better than the bought ones.

    1. Thank you Michele, I hope I can, but doubt it. I remember my own mum cooking us all sorts of wonderful things but they paled in comparison to what seemed at the time the exoticness of the fast food chain. Oh well, life is a repeating pattern.

  2. Oh lordie, what a dilemma. I don’t envy you that one. I suppose you can’t work on the ethical factor and see if that changes minds. Surely, there must be other children in the class whose parents won’t go to McD??? Anyway, I bet your nuggets were wonderful. Trouble is, it’s hard to be discerning at 4 and 6.

    1. I think the ones that don’t go are definitely outnumbered. It is very hard to be discerning at their age and mum’s cooking is always boring in comparison. Thank you for the kind comment.

  3. I guess a ‘grown up’ saying these nuggets look so much better than the ones at fast food outlets isn’t really what a 4 or 6 year old wants to hear but I know which I’d rather eat. They look scrummy.

  4. Hi Kath-I have been on vacation for over 2 weeks, and am just now getting caught up on all my food blogging friends’ exploits. First of all, applause to you for side-stepping the McD trap. My daughter is 31, but I recall the pressure for those “Happy Meals” Like you, I would cook Madeleine a home-style crispy chicken . It became known in our household as “The Good Chicken” –as in “Mama, can we have the good chicken tonight?”

    1. Oh Nancy, what a great name for a dish, and well done you on also managing to avoid the McD, I am not sure I will be quite so successful in the long term, but I am going to give it a go. I read about your lovely holiday – you lucky, lucky woman 🙂

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