The elusive, edible gluten-free chicken nugget

Gluten-Free Chik-Fil-A-esque Nuggets

I have one of those super picky kids. Super, super, super picky kids. I know you think your kid is picky…yeah, no. We are 11 years in on this journey and my guy still tops out at an 8-item food rotation. Every so often he drops a food and there’s an opening. He recently dropped pizza–Kinnikinnick GF crust, pureed Organic Muir Glen Pizza Sauce, organic mozzerella (real cheese!) and Applegate Farm pepperoni–for burgers and rice. Grass-fed burger, organic ketchup and organic basmati from Trader Joe’s cooked in the rice cooker with 1 c. homemade bone broth, 1 c. water.

Chicken nuggets are one of those things that rotates on and off the menu. His current favorite is the Applegate Farms Gluten-Free Chicken nugget, baked crispy.

But we have a new contender for one of the coveted dinner rotation slots. Drumroll, please…. He took one bite, stopped, looked at the nugget in his hand and said “Wow, you’re right. These ARE good!” And yeah, I made them with my own two hands.

I modified this recipe.

The secret to the sauce…is pickle juice! I used brine from Bubbie’s Kosher Dills to marinate the chicken before breading. OMG I love Bubbie’s! My 8 year old and I go a little nuts with them. I always use organic chicken and organic eggs.

Gluten-Free Chick-fil-A-Esque Bites with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats


2 large chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces and seasoned with salt & pepper

3/4 cup milk (I used rice milk)

1/4 cup pickle juice (I used brine from Bubbie’s Kosher Dills)

1 egg

1 1/4 cups King Arthur gluten-free flour

1 Tablespoons powdered sugar (I reduced the amount from original recipe and it still worked)

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup Spectrum organic palm oil shortening for frying

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce:

1/2 cup plain greek yogurt — I used Fage full-fat

1 1/2 Tablespoons gluten-free yellow mustard

1 Tablespoon gluten-free Dijon mustard

2 Tablespoons honey


1. Beat egg, then add milk and pickle juice, and pour into a large ziplock bag or bowl. Add chicken pieces and marinate in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours. I think it would taste even better if marinated overnight.

2. Mix gluten-free flour, powdered sugar, salt and pepper in a large ziplock bag. I used tongs to take chicken from the marinade and add it to the bag of seasoned flour.

3. Heat half the oil in a large skillet. I used medium heat on my gas stove.

4. Pan fry chicken in oil in small batches. Avoid over-crowding the pan. Cook the chicken for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown on one side. Don’t flip it around. Let it cook! Turn the chicken over and allow to cook for 3-4 more minutes. Drain on a paper-towel lined plate. Continue until all chicken is cooked. I ended up added more shortening to the pan about half way through.

5. The sauce was simple: stir together the remaining ingredients, and serve. I really kind of eye-balled it. Measurements are from Iowa Girl Eats. I also served organic ketchup and original flavor Bone Suckin’ BBQ sauce.

The chicken breasts I had made a big tray of nuggets. After the first batch of nuggets, which my boys ate immediately, I cooked the remainder a little less golden brown. Once they cooled, I spread them apart and froze then. Once frozen, I was able to toss them in a freezer bag and pretend they’re from the store. They re-heat nicely in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes without over-browning.

Bon Appetit!

About Jill R.

Mom, mostly tired, to 3 boys, mostly wired. Pretty much obsessed with healing foods for healthy brains.
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