These homemade, golden-brown ground chicken nuggets are surprisingly easy to make. They are juicy on the inside and have an ultra-crispy, butter-fried panko bread crumbs shell. Serve them with a lemon rosemary aioli dipping sauce.
For more crispy fried panko chicken dishes, also try this lemon pepper chicken dish!
- This recipe is surprisingly mess-free. That’s because the ground chicken mix has enough texture and stickiness so that you can roll it directly in the panko.
- No egg and no milk are needed in this recipe. The panko sticks like a charm to the chicken patties and there is no need for dredging in beaten egg or milk.
- The chicken nuggets are delicious, won’t get soggy, require only a few ingredients and are fast and easy to make.
What’s in ground chicken nuggets?
- Panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs) works great in this recipe and I don’t recommend substituting regular bread crumbs. Panko crumbs are larger than regular bread crumbs and have a flaky shape. When fried, they create a light and extra-crispy shell with a coarse texture that’s perfect for chicken nuggets. (That coarse, crispy texture is also why panko works well as a binder, like in these Italian pork sausage meatballs.)
- The Parmesan cheese provides enough saltiness in this recipe so you don’t need to add any actual salt to the chicken.
What’s in the aioli?
You need fresh lemon, fresh garlic, mayonnaise and fresh rosemary to make this aioli.
Note: Traditionally, an aioli was simply an emulsion of olive oil and garlic. Today, however, the term aioli includes flavored garlic mayonnaise sauces, such as the one in this recipe.
For a variation of this sauce, also try this rosemary aioli with crumbled bacon.
How to make the chicken nuggets:
See full ingredients & instructions in the recipe card below!
Step 1. Grind the chicken in the food processor.
Step 2. Mix the ground chicken with Parmesan, rosemary and black pepper.
Step 3. Form the chicken into balls and roll in panko.
Step 4. Flatten the balls into nuggets and fry on both sides in melted butter.
How to store leftovers:
Store any leftover aioli and nuggets in separate airtight containers in the fridge. Re-heat the chicken nuggets in a 400-degree oven or in an air fryer.
Variations on this recipe:
For a spicy alternative for this recipe, leave the rosemary out of the nuggets and dip them into a spicy sauce. This smoked paprika aioli, this burger sauce or this apricot sauce are excellent with ground chicken nuggets!
Recipe notes, tips and questions:
The best way to grind chicken is in the food processor or blender. (See this tutorial: How to make ground chicken breast.)
If you have a sharp knife, you can cut chicken breast finely enough to produce ground chicken. To do that, cut the chicken into chunks, then transfer them to the freezer for about 30 minutes to partially freeze them. Take the chicken out of the freezer and slice each chunk as thinly as you can. Then cut each slice into thin strips and then into tiny cubes.
Yes, you can transfer the raw, breaded chicken nuggets into a freezer bag and freeze them. To cook, don’t thaw the nuggets, instead fry the frozen nuggets in the same way you would fry them fresh.
More delicious chicken appetizers:
- Grilled Curry Chicken Bites Appetizer with Mango Basil Sauce1 Hours 10 Minutes
- Ginger Cilantro Soy Sauce-Marinated Asian-Style Chicken Wings1 Hours 45 Minutes
- Orange Maple Glazed Chicken Wings1 Hours
- Mexican Shredded Chicken Dip35 Minutes
See all appetizer recipes →
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Full Printable Recipe
Ground Chicken Nuggets with Lemon Rosemary Aioli
- measuring cups and spoons
- knife and cutting board
- garlic press (optional)
- citrus zester
- mixing bowls
- food processor
- spring-loaded metal scoop (optional)
- small metal spatula (optional)
- nonstick pan or a cast iron pan
For the lemon rosemary aioli:
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ½ teaspoon very finely chopped fresh rosemary (you need about 3 inches of a sprig or an equivalent amount for that)
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced or pressed through a garlic press
- ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
For the chicken nuggets:
- ½ pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (you need about a 6-inch sprig or an equivalent amount for that)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup panko
- 1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter
For the lemon rosemary aioli:
- Whisk all ingredients together. Keep the aioli refrigerated until you're ready to serve it.
For the chicken nuggets:
- Process the chicken chunks in the food processor for a few seconds until uniformly ground.
- In a bowl, mix the chicken with the Parmesan, the rosemary and the pepper.
- Spread the panko onto a plate. Using a spring-loaded metal scoop or your hands, form the chicken into 8 balls and roll them each in panko until fully coated. Flatten each ball with a metal spatula or your hands into a disk.
- Melt the butter in a nonstick pan or a cast iron pan. Fry the nuggets on both sides until they're golden-brown and reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. (about 6 minutes per side).
Nutrition Information (Estimated):
Nutrition values provided on this website are generated from a nutrition database and are estimates only. The accuracy of the nutrition information for any recipe on this website is not guaranteed. Nutrition values can vary quite a lot depending on which brands are used.