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Love chicken nuggets but not the store-bought or fast-food versions? You’re in luck! This single serve chicken nuggets recipe delivers all the crunch, flavor, and satisfaction you crave. Made with simple ingredients and cooked to golden perfection in a skillet, this small batch of chicken nuggets is perfect for lunch, dinner, or a fun snack. Plus, they’re ready in just 20 minutes!

Got an extra chicken breast? Turn it into something special! Use it to make our tasty Chicken Fajitas, sweet and spicy Jerk Chicken, or zesty Baked Buffalo Chicken recipes. These easy, flavorful recipes are perfect for a delicious single serving meal.

Why You’ll Love These Chicken Nuggets

  1. Single Serving: Tailored to feed one or two, eliminating the problem of leftovers or waste.
  2. Quick and Easy: Go from prep to plate in less than 30 minutes, making it ideal for those spontaneous cravings.
  3. Flavorful and Moist Chicken: The buttermilk and seasoning blend ensure each bite is juicy on the inside while packed with flavor.
  4. Skillet Perfection: Cooking in a skillet provides excellent heat distribution, ensuring each nugget is cooked to golden-brown perfection.
  5. Versatility: With optional sauce and multiple serving sides, you can customize this dish to fit your own tastes.

Ingredients

chicken nuggets ingredients on a kitchen counter.

If you have any ingredients leftover from this small batch chicken nuggets recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder

  • Chicken Breast: Choose a single boneless, skinless chicken breast as your lean protein choice. For nuggets that are even juicier, feel free to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs. If you’ve got extra chicken, consider using one in Chicken Margherita, Chicken Divan, or Chicken Fajitas.
  • Flour: Helps the buttermilk adhere to the chicken. Use gluten-free flour if necessary.
  • Seasoning Blend (Paprika, Salt, Garlic Powder): These are your go-to flavor boosters. Feel free to get creative and swap these out for your own favorite spice mix.
  • Buttermilk: This adds a tangy touch and tenderizes the chicken. If you’re out of buttermilk, mix 1/2 cup of milk with 1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, stir, and you’re good to go. If you’ve got extra buttermilk, use it in a mini Buttermilk Pie, Butter Swim Biscuits, or Buttermilk Pancakes.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs: For a crispier crunch, choose panko breadcrumbs. If you need a gluten-free option, there are gluten-free Panko breadcrumbs available. Leftover breadcrumbs can be used in Crab Cakes, Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower, or Hashbrown Casserole.
  • Oil: Avocado oil is a good choice to use for shallow frying. Avocado oil has a high smoke point and its mild, nutty flavor enhances the chicken without overpowering it. It is less greasy than other oils, giving your nuggets a cleaner, crisper texture. Canola or vegetable oil can be used as a substitute.

Optional: Chicken Nugget Dipping Sauce Ingredients

With these ingredients, you can whip up a quick and tangy dipping sauce that complements the nuggets beautifully. It’s optional, but highly recommended for that extra flavor boost!

  • Mayonnaise: Serves as the creamy base for your dipping sauce. Light mayo or a plant-based alternative can also be used.
  • Sriracha or Another Type of Hot Sauce: This brings the heat to your sauce. You can adjust the amount to suit your spice tolerance.
  • Honey: Adds a touch of sweetness to balance out the heat.

Recipe Variations

Want to mix things up? Here are a few creative spins you can put on this chicken nuggets recipe to suit various cravings and dietary needs:

  • Spicy Nuggets: Add 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the flour mixture for nuggets with a kick. You can also include spicy seasoning in the breadcrumbs.
  • Herb-Infused: For an herbal note, add a teaspoon of dried herbs like rosemary or thyme to the flour mixture.
  • Cheese-Crusted: Combine grated Parmesan with the breadcrumbs for a cheesy crust that adds an extra layer of flavor and crunch.
  • Asian-Inspired: For a different take, use sesame seeds in the breadcrumb mixture and serve with a side of soy sauce or teriyaki sauce for dipping.
  • Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets: Use gluten-free breadcrumbs and flour to make these nuggets suitable for those with gluten sensitivities.
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How To Make Chicken Nuggets

These step-by-step photos and instructions help you visualize how to make a small batch of chicken nuggets. See the recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

  1. Prepare the Dry Mix: In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, paprika, salt, and garlic powder.
the seasoning blend for chicken nuggets in a bowl on a kitchen counter.
  1. Set Up the Dipping Stations: In a separate bowl, pour in the buttermilk and place the breadcrumbs on a plate or in another bowl.
  2. Coat the Chicken: Take your chicken pieces, cut into 1-inch sizes, and dredge them in the flour mixture, making sure each piece is evenly coated.

Pro Tip: When I make this recipe, I opt for a smaller, bite-sized approach by cutting the boneless, skinless chicken breast into 1-inch pieces. This gives the nuggets a popcorn chicken vibe that’s not only fun to eat but also super quick to cook. If you’re more into traditional, larger-sized nuggets, feel free to cut your chicken into bigger pieces. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to adjust your frying time. Larger nuggets will require an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute of cooking time to ensure they reach that safe and juicy internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Whether you go small or big, you’ll end up with irresistibly delicious chicken nuggets.

a piece of chicken in a bowl of the chicken nugget seasoning.
  1. Dip in Buttermilk: Next, immerse the chicken pieces in the buttermilk. Allow any excess buttermilk to drip off.
a floured piece of chicken in a bowl of buttermilk.
  1. Roll in Breadcrumbs: Coat each buttermilk-dipped chicken piece evenly with breadcrumbs. Place the coated pieces on a separate plate.

Pro Tip: Press the breadcrumbs onto the chicken pieces to ensure they adhere well for that perfect, crunchy texture.

a chicken nugget dredged in breadcrumbs in a red bowl.
  1. Heat the Oil: In a 10-inch skillet, preheat about 1/2 inch of oil over medium heat. Use an oil or a candy thermometer to ensure the oil reaches and maintains a temperature of 350°F.

Pro Tip: Always check the oil’s temperature before adding the chicken to achieve consistent cooking.

  1. Fry the Chicken: Carefully place the coated chicken pieces in the hot oil. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on one side. Then, flip the pieces and cook for another 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reads 165°F with a meat thermometer.

Note: In this recipe, we’re skipping the deep fryer and opting for pan-frying or skillet frying instead. This approach makes the cooking process a bit easier and less messy. You won’t need a ton of oil; simply pour enough to reach about a 1/2 inch from the bottom of your pan. This is sufficient for getting that crave-worthy golden crust on the nuggets while keeping the inside moist and flavorful. It’s a straightforward, less-fussy way to cook up these delicious bites!

chicken nuggets frying in a skillet on the stove.
  1. Drain and Serve: Remove the cooked chicken pieces from the oil and place them on a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil.
fried chicken nuggets draining on a paper towel-lined plate.
  1. Prepare the Dipping Sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, hot sauce, and honey. Serve this zesty sauce as a delightful complement to your chicken nuggets.

Pro Tip: Taste test your sauce and adjust the spice and sweetness to suit your preference.

a chicken nugget in dipping sauce next to a plate with other chicken nuggets.

Expert Tips

  • Before you start cooking, make sure to read the entire recipe, including the Ingredient Notes section, and examine the process photos. This detailed guide will help you understand how the recipe unfolds, ensuring your crispy chicken nuggets turn out perfect every time. All the information you need is found within the body of this recipe post, so don’t miss a thing!
  • Uniform Sizing: Make sure to cut your chicken into evenly sized pieces for consistent cooking.
  • Dry, Then Wet, Then Dry: Always coat the chicken in flour, then dip in buttermilk, and finally coat in breadcrumbs for that perfect crust.
  • Optimal Skillet Size: For this recipe, a 10-inch skillet hits the sweet spot, providing ample room to cook the chicken nuggets in batches. This prevents overcrowding and allows each nugget to develop that irresistible golden crust while cooking evenly.
  • Temperature Check: Use a cooking thermometer to confirm the chicken has reached 165°F (75°C) before taking it off the heat.

What To Serve With Chicken Nuggets

These chicken nuggets are incredibly versatile when it comes to side dishes. You can go classic or get a bit more gourmet. Either way, these side dishes will make your chicken nuggets part of a complete and satisfying meal:

  • German Potato Salad: This tangy, warm potato salad with its rich bacon vinaigrette pairs excellently with the chicken nuggets, adding a comforting, hearty side to your plate.
  • Sautéed Green Beans: A dish of green beans sautéed with almonds and garlic not only adds a pop of color but also offers a sophisticated flavor combination that complements the nuggets.
  • Sweet Potato Fries: Oven-baked sweet potato fries bring a hint of sweetness that works really well with the savory chicken.
  • Macaroni and Cheese: Talk about a creamy, cheesy pasta paradise. Perfect for satisfying that comfort food craving, you’ll fall head over heels for this quick and delicious dish.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make chicken nuggets with chicken thighs?

Absolutely! Chicken thighs can be a juicier alternative to chicken breasts. Just make sure they are boneless and skinless for this recipe.

How do I cut a chicken breast for nuggets?

For bite-sized nuggets, aim to cut the chicken breast into 1-inch cubes. This size ensures quick, even cooking and is perfect for dipping.

What’s the best way to check oil temperature without a thermometer?

If you don’t have a thermometer, you can drop a small piece of bread into the oil. If it sizzles and turns golden in about 30 seconds, the oil is ready.

How long can I keep the chicken nuggets dipping sauce?

If you make extra sauce, it can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Can I double this small batch chicken nuggets recipe?

Absolutely, this recipe scales easily. If you’re cooking for more people, simply double or triple the ingredients. Keep in mind you may need to cook the chicken in multiple batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.

a plate of chicken nuggets next to a jar of honey and a bottle of sriracha.

How To Bake Chicken Nuggets

If you’d rather keep things on the lighter side by avoiding frying, this recipe easily adapts to baking. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Preheat Oven: Crank your oven up to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Place a wire rack on a foil-lined baking sheet and lightly coat it with non-stick spray. This ensures heat circulates around the chicken, which helps you get that nice, crispy texture.
  2. Prep the Chicken: Follow the initial steps of coating the chicken in the flour, buttermilk, and breadcrumb mixture just as you would for frying.
  3. Arrange on Rack: Place the coated chicken pieces on the wire rack, making sure there’s some space between each piece to allow for optimal crisping. Spray the nuggets with olive oil spray.
  4. Bake: Place the tray in the oven and bake the chicken nuggets for approximately 8-10 minutes. After this initial cooking time, flip each nugget over and lightly mist them with oil spray. Continue baking for another 5-10 minutes, until the nuggets achieve a golden-brown color and register an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  5. Serve: Serve these oven-baked nuggets with your choice of dips and sides, just like the fried version.

Ways To Use Leftover Ingredients

If you have any ingredients leftover from this recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder or you might like to consider using them in any of these single serving and small batch recipes:

If you’ve made this single serving Chicken Nuggets recipe, I’d love to hear how it turned out for you. Please rate the recipe and share your thoughts in the comments below.

Snapped a photo? Tag us on Instagram; we’d be thrilled to see your creation!


Your Cooking For One Source
Because you’re worth it

Chicken Nuggets For One

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
Treat yourself to homemade chicken nuggets bursting with flavor! This single serving recipe is super simple, quick to prepare, and absolutely mouthwatering. Ideal for any meal of the day!

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 (5 to 6 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast -cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • Avocado oil or use canola oil or vegetable oil for frying

For the sauce (optional)

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha or another type of hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey
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Instructions 

  • In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, salt, paprika, and garlic powder.
  • In a separate bowl, pour in the buttermilk and place the breadcrumbs on a plate or in another bowl.
  • Take your chicken pieces, cut into 1-inch sizes, and dredge them in the flour mixture, making sure each piece is evenly coated.
  • Next, immerse the chicken pieces in the buttermilk. Allow any excess buttermilk to drip off.
  • Coat each buttermilk-dipped chicken piece evenly with breadcrumbs. Place the coated pieces on a separate plate.
  • In a 10-inch skillet, preheat about ½ inch of oil over medium heat. Use an oil or a candy thermometer to ensure the oil reaches and maintains a temperature of 350°F.
    Pro Tip: Always check the oil’s temperature before adding the chicken to achieve consistent cooking.
  • Carefully place the coated chicken pieces in the hot oil. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on one side. Then, flip the pieces and cook for another 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reads 165°F with a meat thermometer.
  • Remove the cooked chicken pieces from the oil and place them on a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil.

Make the dipping sauce

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, hot sauce, and honey. Serve this zesty sauce as a delightful complement to your chicken nuggets.
    Pro Tip: Taste test your sauce and adjust the spice and sweetness to suit your preference.

Notes

  • Before you start cooking, make sure to read the entire recipe, including the Ingredient Notes section, and examine the process photos. This detailed guide will help you understand how the recipe unfolds, ensuring your crispy chicken nuggets turn out perfect every time. All the information you need is found within the body of this recipe post, so don’t miss a thing!
  • Uniform Sizing: Make sure to cut your chicken into evenly sized pieces for consistent cooking.
  • Dry, Then Wet, Then Dry: Always coat the chicken in flour, then dip in buttermilk, and finally coat in breadcrumbs for that perfect crust.
  • Optimal Skillet Size: For this recipe, a 10-inch skillet hits the sweet spot, providing ample room to cook the chicken nuggets in batches. This prevents overcrowding and allows each nugget to develop that irresistible golden crust while cooking evenly.
  • Temperature Check: Use a cooking thermometer to confirm the chicken has reached 165°F (75°C) before taking it off the heat.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 772kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 46g, Fat: 49g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 26g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 140mg, Sodium: 2436mg, Potassium: 764mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 241IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 200mg, Iron: 2mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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10 Comments

  1. Susan Owen says:

    I have used cornflake crumbs instead of breadcrumbs.

  2. Sara Opie says:

    I never eat chicken nuggets, but I saw your recipe and thought they look great. Just had them for dinner, absolutely quick and super tasty recipe. Thank you so much.

  3. Amy Singleton says:

    Is there anything else I can use in place of the buttermilk??

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Yes, if you’re out of buttermilk, a great substitute is to mix 1/2 cup of milk with 1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice and let it stand for about 10 minutes. This mimics the thickness and acidity of buttermilk, which is ideal for a good coating on the chicken. For more detailed substitutions, do check the ingredient notes section in the recipe post. And in case you need to, whole milk or cream can also be used, although they may not give the same coating consistency.

  4. Susan says:

    Can these be made in an air fryer?

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Chicken nuggets should be quite adaptable for cooking in an air fryer. While I haven’t personally tested the recipe in an air fryer to provide specific guidance on time and temperature, many air fryer users have had success with similar recipes. I would suggest consulting your air fryer’s manual for a baseline recommendation on cooking breaded chicken, and keep an eye on them to ensure they don’t overcook. If you decide to try it out, your feedback on how they turned out would be greatly appreciated!

  5. Rene Homan says:

    Sounds wonderful. Can these be cooked in an airfryer please. If so how would you recommend. Thanks in advance. I’m trying to lose weight as I have a heart issue. Cheers

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      I haven’t tested this recipe in an air fryer, but you can certainly give it a try as air fryers are great for creating lighter versions of your favorite dishes. You would want to adjust the temperature and timing compared to conventional oven baking. I would suggest looking at the manual for your specific air fryer model for guidance on cooking baked goods. Monitor them closely for the first attempt to get the perfect result.

  6. J. Hegyi says:

    TERRIFIC RECIPE.

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Thank you!