What’s In That? Chicken Nuggets

Here is where we see how many of you really love me.

Chicken nuggets  are convenient little pieces of boneless fried chicken that can be found everywhere from your local fast food establishment to the freezer section of the grocery store. Many of them contain one ubiquitous ingredient that we have  briefly discussed but not in great and glorious detail until today.

Yes my friends THAT is mechanically separated chicken. It goes into your hot dogs… into bologna… into all kinds of yummy things that we scarf down without gagging.  Or even thinking.

Certainly someone is going to post and say that it isn’t really…that it is a fake picture… that I am stirring up the proverbial stuff. Well,  I do like a good stirring up but in this case, sadly, it is true. Called AMR (Advanced Meat Recovery) this is related to that pink slime we talked about. Ew.  Francis Lamm, feature editor at Gilt, checked with David Radford, director of sales and marketing of BFD Corp., which makes advanced meat recovery machines, who confirmed that yes, that is an accurate depiction of what mechanically separated chicken looks like.

Now, it does have to be listed as an ingredient. McDonalds stopped using mechanically separated chicken in 2003, for example, and their nuggets are made with all white chicken. That is not to say that there aren’t other icky things in them but they are free of the paste above…

More than ever before you get what you pay for. Do you really want to pay for…. you know… that stuff? Cheap eating means that while you may be saving money… you are eating cheap food… and why is it cheap?

Chicken nuggets and chicken strips are super easy to make and they are crunchy-perfect and delicious. Best of all – no worries about…you know…  ::::::: icky stuff:::::::

These are tender and juicy on the inside with lots of flavor because they are marinated. Then the breading is crunchy yummy  with smoked paprika, panko crumbs, and generous amounts of salt and pepper.

Best of all? They can be on the table in less than 30 minutes. The kids will love them.

And no… you know… ew.

You just dip them in seasoned flour, then in egg, back in flour, back in egg, and then? A quick tete a tete with the Panko. Fry, and that’s it.

Perfection. Organic, delicious, healthy, fast food. Hey, and don’t feel bad if you aren’t using the organic stuff… It’s still WAY better than the ones you’d get at the drive through!


Homemade Chicken Nuggets
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Tender and juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside; just what chicken nuggets should be.
Serves: 8 servings
  • 1½ lbs boneless chicken breast or thighs, cut in chunks or sliced for chicken fingers
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled but left whole
  • 1 cup organic flour
  • 1 cup organic whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbs smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups Panko bread crumbs
  1. Mix the chicken chunks, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and garlic clove in a container or ziploc bag.
  2. Marinate overnight or toss in the freezer to use up to three months later.
  3. Thaw overnight before using.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients on a plate.
  5. Mix the eggs until foamy.
  6. Put the panko into another plate.
  7. Dip the chicken into the egg.
  8. Coat with flour,
  9. Back into egg.
  10. Back into flour and then press into Panko.
  11. Let dry on a cookie sheet while the oil heats to 375F
  12. Gently drop the chicken into the oil but don’t over load the fryer.
  13. Fry until golden on both sides, flipping as necessary.
  14. Drain and serve hot.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: Carbs: 55.0 Calories: 476 Fat: 11.7


© 2011 Marye Audet

Around the Internet…


  1. Bernice Hjnes says

    I am so very thankful I found your site as I love to cook. Very helpful as I had three boys to feed along with all their friends but I loved it. Now with all them grown and out of the house it is just myself and my husband. Cooking is not what it used to be lol but I have found some very exciting recipes on your site I am going to try. Thank you so very much

  2. Marla says

    I made these tonight. One kid came in and said “mom, these are so horrible I should save the other kids the misery of even tasting them, so I will quickly eat them all.”

    Good Job Marye!

    • marye says

      Umm .. .Chick-fil-a does not divulge their ingredients, however the nuggets do have anti foaming agents in them. I am not sure about the chicken.

  3. Adrienne Boswell says

    Thanks for posting this. My son, seven, used to like Dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets when he was in preschool, and then one day, I tried to serve them to him and he said “Mommy, I thought we were having REAL chicken. This tastes like PlayDough.” I tried to explain to him that I only bought those because he had asked for them. I was really glad. I can get him to eat the nuggets at McDonalds, in a pinch, but for the most part, Fast Food is refused.
    Now, if we want chicken “nuggets” I make chicken strips, or chicken wings (yum!), but I will try your recipe soon.

  4. says

    My husband hunts turkeys, way cheaper to cook up what one kills for free (well, forgetting the hunting license cost, but that’s a hobby cost to me). I admit I occasionally have done chicken nuggets when I completely forget lunch exists when trying to get myself and baby out the door before work, but I have to work really hard on blanking out about what I’m eating.

    • marye says

      LOL! I know… We were at the mall the other day and desperate for food… Kyrie ordered chicken nuggets and I took a bite..and then my husband looked at me and smiled..and I all of a sudden knew what he was thinking..and I gagged… sigh.

  5. says

    Thank hoodness we have never eaten “those” chicken nuggets. While my daughters frienbds were all scarfing them down all my daughter would eat there was the fries. Now she won’t even walk through the door of you know where. Thanks for sharing a great recipe for the “real deal”, Marye.

    • marye says

      :) Valli, I know…. I am glad I am not a fast food customer. ick. That’s only the stuff we know about

  6. says

    That pink soft serve ice cream—wait, no—mechanically separated chicken photo made us so thankful to have access to real chicken and a good local butcher.

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