Parmesan Baked Chicken Nuggets

August 11, 2014 by Ali

These Parmesan Baked Chicken Nuggets are super crispy and flavorful on the outside, tender on the inside, and ready to go in less than 30 minutes!

Parmesan Baked Chicken Nuggets -- crispy, easy to make, and SO tasty! |

Last weekend, I caved and ordered fast food chicken nuggets.

Yes, the fried, questionably-shaped, had-probably-been-sitting-out-for-hours, Lord-knows-what’s-in-them kind of nuggets. Judge away.

But I have to admit, I was seriously craving some comfort food. It was day two in the NICU back home in Wichita where our family had gathered to meet our very sweet, but very very sick, little newborn cousin and be with his parents. So heartbreaking. And especially considering that most of them had not slept in at least two or three days, so exhausting. So that said, when my cousin decided she was ready take a brief break and walk to get some lunch, I was very happy to accompany her.

Once we stepped out of the hospital and into the warm sunshine, the only restaurant we saw within walking distance was basically the epitome of fast food. But it sounded predictable and strangely comforting, and she said it sounded good, so we headed right in. I normally would have ordered a salad or a healthy sandwich. But for whatever reason, childhood nostalgia kicked in and all I wanted were chicken nuggets and fries with extra ketchup.

I’m not gonna lie. They actually weren’t half bad. And they definitely satisfied the craving in a moment when all I wanted was some comfort food. But they did inspire me to make a legit batch of chicken nuggets when I returned home.

And let it be said — homemade is always a better idea.

Parmesan Baked Chicken Nuggets -- crispy, easy to make, and SO tasty! |

Actually, I’ve always thought it a little sad that chicken nuggets in general have gotten such a bad rap over the last decade. I mean, restaurants need to behave themselves and be smart with how they make them. But in general, chicken nuggets are a delightful way to enjoy chicken! They’re bite-sized and perfect for popping. You get a much better breading to chicken ratio, verses chicken strips. And as we all know, kids are basically biologically drawn to want them now.

So for all of you parents who have been requesting easy dinner recipes this month — and to all of you without kids, like me, who may just really love chicken nuggets — this recipe’s for you.

And as you can tell from the title, these aren’t just any chicken nuggets. They super crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and coated with a super-tasty Parmesan-Panko breading. (Oh, and I’m not kidding on the “tasty” part — these were so good that I even loved just eating them plain!) Plus, they’re easy to make and ready on the table in less than 30 minutes.

Parmesan Baked Chicken Nuggets -- crispy, easy to make, and SO tasty! |

So yeah, no judging here for anyone who has ever caved to a craving and ordered fast food nuggets. But the next time the craving hits, I’m going for these guys.

Parmesan Baked Chicken Nuggets -- crispy, easy to make, and SO tasty! |

Parmesan Baked Chicken Nuggets

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: About 2 dozen chicken nuggets


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound total), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup *finely-grated or powdered Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • coarse sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • cooking spray
  • (optional) sauces for serving


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread panko out evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a small mixing bowl, then add Parmesan, and thyme. Toss until combined. Rinse off the baking sheet, then cover with parchment paper.

Place flour and eggs in separate shallow dishes. Increase temperature to 450 degrees.

Generously season the chicken with a few pinches of salt and pepper. One at a time, add a piece of chicken to the flour, and toss until coated, shaking off excess. Then dip it in egg until coated. Then transfer to the panko mixture, and toss until it is completely coated (pressing to adhere the Panko if needed). Transfer to the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Bake until chicken is cooked through, about 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through. Serve chicken nuggets warm with dipping sauce(s), if desired.

*I do not recommend using the pre-grated Parmesan cheese you can buy in the refrigerated section at the store. Either buy a block and very finely grate it yourself, or use the powdered Parmesan you can buy in the shaker.

Parmesan Baked Chicken Nuggets -- crispy, easy to make, and SO tasty! |

filed in Chicken, Entrees, Game day

About Ali

Ali Ebright is a freelance recipe developer and food writer/photographer, and blogs at Gimme Some Oven and Gimme Some Life. She also loves all things music, traveling near and far, actually making things from Pinterest, cozying up with a good book and her sweet pup, Henry, and spending time with a wonderful group of friends. Come say hello and follow Ali on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ & Instagram.

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32 thoughts on “Parmesan Baked Chicken Nuggets

  1. I made this tonight for my in laws and husband, they loved it! So nice and crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside. Thanks for a great recipe!

    - Tina

  2. Can you freeze these once baked?

    - Neetsee

  3. Yummm! Sweet childhood nugget memories :)

    - Phillip ||

  4. Why have I never thought to make something like this?? This is my favorite childhood food made even better!

    - Russell from Chasing Delicious

  5. Totally irresistible!

    - Meredith

  6. My family would go nuts for these!

    - Lori @ RecipeGirl

  7. Yummo! My oldest is obsessed with chicken nuggets. I will have to give these a try. Pinned!

    - Katie | The Surly Housewife

  8. These look SO good! I admit, I do like the nugs from Chick-fil-a and Wendy’s…

    - Emily of Sugar Plum

  9. I loved the chicken stars from Carls Jr but don’t eat them anymore- love this homemade version

    - Elizabeth @ Confessions of a Baking Queen

  10. ooh i am so craving chicken nuggets right now. they look amazing!

    - Thalia @ butter and brioche

  11. Sorry to hear about your newborn cousin. These nuggets look delicious–the perfect healthy yet tasty alternative :)

    - Nathalie C. | Devoted Foodie

  12. Thank you for this recipe! I’ve been starving for the last hour or so trying to figure out what in the world I can have for dinner lol. This will be perfect!

    - kristin @ prettyloved

  13. Sending healing thoughts to your family in this difficult time.

    - Turner

  14. Homemade chicken nuggets are the best! And your pictures are amazing ;-)

    - Olivia - Primavera Kitchen

  15. Wow these look wonderful! I love chicken nuggets but stopped eating them after I decided to kick fast food a long time ago. The healthy baked nuggets look like a tasty alternative.

    - Matt @ Plating Pixels

  16. Oh yum! Sometimes the “bad” stuff is good for the soul as much as I try to avoid it. But I seriously love making the bad food at home and turning it good…this one definitely looks like a winner!

    - Nichole

  17. Prayers for your cousin. <3

    Homemade chicken nuggets just can't be beat. You won't have to worry about biting into some crunchy weird piece when you eat these.

    - Jamie | Jamie's Recipes

  18. How do these freeze? I am definitely going to try these for my son, who has a corn allergy making it nearly impossible to eat out at all.

    - Lisa Andrews

    • Hi Lisa,

      I have not tried freezing these yet, but imagine they would freeze well. I would reheat them in the oven, vs. the microwave, to be sure that they are crispy.


      - Ali

      • This reminds me, at its base, of Iowa Girl Eats’ popcorn chicken recipe, and that said you could just freeze before cooking, then bake as usual (don’t thaw first).

        - Sadye

        • My son would love these!! Since we don’t get chicken nuggets much just because I don’t trust the quality of most fast food places kid food – these would be a welcome addition to a meal at our house. 2 dozen sounds like a good number to split to have for dinner one night and have some leftover to freeze for another easy meal. Having a baby in October and am starting to stock up on freezer homemade meals for easy dinners then.

          - Stephanie @ Stephanies Az Kitchen

  19. I love the use of panko to add the crispy coating to these little nuggets. I’m pinning them so my son can make them this week for dinner. I’m sorry to hear about your newborn cousin, but I’m sure you’ve been a great source of comfort to your family during this time.

    - Heather @ Shards of Lavender

  20. Nice!!! Loving these for my boys!!

    - Jenny Flake

  21. You’re killing it with the easy dinner recipes!! My kiddos will love this one :) Praying for your sweet cousin and best wishes for a speedy recovery!

    - Cookbook Queen

  22. So sorry to hear about your cousin, and I’m glad you were able to be with your family. I haven’t had a chicken nugget in forever, but it does sound very comforting. Thanks for the great at-home version and hang in there xo

    - Erin | The Law Student's Wife

  23. I pretty much crave chicken fingers at all times. I love that we’re on the same page once again!! Praying for your little cousin… xo

    - Liz @ The Lemon Bowl

  24. I will definitely be praying for your newborn cousin – that is so tough girl!
    I also love chicken nuggets and adore this healthier version! Perfect for those cravings…pinned!

    - Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness

  25. So sorry to hear about your little newborn cousin. That must be very stressful. Love the way you made this comfort food healthier and home-made. My daughters would love these!

    - Katie | Healthy Seasonal Recipes

  26. I love when you can make junk food at home that does not contain questionable ingredients and that tastes a millions time better. Thanks so much for this – it’s dinner tomorrow night for sure!

    - Suné Moolman