Parmesan Baked Chicken Nuggets

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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! |

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Parmesan Baked Chicken Nuggets

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 0 About 2 dozen chicken nuggets 1x


These homemade crispy chicken nuggets are baked instead of fried and full of delicious Parmesan flavor!


  • 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


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread panko out evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 3 to 5 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.
  2. Place flour and eggs in separate shallow dishes. Increase temperature to 450 degrees.
  3. 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.
  4. Bake until chicken is cooked through, about 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through. Serve chicken nuggets warm with dipping sauce(s), if desired.
  5. *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! |

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117 comments on “Parmesan Baked Chicken Nuggets”

  1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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!

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

    • 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.


    • 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).

    • 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

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

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

  15. 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!

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

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

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

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

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

  21. My family would go nuts for these!

  22. Totally irresistible!

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

  24. Yummm! Sweet childhood nugget memories :)

  25. Can you freeze these once baked?

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  27. 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!

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  29. I can totally relate. It doesn’t happen often (thank goodness), but last night, I had a sudden urge for some fast food. I tried to ignore it, but I ended up getting weak and caving in. I got a big mac and chicken nuggets from a Mcdonalds nearby. And this morning, I feel so bleh! Your nuggets look so much tastier than the ones I had last night. So true about homemade being better.

  30. Made these tonight for dinner and my five year old son helped (handled the flour)…. He loves chicken nuggets (actually anything he can dip in ketchup). I used homemade bread crumbs in place of the panko and they turned out great!! Will definitely be making these again with my little helper!!

  31. Thank you so much for this recipe! I’m struggling with how to get my toddler to eat. I also don’t want to have to give him the standard (sometimes unhealthy) packaged (aka processed/preserved) kid foods. Saw these on Pinterest & thought maybe they might be too involved to make (toddler=not so much time on my hands!), but I’m so happy that they look easy & straight-forward! I’ll let you know how it goes! :-)

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  33. Just made these for dinner and they are so good! Thanks for the recipe. I will be buying more stuff at the store so I can make more and freeze them on the nights I don’t feel like cooking!

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  38. I was pretty skeptical of this recipe because I haven’t had much luck with breaded chicken. (BUT) This was awesome!! It was a relatively simple recipe and the chicken came out with a crunchy coating and tender in the middle.  Highly recommend this recipe! Great job :)

  39. Love this recipe – my husband made it for dinner last night and these were THE BEST chicken nuggets I have had in a long time!  

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  41. Do you think this would work with fish as well (cod, flounder) to make crispy fish sticks?

  42. These are delicious! They were fairly easy to make and came out great. I think there is a lot of wiggle room with the recipe as far as adding more/different ingredients as well as cooking times. Did ours in the convection oven and it was great! My only complaint about the recipe is the stated prep time. I’m not sure who’s awesome enough to do all this prep in 15 mins, but it was more like 30. Also the clean up took a long time since it used a lot of dishes. I recommend doing as much in advance as possible. You can use egg beaters or liquid eggs to save some time. Also, have lots of towels on hand because fingers get very messy.

    • Hey David, thanks for sharing your tips, it’s really helpful for me to get feedback from people trying my recipes. Thank you!

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  46. I made these for my daughter last night and they were so delicious!! What a great tip to toast the panko first. This recipe is clean, easy, and very healthy. I love that it has so few ingredients but it is packed with flavor. I challenge anyone to find a store bought chicken nugget with so few ingredients and all recognizable! Thanks for this recipe it’s a keeper! 

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  48. I did these nuggets last night and my (picky) children loved! I agree with David: more like half and hour and some pretty mess to clean up afterwards, but it was worth . I was in doubt about the oven temperature: my oven max temperature was 250°C, so I used that. I assume you use Fahrenheint degrees, do you? Thanks for sharing!

    • We’re so glad to hear these were a hit with your kiddos! And yes, we use Fahrenheit.

  49. I made these last night and they were delicious! My boyfriend even told me to put these on the weekly menu. Browning the panko before using them definitely gave it a better appearance and taste. I only had the refrigerated grated parm on hand but it didn’t seem to make it any less crunchy. Thanks for the recipe! 

    • That’s great to hear Ileana (we love your name, by the way)! We’re happy you and your boyfriend liked these. :)

  50. This post touched my heart. Not because of the recipe (though it sounds awesome) but because of my daughter.  My husband & I are from SC but we adopted my daughter from Wichita. She was in the NICU there & I have a feeling it was the same hospital as a major fast food chain was right outside the hospital she was in. Our daughter was born at 28 weeks to a drug addicted birth mother. That was 7.5 years ago & she is now a healthy, smart, beautiful, rambunctious little girl. I hope that your cousin’s baby is doing well. I know this comment may seem weird but reading this flooded my mind with memories of the weeks my daughter was in the hospital in Wichita. 

    • Wow, I’m so glad that you’re daughter is well and living such a beautiful life now! Such a small world with the SC and Wichita connections too. :) Thanks for the encouraging words!