Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets

Looking for the best Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets that everyone is going to love? This recipe uses a blend of almond flour and spices to make a crunchy and delicious chicken nugget that also happens to be gluten-free and easy to make! With instructions for making in the oven, air fryer or stovetop, these healthier chicken nuggets will make for a perfect quick dinner or meal prep that will make the whole family happy.

Gluten-free chicken nuggets.

Our Favorite Healthy Chicken Nugget Recipe

These Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets are the perfect healthier version of everyones favorite hand held chicken recipe! They are low carb, flavorful, and completely gluten-free and grain-free. A reader favorite and loved by adults and kids alike! We originally published this back in 2014, but we thought it was time take new photos so more of you can find these on our site!

So many of you have made this recipe (check out the comments below) and have loved these perfectly crispy healthier chicken nuggets. Serve them up with your favorite dipping sauce (we’re partial to honey mustard) and everyone is going to be happy!

Gluten free chicken nuggets.

Ingredients Needed

Here is an overview of the ingredient list. Keep scrolling for the full recipe.

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • Eggs
  • Almond Flour
  • Spices: Garlic Powder, Italian seasoning, Paprika, Chili Powder and Cayenne (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Avocado Oil Spray, or Avocado Oil (for cooking the chicken)

Substitutions

Eggs: We haven’t tried this, but you might be able to use an almond milk to wet the chicken to get the breading to stick.

Almond Flour: Can’t have nuts? Check out this Nut-Free Chicken Tender breading option.

How to Cook Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets

We’ve included instructions for pan-frying, oven baking and air frying depending on your own needs and time.

They all take roughly the same amount of time to make, but we are partial to pan-frying them. They are obviously more crispy this way! But they do require more hands on cooking.

Air-frying them results in a crispy exterior as well, but with a much less oil and less hands-on cooking.

If you do bake them, be sure not to skip the step of using the parchment paper and to lightly grease the uncooked breaded chicken. Using the parchment paper prevents the chicken from sticking to the sheet pan.

Tips for Working with Gluten-Free Breading

Over the years, one of the most common complaints we’ve received when it comes to working with paleo and gluten-free chicken breading is that the breading falls off. Truthfully, we really haven’t had that happen to us during our years of making them, and I think the reason why is that we treat these delicately while breading them and while cooking them.

The biggest tip we can give for pan-frying is to make sure you use enough oil, and also don’t flip the chicken before it is ready. This tip doesn’t just apply for this chicken nugget recipe, but generally speaking, if a piece of meat isn’t fully cooked when you try to flip it, it can stick! So just test one and make sure it easily comes off the pan before flipping. If you’ve found it stuck, let it cook longer before you try to flip it.

Also, we’ve found using a thin spatula works best to flip these instead of a pair of tongs, that way there is less chance of breaking the coating.

And a tip if you are baking, don’t skip the parchment paper! It’s essential to make sure these don’t stick to your baking sheet. Make sure to coat the paper and the breading with a bit of oil (we’ve found a spray oil to work the best here) to ensure nothing sticks.

Kids hands grabbing gluten-free chicken nuggets.

Can I Freeze These?

Absolutely! You can make a big batch of these and keep them in the freezer whenever you need a quick bite to eat for the kids (or yourself)!

My biggest tip is to freeze them initially on a parchment lined sheet tray first for about 24 hours. Then transfer to a bag for easy storing. This ensures they don’t all stick together.

You can defrost them overnight and reheat in a toaster or oven, or you can reheat them straight from frozen. I recommend 350ºF until they’re warmed through. I’m guessing you can reheat in a microwave too, but I’ve never tried!

Sides to serve with these gluten-free chicken nuggets:

Looking for other chicken recipes? Check these out:

Watch the video:

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Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets

Gluten free chicken nuggets.

This fan-favorte recipe, formerly known as Zesty Chicken Bites has been an LCK favorite recipe for years. These chicken nuggets have an amazing gluten-free and grain-free breading that is just perfect and will be beloved by both kids and adults alike. Serving kids? Omit the hot spices! We offer directions for air frying and baking!

  • Author: Lexi
  • Prep Time: 00:15
  • Cook Time: 00:15
  • Total Time: 33 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Air Fryer or Bake
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1½ pounds chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces (about 1-½”-2” pieces)
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1½ cups almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • Avocado Oil Spray, or Avocado Oil (for cooking the chicken)

Instructions

  1. Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a shallow container whisk together eggs with a big pinch of salt and pepper
  3. In a separate shallow container, whisk together almond flour, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, paprika, salt, chili powder, and cayenne.
  4. Dip sliced chicken into the egg, then dredge in flour mixture, being sure to coat it evenly. Repeat until all chicken is coated. Make sure to handle the chicken delicately to not disturb the coating.

To Pan Fry:

  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Once hot, cook chicken in the skillet, in batches, for 3-4 minutes on each side depending on how thick your chicken is. Cook until chicken is crispy and golden-brown and cooked through. Place on towel to drain excess oil.
  2. Sere immediately or let cool for meal prep.

To Air-Fry:

  1. Preheat air-fryer to 400ºF (if necessary, not all air-fryers need to pre-heat).
  2. Lightly spray the air fryer basket with avocado spray (or similar spray without additives) and place the prepared chicken in one layer, with spacing in between each piece. You may need to do it in multiple batches if your air-fryer is small. Lightly spray the chicken with additional avocado spray.
  3. Air fry for 12-14 minutes, turning the chicken at the 5 minute and 10 minute mark. The outside should be lightly golden and crispy, and the internal temperature of the meat should be 165º
  4. Serve immediately, or let cool for meal prep.

To Bake:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Lightly spray or brush the sheet tray with oil. Place the chicken on the sheet tray and lightly spray or brush with oil.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Flip the chicken and bake for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the coating is crispy.
  4. Serve immediately or let cool for meal prep.

Notes

This recipe was originally published in 2014 under the name Zesty Chicken Bites. The recipe has been made and loved by so many of you. We slightly updated the recipe (by increasing the yield that the recipe makes) and took new photographs so more of you can find and love this recipe.

If serving for kids, omit the cayenne pepper!

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4 recipe
  • Calories: 252
  • Sugar: 0.1g
  • Sodium: 320mg
  • Fat: 11.2g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.8g
  • Carbohydrates: 0.8g
  • Fiber: 0.4g
  • Protein: 34.9g
  • Cholesterol: 142g

Keywords: Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets

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87 comments
September 7, 2021

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87 Responses

  1. Yummy! Those look wonderful! And they appear to be gluten free….which I am beginning as of tomorrow! Need to keep my protein intake up for my training, so these would be great! Yum!

    Thanks for sharing 🙂 Will be needing you a lot over the next few weeks I think!

  2. Made these for dinner tonight! Sooo good! Loved by my whole family….even my 24 yr old, junk food-junkie son! Will be making these often 🙂

  3. These look delicious! I will definitely be bringing them to my next friend gathering! The snacks are usually good but not a ton of super healthy options! Great recipe!

  4. I made these last night and it was a HIT! We dipped them in Frank’s Red Hot for added spicy but the bottom line, they were delicious!

    As I said on my instagram, Guuuurl you know what you’re doing in the kitchen!! I will definitely be making these again and I’ve already passed the link onto two of my friends 🙂 Thank you!

  5. These look amazing. One little problem: my little fuel is allergic to eggs (bummer she’s missing out on their amazing nutritional powerhouses and TASTE!). Any suggestions for replacing? Not sure how a flax egg would work here… Thanks!!!

    1. Hi Ellie!! Aw! Honestly, I haven’t tried a flax egg, but it couldn’t hurt. Also, if your chicken is pretty sticky, I bet you can get by without the egg (or by using a little oil).

    2. I made this using olive oil instead of an egg. It turned out really well! I also used the flax instead of almond. I will definitely make this again!

  6. These were delicious! I visit many blogs for Paleo recipes and this is the first time I felt the need to leave a comment! I didn’t have the 1 tsp Italian Seasoning.. so I substituted with 1/2 tsp Basil and 1/2 tsp Oregano. I will definitely use this recipe again. Great job!

  7. Hi Lexi! This may be a weird question, but I’d love to try these…the problem is I’m not sure what almond meal is or where to find it

  8. I found almond meal/flour in the baking specialty section of Shop Rite. I doubled the recipe and found I needed more than double the spice and almond flour mix. But this is really delicious, and I’m sure you could customize it with whatever spices you like. Next time I am planning to try coconut flour because my son is both celiac and allergic to nuts. Thank you Lexi!

  9. Made these yesterday…. were good, but struggled with chicken being over cooked and dry. Second batch I reduced, but still somewhat dry. Today I made the same “breading” but added 2 tsp brown sugar. I breaded pork chop cutlets. They were out of this world! Sooooo Good!

    1. I’m surprised to hear that Lisa, I haven’t experienced (or heard anyone experience) that at all with these. But I am glad the pork chop cutlets were a hit! Sounds deeee-lish 🙂

  10. Made this Wednesday night for dinner using flax seed meal (couldn’t find almond meal at the supermarket) and the husband ate it like it was gold. We don’t even keep a paleo diet and he couldn’t get enough of them! Super easy to put together and bake- a definite add to the week night dinner routine. Thanks!

  11. Made these tonight they are the bomb.com I see above people were asking about the egg. I didn’t have one on hand but if you lightly coat the chicken with olive oil that works too, I read it online somewhere and it worked for me just fine. For my dipping sauce I mixed plain greek yogurt with siracha. Sauce is so good it tastes like a cheat! Not sure if greek yogurt is paleo friedly, but worked for me. Thanks Lexi for this recipe, definitely making it for Super Bowl Sunday!

  12. Hi there! Have you ever frozen these to use later? I have twin seven year olds, and these would be awesome to have on hand in the freezer. Would you freeze them after cooking or before? I’m thinking before.

  13. These are soooooo good. I even use the breading to coat huge chicken breasts as opposed to cutting them into bites and I’m in love with this combination, especially with some sauce! Amazing

  14. These were delicious!! I left out the cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes for my pre-schooler, but we didn’t miss the heat at all. This is a great recipe that I will definitely be making again soon!!

  15. These are awesome!! My 4 and 5 year old enjoyed them so much that they have requested that I make them again “tomorrow” lol

  16. Hi- this looks great!! Any ideas on prepping ahead of time? With two kids and picking up after school, I wouldn’t have time for full prep :/

  17. Is Flaxeed meal worth buying JUST for this recipe? Any other ideas or things you can do with it? Thanks!

  18. These look so delish! Any idea if they would be good cold the next day or do they really need to be enjoyed fresh? Thanks in advance!

  19. Hi! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so I came to take a look. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Wonderful blog and great style and design.

  20. I made this tonight. However, I used chicken breast and cut it into cutlets instead of pieces. My man LOVES chicken parm and he went nuts over this recipe!! I made doluble the dry mix so I would have enough to coat. Right before the cutlets were done in oven, I added motz cheese to his cutlets. I finished the dish with some marinara sauce. I’m not kidding…..he devoured it! Very very good! This is going to be a regular dish in my house!

    1. I can’t guarantee since I haven’t tried it with anything but what’s listed in the ingredients there. Let us know if you adapt it and how it works out!

  21. These were DELICIOUS!!! The spice mix was perfect, definitely zesty. The chicken stayed so moist too! I ate these with homemade honey mustard sauce made with Greek yogurt 🙂 thanks so much for sharing!

  22. I made these with chicken thighs instead of breasts and with flaxseed meal instead of almond meal. Delicious! I did increase the amount of all of the spices (save the cayenne) by a factor of 3, and used sweet Hungarian paprika and mild California chili powder. Thanks for the recipe! Dinner tonight was a resounding success (and I had enough breading left over to prep some of my lunch chicken with the breading as well, double score).

  23. Made these for dinner last night and they were awesome! Absolutely perfect dipped in some Paleo homemade ranch 🙂 They were good leftover for lunch today too, even heated in the microwave! I did double the recipe and had to make 2 1/2 times the coating mixture like an earlier person said.

    Question– does anyone know nutrition info/ how to calculate it for this recipe?

  24. In all honesty these are still baking so I haven’t tasted them yet, BUT I found that there was not nearly enough almond meal/spice coating for a pound of chicken. I only got through about half a pound before completely running out. And even though I greased my tin foil, half of the spice mix still stuck to it, pulling off the chicken as I turned them. I’m glad I read the comments saying that cooking for the length of time you recommended makes them dry so I can pull them out a bit early. Hoping the taste is worth these little obstacles!

  25. I am in love with these! We just made these (tripled the recipe for my size family), and they are so incredible. We followed the recipe exactly (-minus the chili flakes), and it turned out SO GOOD. None of my family is on whole 30 except me, and every single chicken piece was GONE. This will stay in our rotation for sure! Thanks so much for the recipe!!!

  26. I’ve tried these 3 times and they have great flavor, however, I cannot get the breading crispy at all. The breading is moist and very light in color. What am I doing wrong?

  27. The zesty chicken bites are aaaahmazing. Can you share the recipe for the dipping sauce you have pictured?

  28. I’ve made these a few times now, they are really good. However no matter what I coat the foil with the almond “breading” sticks to the pan and not to the chicken. Any tips?

  29. Hi Lexi, Someone asked a while ago about freezing these for later, but there was no response… Do you have any suggestions for making these ahead, freezing, and re-heating? Thanks!

  30. When you re-heat, what temp & how long? Sorry, I don’t do a lot of make-ahead stuff so I am kind of a newbie! Thank you!

  31. I’ve made this about 20 times now and it’s so delicious!… it’s a perfect go to for weeknight dinners!

    5.0 rating

  32. Very good; I used a bit more of the spices. Strips were pretty small; so baked them about 10-12 min. They were not crispy, but were good, nicely tender and juicy. I may try sauteing next time. Simple and quick. I might also try the paleo panko-style crumbs I bought at Natural Grocers to replace almond flour. Thank you for the recipe.

    4.0 rating

  33. I’ve been making these since 2015 and love them every time! They’re really good as strips on salads for lunch (yep, delicious cold, too). Also love them with TJ’s tomato sauce (no sugar), some crispy potatoes, and roasted veggies for dinner. Add these to your list of staples!

    5.0 rating

  34. These chicken bites are pretty much the only chicken nuggets (or strips!) that we make at home! The breading is SO scrumptious – just the right amount of spice and flavoring.

    5.0 rating

  35. This recipe is fantastic and I have been making it for the past 3 years. I double the recipe and serve it with tahini dressing as a dipping sauce for me and ketchup for my girls (5 and 9). It’s so flavorful and I love having leftovers for lunch throughout the week. One tip to add. I usually have a little egg and breading mixture leftover after doubling because I don’t always have exactly 2x the chicken. I put both the leftover egg and breading mixtures in a mixing bowl, add a package of ground chicken or turkey, some extra of the spices used and make mini meatloafs. They taste similar and then there’s no waste.

  36. In the nutrition section is says “Serving size: As Served” Does that mean that is the info for the whole 1lb of chicken bites?

    5.0 rating

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