Chick Fil A Chicken Nuggets

While many love the traditional chicken sandwich, Chick-fil-A’s juicy, delectable chicken nuggets more than hold their own on the menu, especially compared to lesser fast food nuggets. This recipe mimics the best parts of the original — plus, it’s available on Sunday!

Copycat Chick Fil A chicken nuggets in a parchment paper lined basket.

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Chick Fil A Chicken Nuggets

Chick-fil-A doesn’t boast the most extensive menu among fast food chains or the most exotic.  But the company has developed a huge and dedicated base of diehard fans simply by focusing on doing one thing right — fried chicken. The iconic chicken sandwich might be its most popular offering, but real fans know there’s no better way to enjoy the juicy, perfectly fried chicken than on its own, with Chick-fil-A nuggets. 

But if you’re craving them far from a Chick-fil-A, or worse, it’s a Sunday (when all restaurant locations are closed), there’s no need to worry. It’s surprisingly easy to whip up chicken nuggets like Chick Fil A in your home kitchen without any special gear or ingredients. 

Why This is the Best Recipe for Chick-fil-A Chicken Nuggets

This isn’t just any old recipe for how to make Chick fil A chicken nuggets. It’s hard to get closer to the real thing than this, thanks to a coating made from flour and finely crushed saltine crackers, enhanced with a touch of sugar and spice. There’s also an extra chicken-y boost from the overnight marinade in bouillon, water, and seasoned salt.  

The chicken is fried in peanut oil, just like the real Chick fil A chicken nuggets recipe. This adds a subtle nuttiness to the fried chicken that complements the savory flavors. Fortunately, most refined peanut oil has been processed to remove allergens, meaning that even most people with peanut allergies can safely enjoy it. However, it’s easy to swap out everyday vegetable oil or canola oil if you have allergies and prefer to be extra cautious, or that’s all you have on hand. 


You don’t need much in the way of Chick fil A chicken nuggets ingredients:

  • Chicken breast (boneless and skinless) or chicken tenders
  • Seasoned salt (McCormick or Morton Season-All)
  • Chicken bouillon cubes
  • All-purpose flour
  • Saltine crackers (crushed into fine powder)
  • Paprika
  • Water
  • Peanut oil (for frying)

It’s important to note that this recipe does not contain any dill pickle juice, despite speculation that it’s part of the Chick-fil-A marinade. Insider spoke to an employee who confirmed this several years ago, and there’s no reason to think they’ve changed since. Some, like Lifehacker, believe Chick-fil-A adds a bit of MSG to its brine and breading to amp up the savory flavor. 

Copycat Chick Fil A chicken nuggets ingredients on a marble surface.

Ingredient Substitutions

Home cooks looking for the most authentic Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets recipe should leave the breading as-is, but those in the mood to experiment can add additional seasonings, from chili powder and cayenne pepper to cajun or Italian seasoning blends.  

It’s also possible to answer the question, “Are chick fil a chicken nuggets gluten free?” with a yes, they can be made that way. Simply swap the regular flour for a gluten-free cup-for-cup blend and replace ordinary crackers with wheat-free ones.

As noted earlier, it’s also easy to change out the peanut oil. Any relatively neutral flavor oil with a high smoke point will work. 

How to Make Chick Fil A Chicken Nuggets at Home

I am inclined to believe that they do marinate the chicken as well, my solution for this is marinating the chicken in chicken bouillon and a touch of seasoned salt will do the trick of amplifying the flavor of the chicken. It the secret ingredient in this copycat nuggets recipe.

Making chicken nuggets that taste like Chick fil A requires just a few steps but a bit of planning and patience.

  1. Cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Place the chicken pieces in a bowl of water, dissolved bouillon, and seasoned salt. Brine overnight.
  3. Drain the chicken and discard the brine.
Collage of marinating chicken pieces for making homemade Chick Fil A nuggets.
  1. Heat oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit in a pot or deep fryer.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the breading ingredients and toss the chicken chunks in the flour and cracker mixture. 
  3. Let the coated chicken rest on a wire rack for a few minutes to help the breading stick.
  4. Fry in batches until the coating has turned golden brown and the chicken has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  5. For the crispiest chicken nuggets, drain them on a wire rack instead of paper towels.
Collage of breading and frying chicken pieces to make homemade Chick Fil A nuggets.

Equipment Notes

While it’s certainly possible to fry these nuggets in a large pot, a dedicated deep fryer will produce the best results. 

So I like to make sure my nuggets are cooked where I can readily measure the temperature of the oil. I prefer to cook the nuggets at 350°F. The internal temperature of the chicken should be 150°F before consuming it.

Copycat Chick Fil A chicken nuggets and a bowl of dipping sauce on a plate.

What Goes Well With Chicken Nuggets

Round out your meal with classic waffle fries or French Fries. A side of coleslaw, simple green salad, or roasted vegetables are also great choices. Oh, and check out my copycat Chick Fil A sauce recipe.

How to Store

Like all fried chicken, Chick-fil-A nuggets are best enjoyed hot and fresh. But the leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. 

How to Freeze

Cooked copycat Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets can be frozen in an airtight container or freezer bag for one to three months.

How to Reheat

To preserve as much of the coating’s crispness as possible, reheat Chick-fil-A nuggets on a baking sheet and bake them in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven. This will take about ten minutes.

You can also reheat them in an air fryer. Place the nuggets in a single layer in the air fryer basket and air fry them at 350°F for about three to five minutes.

If you’re in a rush, they can be microwaved for 30 seconds at a time until hot, though the steamier cooking environment will result in a less crunchy coating. 

Copycat Chick Fil A chicken nuggets and dipping sauce on a plate.

Sauces to Serve with Chicken Nuggets

The possibilities are unlimited. You can serve chicken nuggets with a variety of sauces to dip them in.

More Chicken Fil A Copycat Recipes

Be sure to check out more of my easy chicken recipes and the best fast food copycat recipes.

Copycat Chick Fil A chicken nuggets in a parchment paper lined basket.

Chick Fil A Chicken Nuggets

Recreate Chick Fil A Chicken Nuggets at home!
5 from 21 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chicken Nuggets
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 157kcal


  • 2 cubes chicken bouillon
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Morton Season-All or seasoned salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast cubed
  • peanut oil for frying
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups saltine cracker crumbs crushed very finely
  • 2 teaspoons powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika


  • Dissolve the bouillon cubes in 2 cups of cool water and add 1/4 teaspoon Morton Season-All. Place cubed chicken in the water, mix, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
  • Heat the oil to 350°F in a deep fryer or large pot. If you are using a large pot, add enough oil so the oil is 4 inches deep.
  • Combine the flour, cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, and paprika in a shallow dish.
  • Pour off and discard the excess marinade from the chicken. Coat the chicken with the flour mixture and place on a wire rack to rest for a few minutes to help the coating better adhere to the chicken during frying.
  • Fry the chicken nuggets a few at a time until they are golden brown. Remove from the oil and drain on a clean wire rack.


By using a wire rack instead of paper towels to drain chicken the nuggets will remain more crispy.   Setting fried foods on paper towels often means the fried food will steam. 


Calories: 157kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 1111mg | Potassium: 168mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 40IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1.4mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


    • Pam

      I was told by one of our local CFA’s that they only marinade the strips this way, not the filets or nuggets. I tend to believe this because I can eat the filet and nuggets with no problems. But am repulsed by the strips by just the smell.

  1. peanut allergy person

    a bit of good news for those with peanut allergies – the kind of peanut oil (refined) you find in the cooking oil section of the grocery store will not trigger an allergic reaction. only unrefined (usually in a gourmet section, used for drizzling on top of salads, etc) versions will. the refining process denatures the protein that causes the allergic response. i am allergic to peanuts and eat CFA all the time with no issues.

  2. Jahchild

    Yep tried these a few times and they are a hit it’s my daughter’s 20 earth strong and request these lol the family lives them thank you you are my go to for a hit

  3. Bobby

    I tried and loved the Recipe. First time I’ve marinAde anything in pickle juice besides…well…cucumbers lol. I worked for chick fila in high school. I don’t know if they are pre-marinated before packaged to the stories, but I don’t remember smelling anything pickled. We did have to at closing prepare the chicken in a special milk wash that Kinda smelled like the ice cream. If you ever had their chicken that didn’t taste as tender, It probably wasn’t part of that over night marinade. 😂 But this was back in 2001-02.

  4. Sarah Smith

    I Still remember the recipe of Chicken Nuggets from my Grandma. She makes the best nuggets ever and we cousins used to eat all of that. But, this recipe looks little different and delicious for sure. I would love to pass this to my mom so, she can make it at home. Do you have any YouTube channel so i can follow other recipes there too. Thanks again for sharing.

  5. Lisa

    Love your site. Chick fil a is my new favorite to go place. The chicken really does have a pickley flavor. Can you put pickle juice in the marinade?

  6. Noreen Gamble

    Hi Stephanie,
    Do you think this could be possible in the air fryer? If so what temp & time would you use?

    Thank you,

    • Stephanie

      I think these could work in an air fryer. I would cook these at 390 degrees, and cook them until they turn brown that should be 8 to 9 minutes. You may need to do this in batches depending upon the size of your basket.

  7. Tess

    Stephanie – By cracker crumbs do you mean saltines or do you mean something more like Ritz, Club or other buttery crackers?

      • Story

        Just try Ritz. You will be surprised. Good eating. Personally, I spray my chicken pieces with olive oil. I also mix onion powder and garlic powder and seasoned salt in my Ritz cracker crumbs – no flower. I just purchased a Hot air fryer. gona try that tomorrow.

  8. Lori

    5 stars
    Dear Stephanie,
    Thanks for the recipe! It sounds delicious, and i do want to make them at home cuz Chick FilA is expensive, lol! I will update after I make them. Quick question: The bullion cubes I have are a larger size (1 bullion to 2 cups water). Do you mean 2 small, 1-cup-water-bullion cubes, or do you mean to make it extra concentrated and use the larger cubes with only 2 cups water?
    I sure hope I made sense!
    Thank you for your time 🙂

5 from 21 votes (15 ratings without comment)

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