Homemade Chicken Nugs!

From the time I was a child until after I graduated college and met Whitney, my diet mostly consisted of a few core staples including Kraft mac and cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, tacos, and a handful of tasty fast foods, chief among them chicken nuggets. Over the years Whitney has mostly weaned me off of the old diet, but I get cravings every now and then and so haven't given up the old favorites entirely (favorite suggestion when she asks for meal plan suggestions - chicken nugs!). And of course with the finest purveyor of fried chicken, Chick-Fil-A, such a short distance from work, I usually manage to sneak over there for lunch every other week when there's a gap in our leftovers.

For this meal, perhaps Whitney figured if she couldn't beat them, at least she could imitate them. There are many Chick-Fil-A imitation recipes out there which involve marinating the chicken in pickle juice and buttermilk. Since we had just finished a jar of pickles, this was the perfect opportunity to try it. After they marinated for a while in the mixture we breaded them and pan-fried them.

We were both very impressed with how well they imitated the Chick-Fil-A nuggets! I was very pleased. We made more than we could eat, so we we froze a good deal of them. We recently cooked those and they came out just as crispy and delicious as when we first made them. I'm not sure this all beats the convenience of Chick-Fil-A, but it is nice to know what exactly is in your food, even if it is a whole lot of briny pickle juice.

The ingredients

The chicken fits in the pickle jar for marinating

Tasty nuggets!


  1. That sounds crazy easy and crazy awesome. When we finish our jar of North Carolina's own Mt. Olive pickles, we will definitely make our own homemade chicken nuggets!

    How long did you guys marinate the chicken for?

    1. Not sure how long we marinated, probably overnight. Good luck!

  2. Hmm, I tried to post a comment and somehow failed (or you moderated it out? ;) ). Two things: first, I feel like Will should get some credit for the "chicken nugs" nickname. I mean, that's his thing. And he is your Godson after all... And second, which recipe did you use? Or if I google chick-fil-a knockoffs, are all of the recipes the same??

    1. Weird, I'm having issues with getting comments to post too.

      Will certainly deserves credit for inspiring me to crave chicken nugs. The frozen nuggets are high on my list of culinary delights that I enjoy on my Chicago visits.

      After googling it myself, it looks like the pickle marinade isn't universal, so I don't have any particular recipe to recommend. For us it was just marinating followed by a standard breading (we used plain bread crumbs) and frying. We could probably get closer to the real thing if we imitated their breading and used peanut oil (we just used the canola oil we had).

  3. I had no idea chick-fil-a used such a combination but they are delicious!

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