These gluten free chicken nuggets are easy to make and taste better than store bought! Deep fry them or cook them in your air fryer.
Originally posted May 31, 2022, Updated on 2/4/2023.
... which can be difficult when you’re on a special diet!
I have you covered - and this gluten-free chicken nuggets recipe is great for serving to your whole family, at that!
Even the most picky eater will have a hard time saying no to chicken nuggets, in my experience. (Trust me, as an autistic... chicken nuggets are a whole THING in my community, LOL!)
As a bonus, those flours also make for a Delicious chicken nugget, as they bring more flavour to the table than regular all purpose flour does.
Want to go even healthier with them? I’ve included air fryer instructions. This method uses a lot less oil than deep frying - going a long way to being able to look at these as healthy chicken nuggets!
Gluten Free Boneless Wings
I designed this homemade gluten free chicken nugget recipe for Beyond Flour 2, and it was originally done up as gluten-free boneless wings - battered and deep fried chicken breast nuggets, tossed in wing sauce.
It was a VERY convincing replacement for the Buffalo Wild Wings boneless wings that I used to love!
The flavour of these homemade chicken nuggets stands well on its own, but is even better when tossed in any of a number of wing sauces - and there are plenty of gluten free options out there!
We love how the crust on these is absorbent enough to take in the sauce, but still had the crispy, crunchy texture we expect from boneless wings - so it's not like eating a soggy sponge.
This recipe ruined us both for the wings we used to get from a BWW - and my husband isn't even gluten-free!
As a bonus?
These can be relatively healthy nuggets - you’re using natural ingredients for the gluten free breading, can air fry these crispy nuggets, and you can even use chicken that’s free of added hormones, antibiotics, etc, if you need!
Serve with your favourite gluten free side dishes, and it’s sure to become a favorite lunch option!
This recipe is made from mostly simple ingredients that should be readily available at any grocery store - though you may need to seek out the Millet Flour.
A few notes on the ingredients you’ll need:
Chicken Breast Meat
These chicken nuggets are made in the style of the higher end chicken nuggets, not the paste / ground chicken style (like McDonald’s uses.
I like to use white meat chicken - boneless, skinless chicken breast - for these nuggets, for a few reasons.
Boneless skinless chicken breasts cut up into chunks or nuggets better than thigh / dark meat does.
The texture is what one expected from this style of chicken nugget, and I just prefer the flavour in this usage.
Pro tip: If you freeze your chicken for 30 minute - 1 hour before cutting, it firms it up a bit and makes it easier to control the size/shape of your cuts.
While many gluten free chicken nugget recipes use gluten-free breadcrumbs - usually panko bread crumbs - or things like yellow corn meal / yellow corn flour, or almond flour, I wanted this recipe to replicate the flour-breaded nuggets I was used to from before.
As with all of my recipes, these gluten-free nuggets are made with a blend of flours and starches that I picked specifically for this recipe - I’m not a fan of using “all-purpose” flour mixes.
In this case, I chose the gluten-free flour varieties - and their ratios - to have the best flavour and texture for a breading that could be deep fried or air fried.
Also, this recipe does NOT need xanthan gum - something present in many “all purpose” mixes.
White Rice Flour
Paprika - Smoked Paprika works well, also!
Sea Salt, black pepper
Milk - Skim milk, buttermilk, and even almond milk all work great!
The Frying Oil
You’ll want to use one of the vegetable oil options - like canola oil, corn oil, or sunflower oil - for deep frying. Peanut oil is another great option.
These are all great oils for frying - neutral flavours, high smoke point, low cost.
Olive oil is NOT appropriate for deep frying, but can be used as a spray if you’re baking or air frying these (more on that in a bit).
Coconut oil and avocado oil also aren’t great for deep frying, but work well as sprays for baking and use in the air fryer.
As someone who needs to avoid gluten, you are likely used to “everything has gluten in it!”. The good news is that a LOT of wing sauces - whether purchased or homemade - tend to be naturally free of gluten!
You should definitely check the ingredients on your favorite sauce or recipe, but - in general - some go-to options include:
Buffalo Wing Sauce
Honey - or Maple Syrup!
Also, a lot of my basic sauces (from my main blog, Celebration Generation) make GREAT dips for gluten-free chicken nuggets. A few of my favs:
Copycat Swiss Chalet Sauce
Homemade Diana BBQ Sauces
Honey Dill Dipping Sauce
Honey Garlic Sauce
Roasted Beet Ketchup
Toum (Lebanese Garlic Dip)
I’ll usually have a few different options available, served in shallow bowls.
How to Make the Best Gluten-free Chicken Nuggets
This is a pictorial overview for reference purposes, see the recipe card at the end of this post for the full recipe.
Cut chicken breasts into nuggets - either kind of flat pieces for nuggets, or 1 inch cubes for boneless wings. Season with salt and pepper, set in fridge to rest while you prepare the flour and egg mixtures.
Note: I like to line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, for easier cleanup!
In a separate bowl (this can be a small bowl / shallow bowl / shallow dish), whisk together eggs and milk until smooth.
One piece at a time, dip chicken into egg mixture, allow excess liquid to drip off, then roll into flour mixture. Press flour coating firmly against the chicken to adhere, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.
A Note on Breading
Breading chicken can be MESSY and annoying if you don’t lay out your work space well. After the initial round of dredging, I set my space up:
First bowl: Dry mix.
Second bowl: Wet mix.
1. Dominant hand picks up a piece of meat (after dredging) and puts it in the first bowl WITHOUT getting the fingers wet.
2. Non-dominant hand picks up the chicken in the bowl, lets the egg drip off, then puts it in the dry mix WITHOUT the hand touching the dry mix.
3. Dominant hand scoops flour mix over the wet chicken piece, then flips / presses it, etc. Shake it off, place on pan, repeat with remaining chicken.
This avoids either hand getting goopy with wet/dry mix buildup. May sound a bit clunky, but it goes fast when you get the hang of it - and really gives the best result!
Once all chicken chunks have been dipped and coated, allow to rest in fridge for 15 minutes.
Note: The cooking times are approximate, and will vary based on how thick your chicken is cut!
To Deep Fry:
Heat oil 375 F (190 C) - You can use a deep fryer, or a heavy pan. If not using a deep fryer, use a deep, heavy pot, filled to at least 3" deep.
Once oil reaches temperature, fry chicken in batches until nicely golden brown and crispy, and fully cooked - reaching an internal temperature of 165F, as measured with a meat thermometer - per recommendations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This should take about 5 minutes per batch.
As cooked chicken is removed from the hot oil, allow the nuggets to drain on some paper towels, to absorb excess oil
Allow oil to come back up to temperature between batches.
Serve hot, with your favorite dipping sauce.
To Air Fry:
Air frying is the easiest way to get a good approximation of deep fried chicken, without all of the oil. It “fries” up more crisp than the baked version.
Once all of the chicken is coated and resting, preheat your air fryer to 400F.
Once heated, spray the air fryer basket with oil, and arrange breaded chicken pieces in a single layer, leaving a bit of space between each.
Air fry for about 8 minutes. About halfway through, re-spray the chicken, use a pair of tongs flip each piece. Spray the new “top” side, and continue cooking.
To Oven Bake:
Heat oven to 400 F (200 C)
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, spray with pan spray.
Arrange battered and chilled chicken pieces on the sheet pan. Spray chicken with pan spray.
Bake for 15 minutes, flip chicken pieces.
Spray once again with pan spray, bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through and juices run clear.
For Boneless Wings
Toss cooked chicken with sauce of choice, serve hot, with a side of ranch dressing.
Leftover nuggets can be cooled and stored in an airtight container - we’ll usually use a resealable bag - in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
Leftover chicken nuggets can be reheated on a microwave-safe plate in the microwave - heat in 30 second intervals, until they’re as warm as you like them.
The heating time will vary based on the microwave, the size of the nuggets, and your personal taste.
Breading can be a bit cumbersome when it comes to quick dinners, but this recipe is a great option for meal prep!
You can make a big batch, and - instead of resting in the fridge after being dipped - just put the whole pan in the freezer.
Once the nuggets are frozen through, transfer them to freezer bags, press out most of the air, and return to the freezer.
For an easy meal any night of the week, just toss some of the frozen nuggets in the air fryer or oven.
Just increase the cooking time by a few minutes, and you’re good to go!
More Gluten-Free Snacks and Appetizer Recipes!
Looking for easy gluten free recipe options for munchies that *everyone* will love? Look no further!
Ahi Tuna Nachos
Gluten-Free Air Fryer Jalapeno Poppers
Gluten Free Beaver Tail Recipe
Gluten Free Chicken Pakora
Gluten-Free Chicken Satay
Gluten Free Corn Dogs
Gluten-Free Doughnut Holes Recipe
Gluten Free Fried Brie
Gluten Free Mixed Vegetable Pakora
Gluten-Free Paneer Pakora
Gluten Free Pizza Bites
Gluten-Free Samosa Recipe
Gluten Free Soft Pretzels
Gluten-Free Sauerkraut Buns [Piroshki]
Gluten Free Tempura
Jalapeno Popper Dip
Loaded Mini Baked Potatoes
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Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets
- Parchment Paper
- Deep Fryer Optional
- Air Fryer Optional
- 2 lbs Boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Salt pepper
- ¾ cup Cornstarch
- ½ cup Millet flour
- ¼ cup White rice flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking powder
- 1 teaspoon Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Paprika
- ½ teaspoon Garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon Cayenne powder
- ½ teaspoon Mustard powder
- ½ teaspoon Onion powder
- 3 Large eggs
- ½ cup Milk
- Oil for Deep frying or spray oil for air frying
- Cut chicken breasts into nuggets. Season with salt and pepper, set in fridge to rest while you prepare the flour and egg mixtures.
- In a large bowl, combine cornstarch, flours, baking powder, salt, pepper, and spices, set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and milk until smooth.
- Lightly dredge all rested chicken in flour mixture, shaking excess flour mixture back into the bowl.
- One piece at a time, dip chicken into egg mixture, allow excess liquid to drip off, then roll into flour mixture. Press flour mixture firmly against the chicken to adhere, arrange on a baking sheet.
- Once all chicken has been dipped and coated, allow to rest in fridge for 15 minutes.
To Deep Fry:
- Heat oil 375 F (190 C) - You can use a deep fryer, or a heavy pan. If not using a deep fryer, use a deep, heavy pot, filled to at least 3" deep.
- Once oil reaches temperature, fry chicken in batches until nicely browned and crispy. This should take about 5 minutes per batch.
- Allow oil to come back up to temperature between batches.
To Air Fry:
- Once all of the chicken is coated and resting, preheat your air fryer to 400F.
- Once heated, spray the air fryer basket with oil, and arrange breaded chicken pieces in a single layer, leaving a bit of space between each.
- Air fry for about 8 minutes. About halfway through, re-spray the chicken, flip each piece, spray the new “top” side, and continue cooking.
To Oven Bake:
- Heat oven to 400 F (200 C)
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, spray with pan spray.
- Arrange battered and chilled chicken pieces on the pan. Spray chicken with pan spray.
- Bake for 15 minutes, flip chicken pieces.
- Spray once again with pan spray, bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through and juices run clear.
For Boneless Wings:
- Toss cooked chicken with sauce of choice, serve hot.
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