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Coated in crunchy walnuts and seasonings and baked to crispy perfection, these Walnut Crusted Baked Chicken Nuggets will be the life of your party all on their own! Thanks to California Walnuts for sponsoring this conversation.
Chicken is my go-to like many busy families, and I’m always looking for ways to change it up. This Walnut crusted version certainly does just that!
My kids, like so many kids these days, are totally into chicken nuggets. While take-out and drive-thru chicken is probably one of the worst things for you, homemade chicken nuggets are a great alternative. You can fry them to get that drive-thru feel, try them in the air fryer, or make homemade baked chicken nuggets, which is my favorite method. My kids love anything bite-sized or that doesn’t require a fork because that seems to just get in the way. (affiliate link)
There are lots of things you can use to coat your chicken nuggets to give them that nice, crispy texture. Some suggestions would be:
Walnuts are my favorite nut to enjoy just by the handful, so I knew that coating my homemade chicken nuggets with crushed walnuts was going to be a winner. But I didn’t know just much I was going to love them! These crunchy walnut coated nuggets are so flavorful and delicious! I like dipping them in a little honey mustard sauce, but they are amazing on their own as well. Kids and adults love them, making them perfect for an easy weeknight meal or a unique party food for game day.
Like regular fried chicken, these baked chicken nuggets are made using the 3-station set up:
I like to use the disposable aluminum pie plates for this process as they aren’t bulky or heavy, making it a breeze to set up. But any medium-sized dish with high sides will do.
First, cut up a couple of boneless, skinless chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces. It can be hard to get them all the same size, but for even cooking that’s the goal. Fill the first plate with flour and seasonings (garlic powder, seasoned salt, kosher salt and pepper). In the second plate, whisk together melted butter and a couple of eggs (this will look a little weird but the butter definitely adds a nice flavor). For the third plate, it’s all about the walnuts. Crush the walnuts in a food processor (aff). You want to be careful not to crush them so fine it becomes a dust because that won’t result in a crispy exterior. You want them to be like fine chunks.
Set up the stations side by side and use one hand for dry and one hand for wet. This will keep your hands cleaner. Coat the chicken in the flour, then in the egg/butter and finally in the walnuts. Arrange the chicken on a baking rack that you’ve set on top of a baking sheet. The goal of using the rack AND the sheet is to avoid having to turn the chicken nuggets over as they will get crunchy all the way around. You do want to make sure to spray the rack with nonstick cooking spray. My baked chicken nuggets took about 10 minutes to turn golden brown and be cooked all the way through. You might be able to get away with a little less time. That’s one of the benefits of making baked chicken nuggets – let time in the oven than a whole piece of chicken!
Like I mentioned, I love these baked chicken nuggets with a honey mustard sauce. Basically it’s 1 part mayonnaise, 2 parts mustard and 2 parts honey. You can adjust the amounts to your liking. If serving on a platter for a party, sprinkle with a little fresh minced parsley for color. Enjoy!