Chicken nuggets are awesome. Today I’m writing about homemade nuggets, but not tiny fried chicken tenders. I want to turn some of these nuggets we’re making into chicken nugget sliders with multiple sauce options.
Chicken nuggets are processed, ground chicken that’s formed and shaped into “nugget” shapes and then battered and fried. The other kind of fried chicken that is sometimes called “nuggets” are small cuts of whole meat that are battered or breaded and fried. I like to think of these as popcorn chicken or even “boneless wings.” These are also fantastic, but they’re not the same as what I think of when I hear someone mention nuggets.
I understand why someone in 2022 might hear the words “chicken nugget” and immediately cringe, but when you grind or process your own chicken meat at home, you get to add the spicing you prefer, and you have full control over the final nuggets. If you want spicy nuggets; you have that power. Want lower sodium nuggets? You have full control over the salt content.
Mostly, I just wanted to eat some dang nuggets, so I fried up four or five batches over the last couple of weeks and worked up a good recipe to share. I asked my wife to eat a bunch and then I turned them into slider sized sandwiches with a few different sauces.
This post is more about me wanting to make homemade chicken nuggets and sauces to accompany them than it is about making sandwiches, but please don’t tell the people reading this about that.
Let’s make chicken nuggets and turn them into sliders at home! 😎
We’re going to shuffle things around a bit and talk about the meat part of the sandwich before we talk about the bread in this post.
Superfluous photos of chicken nuggets
I’ve made a few different attempts at making chicken nuggets recently. Here are a few photos of chicken nuggets.
Note: this guy took way too many photos of chicken nuggets.
If you’re making your own chicken nuggets from scratch, make sure when you are forming the meat into nugget shapes that you consider that the fried coating will add size to each nugget. So, you should form the meat into sizes that are slightly smaller than the final outcome that you’re shooting for.
The crispy chicken nuggets
You can use chicken breast meat, thigh meat or a combination of both in this recipe. I’ve literally tried all three different ways and from my experience, there’s not a huge amount of difference in the final product. Typically, I’m a thigh meat guy all the way, but the breast meat nuggets that I’ve made were juicy and tender and great so you can use whatever you have or whatever you can get the best deal on at the store.
There are two different ways you can make ground chicken. The first and one that I bet most people can do would be to grind pieces of chicken in a food processor. The second way would be by purchasing and using a meat grinder or an attachment for a stand mixer. I just bought this grinder for under 50 bucks that works with my KitchenAid stand mixer and have used it three times so far with great success.
For either process for making ground chicken, you should be aware that meat grinding action creates heat, and we don’t want to heat up raw chicken during this part of the process. You should put all the parts used for grinding into the freezer at least 30 minutes prior to the grinding process.
Even reheated, these nuggets can be crunchy. If you find yourself with too many leftover chicken nuggets, you can reheat them in a 350 degrees F oven for 8 to 10 minutes. If you have one, I suggest reheating these on a wire rack on top of a sheet pan. I also suggest flipping them over at the five-minute mark. The wire rack ensures that the hot air in the oven is touching the nuggets on all sides. Placing them flat on a sheet pan will make one side soggier than the other one.
You can also put leftover nuggets in a skillet over medium heat and cook them about 4 minutes per side to bring them back to a crunchy and warm state. Both of these methods work well, and I implemented both during the course of making this blog post for leftover nugget sliders.
The tiny little slider buns
This is my regular burger bun recipe except I made them smaller. I bet you figured that out already.
Instead of my usual 85-gram weight burger bun, I weighed these out to between 35 and 40 grams for each slider bun. These are simply half-sized buns.
I grew up as a sweet and sour fan. When I was a kid after I was introduced to McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets, I also found out that the sauce for me was Sweet and Sour. At that time the sauce options were Honey, Sweet and Sour, BBQ and Hot Mustard (<- my hot mustard recipe). You can probably determine what type of person a kid will grow up to be based on their nugget sauce option. I bet there’s like 12 Buzzfeed quizzes based on this theory.
My wife has a great recipe for her honey mustard sauce, and this is fantastic for chicken nuggets or French fries or even your next chef salad (remember those!? – mmmm tiny cubes of ham).
I’m a ranch fan, but I know a lot of folks are not. This jalapeno ranch recipe adds a little extra depth in both spice (but not much) and a nice fresh green chili flavor to the already savory ranch.
Post in the comments below and tell us your favorite dipping sauce for nuggets.
You can also use hot honey or regular honey. The recipe for hot honey is in the photo below.
If you didn’t catch the hot honey recipe, it’s available here.
Let’s make chicken nugget sliders
Oh boy. I bet you never thought you’d get this far. Congrats. It’s chicken nugget slider time!
Slice a bun and get to sandwiching. In most of my photos I used lettuce, and some got a slice of tomato, but you can add onion or slaw or just eat them with just sauce. The chicken nugget slider is whatever you want it to be!
Keep scrolling to see a lot of the chicken nugget sliders I made over the past week or so.
There we are, I made a bunch of chicken nugget slider sandwiches and I think you should too. Thanks for reading. If you check back next week, I’ll be making sandwiches with vegetables in them, probably.