Chicken Nuggets – Quick, Easy + Perfectly Keto Legal!
If you came here to find out are chicken nuggets keto friendly … let me assure you, you aren’t the only one asking this question. It’s common to want crispy chunks of chicken to be allowed, neigh, encouraged on a low carb, high fat keto diet.
Let’s start this blog out with a little bit of frankness on my part. The answers you want to hear aren’t necessarily the answers that result in weight loss on a keto diet.
I also want to be frank about this blog. It may include affiliate links where I receive a small commission. I also provide links to the same resources that helped me lose 100 pounds with a low carb lifestyle. Hopefully you click through so this life-changing info can help you as well.
The Truth About Chicken Nuggets on a Low Carb Diet
Most fast food chicken nuggets aren’t made up of the good stuff that brings the best results long term. This includes many low quality keto options served at fast-food restaurants, or even the grocery store. If you keep viewing weight loss on a low carb diet with a quick fix mindset, then any weight lost on keto will be short lived.
After losing 100 pounds following a keto lifestyle, I learned the hard lessons first hand.
The good news is, you can still eat delicious food while losing weight. Once your body realizes the nutrients it pulls from high quality, real food, you’ll hardly miss the convenience of fast-food establishments. (By hardly, I mean not at all).
Former fast food junkie here 🖐️
I can attest high quality keto recipes beat out low quality junk offered at Burger King. This is even more true when you whip up simple low carb chicken nuggets at home. With just a few ingredients, like garlic powder, onion powder, coconut oil, and other tasty spices, you can make homemade nuggets without added sugar.
That might even be one ingredient too many. If you’re searching for air fryer chicken tenders keto style – this recipe is the perfect choice! Just skip the coconut oil and pop these delicious keto chicken nuggets in an air fryer instead!
Even my 5 year old loves keto chicken tenders so much that he won’t go near the chicken fingers from the drive-thru. Add ranch dressing dipping sauce into the mix, and that kid is in keto fried chicken nugget heaven!
When I say this is a keto chicken nugget recipe the entire family will love, I’m even talking about those picky kids who won’t go near anything labeled low in net carbs 😉
Use High Quality Ingredients for Keto Chicken Nuggets
When it comes to the type of chicken you use, it’s up to you to choose white meat boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs. Keep in mind you’re following a keto diet. This means low-carb chicken nuggets should have more fat, so lean chicken breasts aren’t the only option here. Chicken thighs have more fat, so if you like this cut then use it.
It’s also important to use high quality meat since most conventional meats are filled with toxins. If it’s hard to find organic chicken near you, check out Butcher Box. You’ll love the taste and quality of the meat that just shows up at your door every single month!
How to Make Keto-Friendly Chicken Nuggets
Let’s get to the how to’s of this easy recipe.
Prep the Chicken for the Keto Chicken Nuggets
First thing, get the egg mixture ready to soak the chicken. To do this, simply beat the heavy cream and an egg together in a small bowl and set aside. Also, FYI for those who fear extra fat from the egg yolk: there’s no need to separate the egg whites out since it’s important to use the full egg in this keto recipe.
Just a warning: Later I’m going to rant about how you need to quit letting a fear of fat get in the way of keto weight loss results. First I need to talk about chicken so I can at least combine my “Quit eating low fat on a high fat diet” rants 😂
So next, let’s chat about the main ingredient. Grab your chicken of choice and cut it up into cubes or strips. While some people flatten chicken with a rolling pin, I like to stick with a good old fashioned knife to cut chicken into strips.
Here’s a helpful tip when it comes to cutting chicken into small pieces or strips: put thawed chicken back into the freezer for 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken is slightly frozen. This makes slicing chicken much easier and it’ll be thawed by the time you’re ready to cook.
Soak the Chicken
Once the chicken is chopped, pour the egg mixture on top. Allow it to soak in the egg mixture for 10-20 minutes.
Prep the Keto Friendly Breading
While the chicken soaks, prepare the coconut flour coating by mixing the spices together in a small bowl. Feel free to replace coconut flour with almond flour if you need to make this swap. Since some people can’t use coconut flour, you can make an almond flour coating if you need to for allergy or preference purposes.
Another idea is to add parmesan cheese into the mix. While that sounds tasty, I typically avoid cheese whenever possible in keto recipes. Since dairy causes a keto weight loss stall for some, including yours truly, I do my best to make dairy-free keto recipes when I can.
Dip the Strips
Once combined well, spread the flour mixture out onto a baking sheet. This is what my setup looks like as I’m getting ready for air fryer chicken tenders that are keto friendly.
My set up looks similar when I fry them in coconut oil – except I add the batter dipped tenders to a plate instead of a parchment paper lined basket.
Fry the Chicken Nuggets
If you decide to fry the keto chicken tenders, then heat the coconut oil in a frying pan over high heat. Melt just enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Don’t use too much oil since it will splatter once you add the coated chicken.
Do not, I repeat, do NOT use olive oil to cook chicken nuggets. Olive oil has a low smoke point, which means it turns toxic when heating at high temperatures. Avocado oil is sometimes used as an alternative for frying foods, but I recommend coconut oil since it has the best health benefits on a keto diet.
As the coconut oil heats up, dip the egg soaked chicken tenders into the flour coating. I put my coated tenders on a plate until a batch is ready to go since this next part moves quickly. (In the example below, I used a parchment paper lined basket).
When a batch of keto chicken tenders is ready to go, place them in a single layer into the hot coconut oil.
Step back and keep a paper towel nearby since the chicken will sizzle! Turn the heat down to medium if the oil splatters. Cook the tenders around 3-4 minutes on each side. Smaller pieces need less time – so keep an eye on them while they cook.
Once the chicken nuggets turn light brown on both sides, test a few small pieces by cutting into them. Make sure the chicken is white in the middle. Test a large piece too since the bigger pieces take longer to cook. You can also check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. For chicken, cook it until the temp is above 165 degrees.
Once fully cooked, plate the chicken. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
A Warning About Healthy Fats on a Keto Diet
OK – so here’s that rant I promised earlier in the blog. Next time you search for new recipes, keep this in mind: Healthy Fat = Good, Calorie Counting = Very, Very Bad.
I get it – I’m a product of low-fat diet culture myself. I often prefer homemade chicken nuggets made out of lower calorie chicken breasts as well.
If you resonate with this, it’s OK to use what you love and add more fat with healthy keto side dishes. Eating enough healthy food (especially healthy fats) is what counts towards success on a keto diet. Calorie intake – not so much.
While you should never stuff in food past the point of feeling satiated, under eating can be just as big of a problem for many who follow a ketogenic diet. In fact, eating enough grams of fat makes a huge difference when it comes to results during my quarterly Keto Challenge.
Too many women come into the challenge after not being able to lose weight while following keto to the letter. Even after following all of the expert advice to cut calories and lower fat, the scale won’t budge. It’s not until these women give their bodies what they need, aka – more healthy fat, that the scale finally moves in the right direction.
Learn from the lessons of those who’ve gone before you. Don’t be stingy when it comes to fat intake on a keto diet.
A Quick Note About Coconut Oil on a Keto Diet
One more quick mini-rant to add …
If you read the part about using coconut oil vs. other cooking oils while rolling your eyes because you don’t love my favorite fat on a keto diet, here’s a little more tough love.
I have a news flash – you’re not the first person to complain about the taste of coconut oil on a keto diet. Since many of us grew up on foods fried in trans fats, our palettes aren’t used to the fresh taste of coconut oil. This high quality option is filled with the saturated fats you need to thrive on a keto diet.
The good news is, once you use more coconut oil in a keto diet, your body will start to realize all of the nutrition it gets from this healthy option. You may even begin to crave more coconut oil since it’s a great source of fat on a keto diet.
This is the reason I encourage so many of my students to eat fat bombs with a coconut oil base. This healthy fat can truly take your keto diet results to the next level. It’s the easiest fat to burn in the case of impaired digestion too. All win-win when it comes to a more successful keto plan.
Even if you don’t crave it, eventually you will get used to the flavor of foods cooked in coconut oil. I began using coconut oil as my main cooking oil when I first started a keto diet more than five years ago. After a month or two, I couldn’t taste the difference in foods cooked in coconut oil versus other cooking oils.
The Keto Chicken Nuggets Wrap Up
Now that we’ve discussed why eating enough is important on a keto diet, especially when it comes to eating enough healthy fats, the only thing left to do is to devour this amazing keto main dish one chicken piece at a time! If (and this is a big assumption) you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container to reheat the next day.
I find the best way to reheat keto chicken nuggets is on the stove top. Unfortunately the microwave heating method completely ruins the recipe. (As well as your health – but that’s a different keto blog for a different day).
Pick the Perfect Dipping Sauce
These nuggets are great dipped in this keto honey mustard sauce. Since using high quality keto ingredients in keto recipes is important, it’s much better to make homemade dipping sauces at home. This helps you avoid the highly processed oils often used in the store bought versions.
Sides for Keto Chicken Tenders
When it comes to sides for these keto friendly chicken nuggets, skip french fries or any other sides typically enjoyed with the fast food version. I love these nuggets with a side of coconut fried zucchini or bacon & garlic green beans.
Basically any side filled with veggies will do since these are the real foods you need to thrive on a keto diet. The more nutrient dense vegetables you eat, the more satisfied you’ll feel with a low carb lifestyle.
Share this Keto Recipe
Be sure to pin this healthy low carb recipe to your keto chicken recipe board on Pinterest. This keto chicken nuggets recipe is sure to become a favorite when it comes to your keto meal plan.
If you love this recipe, I would be forever grateful if you also share it on your other social media as well. The more healthy fat love you share, the better keto results you get!
Keep scrolling for nutritional information and the full recipe card.
Make A Keto Lifestyle Easy
If you find yourself struggling when it comes to staying consistent with a keto lifestyle, even with delicious recipes like this, be sure to catch our free keto masterclass. In this training, we talk about 3 big mistakes keto dieters make.
These common mistakes are often the reason keto works for the first few weeks, but then the scale stops moving 2 or 3 weeks into following the rules of a keto diet. In fact, they’re the same mistakes I followed for decades with zero lasting weight loss results to show.
If you feel constant hunger and exercise way too much like I did for decades, you won’t want to miss this free keto class.
Now that I know the secrets to a successful low carb lifestyle, it’s my mission to share them with everyone I can! Many of our students also struggled with yo-yoing weight before finding this life-changing information.
Are Chicken Nuggets Keto Friendly? An Easy Keto Chicken Nuggets Recipe
More Easy Chicken Recipes from Eating Fat is the New Skinny:
Keto Chicken Nuggets
Ditch fast food chicken nuggets for this at home keto chicken nuggets recipe.
- Prep Time: 10-15 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 25 mins
- Yield: Serves 3 1x
- Category: Keto Dinner Recipe
- Method: Stove top
- Cuisine: Keto / Low Carb
- Diet: Diabetic
- 1 lb chicken cut into nugget size chunks or strips
- 1 egg
- 1–2 tbsp heavy cream
- 3 tbsp coconut flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2–3 tbsp coconut oil, or enough to cover the bottom of the pan
- Beat the heavy cream and egg together in a small mixing bowl.
- Add the cut up chicken to a bowl and pour the egg mixture on top. Be sure to fully coat the chicken. Place the bowl into the fridge for 10-20 minutes.
- Mix the spices and coconut flour together in a small bowl. Once combined, spread out onto a baking sheet or other flat surface.
- Dip the egg soaked chicken into the coconut flour mix. Be sure to coat both sides and then set aside.
- Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan until very hot.
- Add the coated chicken to the hot oil. Cook approximately 3-5 minutes per side, depending on thickness. Keep an eye on the chicken tenders so they don’t burn.
- Once fully cooked in the center, serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
If you make this in two batches, I like to start with fresh coconut oil since the old oil may burn the second batch.
- Serving Size: Serves 3
- Calories: 406.7
- Sugar: 2
- Sodium: 1022.5
- Fat: 18.1
- Saturated Fat: 9.8
- Trans Fat: .2
- Carbohydrates: 8
- Fiber: 3.2
- Protein: 50.9
- Cholesterol: 196.3
Keywords: Low Carb Chicken Nuggets, Keto Chicken Nugget Recipe, Keto Chicken Tenders