Use this easy recipe to make delicious keto chicken nuggets with succulent, tender meat and a tasty crisp coating! Serve with sugar free ketchup or homemade mayo. A fast food classic made healthy, gluten free and low carb. Only 2.6g net carbs per generous portion.
Table of contents
I think most people on this planet have probably had chicken nuggets at some point. After all, it's one of the fast food dishes you can give even the most picky of children. And let's be honest, they taste GREAT. But are they low carb?
Are chicken nuggets low carb?
Regular chicken nuggets are definitely not low carb. This is because the coating is made with flour or breadcrumbs. The breading of store-bought chicken nuggets also contains vegetable oils which we avoid on a keto diet. Some even contain added sugars which extend the shelf life.
The same goes for Chicken McNuggets from McDonald's. Again, the coating is the problem. It is very high in starch and contains dextrose, which spikes blood sugar levels. Chicken McNuggets are not keto!
The bottom line is this:
If you want to eat keto friendly chicken nuggets, you've got to make them yourself! Luckily, this is not only simple, but it also tastes SO MUCH BETTER than any store-bought chicken nuggets.
The great thing about homemade grain free chicken nuggets is that the coating is not only delicious and crisp, but also nutrient-dense and filling. For my tried and tested "breadcrumb" mix - I've used it to make zucchini fries and even cauliflower popcorn - I'm using almond flour and flaxseed, which is also high in fibre.
I like to oven-bake this recipe to make them lighter, but I've also given options for frying and air-frying.
Let's take a look at the ingredients!
Ingredients for low carb chicken nuggets
- Chicken breast - It's the most tender meat of the chicken and best suited for nuggets. Make sure you remove the skin. Chicken thighs could also be an option.
- Almond flour - Both regular ground almonds or super fine almond flour work.
- Ground flaxseed - You can use regular or golden flax. Make sure it's fresh! I always keep ground flax in an airtight container in the freezer to ensure it does not oxidise and go bitter.
- Parmesan cheese - I grate it freshly just before using.
- Spices - Salt, pepper, garlic powder Italian seasoning (you could also add onion powder and paprika).
- Olive oil - For drizzling or spraying.
How to make keto chicken nuggets
First, cut the chicken into 3 cm cubes. Stick to this size - the nuggets need to be small enough to cook inside without burning the gluten free keto coating.
Whisk the eggs with a fork and place in one shallow bowl.
In the second bowl, mix the almond flour, ground flax, garlic powder, parmesan, seasoning and optional Italian herbs.
Dip each chicken piece in egg, shake off the excess then dip into the ‘breadcrumb’ mix until it's coated everywhere.
Do this in small batches of 3 - 4 nuggets at a time to prevent too much clumping. Wash your hands in-between if they get covered in batter to make it easier.
Place on baking tray and repeat until all the chicken is used up. Depending on the size of your trays, you'll need 1 or 2 trays. Drizzle with olive oil or generously spray. Bake for about 25 minutes until crisp and the chicken is cooked though, turning after 20 minutes.
My family likes to eat them as a main course with a green crisp salad - it's a Friday night favourite. If you want to serve them as an appetiser, this recipe easily stretches to 6 servings.
Recipe tips and variations
Brine the chicken for extra tender meat: I get my chicken breasts from a local farm and it's always very tender. However, you can tenderise your chicken meat by brining it. For this, put the chicken pieces into a bowl with 1 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Brine for 10 minutes to 1 hour. Then pat dry and proceed with the recipe.
Nut free chicken nuggets: It's possible to replace the almond flour with either coconut flour or crushed pork rinds. If you use pork rinds, the carb count will reduce even further.
Dairy free coating: Simply replace the parmesan with more almond flour or use a dairy free cheese of your choice.
Pan fried keto nuggets
To pan-fry, heat 1 cm of light olive oil, avocado oil or coconut oil in a deep frying pan. Fry the nuggets for 3-4 minutes on each side.
Check with a knife that the meat inside is no longer pink and the juices run clear. Put on kitchen paper before serving to drain off excess fat before serving.
Air Fryer method
The air fryer is one of my favourite kitchen items and this low carb chicken nuggets recipe is great for air frying. Simply pre-heat the air fryer to 200 Celsius / 400 Fahrenheit. Then, air fry the nuggets for 10-12 minutes on one side, then another 2-3 minutes on the other (or until cooked through).
As with the oven method, leave space between the pieces so the air can circulate. You'll need to fry the nuggets in 2 batches.
How to store almond flour chicken nuggets
Store in an airtight Tupperware in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven to re-crisp the batter.
You can also freeze keto chicken nuggets both cooked and uncooked for up to 3 months. For this, put the nuggets on a tray lined with parchment paper about 1 centimetre apart from one another. Once frozen, transfer them into a freezer bag. This way they don't stick together.
Reheat previously frozen keto nuggets straight from the freezer. There's no need to thaw them first. If they have been previously baked, this will take about 20 minutes. Uncooked frozen nuggets will take a little longer.
More keto chicken recipes
Easy keto teriyaki chicken with a homemade sugar free teriyaki sauce!
My kids love these Crispy BBQ Keto Chicken Wings. Leftovers? Forget it.
This keto chicken pot pie is a reader favourite. Proper comfort food!
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Keto Chicken Nuggets
Note: The servings slider only changes the first amount in each line and not any subsequent amounts. Please make your own calculations where necessary. ***As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
- Preheat the oven to 425F / 220C / 200C fan.
- Cut the chicken into 3 cm cubes and line two baking trays with parchment..
- Whisk the eggs with a fork and place in one shallow bowl.
- In the second bowl, mix the almond flour, ground flax, garlic powder, parmesan, seasoning and optional Italian herbs.
- Dip each chicken piece in egg, shake off the excess, then dip into the ‘breadcrumb’ mix. Do this in small batches of 3 - 4 nuggets at a time to prevent clumping. Wash your hands in-between if they get covered in batter.
- Place the nuggets on a baking tray and repeat until all the chicken is used up. Depending on the size of your trays, you'll need 1 or 2 trays. Drizzle with olive oil or generously spray. Bake for about 25 minutes until crisp and the chicken is cooked though, turning after 20 minutes.
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