I’ve been making this recipe for years so I can attest that it’s simple, easy, and – most of all – delicious. It’s pretty versatile too! You could pair it with rice, pasta, or even french fries. But most importantly, you can dip your nuggets in copious amounts of Chick-fil-A sauce! (Chick-fil-A sauce is probably at least half the reason I go there, so…) However you choose to serve your nuggets, they’re sure to please the palettes of young and old alike.
It’s been so long that I actually looked at an actual recipe for this that I can’t remember where exactly I adapted it from. I do recall though that someone’s mom once brought panko chicken strips to a party in my high school Japanese class and they were so good! Back then I didn’t know what I was eating, but I asked the kid who brought it and started on my quest to learn how to make chicken taste so good.
I think the “secret” ingredient is the finely grated parmesan cheese that you mix in with the bread crumbs. It gives the chicken a wonderfully salty and sharply cheesy flavor that has you going back for seconds. The butter probably has something to do with it too, giving a nice rich flavor, but not too greasy since it soaks into the bread crumbs.
Anyway, my method involves only one round of breading the chicken nuggets because I do not have the patience to do an egg wash or anything like that. (Nor do I have the patience to wash more dishes that the egg wash would inevitably dirty up.) The crumbs still stick to the chicken well enough, so I haven’t had any problems on that front, at least.
First I cut up the butter into little chunks, then I lay them out on a pan and stick them in the oven while it preheats. While that’s melting I usually mix up the bread crumbs in a bowl or gallon-size bag and cut the chicken into nugget-sized pieces. I take the pan out of the oven with the melted butter before it burns. Then, I start breading the chicken and laying it in the buttery pan. The nuggets go in the oven and I flip them halfway through to ensure they’re golden brown on both sides.
Panko Chicken Nuggets
- 4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter
- 1 – 2 lbs of chicken
- 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Cut the butter into small chunks and spread them out on a 13 x 9-inch pan. Place the pan in the oven so the butter can melt while the oven preheats.
- Cut chicken into nugget-sized pieces (about 1 – 2-inch cubes.) Combine the bread crumbs and cheese in a bowl or gallon-size bag. (Check on your melting butter occasionally so that it doesn’t burn.)
- Take the melted butter out of the oven. Coat the chicken in the breadcrumb mixture, and place the nuggets in the pan.
- Place the pan back in the oven for 8-12 minutes. (If you are using a metal pan, it will be closer to 8 minutes. If you are using a glass pan, it will be closer to 12 minutes.) Flip the nuggets over and bake for another 8-12 minutes until golden brown and the meat is no longer pink on the inside.
- Serve with your choice of sides to make it a meal. Enjoy!