Skip the drive thru – these homemade chicken nuggets are absolutely delicious and totally keto! Marinated in pickle juice, lightly breaded, and pan-fried for the perfect crunch, they’re better than anything you’ll get from a fast food joint. Serve them with a keto copycat sauce or enjoy them just as they are.
What Makes This Recipe So Good
- It’s everything you love about classic Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets, but made totally keto. We swap out traditional flour breading for a seasoned blend of almond flour and grated parmesan that crisps up beautifully. Carb-eaters would never know the difference!
- Marinating the chicken in pickle juice make it super tender and juicy but also gives the nuggets their famous flavor. Fry them in peanut oil to really seal the deal! You could also air fry your nuggets for a lighter alternative that’s just as crispy without any of the oil.
- For really crispy keto chicken nuggets, let them rest on a wire cooling rack after frying, rather than putting them on a plate covered with paper towels. On the plate, the nuggets just sit in the oil that drips off, making them soggy. If they’re elevated on a rack, though, the oil drips off and away, letting the breading stay crunchy. Just make sure to put a layer of paper towels under the cooling rack for easy clean up.
- If your oil is too hot, you risk the nuggets burning, or at least not cooking evenly. If it’s not hot enough, though, the breading just soaks up the cool oil, making the nuggets dense, soggy, and all-around unpleasant. Test the temperature of your oil by sticking the end of a wooden spoon handle in the pan once the oil is hot and shimmery. You should see bubbles form around the wood – if they’re really rapid or violent, your oil is too hot. Lower the heat under the skillet and check the oil again in a few minutes, after it’s had time to cool a little.
Try These Keto Recipes While You’re Here
- Keto Smothered Pork Chops
- Sugar Free Edible Cookie Dough
- Keto Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole
- Sausage & Egg Keto Breakfast Casserole
- Keto Big Macs
For the Chicken Nuggets
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts approximately 8-10 ounces each, cut into bite-sized chunks
- ½ cup dill pickle juice from jar of dill pickles
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup almond flour
- ¼ cup grated fresh parmesan at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon salt more or less to taste
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- avocado oil or other neutral oil, for frying
For the Dipping Sauce
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons keto barbecue sauce store-bought or make your own
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon keto honey or similar honey-flavored liquid keto sweetener
- large airtight, refrigerator-safe container
- small airtight, refrigerator-safe container
- 2 whisks
- 2 shallow bowls
- Large skillet
- 2 plates or 1 plate and 1 wire cooling rack
- Paper towels
- Place bite-sized chunks of chicken in large airtight container. Cover chicken with pickle juice, adding more as needed depending on size of container to fully cover chicken. Cover container and place in refrigerator. Let chicken marinate in pickle juice at least 1 hour, but no more than 10 hours.
- Prepare dipping sauce by adding all ingredients to small airtight container and whisking until ingredients are fully combined. Close lid and refrigerate sauce at least 30 minutes.
- When chicken has finished marinating, remove container from fridge and drain pickle juice.
- Crack eggs into one shallow bowl and whisk well until egg mixture is pale yellow and no longer streaky. Set aside.
- Add almond flour, parmesan cheese, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika to second shallow bowl. Whisk ingredients together until well blended.
- Set up "breading" station in following order: marinated chicken, egg wash, almond flour mixture, empty plate. Working in batches as needed, coat marinated chicken chunks in egg wash, covering chicken on all sides. Allow excess egg to drip off chicken and back into bowl, then place chicken in almond flour mixture. Coat chicken on all sides with "breading", shake any excess breading back into bowl, and transfer chicken to empty plate. Repeat until all chicken chunks have been prepared.
- Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Line second plate with 2 to 3 paper towels. For crispier chicken, use wire cooling rack instead of second plate, and place paper towels under wire rack to catch oil drips.
- When skillet is hot, add ½" to 1" oil and swirl pan as needed to coat bottom of pan in oil. Heat oil until hot and shimmery. If desired, test oil temperature by inserting handle end of wooden spoon. When oil is ready, small bubbles will form around handle. Strong bubbling means oil is too hot – reduce heat under skillet and let oil cool slightly, then test again.
- When oil is ready, place chicken nuggets in skillet, working in batches as needed to avoid overcrowding. Cook chicken 4 to 5 minutes, then flip nuggets over and cook another 4 minutes or until breading is golden brown and chicken is cooked through. Transfer chicken nuggets to plate lined with paper towels or wire cooling rack. Repeat until all chicken nuggets have been fried, letting oil heat up again before adding more chicken to skillet.
- Once all chicken nuggets have been fried and excess oil has drained from breading, divide chicken nuggets into desired portions and serve with dipping sauce.
- Chilling the sauce is optional but recommended. Refrigerating the sauce at least 30 minutes gives the flavors time to meld and deepen, resulting in a more flavorful sauce.
- BBQ Sauce: Make sure your BBQ sauce doesn’t include any added sugar, or any alternate sweeteners that aren’t keto-friendly (maltodextrin, sucralose, dextrose, etc.).
- Nutritional Information: Number of servings will vary depending on size of chicken breasts and size and number of chicken chunks. Carb count per serving will vary slightly depending on amount of breading used. Nutritional values shown reflect 6 servings using entire breading mixture, and does include information for chicken nuggets with dipping sauce. Skipping the sauce will lower the total and net carb counts.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.