I really have gotten a lot better about impulse purchases at the grocery store since I started meal planning and going in with a list. It’s actually pretty rare that I leave with something that I didn’t walk in intending to buy. I still have one weakness, though, and you’re probably going to think it’s a weird one. Chicken tenderloins. I know, right? All bets are off if I stumble upon a sale on chicken tenderloins.
I like them because they’re easier to prep than chicken breasts plus they defrost more quickly, which is a nice bonus when you often forget to take things out in advance for dinner. I mainly only utilize them in recipes calling for chicken cut into cubes (meaning this recipe is in heavy rotation) so I always have my eyes peeled for new ideas. When Julie posted these chicken nuggets they immediately went on my to-do list.
Rumor has it these chicken nuggets rival the ones you might find at Chick-fil-A. I can neither confirm nor deny that rumor as I’ve never had Chick-fil-A – I think there might be one or two locations in New England, but the one closest to me is over an hour away and I’m just not that curious What I can tell you is that these chicken nuggets are completely addictive. I’ve been tempted to add them to our menu every week since I first made them. The original recipe calls for soaking the chicken in milk and eggs before coating and frying, and in the pictures it looks like that version might have a slightly more crisp crust then my nuggets, but I enjoyed these as is so don’t think it’s necessary. Oh, and don’t skip the honey mustard sauce! Shane never, ever likes sauce with his chicken nuggets, but even he agreed it was a must here.
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 lb chicken tenderloins, cut into 1-inch pieces
Oil for frying (I used canola, but peanut or safflower would work too)
To make the sauce: Whisk the mayonnaise, mustard, garlic powder, cider vinegar and honey together in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper then cover and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.
To make the chicken nuggets: Pour oil into a large Dutch oven to a depth of about 2 inches and set the pot over medium-high heat. Heat the oil until it reaches 370-375 F on a candy thermometer.
Meanwhile, add the flour, confectioners’ sugar, salt, pepper and paprika to a large reasealable plastic bag. Seal the bag and shake to combine. Add the chicken to the bag, then seal and shake again until all of the chicken is evenly coated. Use tongs to transfer about 8-10 pieces of chicken at a time to the hot oil. Fry for 2-3 minutes, or until the nuggets are golden brown and cooked through. I stirred mine around a bit with my spider strainer but wasn’t particular about flipping them individually. The cooking time will depend on the size of your pieces – you can cut one open to double check.
Remove the chicken from the oil and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Continue to fry the chicken in batches until it’s all cooked. Adjust the heat under your pan to maintain the oil temperature.
Serve with the honey mustard sauce.