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Chef John's Buffalo Chicken Nuggets

Rated as 5 out of 5 Stars

"A real chicken nugget, at least in the fast food context, is not just a small solid piece of chicken. It's more of a deep-fried, mostly-chicken sausage patty, fabricated from various parts of the bird, such as every legal part. But I like to use chicken thighs."
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1 h 50 m servings 228
Original recipe yields 8 servings (24 nuggets)


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  1. Place chicken thighs in bowl of a food processor. Add breadcrumbs, kosher salt, paprika, pepper, seafood seasoning, and cayenne pepper. Drizzle in hot sauce and melted butter. Pulse on and off until mixture becomes a coarse paste with very few big chunks, about 18 pulses.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicon mat. Scoop out 24 portions of the chicken mixture with a small ice-cream scoop and place on mat. Cover sheet with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. (Or place pan in freezer for 15 minutes.)
  3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Place cornstarch, self-rising flour, and salt into a quart-size zip-top plastic bag. Shake bag to mix thoroughly. Place 3 or 4 scoops of chilled chicken mixture into the bag; shake gently to coat and place on parchment-lined pan. Repeat with the rest of the nuggets. Shape them into flattened ovals, about 5/8-inch thick. Refrigerate pan overnight or until starch on surface is absorbed, flipping over once while they're in the fridge.
  5. Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
  6. Fry nuggets in batches for 1 minute. Drain on a rack over a baking sheet; chill about 1 hour or until you're ready to serve them.
  7. Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Fry the nuggets a second time in batches for 2 minutes. Drain on rack.


  • Chef's Notes:
  • The exact cook time of the nuggets depends on the size and shape.
  • I like to serve these with celery sticks and a bowl of blue cheese dressing mixed with Frank's hot sauce.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 228 calories; 11.1 17.9 13.2 57 767 Full nutrition

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Read all reviews 4
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These were awesome. I had to make some slight adjustments (my kids can't tolerate anything too salty or spicy, but they love chicken nuggets). I cut the salt back a little, and didn't put the sp...

Please try. Loved it. Used breast. Redoing tomorrow, kids want them

This was so easy and my guests loved them.

Very good! I will make again, I made the recipe as written. We used BBQ sauce for dipping. I have some duck in the freezer to use. I'm wondering if I can make duck nuggets....hmmmm...