Gluten-Free, Allergy Friendly Chicken Nuggets

Here’s the recipe for my chicken nuggets, as advertised by the Captain as being popular with the other kids in his class. Although, he will eat them himself when they are for dinner, freshly made; it’s only cold, in his lunch, that he frowns upon them. Luckily, Gal Smiley and Sir Monkeypants will usually eat the leftovers when placed cut up, in a wrap, with a little lettuce, ranch dressing, and sprinkle of cheese. Mmmm.

This recipe is actually from Allergy Proof Recipes for Kids by Leslie Hammond and Lynne Marie Rominger, and I highly recommend it to all who have kids with multiple food allergies – it’s simple, basic stuff with simple(ish, for allergy recipes) ingredients, and all the kind of stuff kids like to eat.

This is the original recipe; I actually make 1.5 the amount now in order to have enough for our family of five.

Chicken Nuggets

1 pound chicken breasts, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use canola)
2 teaspoons gluten-free tamari (I omit this due to the soy, but have made it with – good with or without)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning (I never have any around, so I use 1/4 teaspoon thyme plus 1/4 teaspoon marjoram)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (I skimp on this – usually just a sprinkle)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup rice flour (I use white, but you could use brown or a mix for a healthier version)
1/4 cup corn, tapioca, or arrowroot starch
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Oil for frying (you’ll need about 2 to 3 cups)

1. Wash cut chicken and place in a large ziploc bag. Add the oil, tamari (if using), salt, sugar, and other spices, then shake the bag, coating each piece.

2. Put the bag in the freezer for half an hour (this will stop the outside from cooking too quickly, before the middle has time to cook).

3. While the bag is in the freezer, mix the flour, starch, and baking soda in a small bowl. With about 15 minutes left in the freezing time, get out a heavy, deep frying pan and fill it with about one inch of oil; pre-heat on medium heat.

4. Remove the nuggets from the freezer and pour in the 1/4 cup water; reseal and shake again. Then, add the flour and shake to coat. I have found it’s hard to get an even coating this way; instead, what I do is open the bag, then spoon about half the flour mixture over the nuggets; then flip the bag over, and spoon in the other half. Then seal and shake, and that works better.

This is what they look like at this stage:
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5. Put a few nuggets in the pan at a time – don’t crowd them – and cook until golden brown. Depending on the heat of your oil this will be about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes per side (forgot to mention – they need to be flipped). I usually get paranoid and cut one open to make sure this batch is cooked all the way through. If the outside is getting dark brown or black in places, you need to turn down the oil.

Here’s a shot of the frying in action:
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I am a nervous fryer and I hate splatter and kind of freak out when it happens, so I have a splatter guard I got at the dollar store, shown here:
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It isn’t 100% effective but it does cut down on the tension in the kitchen a fair bit.

6. Remove nuggets to a paper-towel lined plate to drain, then serve with sweet and sour sauce for dipping (or in a wrap, as described above). Despite what the Captain says, they are actually pretty good cold the next day, as well.

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7 thoughts on “Gluten-Free, Allergy Friendly Chicken Nuggets

    1. Ugh, me too, it’s my least favourite thing and this is the only dish I fry like this. The things you do for your allergic kids, though – DAMN STRAIGHT he is going to get chicken nuggets :).

  1. I finally started making chicken nuggets at home when I found an easy (EASY) baked recipe. For those who can eat gluten, you just take your sliced chicken, toss it in a tablespoon of oil (I use canola), then put some bread crumbs and parmesan cheese in a Tupperware and shake the oiled chicken until it’s coated (in batches, is best). Spread chicken pieces on a parchment-papered tray and bake on the high setting of your toaster oven (about 375 degrees for a regular oven) for ten minutes a side. Maybe this could be made gluten-free depending on the kind of crumbs you use?

    1. I used to make my nuggets/strips this way too, and I loved them, and the kids did too. But one day for a treat I tried the deep fry method – this was because the Captain had a reaction to McDonald’s nuggets and was sad, and that always makes me go overboard to recreate the exact thing he has been missing. Now they just want this kind all the time – but I should mix it up. The baked kind are delish!

      1. Yours look WAY better than mine – they look real (or, wait, is that fake? They look like ones not made by a mother) … However, my kids like mine so I’m leaving it at that. Better they not know I COULD fry them. I also have a slow-cooker Falafel recipe which is great because I used to hate frying those suckers.

  2. Those look really good. Also, I love how our neuroses match up – I would have to cut one in half to make sure it was cooked too, and I just went “they sell SPLATTER GUARDS?! How do I not have one?!”

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