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Darn-Near Chick-fil-A Nuggets

Updated: Feb 22, 2021

Closest to real Chick-fil-A nuggets without the MSG, sugar, grains, soybean oil, and peanut oil. Forget the drive thru with my Lectin Free Gourmet nuggets.

Chick-fil-A is my son Julian's top drive-thru request. He loves the chicken nuggets. Honestly, so do I. The fast food chain's chicken tenders are made with real breast meat and lightly coated in batter, then fried to a golden crisp. How bad could they be? And they have a very distinct secret tangy ingredient that I couldn't quite pin down until now. HINT: Does anyone else think these nuggets taste like pickles? And that chick-fil-A sauce! Read on to reveal the secret batter ingredient and to learn why making these lectin free is WAY better for you and your kids.

Who hasn't indulged in Chick-fil-A nuggets? Since going lectin free in the summer of 2018, these are no longer on my menu. But, believe me, I've had my fair share in the past. Before my LFG days, I could be easily persuaded to hit the drive-thru for some tasty nuggets and sauce.

When I developed this recipe, I may have had to sample one or two for "research" to refresh my memory. And you're welcome! It's the sacrifice I make for my lectin free foodies.

When I set out to make this copycat recipe for you all, I looked up the ingredients on the Chick-fil-A site. The following is what's in those tasty nuggets. Notice how high up sugar is on the list, and that sugar and MSG are both listed twice -- in the chicken and the batter!

Chick-fil-A Nuggets Ingredients: Chicken (boneless, skinless chicken breast meat nuggets, salt, monosodium glutamate, sugar, spices, paprika, enriched bleached flour [with malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid], sugar, salt, monosodium glutamate, nonfat milk, leavening [baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate], spice, soybean oil, color [paprika], pasteurized nonfat milk, pasteurized egg, fully refined peanut oil [with dimethylpolysiloxane {an anti-foam agent} added]).

Obviously they don't give away the "secret" ingredient. But as I look closer a the list of ingredients, I spy "spices" and "spice" listed. This is code for "none of your business" in the food world. To the Department of Agriculture, "spice" simply means any ingredient that is used for flavor rather than nutrition. And it's a restaurant's prerogative to be vague about their secret ingredients. That said, it's my job to decipher flavors with my detective taste buds. Can you spot the secret ingredient in the recipe?

Ready to make LFG Darn-Near Chick-fil-A nuggets? Let's go!


The Recipe

LFG Darn-Near Chick-fil-A Nuggets

1/2 lb Pastured Chicken Breast or Tenders

1/2 Cup LFG Flour Blend*

1 Cup a2 Milk

1/4 Cup Fermented Dill Pickle Juice (I used Kruegermann)

1 Pastured or Omega-3 Egg

1 1/2 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Paprika

1/4 tsp White Pepper

2 tsp Raw Local Honey

1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum (holds batter together in hot oil)

1 quart Rice Bran Oil or Pure Olive Oil (for frying)

* 2:1:1 cassava, blanched almond, and coconut flours

LFG Darn-Near Chick-fil-A Sauce

1/4 Cup Tbsp Avocado Oil Mayonnaise

2 Tbsp Pomi "Strained" Tomatoes (these have seeds and skins removed)

1/4 tsp Salt

1 tsp Distilled White Vinegar

2 tsp Raw Local Honey

2 tsp Clear Liquid Smoke


Step 1: Make the Sauce Ahead of Time

Up to one day ahead, combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until smooth. Cover and refrigerate to let the flavors marinate.

Step 2: Make the Nuggets

Heat oil in a deep fryer or small, deep saucepan to 320 degrees F. Cut chicken into one-inch cubes. Set aside. In a medium bowl, add flour, milk, pickle juice (this is the secret ingredient), egg, salt, paprika, white pepper, honey, and xanthan gum. Whisk well until very smooth like thin pancake batter. Drop the cubed chicken into the batter. Lift coated chicken pieces out with a slotted spoon and slide gently into hot oil. Fry for about 3 - 4 minutes until golden brown and chicken is cooked inside. Lift out with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel before serving.

Serve with LFG Darn-Near Chick-fil-A sauce and waffle cut sweet potato fries.


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Hi Alicia, Yes you can substitute almond flour for something else your son tolerates. Try chestnut flour, or hazelnut flour, or even just more cassava or coconut flour to fill the gap. Enjoy! -Kristine


Can you substitute almond flour? My son has an almond allergy. Thanks! :)


Aww thanks Amanda! And I love the Bean meme two-fisting chicken. Glad your hubby liked my LFG copycat recipe. I'll keep them coming. - Kristine


My husband is addicted to Chick-fil-A, so I made this recipe for him last week. He was very impressed. I am not a big chicken breast lover, but I have to say this was the moistest chicken I have ever had. Thanks for the recipe. I will use it again. The sauce was great too!

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