If you’re a mom of a toddler, you’re no stranger to chicken nuggets. Maybe even on a weekly or daily basis. Kids love chicken nuggets. The only problem is, if you get them from the drive-thru (which we are all guilty of) we don’t exactly know what is in those nuggets.
Chicken should ofcourse be the main ingredient, but not knowing the quality of that chicken makes me a little uneasy. Enter these healthy toddler chicken nuggets made special with your little nugget in mind!
Why homemade chicken nuggets?
As I mentioned above, you don’t always know exactly what’s in those drive-thru nuggets or even the store bought freezer ones.
These homemade chicken nuggets are healthy and even have a little secret: they are made with a vegetable snuck in there! Added bonus to making these a little more nutritious for that little tummy.
I sneak in cauliflower into these nuggets, which doesn’t have an overpowering flavor so toddlers won’t even know they’re having their veggies too!
This recipe uses simple ingredients and is dairy free and nut free and can easily be gluten free for little ones with any food allergies.
Toddler Friendly Chicken Nuggets Ingredients:
Okay, what’s IN these toddler chicken nuggets?
I already gave away the secret ingredient but here is a list in detail of what we will be using for these toddler favorite chicken nuggets.
Ground Chicken: using ground chicken makes it a bit easier for little ones to chew. Also be sure to grab for the all natural, cage free ground chicken if you can find it. Chicken is one of the best protein sources that little ones need.
Cauliflower: is a great source of fiber and antioxidants. The taste isn’t overpowering but adds plenty of nutritional value to the nuggets.
Panko Breadcrumbs: for a crunchy, classic nugget, texture.
Seasonings: it’s always great to let littles explore different flavors. We do just that with the different seasonings in this recipe. Of course they are optional and can be omitted if desired.
How to make homemade chicken nuggets:
First you want to get your cauliflower puréed. I used frozen and steamed mine in the microwave for 2 minutes with a tbsp of water at the bottom of the bowl.
You can also buy the cauliflower florets in a steamable bag which is a great option.
Then purée them in a food processor until they almost resemble the consistency of mashed potatoes. (Be sure not to get excess water in with them.)
Then after the cauliflower has cooled a bit, add the chicken and cauliflower together in a bowl to mix together.
Whisk together the seasonings into the breadcrumbs.
Then taking a tablespoon of the chicken-cauliflower mixture, roll into a ball and into the mixture and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
You can also shape them to a fun shape! I stuck with a classic nugget shape for these.
Bake them at 375° for 23 minutes or until the outside is a golden brown.
Tips for the best chicken nuggets:
- Allow your cauliflower to cool completely before mixing together so you don’t burn your hands.
- Drain the water from the cauliflower before puréeing it in the food processor. Excess water might make the mixture extra mushy.
- Using ground chicken makes them easier for little mouths to bite into and chew.
- Baking paper or parchment paper helps the nuggets not stick to the pan.
- You can also make these in an air fryer too! Still set the temperature to 375° but half way through, flip them so they cook well on both sides.
- You can cut the recipe in half or even double it to make less or more nuggets. The recipe as it makes up to 24 nuggets.
Storing and reheating
This recipe makes up to 24 nuggets so these are a great option for making ahead of time and then reheating when you need a quick meal.
Simply store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Or freeze in a freezer bag for up to 3 months.
Reheat them in the airfryer with the “reheat” option, or in the oven at 300°F for 5 minutes. You can also use the microwave, however they may come out a little soggy.
Toddler Chicken Nuggets Recipe:
- 1 pound of ground chicken
- ½ cup puréed cauliflower
- 1 cup bread crumbs or gluten free bread crumbs
- 2 tsp dried dill seasoning
- ½ tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground white pepper
- Preheat your oven to 375°F
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a shallow bowl, add the chicken and pureed cauliflower together and mix together.
- Whisk together the seasonings into the breadcrumbs.
- Then taking a tablespoon of the chicken-cauliflower mixture, roll into a ball and into the breadcrumbs.
- Shape into an oval shape, slightly flattening them on the baking sheet.
- Bake them at 375° for 24 minutes or until the outside is a golden brown.