Oven “Fried” Homemade Chicken Nuggets {and Boneless Buffalo Wings}

Oven 'Fried' Homemade Chicken Nuggets &Boneless Buffalo Chicken Wings | www.foodiewithfamily.com

You know those ‘duh’ moments? The ones where you think, “Why have I not done this all along?”

I had one last week.

I’m a sucker for a spicy chicken wing, and Buffalo wings* are near the top of the heap for me. Sometimes, though, my inner finicky, tactile-defensive, high-maintenance child** rears its head, though, and I don’t want to deal with the messy, greasy bones. Yeah. I hardly know myself those days.

*I feel silly calling them Buffalo wings because Buffalo is my neighbor geographically and people can smell a non-local a mile away if they call ’em Buffalo wings. There. Travel advice from Foodie with Family. When in Buffalo, just order hot wings. And napkins.

**Why yes, my mother is a psych nurse. Why do you ask?

In those cases, I’m always tempted to buy those packages of frozen boneless ‘wingz’. Really? Can we please indicate they’re not actual ‘wings’ from a chicken in another way? My kids call this ‘trendy illiteracy’. I love my kids. Every time I cave and buy a package I’m always disappointed. The wingz (GAH) are either mushy piece meat or the breading is too soft or they taste of preservatives or the sauce is off-tasting.

I told you I was high maintenance. But wait! There’s more!

I have always wanted to like chicken nuggets. I love chicken. I love breaded things. Why wouldn’t I love nuggets? It’s like this. As a child, I desperately clung to the idea that chicken nuggets were what I wanted to eat at McDonald’s. I ordered it every time. (And people, we didn’t go out to eat a whole lot, so that was commitment on my part.) And every last time I ordered the nuggets (with hot mustard, thankyouverymuch) I would bite into a nugget and come away with a mouthful of gristle. That was the point where I gagged. Every cotton-pickin’ time. Sometimes it was the first nugget and my meal was finished then. Sometimes it was the last one and I was lulled into a false sense of security by all the other nuggets then WHAMMO. One thing was certain, though; it was inevitable. Frozen chicken nuggets and more chi-chi restaurant chicken fingers were slightly more reliably not gristly, but meh; Who wants to order chicken fingers at a grown-up restaurant?

So where does my duh moment come in? I figured I could make them myself. Big, fat, hairy lightbulb. I opted against frying them because I reasoned that in doing so, I could eat more pizza at other times. (Nutritional math, people. It’s how I roll.) Besides this, baking them in the oven means a delicious product that is slightly healthier AND creates less overall mess.

And healthier yet is the fact that in lieu of using egg and milk to stick bread crumbs to the chicken, I chose Greek yogurt with crunchy whole wheat panko crumbs. The variety of Greek yogurt I use is a lower fat one without funky fillers and additives; it simply starts with a lower content milkfat than other yogurts. One lovely bonus of using Greek yogurt here is that it keeps the chicken moist without making the breading soggy. Hooray for Greek yogurt!

Oven Fried Homemade Chicken Nuggets and Boneless Buffalo Wings 2

After parking the chicken in yogurt with spices…

Oven Fried Homemade Chicken Nuggets and Boneless Buffalo Wings


…then dredging them through panko you’ve seasoned with more spices, and baking them on a foil lined tray ’til golden brown and crispy and cooked through, you can stop right there and eat away til you’re chicken nuggeted out, content in the knowledge that you’ve trimmed those chicken breasts of all gristle.

~OR~ you can go just one step further and toss it in a lightning-speed, two-ingredient (because that’s all authentic wing sauce ever needs!) Buffalo wing sauce for Boneless Buffalo WingS. You better believe I intended to capitalize that ‘s’. I feel I’m striking a blow for people everywhere whose eyeballs throb when they read deliberate misspelling on packaging. One recipe, two possible results, both delicious. And gristle free. Hooray!

Can you say tidy fingers and no grease stains on the couch pillows on game day? Can I get an air fist-bump here?

Oven Fried Homemade Chicken Nuggets and Boneless Buffalo Wings | www.foodiewithfamily.com


5.0 from 2 reviews
Oven “Fried” Homemade Chicken Nuggets {and Boneless Buffalo Wings}
Crunchy, pure white-meat chicken nuggets made healthier with Greek yogurt and spicy whole wheat panko crumbs. They're delicious as is, but they can also be tossed in a simple, authentic, 2-ingredient Buffalo wing sauce to turn them into the best boneless Buffalo wings you've ever had. This is some serious game-day or kid-friendly nosh!
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2½ cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin, divided
  • 1½ teaspoons cayenne pepper, divided
  • 1½ teaspoons garlic powder, divided
  • 1½ teaspoons onion powder, divided
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4-6 cups panko bread crumbs (preferably whole wheat)
  • Cooking oil spray (canola, vegetable, grapeseed or peanut.)
For Wing Sauce:
  • Mild: ¼ cup each Frank's Red Hot Sauce and melted butter
  • Medium: ⅓ cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce and ¼ cup melted butter
  • Hot: ½ cup (or more!) Frank's Red Hot Sauce and ¼ cup melted butter
Optional for serving:
  • Bleu Cheese Dressing for dipping
  1. Combine the yogurt, 1 teaspoon each of the cumin, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder, 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt, and the black pepper in a one-gallon resealable plastic bag. Close it and use your hand to squish the contents around until it's mostly evenly combined. Set aside.
  2. Trim the chicken breasts of any gristly bits and slice them into even pieces. I usually cut it in half cross-wise, then into pieces that are about 2-inches by 1½-inches by ½-inch but you can cut them into any shape you'd like as long as they're mostly equal in size. This makes them cook more evenly. Transfer all of the chicken pieces into the bag with the yogurt, seal the bag, and squish everything around so the chicken is evenly coated in the spiced yogurt. Let this rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spritz it with cooking oil (either a spray bottle of oil or non-stick cooking spray.)
  4. Add 4 cups of the the panko bread crumbs and the remaining cumin, cayenne, garlic and onion powders, and salt to a pie plate or other shallow dish and stir them together. Using tongs to keep your hands neat, remove one chicken strip at a time and lay them in the dish of bread crumbs. Flip them over, pressing crumbs onto all yogurt covered surfaces, then transfer the coated piece of chicken to the lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining chicken and crumbs, leaving a little space between each piece to allow air to circulate around it as it bakes. If you find yourself running out of crumbs, add the remaining panko and spice it up with a little more cumin, garlic and onion powder, and salt. When you have coated all of the pieces, bake for about 25 minutes or more, depending on the size you've cut the chicken to, or until the coating is golden brown and crunchy and the internal temperature of the thickest piece is 170°F.
  5. These can be served as is with a variety of dips ~OR~
To Make Boneless Buffalo Wings:
  1. Stir together the proportions of hot sauce and butter to create the degree of heat in the sauce you prefer. You can either serve this as a dip (as my husband prefers) or toss the crispy wings in the sauce. If you toss them in the sauce, serve them immediately as they do soften after a short while. These are wonderful with the traditional bleu cheese dip!
  2. Store leftover nuggets or wings, if you have any, tightly wrapped in the refrigerator and eat within 3 days.

Is anyone else weirded out by certain foods?

This post was originally published on September 25th, 2013.





  1. linda sch says

    it’s like when you’re in Philadelphia, don’t ask for a Philly cheesesteak. It’s just a cheesesteak wit or witout.

  2. Molly says

    I would have never thought of using greek yogurt. So much nicer than egg and milk and clumpy fingers! Can’t wait to try these in a gluten-free version.

  3. Carrie Helen says

    Any suggestions for making these ahead and freezing them? I’d love to have them on-hand as a quick lunch option for my toddler. The kind I buy in the freezer section at the store weird me out. :/

    • says

      Fist bump on the weirding out! I think I have a solution for you, but it’s based on theory, not testing, so I’d try a batch out before committing to too many! If you have yogurt soaked and pressed them into crumbs, I think you could lay them out on a parchment lined pan and freeze them until solid… At that point, put them in a zipper top bag and bake from the frozen state. I am pretty sure this will work, but like I said, haven’t tested it. Let me know if you try it, would ya? 😀

  4. Jennifer says

    How many ways do I love this post? Tasty not fried chicken, trendy illiteracy, and someone else who understands the nasty of gristle. I would go veg if I didn’t love bacon, pepperoni, and well….meat so much.

    I have two pounds of very well trimmed chicken chunks soaking in dill pickle juice right now, set up and ready to make homemade Chik Fil A style nuggets tonight. Now I wish I had seen this first!

  5. says

    After reading your post, I’m having a “duh” moment too! This is such a great idea, and I’ve never done it either. I completely feel for your early childhood McDonald’s chicken nugget traumatic events. I’m glad that you’re able to heal those wounds with this amazing recipe!

    Can’t wait to make!

  6. says

    OK first off, I totally agree with your tactile sensitivity childhood self! I like the idea of chicken with bones because I at least like to think it is “real chicken” but I hate dealing with sauce all over my fingers and eating them in public at a restaurant, pfff forget it! My husband is all about boneless wings, but I just can’t do it. Secondly, I had similar experiences with the nugs at Mickey D’s. I would always end up biting into a dark meat piece or a piece with grizzle and just give up. My mom always hated that because I would have to have the 20 piece of course. I even started taking the breading off and breaking each nugget in half to scope them out before I ate them. Talk about weird. hahaha! Lastly, I love that you used Greek yogurt! Talk about a light bulb, wish I would have thought of that! PS grease stains on the couch or my husbands pant legs are the bane of my existence!

    • says

      Thank you! I’m so glad I’m not the only one who had the Mickey D’s nugget trauma. I used to do the same break it up routine, then it was so cold and gross I didn’t want to eat it!

  7. says

    A must for football season! My husband is slightly obsessed with wings – so much so, that I have to watch his intake, or he’d otherwise stuff himself into oblivion. These, will allow him (an me!) to eat as much as we want. :) Genius.

  8. says

    These chicken wings are right up my alley. Since they are baked, am I allowed to have an extra beer? Speaking of beer, I noticed that the Saranac IPA is mysteriously absent from the picture above. Wonder why…

    • says

      That IPA couldn’t have disappeared any faster if it grew legs and ran, David… And yes, since they’re baked, you can have TWO extra beers. Just not IPAs. 😀

  9. Anita says

    Oh, my! I’m at work, starving and uncontrollably salivating! Can’t wait to make these. My mom and I love wings! How do you think they would keep if you froze them after cooking them (and then reheating in an oven later on)?

  10. Rie says

    Next time chicken breast are on sale, this will be on the menu AND put in the freezer. I agree….think these will freeze well after they are prepared and before baking.

  11. says

    Great idea and that picture is fantastic.

    Weirded out by certain foods? Yes, milk. I can’t drink it because every time I try to swallow, I literally picture drinking from the source and it grosses me out.

  12. Nancy says

    I mis-read your recipe the first time I tried it, but of course that’s now the family preferred version. I did the prep, yogurt, and bread crumbs as described, but continued on to soak the chicken pieces in the butter and hot sauce mix. Messier to make but delicious. Just today I found a set of 2 cooling racks at Kmart (under $10 dollars) with a small grid design that is perfect for ensuring even cooking, and any extra butter drips into the baking sheet underneath it. Thank you for the inspiration!

  13. Brittany says

    I can’t wait to try these for dinner tonight. I love the greek yogurt idea since I NEVER have eggs in the house that aren’t already hard boiled whenever I find a recipe that needs them (and if I don’t boil, they go bad) I think I am going to try for buffalo wings. I will let you know what I think! :)

  14. Jessica says

    can I use regular bread crumbs instead of panko? I have those at home so it’d be one less thing to worry about! would the measurements/directions be the same??

    • says

      I haven’t tested them with regular bread crumbs because I like them so much made with the panko ones. I’m assuming you could, but I can’t guide you on quantities and any direction changes as the recipe was designed with panko crumbs in mind. 😀

  15. Susan says

    These nuggets sound like they’d be an easy go-to lunch menu item. So I’m looking forward to trying them. Simple lunches are always a winner.

    My childhood weird out food was the tendons on lamb shanks. My mother used to make lamb with dumplings, for which she used the shanks, and those tendons got me every time. Even though I may have that recipe somewhere, I have never, as an adult, made that, even though I now know what it was that I didn’t like.

    • says

      You bet! For this recipe, I’d go with Wegman’s brand plain Greek yogurt or Chobani. In short, just use any plain Greek yogurt you can get your hands on! 😀

  16. Dawn Stafford says

    I am a couple years late on this recipe I noticed the date you posted it.But I made this the other night and it was awesome! I made it as you wrote it except I left it in the yogurt over night. The flavor was great but we could not eat them all so we had them warmed up the next day and they were just as good! This is a recipe I will keep in my rotation for a long time to come. Thank you !

    • says

      It may be an older recipe, but I still respond to all lovely comments (and questions!) I’m so glad you enjoyed it and I’m glad to know it works well if you let the chicken mellow in the yogurt overnight.

  17. Amanda says

    Is there a version to make this without using greek yogurt? I’d like to not further destroy the environment with a by-product no one knows how to get rid of.

    • says

      That sounds more like a lecture than a question, Amanda! 😀 Without getting too far into the fact that whey (the by-product) is used as fertilizer and in protein powder (whey powder), I will say that this recipe was developed specifically to use Greek yogurt. I’m certain there are other oven baked chicken tender recipes out there, and equally certain many of them don’t use Greek yogurt, so maybe one of those might suit you better! I can say this, though… these chicken nuggets are tremendously tasty and quite healthy compared to oil fried chicken, so I still recommend them!

  18. Ellen says

    Is the butter necessary with the Frank’s hot sauce? Can I just use double the amount of hot sauce and leave out the butter or will that change the flavor? Thanks!

    • says

      The butter/Frank’s is the traditional Buffalo sauce. If you omit the butter it will change the flavour, most definitely. You can omit it, but it will no longer be a Buffalo sauce.


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