Copy Cat Chick-Fil-A Nuggets

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Copy Cat Chick-Fil-A Nuggets-just like you’d get from the restaurant!

Copy Cat Chick-Fil-A Nuggets-just like you'd get from the restaurant!

Ok, I  know it’s not sugar. Don’t get all upset with me, I’ll have more sugar soon but my family needs to eat.

As a family of 5, we don’t eat out for fast food too often. Paying almost $30.00 for fast food for dinner, I don’t think so. If we’re going to go out, I want a real restaurant, Someone to come to the table and take my order, bring me a salad and some bread then usually some sort of fish (since I don’t cook fish at home.) I want real silverware, not plastic, maybe a cocktail before dinner, and I don’t want to clean off the table before we leave. If it’s a night off from cooking, I want a real night off.

Now that doesn’t mean we don’t like fast food. I love Sonic’s Cheeseburger and the hubby and I have been known to sneak over there for lunch. Chicken is just too easy to make at home. This is the south, we love to fry food. I’d always heard that the secret to Chick-Fil-A’s chicken was pickle juice. It wasn’t until I read Juanita’s Cocina’s post on Copy Cat Chick-Fil-A that I decided to give it a try. The first time I made it, hubby said I was close but not quite there. The spices were right but the chicken wasn’t quite there. I did a little research and found several recipes that were similar to Juanita’s, the big difference was in how long to marinate the chicken. One recipe I think said to marinate for a full 24 hours. What we finally decided worked best for us was a minimum of 4 hours. So prepare your chicken at lunch time then cook it up for dinner. Use this recipe for either nuggets or full size fillets.

And since I didn’t share sugar with you today, check out Juanita’s Fudgy Brownies and also her Boston Cream Pie.

Copy Cat Chick-Fil-A Nuggets-just like you'd get from the restaurant!

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Copy Cat Chick-Fil-A Nuggets

Copy Cat Chick-Fil-A Nuggets


  • 3 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup dill pickle juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (can use powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder (can use salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt (can use powder)
  • Oil for frying (I used vegetable)


  1. Prepare chicken at least 4 hours before cooking. Wash and filet breasts, then pound with a neat hammer to about 1/2 inch thickness. Place in a ziploc bag with pickle juice and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  2. Place oil in a heavy frying pan about 1/4 inch deep. heat over medium heat.
  3. Whisk together eggs and milk in a medium bowl. The combine dry ingredients in A large plastic bag. If making nuggets, slice breasts into about 2 inch pieces. Place chicken a few pieces at a time into egg wash, then place into flour mixture and shake to coat. When oil is hot, place chicken in pan and cook for about 4-5 minutes per side, just till the perfect golden brown. Remove from oil to drain on paper towels before serving. Repeat with remaining chicken.


**Note on spices-if you are trying to cut back on salt, you can use all powders for the onion, garlic and celery, I used what I had in the cabinet and found the ratio of 2 salts and one powder worked well.

recipe source

adapted from Juanita’s Cocina

Copy Cat Chick-Fil-A Nuggets-just like you'd get from the restaurant!

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and for dessert
Double Chocolate Fudge Tart
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About Joan Hayes

Mom to 3 teens, sweets and travel are her passions. Joan really does love her chocolate. She has a secret stash she hides from the kids and she has at least one bite of something chocolatey every day. She creates easy recipes any skill level can achieve to satisfy the sweet tooth in everyone!


  1. Mmmmmm……..My daughter is going to be very excited. She loved chick-fil-a and the nuggets are her favorite. I will make these for her as a surprise!

  2. Pickle juice, oh my gosh that is great! I never would’ve thought of that! Yes, I hear ya, we are a family of 5 also and I hate dropping hard earned cash on fast food! I DO, however, like making my own homemade versions! I’ll be trying this soon since this is a copycat of one of our favorites!

    • I worked at Chick-fil-A, we never used pickle juice. Pickle juice will add a nice flavor though, but the secret is actually in the oil. Peanut oil is expensive, but if you’re really trying to get that signature flavor, you have to use it. Despite some speculation, pressure cooking makes no difference with nuggets.

      • Thanks PJ, I’ll have to give the peanut oil a try, it’s what we used when we fry a turkey so the oil definitely can make a difference.

  3. I’m with you on preferring to eat at a real restaurant if I’m not cooking! These nuggets look like an awesome substitute!

  4. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for posting this recipe. I grew up eating Chick-Fil-A nuggets in the Midwest and now I live in New England and there’s only one in the next state over from us!

  5. I am so excited about this recipe. I can’t wait to make it. Thank you for posting.

  6. Bless your heart, I know what you mean about going out. The spouse and I are in the middle of a home remodel and I can’t wait to be able to try this out once I can actually get into the kitchen. Now if I could only figure out the dipping sauce for…I’m happy with honey mustard .
    Waving from Houston

    • I just made a copy cat chick fil lay last night for dinner. I never ate at this restaurant so I don’t know how much of a coy cat it is, but it is very good. This is my children and grandchildren favorite chicken. There are seven of us all together in the household so we rarely eat out also. Someone was asking about a honey mustard sauce and this is the one I got with the chicken recipe and it is the bomb. I use it on a lot of things. 1/2 cup of mayo, 2 tablespoons of yellow mustard, 1/2 tsp of garlic powder, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, 2 tablespoons of honey, and a dash of salt and pepper. Mix together. I usually make it in the morning so the flavors have time to blend by dinnertime. I hope you enjoy it!

  7. I love all things Chick Fil A!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. these look awesome. pinning.

  9. Yum, this chicken is very tempting! We don’t have a Chik-Fil-A where I live anymore so, these are great 🙂

  10. Yum! Sad to say, I have never been to a Chick-Fil-A before. We aren’t lucky enough to have them up north, along with many of the other fun fast food joints and diners you have down south! ~Kris

  11. This is such a wonderful coincidence. Just yesterday I was telling my adult nephew, who is a huge fan of Chick-food but won’t eat there for philosophical (human rights) reasons, that I had found Jen’s (Juanita’s Cocina) recipe for Chick-Fil-A sandwiches. He said if I could find a recipe for the nuggets then he could really be happy. Joan, you have made a lot of people happy with this recipe!

  12. (that is supposed to say Chick-Fil-A food not Chick-food. lol)

  13. Wheeeeee! Homemade is SO much better! Thanks for the shout-out hon!

  14. I lived in Georgia for 2 and a half years and never went to Chick FilA. Can you believe it?! I need to try this homemade version since there’s nothing scary in it.

  15. I love chic-fil-a. I had heard about the pickle juice. I am excited to try this.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Little tid bit..Chic-fil-A cooks their chicken in peanut oil 😉

  17. AAH! Love homemade Chick-fil-a nuggets! I’ve made them several times before but haven’t tried this recipe. I’ll give it a try next time! They look perfect. And $30 for fast food is crazy. I’m with you there!

  18. No Chick Fil A in the northeast, so I’ve never had anything there. But pickle juice as a marinade is just fascinating! Does the chicken taste like pickles?

  19. We just got a Chick Fil A in our city – yeah! I need to try your recipe – it looks tasty! Happy Saturday!

  20. Amazing! I made this for dinner last night, it was perfect! I lived in Atlanta for 11 years, and now I live in Illinois. chick-fil-a is always our road trip stop. Now I can take care of that craving myself! Thank you!

    • So glad you enjoyed it! My hubby grew up in the Riverdale area and any time we go to Atlanta we always go to the original Dwarf House.

  21. This is really exciting for me as I grew up on chick-fil-a and havent had any since moving out of the south, and becoming a vegetarian years ago. But I have to reiterate what the Anonymous poster said and suggest to fry in peanut oil. That is one of their trade secrets!

  22. Oh pickle juice, how it can add to such things. My mother-in-law uses it in her cole slaw instead of vinegar. I can only imagine how it must add great flavor to the chicken.

  23. Sharon Ellington says:

    I just tried a recipe I found at another site for the nuggets and it wasn’t quite right (the batter it seemed) so I was excited to find your site. I will try this next time! We moved from NC to MT and sadly, there are no Chick-Fil-A stores in Montana. 🙁

  24. Marie M.C. says:

    I live in San Francisco. Yes, I am blessed. But. No Chick-Fil-A. Sob. Big Mama — on her wonderful, funny, blog talks about Chick-Fil-A all the time. Love her! Thrilled to see a recipe. *I think I found this recipe on Pinterest.* However, I rarely buy Dill pickles. Is it possible to just buy pickle juice? Where? Help! (I’ve already googled the question “buy dill pickle juice” — no help.) Maybe I could just make some?

    • Marie, I’m not a big pickle eater but my kids are, also, they sell the big pickles at the school ball games and I’ll ask then to save the juice for me. Wish I could be of more help.

      • Marie M.C. says:

        Love your answer, Joan. I’ll start asking my friends, neighbors and walk down to the high school in my neighborhood. Maybe someone will have extra pickle juice. I was thinking I could just make a batch of dill pickle pickling liquid and then leave out the cucumbers. Wonder if anyone has tried that? It has me wondering how Chick-Fil-A gets their pickle juice? Maybe I’ll give them a call.

  25. Elizabeth Johnson says:

    My parents had a small bar/restaurant and we always used pickle juice in our mustard to think it out to be able to pour easier and it was fabulous! Used a 50/50 mix of each. Try it!

  26. Aida Looney says:

    I love Chick-fila; I will definitely try this recipe, thank you!

  27. Stephanie says:

    This chicken is so good. I have made it twice now. My 5 year old who almost never eats meat loved it and asked me to make it again. Thanks for the great recipe.

  28. Thank you so much for the recipe! My fiance is a Chick-fil-A fanatic, but he recently moved from Maryland to Pennsylvania for me. Chick-fil-A restaurants are few and far between up here so this recipe is perfect! I made these and he said maybe a little less time in the pickle juice(He doesnt like pickles much hehe (: ). I think they are fantastic (:

  29. I made these and followed the recipe just as written. I really liked them dipped in BBQ sauce. The rest of the family did not care for them at all. I think the powdered sugar in the recipe ruined it for them. They were definitely a little sweet. If I make them again, I think I will leave the powdered sugar out.

  30. Made them and they are DELICIOUS!!! Definitely will make them again!

  31. Is it really wise to suggest that you can substitute garlic salt for garlic powder (same with onion salt and celery salt)? Imagine I used all three salts, and my friend uses all three powders (even though I’ve never seen celery powder), and otherwise we both follow the recipe exactly. My result is going to be WAY saltier than my friends! I’m concerned enough that you didn’t mention what kind of salt you use (Diamond kosher salt is is much less salty, by volume, than regular table salt, or even Mortons kosher).

    • If you see in the notes of the recipe, I mention that the ratio of 2 salts and one powder works well. The total of all 3 ingredients combined is 1 1/2 teaspoons. So the total salt is roughly 1/2 teaspoon. I use McCormick spices and Morton Table salt. Hope this helps.

  32. Can I use a deep fryer ? and if so how long do you recommend for cook time?

  33. As a Chick-Fil-A owner/operator team we’d like to thank our customers that come into our restaurants, to experience world class, fresh made chicken, lemonade, salads, coleslaw, wraps, soup, biscuits, and desserts. I think imitation is the highest form of flattery, so will take the attempt at copying our product as such, flattery. Trade secrets are copywritten for a reason. While I won’t say what’s in our marinade, coated, or divulge our recipes I will say you are close, but no cigar. 😉 I also like to think that when someone comes to one of our quick serve restaurants, that you are treated with the most respect. You should be offered more than your meal when dining in with us, but have a hostess refill your drinks, offer condiments, and even serve fresh black pepper, ground table side, for your salads. We pride ourselves on loving our guests, and walking that extra mile. We know to dine with us is an option and we love and value our guests!

    I honestly don’t know what restaurant any family of four truly receives tv implore table side service for $30. As a mom of three children myself, we eat out occasionally, and even quick BBQ or Mexican served tableside never runs us $30. It’s typically $40.00 to $50.00 plus or minus a tip. I will say I hope that when people come to our establishment they notice that our foods are fresh made, not frozen, hand breaded directly before we fry our chicken, and of superior quality. Thank you for your patronage and for the high compliments you give us!


  1. […] inspired this one were Gluten, Grain and Garbage Free Chick-fil-A Nuggets from The Domestic Man and Copy Cat Chick-fil-A Nuggets from Chocolate, Chocolate and More and Chick-fil-A Copy Cat from Hilah […]

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