Copycat Chick-Fil-A Nuggets & Honey Mustard Dippin’ Sauce

chick fil-a copycatI get a kick out of peoples’ vehement reactions to the words “Chick-Fil-A”. Some are outraged by the recent controversial comments made by Chick-Fil-A’s CEO….but others are just plain PASSIONATE about their chicken nuggets! :-)

Now, to be honest, I think I have MAYBE been to a Chick-Fil-A twice in my life. Once while living in Minnesota and I THINK…once here in Utah. But I am obviously not one of those rabid fans. Don’t get me wrong, I like their chicken well enough..I just have not had the same visceral reaction that most people have to these golden-fried chicken bites.

So when I saw this “copycat” recipe at Table For Two I wasn’t exactly DYING to make it…but since my boys are fans of chicken nuggets in general, and dippin’ sauce in particular…I thought it was worth a try. Honey Mustard Dippin’ Sauce sounded like it could give another family favorite, FRY SAUCE, a run for its’ money!

So…that is the not-so-Readers-Digest-version of why I am posting this recipe today.

#1 We are chicken nugget and dippin’ sauce FANS here, and #2 these turned out really good! (Thanks in part to the delicious dippin’ sauce!)

FYI…when you are reading this and see the words “dippin’ sauce”, you have to say it with an exaggerated Southern drawl to get an idea of how we say it at our house. It’s a long story involving an episode of the TV show “Drake and Josh”…but for some reason we find it very amusing to say “dippin’ sawce”! We just crack ourselves up! ;-)

 

chick-fil-a copycat

 

Copycat Chick-Fil-A Nuggets & Honey Mustard Dippin’ Sauce {incl. gluten-free version}
adapted from Table For Two

INGREDIENTS:

For the dippin’ sauce:

1/2 cup mayo
2 tbsp. mustard (regular prepared yellow mustard)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. vinegar
2 tbsp. honey
Salt and pepper, to taste

 

chick-fil-a copycat

 

For the nuggets:

6 chicken breasts, cut into SMALL bite-sized pieces
2 cups flour (I used Pamela’s Gluten Free Baking Mix)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
3 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. paprika
Canola oil for frying

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the sauce, mix well, and set aside.

In a large dutch oven or stockpot, heat the oil. You want it hot enough so that when you drop a piece of chicken into it, it quickly floats back to the top.

While the oil is heating, add flour, sugar, salt, pepper, and paprika to a gallon-sized plastic zipper bag. Mix the ingredients slightly by squeezing the bottom of the bag a few times. Then put the chicken into the bag, close it, and SHAKE (or tumble) until all pieces are well coated.

chick-fil-a copycat
When oil is up to temperature…use a slotted spoon or a pair of tongs to fish pieces of chicken out of the flour and add to the oil. I did mine in batches of about 6 to 8 at a time.

A couple of tips here (especially if making gluten-free):

  • Don’t get the oil TOO HOT or it will burn the flour! At least that’s what happened with the gluten-free flour I used. The first couple of batches cooked too fast and too brown because the oil was too hot. After that I turned the heat down to a medium low setting and the rest cooked beautifully.
  • Also, make sure your chicken is cut up into SMALL pieces. This will help them to cook faster with less likelihood of them burning.

Once the chicken is a nice golden color, remove from the oil with a slotted spoon or tongs and set on paper towels to drain.

Continue with batches of 6 to 10 nuggets until all the nuggets have been cooked.

Serve with that delicious dippin’ sauce!

chick-fil-a copycat

Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets........

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Comments

  1. Jennifer says

    I feel like the only person in the world who just doesn’t like their chicken. Seeing this, I wonder if the real deal has that much sugar because one thing I dislike is how sweet they are. Cloying, to me! The one time I had them, they were super dry, too. And since I don’t really care for fast food in general, we just don’t eat there.

    Now, the waffle fries…that’s a different story. But I only ever think about stopping for them on a Sunday.

  2. Landon says

    Looks delicious.

    Being born & bred in the South I had to laugh at your ‘sawce’ comment. I must say that you can’t believe the fake drawl you see in the movies or TV. They are totally overdone. We had friends visit from out your way & they were disappointed in not hearing the thick drawl they’d heard in them movin’ pitcher shows. ROFL!

    • Margaret says

      Being a Southern Belle myself, I have to agree completely with you Landon. However, I might start saying “dipping sahce” like a Yankee and cracking myself up when I make my version of honey mustard and chicken tenders.

  3. Jerianne says

    We’ve been there once (on vaca, coz theres none around us). Kids loved the chickrn nuggets. I had no idea there was powdered sugar in there! And the waffle fries were amazing!
    I want to make these, but i dont want to fry in oil, will bake. Hope will be just as good! :)

  4. jill sims says

    Thanks for the recipe. do you know if these freeze/re-heat well? For the health of my son we have just gone dairy and gf so this recipe will be great if I can make in big batches and freeze for lunches and on the go meals. Also I see you make alot of stuff from scratch have you ever made a copy cat version of the gf baking mix?

      • Mary says

        Please please please do! I have tried a couple different ones and found that some are good for one thing but not for another. And the experiments are not cheap. I still need a GF sandwich bread that anyone here will eat. Add in that I need it to be milk free and corn free and it’s just not working.

        Also, if you have any dipping sauces for my teen that are tomato free and garlic free, I’d love to hear them. She likes BBQ or honey mustard but garlic is everywhere.

        • Jody says

          For Mary who is having a hard time with a bread recipe, I use the Classic White Bread recipe from the cookbook Incredible Edible Gluten-Free Food for Kids cookbook, while it is not fluffy white like commercial bread the taste is good, it’s fairly easy to make and makes 2 loaves at once. It is the best overall kids recipe book I have found for my son who is on a no wheat, no corn, Feingold diet.

        • Amy says

          Why not try just plain honey? I remember the first time I tried Chick Fil A (probably close to 30 years ago!!) and I dipped the nuggets in honey. It’s REALLY GOOD with the waffle fries, too. :)

          AND if you can find some local honey, it’s good for those with seasonal allergies. :)

  5. Emily says

    Down here in Tennessee, we take our Chick-fil-A purty seriously! Ha! My husband used to work there years ago and he always says that they marinated their chicken in pickle juice before breading and frying it. I have to say, it does take it to the next level. Love your site!

      • Emily says

        Terri, it’s pretty flexible. Dill pickle juice. If you have time for a few hours, go for it. But usually I only have time for about 1 hour. If you cut it in piece, obviously it won’t need to marinate quite as long.

        • Shana says

          Another Tennessee girl here!! We love Chick Fil A too…we have 5 within an hour of our home. I don’t usually go for the chicken nuggets (not a fan of fried food) but I love the Club (sans pickles)!!!

          roddyjones.com

    • Jacquie says

      Emily I worked at Chick-fil-A in high school and I only remember marinating the char grilled chicken in the pickle juice…not the regular chicken. I think the big taste difference could be that they pressure cook the chicken in peanut oil. The peanut oil is what gives the nuggets the different flavor…I LOVE it :).

      • Shelley says

        You hit the nail on the head. I worked at CFA in school, too. Peanut oil is the key to the fried chicken. They only marinate the grilled chicken in dill pickle juice. I worked there when the INTRODUCED nuggets (loooong time ago), and I remember that we would pinch off one nugget from each chicken breast as we filleted them. Eventually, the nuggets became so popular that we couldn’t keep up that way, so we had to order nuggets already cut.

        BTW, if you haven’t read Shane Windmeyer’s column on HuffPo about becoming friends with Dan Cathey, it’s a great read, no matter which side of the discussion you’re on.

    • Susan says

      The nuggets and the original CFA sandwich are the same recipe, just one is on a bun and the others are bite size. There is a difference in the strips. They have a savory marinade, while the others have the sweet taste to them. Love, love, love their food. So glad since I was recently diagnosed gluten intolerant that I can have them again. Thanks for the post!!!

  6. says

    I just made these without the powdered sugar and they were delicious. Next time I’all also use about half the GF mix – it hurt to toss about a cup of it in the trash!

    I also did not add S&P to the sauce and only eyeballed the ingredients to our tastes — I thought it will still a little too sweet, but the kids liked it!

    • Jillee says

      That’s so interesting Jennifer. I actually cut back on the flour from the original recipe because it was just too much. Guess I needed to cut a little more. I know how you feel about wasting the stuff. It’s way too expensive to do that!

  7. Audrey says

    My son & daughter like Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets. I’ve never liked them. They taste like soap to me. LOL I do like Chick-Fil-A’s chicken soup, though. When I had braces and we shopped at the mall, it was my go-to-food.

  8. Jay Blue says

    Hey there Jillee!!!
    I’ve never coomented before but I absolutely love you and your blog!! I look forward to reading it every morning……:) You have saved my life many times and we share a love for vinegarand baking soda…..<3 While I'm sure your chicken came out perfect, I would like to recommend soaking your chicken in pikle juice prior to following the rest of your recipe….. I had a friend who worked for Chick Fil a and learned a long time ago that that is what they do prior to cooking the chicken!! I'm from the most beautifuly amazing and wonderful southern state of North Carolina, and I can assure you that we sure talk like that where I come from. I've been told many times I have THEE BEST accent that some folks have ever heard, and not to sound self centered but I do like to think that may be true……
    I do hope you have a wonderful weekend and please remember that there are many of us out here who love your blog, are big fans of yours and very much appreciate your contribution to our daily lives!!!
    If you're ever down south, I'd love to show you around the most beautiful place on earth……and that would be Pender County, in South Eastern NC…….<3

    Take Care Jillee!!

    • Jillee says

      Awww thank you Jay! You sweet thang! ;-) I would LOVE to hear your accent. I adore a sweet, southern accent. Something so genuine and warm about it.
      I’m so happy you like the website. It really made my day to read this. Having one of “those days” and your comments perked me right up. :-)
      You can bet I’ll look you up if I’m ever in your neck of the woods!

      Oh and thanks for the pickle juice tip! Brilliant!

  9. Regina says

    The trick to getting them to taste more like the chick-fil-a version lies in the ingredients listed on the chick-fil-a website. Monosodium glutamate, aka MSG. If you marinate the chicken pieces in pickle juice, which contains MSG, they taste almost identical.

    • Kay says

      It really depends on where you get your pickles. I don’t like pickles at all, but I helped my mother make them when I was growing up. She never used any kind of MSG, or anything that contained it. I looked for ingredients of store-bought pickles online. I didn’t really find a list. But one site that I saw was bragging about using high fructose corn syrup — not good!

      There is so much vinegar in pickles, I wonder if you could just marinate in vinegar?

  10. Cynthia says

    I’m not quite sure how to vote. I suppose Rabid Fan? I am a fan of the food, always have been. But not as much as my mom. She goes for their food every chance we get. But, you see, I am completely and 100% FOR marriage equality and among the group currently boycotting Chick-Fil-A for the CEO’s comments. I know it’s not the opinion of the entire company/all employees and such…but it’s the principle of the thing. Anywho, I really appreciate this recipe, because I would like to have some of their chicken once in awhile, but I refuse to give my money to such a company. I mean, after all, it’s not a CEO’s place to give such jaded opinions.
    Should this recipe turn out half as good as Chick-Fil-A’s chicken actually is, it will definitely become a staple in our house! Thanks for sharing, Jillee.

  11. Shana says

    Jillee,

    If you are near Knoxville you should drop in!! I don’t like fried food in a restaurant (unless its Fish Fry Friday or Fried Chicken Sunday at Cracker Barrell) but I do like to make a healthy version of chicken tenders and other fried goodies at home. I will definitely be trying these! I’m sure Mr. Husband will be thrilled lol.

    I made a small batch of the Homemade Body Powder tonight, sans cinnamon. I showed him what I had made and how yummy it smelled and he is thrilled lol. I’m pretty sure he can see our bank balance increasing since our trips to Bath and Body Works, Wal-Mart and other stores will see a great reduction in our business !! Anyway, he wanted me to tell you he is so glad I found your blog (and I am too)!!! Sam’s, however, will see us quite often, as we buy our baking soda and vinegar in bulk!!

    xoxo,

    Shana

    roddyjones.com

  12. Briana says

    I’ve gone to this place when I lived in North Carolina for four years….so so long ago…uhhh 12 years ago?! I’m a bit turned off by this place now though (and Oregon doesn’t have this!). I’m engaged to the love of my life, who happens to be female. The whole gay bashing thing is ridiculous. Our lives does not affect anyone else but us. We work, play, and live the same. Yet we have to plan our wedding around where we can actually get married instead of where we want to get married. And even that is at risk, depending on the future President. The whole buy-chicken-to-support-hate totally got me ticked off. People are afraid of things that are different. It doesn’t make any other marriage any less though. I’m not sure why we can’t all be respectful of one another. I’m the same person, no matter who I am with. I’m not a criminal. I am polite and pay bills and work hard and love my family and friends. I like to volunteer and try and do something for others and practice kindness and acts of love every day. That is what should matter most.

    Sorry :) You can delete this comment if you’d like. I love your blog, just had to say something!

    • says

      Briana,
      I understand your frustration with the current/previous doings of Chickfila when it comes to same sex marriages and couples. The only thing you can do is to continue to be a great example of a human being by doing what you are already doing. I’m sorry you are having a hard time with wedding plans since that can be a stressful time anyways. Just try to stay happy and remember that every day is a gift from God.

      Of course, you can always personally boycott Chickfila by using jillee’s nugget recipe and making your own at home! Lol

  13. Shauna Scarborough says

    Hi Jillee.. I LOVE your blog! Saw this recipe and immediately emailed to my husband so he could make them! I don’t know what he did wrong.. but he said they turned out horrible.. LOL! More so because he said the breading didn’t stick to the chicken when he put it in the fryer.. and he said also that they didn’t brown :-( Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to sample any because I got home late :-( Anyway.. and tips for next time?? THANKS!

  14. says

    I tried this recipe (exactly as written) today and It was definitely a big hit around my house. I think I’ll be makIng this from now on. Talking about accents, I’m from Texas….currently living in Austin, and some of us do have accents and some don’t. I think I have a little bit of that southern drawl and I’m in a big ol’ city! :) I do have to say that most of us say y’all though more often than we realize. I tried not saying it for a day and couldn’t believe how much I actually use the word. Lol. Thanks for the recipe!!!!

    Inspiredbylarue.com

  15. Amanda says

    Made these for supper tonight (btw, we are a chick-fil-a family for sure!). The nuggets were great! I did not care for the dippin sauce-and I am a huge honey mustard lover! It was too sour, too mayo-y, and too garlicky. I added an extra 2 tbs of honey to fix that issue. Next time I will start with only 1/4 tsp garlic powder and go from there.

  16. meghan says

    anyone looking for a good gluten-free flour for baking/fring/anything, really, should try chickpea flour- basic chickpeas/garbanzo beans dried and ground fine- it’s a little sweet but has a really robust flavor that almost reminds me of country style potato bread(a little bit, anyways). i used to work at a legal seafood in boston and they were one of the first restaurants to offer gluten-free choices. they used cornmeal flour (finely ground, like a masa) and chickpea flour, depending on the dish.
    i love it- makes a really good bread/baking flour and is excellent for frying. it doesn’t soak up much oil, so it offers a really fine, crispy batter. it also doesn’t hurt that it packs some protein and healthy vitamins/fiber and is lower in carbs than white or wheat flour.
    my favorite recipe is to take piquillo peppers(the pickled kind, dried off in a paper towel), stuff them with a mild goat cheese, pin shut with a toothpick, and dredge in egg wash and seasoned chickpea flour.
    you fry them either deep or in a pan in vegetable or (i prefer) kalamata oil and serve over an oven roasted/half dried tomato slice and bed of arugula(tossed in lemon juice or vinegar, if you want to get really fancy!) with a brown mustard romesco sauce(just mustard, vinegar, oil and salt/pepper to taste, whisked together) over the top.
    tastes like a high-end jalapeno popper.
    they’re also great in a sweet tomato pesto sauce.
    very simple/clean flavors, but they come together beautifully.

    again! :) chickpea flour is one of my dry-stock staples at home and work. i’d suggest it before any other gluten free option.
    hope this was helpful to someone!

  17. Stephanie says

    We are big Chic-Fil-A fans around here! I was diagnosed with celiac 5 months ago and I’ve been missing their chicken nuggets. Thank you for posting this. I don’t think they are quite the same but they are very good for being a GF chicken nugget! My husband and kids love these too. I used an all purpose GF flour the first time and they were not good. I’ve made them 2 times since then and used Pamela’s and they are much better using that.

  18. John says

    I just made this for lunch today. I used one single chicken breast and then halved the recipe. If I did my math correctly, this worked out to:

    1 cup of flour
    1/8 cup of powdered sugar
    1/2 tbsp of salt
    1/2 tsp of pepper
    1/2 tsp of paprika

    These nuggets had a great texture. I didn’t find them to be too flavorful though at this mixture. I think when I make them again I’ll keep the single cup of flour and double the rest of my recipe. The nuggets also turned out very light in color instead (not nearly as dark as the pictures shown). I’ll report my findings after I modify.

    Thanks for posting this recipe!

  19. Lisa C says

    I made this recipe for my hubby and kids when you first posted it. It has now become a fav in my house. I can never seem to make enough. As for me, I hate honey mustard sauce but I made it anyway to try it again. I did doubled to mustard and honey. I am ADDICTED!!!!! Even if my hubby gets nuggets from some place else, I use my sauce.
    Love your blog Jillee. I read it daily and have tried many recipes.

    Thanks

  20. Amy says

    LOVE your blog – and the new look!! :) I bookmark something on your site at least 3-4 times a week. :)

    I’ve been eating CFA since I can remember. My uncle owned one of the first franchises in a mall YEARS ago…I’m talking maybe almost 30 years ago. LOL! Anyway, I love that CFA is a Christian company with Bible-based principles. There aren’t enough people/companies in the nation/world these days that not only take the Bible literally as a basis of right and wrong, but who aren’t afraid to do so publicly. It’s like what our guest preacher said yesterday – the song This Little Light of Mine – it’s talking about being a Christian unashamedly in all places and situations. Look at the lyrics and think about it…it’s a children’s song that we all too often forget to really listen to what it’s saying.

    Anyhoo…I’m dying to try this recipe!! While I LOVE CFA, it’s a bit of a trek to go there just to eat out and they’re a tad expensive…especially when one is waiting on a house to sell while living in a rent house and living on one income…you get the picture. :) My mom is also GF, so I’ve passed on this recipe to her as well. Now if we could only figure out how to make their waffle fries!! Oh, and the spicy salad dressing, too. :)

  21. says

    Hi Jillee

    First off, your name is so cute. I just discovered your blog after a Pinterest search in how to clean (forgot what it was). Then I kept on reading other posts and after 3 hrs later… It’s 4 am and I’m still up. Thanks for all the tips in cleaning and delish recipes. My hubby is in love with CFA and would be in love with me even more if I suprise him with these nuggets … If I can make it right.

  22. Rebecca says

    Hi There,
    Thank you SO MUCH for this recipe! My husband and I were just debating whether they pre-cut the chicken prior to cooking/breading it.

    Have you tried freezing the nuggets after cooking? If so, do they hold up?

    Thank you!

  23. Trenton says

    I think I didn’t take you serious enough on the oil being too hot…I ended up with a pot of blackened flour off of my chicken, next time imma try it lower. Practice makes perfect!

  24. says

    A perfectly good blog tarnished by political opinions. If there were no Chic-fil-A there wouldn’t be a need to copy the food you like so much. If you ‘re boycotting but copying the recipe you are talking out of both sides of your mouth.
    Comment on the recipe and not the political bent of the company. There are plenty of other sites where they are appropriate and welcomed. Ladies, let’s just cook and share!

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