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


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


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

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  1. Marce says

    Powdered sugar? No wonder kids love them! I had NO idea they put sugar in there…WOW! Thanks for the recipe! Gonna try it!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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! :)

  5. 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?

    • Jillee says

      Jill….I haven’t attempted making my own GF baking mix/flour…yet. It’s still on my To-Do list though. I don’t know why I’m so intimidated by it!

      • 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. :)

  6. 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)!!!

    • 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.