Crispy Italian Chicken Nuggets (Paleo & AIP)
These paleo Italian chicken nuggets are flavorful and fun to dip in marinara sauce! They’re egg-free, grain-free, whole30, and AIP.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I love chicken nuggets. I have many, many chicken nuggets on my website, but these may be a personal favorite of my family. My husband asks me to make them over and over, and even though he’s not a cook, he’s even made them himself!
These Italian Chicken nuggets are crispy nuggets with a light Italian seasoning that tastes amazing dipped in a yummy sauce. They’re made without eggs, nuts, gluten, grains or dairy and are perfect for anyone that has allergies! This recipe is paleo, AIP, and technically whole30 compliant as well. Though it’s up to your own discretion as to whether or not you want a breaded chicken on whole30.
The Ingredients for the crispy nuggets
- Chicken breast. I haven’t tried these with chicken thigh but I assume it would work fine.
- Coconut milk. The coconut milk doesn’t really act as a marinade for flavor, but just adds moisture to the nuggets to keep them from getting dry as there are no eggs in this recipe.
- Arrowroot starch & coconut flour. I haven’t tried any flour mix for this particular recipe, though tapioca starch should easily swap for arrowroot.
- Nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor without adding any dairy. You can buy it online or in health food stores.
- Parsley, basil, garlic, and onion powder. These add the Italian flavor that gives these some added flair beyond just your average nugget.
How to make the Italian Chicken Nuggets
- Prep & marinate the chicken: Slice the chicken breast into cubes and place in a large bowl, covering with coconut milk and allowing to sit for 20 minutes. While the chicken is marinating, add the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix. Set aside. Strain the excess coconut milk out of the chicken and lightly pat each cube with a paper towel to remove excess milk.
- Bread the chicken: Evenly coat each piece of chicken in the breading mixture and set on the baking sheet. Pour the avocado oil over the chicken nuggets.
- Bake the nuggets & serve: Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Carefully use tongs to flip each nugget and bake for another 10-12 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 165 F.
Tips & Tricks
- Be careful rotating the nuggets. Since there are no eggs, the coating is delicate! I carefully rotate them with tongs.
- Cut your chicken into close to uniform sizes. This ensures that the nuggets cook evenly.
Can you make these chicken nuggets in the air fryer?
I’ve actually never tried but you certainly should be able to! I would reduce the cooking time slightly (air fryers tend to cook faster) and check for doneness with a meat thermometer.
I would also advise again shaking your air fryer basket as this is a delicate coating. Rather, I would rotate the nuggets with tongs.
What to serve with these nuggets
These nuggets are perfect with sauce on the side! Use a marinara or even alfredo sauce. They even taste good with ranch or an aioli.
For sides, I always serve them with roasted vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower.
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These paleo Italian chicken nuggets are flavorful and fun to dip in marinara sauce! They’re egg free, grain free, whole30, and AIP.
- 1 lb chicken breast, cubed
- 1 cup full fat canned coconut coconut milk
- 1/4 cup arrowroot starch
- 3 tbsp coconut flour
- 2 tsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp oregano powder
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper (omit for AIP)
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 cup marinara sauce (or nomato sauce for AIP)
- Preheat the oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the chicken in a large bowl. Cover the chicken with coconut milk and let it sit for 15 minutes.
- While the chicken is marinating, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix. Set aside.
- Strain the excess coconut milk out of the chicken.
- Working with one piece of chicken at a time, pick it up with your fingers and allow some of the excess liquid to drip off. With you other hand, evenly coat each piece of chicken in the breading mixture and set on the baking sheet. Repeat for all of the chicken.
- Drizzle the nuggets with avocado oil.
- Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Carefully use tongs to flip each nugget and bake for another 10-12 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 165 F.
- Allow to cool slightly and serve with marinara sauce for dipping (use this for AIP)
All nutritional facts are estimations and not exact.
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- Prep Time: 25
- Cook Time: 25
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Italian American
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 491
- Fat: 32.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 13.1 g
- Fiber: 3.6g
- Protein: 37.4 g
Keywords: italian chicken nuggets, paleo chicken nuggets
This post was published in 2019 and updated in 2023. Photos by modern food stories.