In a slightly different twist on the traditional children’s favorite, these bite size pieces of chicken are lightly breaded with a sweet cornbread crumb crust then baked until tender and slightly crisp. I loved the way these turned out and they were just different enough to make me smile. The cornbread flavor isn’t prominent, but it is different enough to make you pause for a moment to consider it.
I made two different batches of these nuggets, one with a full cornbread crumb crust and the other batch with half panko crumbs instead. We were a house divided on preference, so I’m including both recipes here. The panko crust is crispier with just a slight crunch and the cornbread crust remains a bit softer with a more unique flavor. My husband and I both preferred the cornbread version. We dipped these into our favorite Homemade Spicy Barbecue Sauce.
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup flour I used brown rice flour for a gluten free variation
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 egg whites whisked lightly
- 1 1/2 cups cornbread crumbs OR 3/4 cup cornbread or plain bread crumbs plus 3/4 cup panko crumbs
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with foil or silpat mats and set aside. Trim any visible fat off the chicken breasts and then carefully slice them in half lengthwise to create thinner pieces. Now slice them into bite size chunks, about 1 1/2 -2" in size.
- Roughly chop your cornbread into small pieces and then spread across a baking sheet. Let it dry out in the oven for a few minutes and then place in a food processor and pulse a few times.
- Assembly line style, place the chicken pieces on a plate and set aside. Combine the flour, salt and pepper in another bowl and set near the chicken. Place the egg whites in a small dish and set next to the flour. Place the bread crumbs in another dish and set beside the egg whites. Place the lined baking sheets at the end of this assembly line.
- One at a time, dredge a piece of chicken in the flour, then dip into the egg whites, then press into the breadcrumbs, being careful to coat both sides completely. Then place the coated chicken pieces onto the baking sheet. When all the chicken is coated, place the baking sheets into the oven.
- Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven, turn each piece over and rotate the trays back into the oven. Bake another 5-6 minutes, until the crust is barely browned. Remove from the oven and serve hot with your favorite dipping sauces. Enjoy!