Copycat Chick-fil-A Grilled Nuggets


Have you been to Chick-fil-A and ordered their grilled nuggets? If so, you’ll know how delicious and juicy they are. Their flavor is such a wonderfully enjoyable flavor that’s quite unique. If you’re like us you’re interested in making them at home any time you get a craving. Now you can with our Copycat Chick-fil-A Grilled Nuggets recipe.

chick fil a grilled chicken nuggets on plate

What Are Chick-fil-A Grilled Nuggets? What Are They Made With?

Chick-fil-A grilled nuggets are one of the healthiest items on the menu at Chick-fil-A. They’re made with real chicken just like what you’d buy at the grocery store, unlike other fast food chain chicken nuggets. Also, they’re marinaded and grilled to perfection to make them wonderfully tasty.

What You Need to Make Chick-fil-A Grilled Nuggets

The ingredients for copycat Chick-fil-A grilled nuggets and answer to the question What do I need to make Chick-fil-A grilled chicken nuggets, are as follows.

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1 inch chunks

½ cup dill pickle juice

¼ cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons powdered sugar

½ tsp lemon juice

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon seasoning salt

Olive oil

How to Make Chick-fil-A Grilled Nuggets at Home

Below we’ve included our step-by-step instructions for how to make Chick-fil-A grilled nuggets at home. So, whether you’re craving them on Sunday, the day that Chick-fil-A’s closed or whether you just want to avoid the lines, you can use this recipe to get your fix. We’ll show you how to make Chick-fil-A grilled nuggets at home.

chick fil a grilled nuggets marinating
marinate in pickle juice and heavy cream

How to Make Copycat Chick-fil-A Grilled Nuggets in the Air Fryer

If you prefer making your grilled nuggets in an air fryer instead of in a stovetop skillet, you can do that. We’ve included the instructions below.

Step 1: Soak diced chicken breast in pickle juice and heavy cream for a minimum of 60 minutes.

Begin by soaking your bite sized pieces of chicken in the brine. You can marinate it for a minimum of 60 minutes or up to as long as overnight. Place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator while it marinates.

Step 2: Drain the chicken and season with powdered sugar, black pepper, smoked paprika, salt, and garlic powder.

After you’ve brined the chicken, you’ll want to drain the brine, then pat the chicken to help dry it with a paper towel. The next step includes mixing the dry ingredients and coating the chicken with the dry seasonings.

Step 3: Air fry the nuggets at 400ºF for 10-12 minutes.

Finally, the chicken is ready to be cooked. You can air fry the chicken by placing it in the basket and cooking it at 400F degrees for 10-23 minutes, or until its internal temperature reaches 165F degrees.

grilled chicken nuggets chick fil a

What to serve with Chick-fil-A grilled nuggets

When serving your grilled Chick-fil-A nuggets you might be thinking what do you serve this recipe with? There are so many delicious dishes that pair well with copycat Chick-fil-A grilled nuggets. Consider the following side dishes:

Waffle cut French fries

Red potato fries

Fruit salad

Lettuce salad

Broccoli salad

Potato salad

Brine the Chicken

Our copycat instructions call for brining the chicken after it’s been diced into bite sized pieces. If you’re short on time you might be wondering if you can shortcut and skip brining the chicken. We don’t recommend that because it’s part of what makes it so delicious.   

The Second Ingredient is Powdered Sugar

Yes, you read that right. Powdered sugar is part of the dry ingredient coating that goes on the chicken nuggets. It gives them that just right hint of sweet flavor.

An Ode to Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A has become a popular fast-food chain made popular by its chicken sandwich and other menu items that people have grown to love because of the flavor and quality. We’ve created this post for another favorite Chick-fil-A item as part of an ode to Chick-fil-A.

waffle fries and chick fil a grilled nuggets

Chick-fil-A Copycat Honey Mustard Sauce

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 tbsp honey

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp yellow mustard

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/4 tsp kosher salt

How Closely Does This Match the Ingredients in Actual Grilled Chick-fil-A Nuggets?

The recipe for our copycat grilled Chick-fil-A nuggets is pretty close to the actual nuggets you can purchase at the local fast-food chain. Here are their ingredients:

Boneless skinless, chicken breast containing up to 16% solution of water, seasoning (yeast extract, onion powder, sea salt, garlic powder, sugar, salt, corn maltodextrin, gum arabic, natural flavor, lemon juice concentrate, vinegar solids), chicken flavor (chicken breast meat, chicken stock, salt, maltodextrin), modified corn starch, apple cider vinegar, water, soybean oil, sugar, cane molasses, salt, spices, chicken fat, dehydrated onion, yeast extract, corn maltodextrin, lemon peel, dehydrated garlic, red bell pepper, paprika, parsley, xanthan gum, natural flavor (including smoke) and calcium disodium EDTA (to protect quality), canola oil, high oleic canola oil, dimethylpolysiloxane added to reduce foaming.

I am addicted to Chick-fil-A nuggets, but I love to grill, so I’ve made a copycat version of grilled Chick-fil-A nuggets using two (no longer) secret ingredients to make them extra juicy and well-seasoned.

grilled chicken nuggets in cast iron pan chick fil a

Chick-fil-A 12 Piece Grilled Chicken Nuggets Nutrition Facts

We’ve included the nutrition facts for Chick-fil-A grilled nuggets below. It’s an interesting comparison and one that will sell you, especially if you’re a health conscience eater.

The Surprising Truth About Chick-fil-A’s Grilled Nuggets

Can you imagine taking 7 years to perfect a recipe and then perfect a cast iron grate to cook the grilled nuggets, just to make them so delicious. That’s what Chick-fil-A did.

And they used two surprise ingredients of dill pickle juice and powdered sugar. On top of that, they use real chicken breast meat to make the nuggets. No wonder they’re so delicious!

The Secret to Grilled Nuggets’ Success

Did you know that it took 7 years for Chick-fil-A to develop the recipe for their grilled nuggets? The secret to their success is in the marinade or brine that’s used to give it its flavor.

Who would have thought about using dill pickle juice. But it makes it taste delicious. And the other factor that gives the grilled nuggets success is that their one of the healthiest low-calorie options.

waffle fries and chick fil a grilled nuggets

Beyond Low-Carb

The Chick-fil-A grilled nuggets take you beyond low-carb foods. Sure, they’re lower carb than many other fast food menu items, but they also taste good.

Tools to Make Low-Carb Chick-fil-A Grilled Nuggets

You don’t need any special tools per se to make these low carb Chick-fil-A grilled nuggets. Simply using a cast iron skillet, a few mixing bowls, along with a sharp knife will be sufficient to make this recipe.

What are Low-Carb Copycat Chick-fil-A Grilled Nuggets?

Low-carb copycat Chick-fil-A grilled nuggets are made by soaking them in a brine and then coating them in a delicious seasoning mixture. You’ll not be disappointed with the outcome of the flavor.

Why Can’t I Just Buy the Grilled Nuggets There?

You can if you prefer. But some people like to know how to make a copycat version at home for convenience and for when you get your Sunday craving.

Dill Pickle Juice? Seriously?

Yes, we’re serious. Whether you need to open a new jar of pickles or you have an opened jar sitting in your refrigerator, you need dill pickle juice to make this recipe.

Using dill pickle juice in the brine is part of what helps to give these copycat nuggets their delicious flavor.

chick fil a chicken grilled nuggets

Other Methods to Cook the Nuggets

Following are cooking instructions for how to make these nuggets without an air fryer or with an air fryer.

Oven: Bake at 375F degrees for 10-15 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165F degrees.

Grill: For How to grill copycat Chick-fil-A nuggets, preheat grill to 400F degrees and grill in cast iron skillet for 8-10 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165F degrees.

Frying Pan: Stir continuously over medium heat until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165F degrees. We recommend using a cast iron skillet if available.

Air Fryer: Air fry the nuggets at 400ºF for 10-12 minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Following are frequently asked questions related to Chick-fil-A grilled nuggets. If you have a question that’s not asked here, feel free to drop it to us in the comments box below and we’ll be happy to answer it.

How many calories in Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Nuggets, without dipping sauce?

There are approximately 250 calories in the 8 piece nuggets, while the 8 piece grilled nuggets have only 130 calories.

So, which nuggets are healthier?

Chick-fil-A Grilled Nuggets Calories and Other Nutrition Facts are below. Following is a comparison of the restaurant version of Chick-fil-A’s nuggets.

8 piece Chick-fil-A Nuggets

Calories: 250
Fat: 11 g
Saturated Fat: 2.5 g
Cholesterol: 85 mg
Sodium: 1210 mg
Carbs: 11 g
Sugar: 1 g
Protein: 27 g

8 piece Chick-fil-A Grilled Nuggets
Calories: 130
Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: 0.5 g
Cholesterol: 85 mg
Sodium: 440 mg
Carbs: 1 g
Sugar: 1 g
Protein: 25 g

chick fil a grilled chicken nuggets with waffle fries

How much better for me is a Chick-fil-A grilled nugget than hallowed nuggets?

We find it interesting that Chick-fil-A doesn’t bundle their nuggets in the same quantitates that other fast-food chains such as McDonald’s do. We assume that’s so consumers don’t confuse the two.

Below we’ve made a comparison of nutrition facts for Chick-fil-A grilled nuggets with McDonald’s nuggets. It’s obvious that the clear winner for the healthier nugget is Chick-fil-A. Even though we’ve use 8 nuggets for Chick-fil-A and only 6 for McDonald’s the data for nutrition is clearly the winner for Chick-fil-A.

8 piece Chick-fil-A Grilled Nuggets
Calories: 130
Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: 0.5 g
Cholesterol: 85 mg
Sodium: 440 mg
Carbs: 1 g
Sugar: 1 g
Protein: 25 g

6 piece McDonald’s Nuggets
Calories: 270
Fat: 16 g
Saturated Fat: 2.5 g
Cholesterol: 45 mg
Sodium: 510 mg
Carbs: 16 g
Sugar: 0 g
Protein: 15 g

What should I dip these grilled nuggets in?

You can dip your nuggets in your favorite chicken dip. We’ve included a recipe here for copycat Chick-fil-A sauce that you might enjoy. Other options include the availability of this sauce in many grocery stores too. Barbecue sauce, ranch, and Dijon mustard are other popular favorites to dip chicken nuggets.

Are these grilled nuggets considered Keto as well?

No, our copycat Chick-fil-A grilled nuggets aren’t Keto friendly.

Can I use these nuggets with a salad?

Absolutely. Chick-fil-A grilled nuggets are delicious on or with a salad. We give that idea a high recommendation.

What is Whole30?

Whole30 is a 30-day elimination diet that involves avoiding certain foods that can cause inflammation and cravings that negatively affect gut health.

Is Whole30 also Keto and low-carb?


How can I make this recipe Whole30?

To make this recipe compliant with a Whole30 diet, you’ll want to skip brining it in milk or heavy cream.

What is Paleo?

A paleo diet consists of lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. It uses foods that could be gathered by hunting and gathering, and limits foods that came about as a result of farming.

Is Paleo also Keto and low-carb?

Not necessarily.

How can I make this recipe Paleo?

To make Chick-fil-A grilled nuggets Paleo friendly, don’t brine the chicken in heavy cream or in milk. Skip that step.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Yes, this recipe is naturally gluten-free.

chick fil a grilled nuggets in cast iron

How to Make Chick-fil-A Grilled Nuggets

Below is our ingredient list and the step-by-step instructions for how to make Chick-fil-A grilled nuggets. Follow the details to achieve the successful deliciousness.


1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1 inch chunks

½ cup dill pickle juice

¼ cup heavy cream

½ tsp lemon juice

2 teaspoons powdered sugar

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon seasoning salt

Olive oil


  1. Remove any fat from chicken and cut chicken into bite sized pieces.
  2. Place heavy cream and dill pickle juice in a medium sized bowl. Add bite sized chicken pieces. Allow to marinate for 1 hour or up to overnight.
  3. Drain marinade from chicken pieces and pat dry.  
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients of powdered sugar, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, seasoning salt. Stir until well mixed.
  5. Add chicken to the dry mixture and stir until well coated.
  6. Heat cast iron skillet over medium heat. Drizzle chicken with olive oil and cook in the skillet for 8-10 minutes until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 165F degrees.
  7. Add grill marks by finishing it on the grill for 3 minutes if desired.
  8. Serve with your favorite sauce and enjoy.

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Sarah is known for her extra fancy yeast breads, melt in your mouth pies, and everything salads. She has won awards as a home cook, and is passionate about helping others feel smarter in the kitchen. Sarah is the cooking genius of the sister duo.

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