Spicy chicken nuggets are an easy homemade chicken nugget coated in a spicy breadcrumb! Cayenne pepper adds the heat, and the addition of a little brown sugar help to balance the cayenne pepper for a bite of sweet and spicy. These are perfect to dip in your favorite dipping sauce, like ranch, spicy mayo, or the blue cheese sauce included in this recipe!
If there’s one food item that we seem to never grow too old for it’s the chicken nugget. Chicken nuggets, chicken tenders, or as we might also call them nuggies and tendies. They have no age limit. But, if you want to make them a bit more adult than kid-like, that’s where this spicy chicken nugget enters the picture. That kick from the cayenne pepper let’s you know you’re not eating a kids order of chicken nuggets!
How spicy are spicy chicken nuggets?
The spice level can definitely depend on the level of heat you like. And the great thing is that you can control the level of spice here and make them more or less spicy depending on what you like. For this recipe, with the 1 and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne in the breadcrumb coating then sprinkling a little more on top I’m rating this at a spice level 3 on a scale of 1-5. You definitely know these are a spicy nugget, but there’s room to make these even spicier if that’s what you like!
For me, I like the middle of the road heat. I want to taste the spice and the heat, and get that cooling effect from the blue cheese or ranch. But I don’t want to totally burn my tongue, give myself a runny nose, and ruin the meal because I can’t taste anything else. I think spice needs to be used in the right way so it’s enhancing the meal but not overpowering it in way that it’s the only thing you taste.
So when you make these, what I do is make the breadcrumb mixture and taste it before it touches the raw chicken. If you think you want it spicier, add more cayenne or even a dash of chili powder.
Baking chicken nuggets vs frying in oil
Now, I’m not going to try and tell you chicken nuggets are healthy. But, I do choose to bake my nuggets as a slightly healthier option to frying them in oil. I also find the baking method easier. And don’t worry about the crunch factor, baking these will still get you a crunchy coating! So enjoy a crunchy oven baked chicken nugget and avoid all the excess oil you get from deep frying!
Dipping Sauces for Spicy Chicken Nuggets
So I am all about the sauces. Sure, chicken nuggets are good…and even better when they’re spicy like these. But you’ve gotta have the perfect dipping sauce to make the perfect bite! Here are some suggestions:
- Blue Cheese Sauce, recipe included in the the recipe card below
- Spicy Mayo
- Honey Mustard
- Buffalo Sauce
My vote for the best sauce would be a combo of the buffalo sauce and the blue cheese sauce. That will really make the perfect blend between a little more heat and that cool creamy finish the blue cheese can provide! Don’t like blue cheese? No problem, go with ranch and the buffalo sauce!
- As I mentioned above, these are spicy but not overpowering. Taste the seasoned breadcrumbs before it touches raw chicken. If you want it hotter, add more cayenne or a dash of chili powder.
- Still want it hotter? When they come out of the oven sprinkle them with a little more cayenne or chili powder.
- 15 minutes of bake time at 425 degrees worked for me to get fully cooked chicken nuggets. If your nuggets are thick, they may need more time. Always check them to make sure they are no longer pink and fully cooked. You might need to add a minute or two to the bake time if they are not done at 15 minutes.
- The spice makes these not very kid-friendly. If you’re have kids or toddlers, you can bread a few piece before you add the spice to the mixture, then add the spices and bread the rest for the adults.
You might also like this spicy chicken recipe!
Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
Spicy Chicken Nuggets
Spicy Chicken Nugget are a cayenne pepper spiced chicken nugget perfect for dipping in your favorite sauce! Crunchy, spicy, and a little sweet from the brown sugar in the bread crumbs, this is an easy snack or dinner!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 20–22 nuggets depending on the size of your chicken 1x
- Category: Chicken
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
2 chicken breasts
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1 egg + splash of water
4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Olive oil for drizzling
For the Blue Cheese Sauce
4oz package of crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup of half & half
3 teaspoons all purpose flour
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with tine foil and top with a cooling or baking rack. Spray the rack with cooking spray so the chicken won’t stick to it.
2. In a bowl combine the bread crumbs, garlic & onion powders, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, salt & pepper. Stir to combine. In another bowl pour the flour, and lastly in another bowl whisk the egg with about 2 tablespoons of water to create your egg wash.
3. If your chicken breasts are thick, butterfly them by taking your knife and slicing through the chicken width-wise so you have two halves of chicken then you can open like a book. If your chicken is not overly thick, there’s no need to butterfly them thinner. Next, cut the chicken into nuggets and strips. They do not need to be the same shape, I actually like making my various shapes/lengths.
4. To bread the chicken nuggets, coat each chicken piece in the flour, then the egg wash, then lastly the spicy bread crumbs. Place on top of the rack on your baking sheet and drizzle each piece with olive oil. Bake for 15-17 minutes until the chicken is no longer pink. For my oven, 15 minutes was good. Remove from the oven and if you like extra spicy give each chicken nugget a sprinkle of a little more cayenne.
5. While the chicken is baking, make the blue cheese dipping sauce. In a medium pot over medium heat, add the half & half and heat until you see a little steam coming off the cream. It doesn’t need to be bubbling, you just want it hot enough to melt the cheese. Whisk in the flour, then add the blue cheese and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a serving bowl and let cool.
On a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the spiciest, I’d rate this about a 3. You can definitely make this hotter if that’s what you like, but I find I like enough heat to tell it’s spicy without burning my mouth off!
Keywords: chicken nuggets, spicy chicken nuggets