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A Year of Slow Cooking

Friday, September 12, 2008

CrockPot Chicken Nuggets Recipe

Day 256.

I got the neatest email from Melissa yesterday, explaining how she made chicken nuggets for her children. I was really impressed with how she layered the chicken pieces on top of foil that was punched with little holes to allow steam to escape.

I made some yesterday, and while I don't think I had quite as much success as she had, I will most definitely try them again, and I love it that I have a freezer bag full of nuggets to heat up for lunches and snacks.


The Ingredients.

--4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
--4 T butter or olive oil (I used butter)
--4 eggs
--1 cup breadcrumbs, or a mixture of cracker, cereal, tortilla chip, etc. crumbs.
--1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
--1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
--1 T flax seed meal (optional---I threw it in. They'll never know.)

The Directions.

I used 6 chicken breast halves, and layered the cut up pieces in a 6 quart Smart Set Crock-Pot.

Make sure the chicken is fully thawed. Cut into child-size pieces. I found that the smaller pieces I made cooked better than the larger ones. The larger ones also didn't get crispy on top---stick to about 2 inch pieces.

In a bowl, mix the melted butter or oil with the egg. Blend up the cracker and cereal crumbs to make a fine bread crumb mixture and pour into a pie plate.

Spray your crockpot with cooking spray. I did not. You really should.

Dip each piece of chicken in the egg mixture, and then toss in the crumbs. Put a layer of battered chicken pieces in the bottom of the crock. When the bottom is full, add a piece of aluminum foil. Poke tiny holes in the foil to allow steam to escape. I found that the layer I did with the most holes worked the best, and the layer I skimped on resulted in soggy topping. The holes are important.

I made 4 layers with 6 cut-up chicken breast halves.

Cover your crock, but vent the lid with a wooden spoon or chopstick. Cook on high for 2-4 hours. Melissa's took 2 hours to cook, my batch took 4. After cooking, we both left our crockpots on warm for a few hours before eating.

The Verdict.

These were really good. I had a few in the middle that were soggy that I ate, and gave the kids the ones that were crunchier. I was impressed with the topping, and the kids didn't freak out, so they must have been okay too. My eldest daughter thought they were store bought until her sister said that we made them in the crockpot.

My kids now emphasize in the crockpot! when describing food which cracks me up.

Thank you for sharing your experience with me/us, Melissa!
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itsahumanzoo said...

Thank you for posting this! I am always on the lookout for snacky-type foods or easy lunches I can make in big batches to freeze for when I'm lazy. (Which is more often as I get further into my pregnancy.) I will have to get some foil and give it a try!

Sisters Savings said...

Yummy, I think I am going to try this today! You made me laugh, I just posted on my blog a story about "burnt toast". You are totally the burnt toast eater..(you ate the soggy ones and gave the kids the crunchy ones)=)..Thanks for such a great blog!

Carli said...

I have an idea!

What if you took a cooling rack (I have a small round one) and put that inside the crockpot. I bet that would make for a much crispier nugget. Im seeing some chicken parm in my future.

HDMac said...

This sounds like a great recipe to try. I, also, like to have things like this made up and in the freezer to throw into my hubbies lunchbox! :)

Crockpot Lady said...

itsahumanzoo, oh my, that might be the best name ever! lol.

sisters saving, yup! we also get the food that touches or "looks weird"---we need some sort of super hero cape!

carli, YES! I think some sort of all-in-one oval shaped cooling rack with 3 or 4 levels would be awesome. We could do cookies, then!
I think the crockpot is taking the place of my childhood want for an easy bake oven. :-)

hdmac, glad to help!


Veggiemomof2 said...

Not sure about the recipe but LOVE that plate :)

Jenna said...


I'm trying to plan most of my cooking using my far more efficient electric gadgets then the gas stove this winter... and this is something I had never even considered.

Highly cool. Gonna have to try these. (wonder how they'd do if I marinated the chicken the night before and then breaded..... hmmm. To the lab! - I mean, cough, kitchen.)

Anonymous said...

I am definitely going to try this this weekend. I noticed you have those dried peas things as one of your dried items.

My question for you is are they considered a vegetable? they sure are at our place! baby crack!

Kellie said...

My husband just "commented"/suggested that I should try making my own nuggets to save money (dino nuggets are, sadly, a staple in my house)my response was not to kind :) but I never thought of using a crockpot...thanks for the recipe...I can't wait to try it!!! (and my hubby will be happy too)

Melissa said...

I don't think I could have been more excited than if I'd gotten an email from Brad Pitt this morning. I feel like I'm on the outskirts of famous!

Sorry yours didn't come out quite as well as mine. The cooking spray would probably help, and you're right about more holes being better. I find that, whenever I want something crispy in the crockpot, I have to find ways to get the steam out. So the aluminum foil makes it possible to cook another layer, but can also trap steam if there's not enough places for it to get out.

You made a lot more than I did, too, so it's nice to know that I could make these in bulk and freeze for lunches.

I just love your blog! Thanks!

Abby said...

I made some homemade chicken nuggets that I {gasp} deep fried. As I was making them, I wondered if you had tried chicken nuggets in the crockpot. No joke. I was going to visit you blog today to see if I could find a recipe. I about fell out of my chair when I read the title of today's post in my Google reader feed.

Thanks for sharing!

Sarah said...

Am I missing something? There MUST be some way to easily print out the recipe so I don't either have to
A. Hand-write the whole thing out
B. Run back and forth from my kitchen to your website while preparing dinner!!

P.S I can't wait to try these gluten free crock pot chicken nuggets. One of my celiac kiddos may even request this for his birthday dinner next week!

Crockpot Lady said...

bwhahaa, NO! you're supposed to have the laptop on the kitchen counter, like me! ;-)

I've found the best way is to highlight the text I want and use the print selection button on my print menu. Or you can copy and paste in to a word processing document.


MomE said...

I've been looking for a gluten free breading idea for nuggets for my youngest (1 year old) so he can seem "normal" when his sister gets nuggets from the freezer. I'm sooo excited about this! Thank you!!

Andrea said...

Awesome one! I love your site...seriously! And, now my kiddos will love it too - I never make chicken nuggets but will plan on it next week :-)

Astrid said...

FANTASTIC! My girls love chicken nuggets and this seems like an easy way to make a stash for the freezer. Thanks for the tip about the alu foil!

oh...I bought that dress that you had a link to yesterday. :) At least dh is okay with that!

Marita said...

They look amazing. I will have to try these.

Shelley said...

Those look delicious! Nuggets in the crock pot...genius! My girls will love it! But, they gotta have Ranch dressing!

I came over here to see if you had ever made Hungarian Goulash in your crock before, but I don't see it. Maybe I'll attempt it on my own...wish me luck! :)

Marita said...

BTW Laptop in the kitchen is a great idea. Until you do what I just did and end up with cheesecake mixture flying everywhere off your mixer. My poor laptop does not like being covered in cheesecake. Would it be wrong to lick it clean :grin:

Beverly J. said...

Hey Stephanie, these nuggets are a great idea. Can't wait to try them!

Incidentally, I've noticed your comments several times about making sure to spray the pot with Pam first. Have you ever tried those crockpot liners? I know it would be terribly wasteful on a regular basis but maybe when you're doing something particularly sticky or gushy. Just wondered.

Crockpot Lady said...

Hi Beverly, I haven't tried those out , yet. I really should. I've gotten a lot of feedback from readers that they are awesome and really help with clean-up. As of now, Adam is my clean-up, so I'm not terribly bothered.

that probably sounds bad, huh? ;-)


Mimi said...

Woo-hoo! My 17 month old nephew adores chicken nuggets and this would be so much better than the store bought mished-mashed random chicken pieces ones for him. You are the coolest Steph and Melissa. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hey it's Casandra in Cleveland. I really think that you need your own line of CP accessories. You could do a souped up chop stick and charge $20 each. Or the layered rack or perforated foil. But best you could sell mini Adams as a cleaning tool! Honestly, I have no idea why one of the network morning shows hasn't picked you up as a regular correspondant. I would MUCH rather watch you make one of these recipes than a restaurant chef make a meal I wouldn't eat with stuff I don't have on hand anyway. Keep up the good work! You are appreciated!

Carolyn said...

sounds yummy!

Of course, I would add the Sneaky Chef component (which I do all the time now, regardless of what I am making) and add pureed cauliflower or sweet potato to the egg wash, and probably some extra wheat germ to the breading (though the flax sounds good as well).

Sara said...

This sounds really interesting, I don't use my crockpot nearly enough! I noticed in one of your other posts a Lunardi's meat wrapper - I LOVE Lunardis!

Beverly J. said...

Steph -- I always feel guilty using them since I know it's PLASTIC and widening my "carbon footprint." But occasionally I am lazy and give in.

Just occasionally. Really.

Sheila in Ohio said...

I am so anxious to try these!! Can you indulge me with a couple of questions? Does the Smart crockpot differ in 'how' it cooks rather than just shape and the warming feature. I guess my question is, really, are these going to work in a regular crockpot? Also, did you lay foil right on top of the layer below? Or did you suspend/hang each layer of foil from the sides of the pot?

Love the blog!

Crockpot Lady said...

Hi Sheila,

the Smart Pot will allow users to leave the house for extended periods of time and will turn to warm automatically after a set time.

It is not necessary to use for nuggets, and I'd recommend sticking around to keep an eye on them, anyhow.

I did layer the foil right on top. I found that the layer with a LOT of holes (I used both a fork and a steak knife) cooked better, and the nuggets on the edge cooked faster.

We have now had our frozen nuggets twice for lunch---and they re-heated well--once I used the microwave, and once the oven.


Russ said...

I made these today before going to church. I actually made them from memory - and left the butter out of the egg mix. But I sprayed the crockpot and then using 3 chicken breasts cut in 2 in pieces, dipped in each in the egg and homemade bread crumbs seasoned with McCormicks' Montreal Chicken seasoning. I followed your directions and punched a lot of holes and left it proped open. Then I went down and read your blog again. Realizing I forgot the butter I quickly melted a couple tablespoons and poured it on the top layer of chicken pieces. I left it unattended for 4 hours while I was at church and we came home to delicious chicken nuggets. My son, who is taking culinary arts at school (under duress) asked if he could take this recipe in to class. I will definitely make this again!! Thanks Stephanie and Melissa! I will pass this on to my gluten free friends!

Martha said...

My friend Susan posted a link to this on the Feingold Board. Thanks Susan!

One thing I have done in the past when making chicken nuggets is to put the breading (I like to use potato chips with garlic and onion powder mixed in) in a ziploc bag. Then I can just add some chicken nuggests and shake to coat. ;-)

Can't wait to try this recipe!

seanchaĆ­ said...

I just stumbled across your blog tonight and have spent the last hour going back through your ENTIRE archive of postings and bookmarking all over the place. What a fabulous idea!

Heather said...

Hi Stephanie!

I have a question. My crockpot has 3 settings; keep warm, low and high, and it will cook things on keep warm. I work, so my question is, do you think it would cook these if I left it on keep warm all day, or do you think they would be too dried out?

Melissa said...

Made these tonight and they came out great! I used the pointy end of a wooden kabob skewer to make the holes - very easy to make a ton that way. Only suggestion would be to spray the aluminum foil layers, too - I had some nuggets that stuck to the foil. Great recipe!

CJ, Laura, Madison and Morgan said...

genius! i will be trying these very soon for my nugget-lovin' 3 and 4 year old :).

Minde said...

I tried these twice-how do I get the top ones not to burn and the middle ones not to be soggy at the same time! I thought I had put lots of "steam holes"

Crockpot Lady said...

Hi Minde, I don't know! eek, I'm sorry you're having a hard time, I hate that!
I really don't know---maybe use a wire wrack instead, or just bake in the oven...

crystal said...

thanks for posting ,i actually have these in the crockpot right now i cant wait on them to finish so i can try them. im also one of these that brings the laptop to the counter lol

Pam said...

Revisiting the archives to ward off withdrawalfrom lack of daily posts.

Here's a tip for making sure you get lots of holes with the little effort.

Roll up your length of foil so you have multiple layers. Lay foil on something that "gives" - maybe a rolled up (clean) dish towel.

Now take Granny Fork (use google image search if don't know what one looks like) and start poking. Most have only 3 (sharp!) tines, but they'll make "fatter" holes than a regular fork.

Elizabeth said...

We are a GF family, and my youngest is also very allergic to eggs. Do you think these would work without the egg? Maybe just with butter?

Crockpot Lady said...

sure! give it a try.

Bektold said...

You can also substitute milk for the egg.

Netta said...

I'm so excited to make this today for my fam!

Melissa said...

These are absolutely awesome!!! I have read others' comments about some getting soggy while some are almost burnt on the edges - here is what I did...After about 3 hours on high, I removed all the foil that formed the layers and simply cooked for another hour on high, stirring about every 15 mins. Also, the nuggets on the bottom of the crock pot got dark, so you may want to put a layer of foil there initially instead of sitting them right on the bottom. Great recipe, made the house smell wonderfully & the kids were so excited to have homemade nuggets!!! Thank you for helping me cook a healthy alternative to the "junk" nuggets in stores - my kids don't want to get those again!!!

My 3 Girls said...

My 3 girls, even the 1 year old, loved this.. I thought it was very good. I ran out of gluten free bread crumbs so I used crushed gluten free crackers. The older ones asked to take it to school cold for lunch the next day but did not like it cold. Will definitely do again and make leftovers.

Nicole said...

I tried these nuggests in my crockpot, but honestly, after 2.5 hours they were no where near done and I was in a time crunch.
So I pulled them out, put them on a foiled lined cookie sheet and popped them in the oven for 12 minutes and OH MY! They were delish! My son loved them. Served with some GF mac n cheese and some broccli he couldn't get enough.

ccme said...

I wonder if we could cook premade frozen chicken nuggets in the crock pot instead of turning the oven on for 30 minutes for 5 chicken nuggets. Has anyone tried that?

Kristin A. said...

I'm trying these tonight. I really hope they turn out OK. I just used a knife and slit a bunch of holes in my foil and I made sure to vent so here goes!

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