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Pickle-Brined Chicken Nuggets


  • Brine
  • 1/2 cup dill pickle juice
  • tsp natural sugar (such as Sugar in the Raw or Turbinado, optional)

  • Nuggets
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • ¾ cup flour (the original called for all-purpose, I used oat flour)
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional, depending on your tolerance for heat)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups Cornflake crumbs (there are lots of great organic, non-GMO choices out there)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 cups coconut oil, for frying + more, if needed


  • Brine
  • Combine the pickle juice and sugar in a bowl, stirring until the sugar has dissolved

  • Nuggets
  • Trim the chicken breasts and place them, one at a time, in a gallon-sized zip-top bag. Seal the bag, pressing out as much air as you're able
  • Using the flat side of a meat mallet or rolling pin, pound the chicken to an even thickness. Repeat with the remaining breast
  • Cut the chicken into shapes, place in a bowl, and cover with the brine.
  • Chill in the fridge for 2-4 hours before removing the pieces and roughly drying them with paper towels
  • Prepare your ‘crumbing’ station with three bowls. In the first bowl, put the flour, cayenne pepper (if using), garlic powder, pepper, and salt.
  • In the second, the whisked eggs
  • In the third, the paprika and Cornflake crumbs

  • In a deep-sided skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 365º F
  • While the oil is heating up, take the chicken pieces, a few at a time, and roll them first in the flour mix, then in the egg wash, and finally in the crumb mix
  • Place them on a large plate or baking tray, repeating until they've all been coated
  • Add the nuggets to the oil in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry for about 4 minutes on each side, before removing and placing on paper towels
  • If needed, add more oil, allowing it to come back up to temp before starting another batch
  • Let the nuggets cool slightly before serving