Better Than the Snack Bar Baked Chicken Nuggets…with all the sauces. And I do mean ALL the sauces. Never enough sauce. These chicken nuggets are breaded and seasoned, oven-baked, then dipped in an assortment of sauces. Everything from creamy honey mustard, to caesar, to BBQ, to ranch. The options are endless and so delicious. This is what I call snack bar food at home. These nuggets are baked, not fried, and so much tastier. Serve with oven-baked french fries and veggies for an easy kid-friendly summer dinner that’s so much fun and full of flavor.

Better Than The Snack Bar Baked Chicken Nuggets...with all the sauces | halfbakedharvest.com

Well, this is a fun recipe! I speak about this every single summer, but to me, summer is about taking yourself back to being a kid for a few months. Which includes enjoying all the fun summertime food. Growing up on the lake in Ohio meant our summers were hot and humid. If we weren’t swimming in the lake, we were at the pool. The pool was always slightly preferred because, hello…the snack bar. Anyone who spent their childhood summers at their local pool knows all too well about the snack bar.

They’re not fancy, but they’re the best. I was a chicken fingers and soft-serve ice kind of kid, but my brothers lived on the slushies.

Anyway, these chicken fingers are inspired by those snack bar chicken fingers that I’d get all summer long.

Better Than The Snack Bar Baked Chicken Nuggets...with all the sauces | halfbakedharvest.com

But I also had another source of inspo, my brother Creighton. Creigh loves himself some chicken nuggets. Mickey D nuggets, freezer nuggets, high school cafeteria nuggets (he says those were the best)…he loves them all.

But the most important factor to a good nugget?

The sauces. Crieghton says you need lots and lots of sauces. He’s a double-dip kind of guy, and he also loves to mix sauces. So this week I set out to recreate his favorites, but to make them even better and healthier too. We’re also not frying these nuggets, we’re baking them!

Better Than The Snack Bar Baked Chicken Nuggets...with all the sauces | halfbakedharvest.com

Here are the details

We’re not frying these nuggets, we’re baking them! So start by mixing up an egg with some pickle juice and then toss in the trimmed chicken tenders. The is our “glue”, it helps adhere the breading onto the chicken. The pickle juice is key. I’ve heard this is what Chick-Fil-A does for their nuggets. And I have to say, it really does add something special.

Next, combine finely crushed cornflake crumbs with Panko breadcrumbs. The cornflakes are key. As the chicken bakes in the oven, the breading “fries” and becomes extra crisp.

Now bake the chicken in the oven until it crisps all over. My secret is to gently drizzle the chicken with olive oil before it bakes. This helps the coating to really crisp up nicely in the oven. You can’t skip this step, it’s crucial.

Better Than The Snack Bar Baked Chicken Nuggets...with all the sauces | halfbakedharvest.com

While the nuggets bake, make your sauces

Ok, so there are a lot of sauces to this recipe. I of course do not expect you to make them all. Though if you are having a dinner party I would recommend whipping them all up. This gives everyone some delicious options for dipping.

For now, instead of making them all, pick one or two of your favorites. Each of the sauces is incredibly easy to mix up and requires nothing fancy. These don’t take much time at all.

Better Than The Snack Bar Baked Chicken Nuggets...with all the sauces | halfbakedharvest.com

Included in today’s recipe are creamy honey mustard, caesar dressing, sweet chili, and BBQ ranch. Of course, ketchup is always recommended as well. Oh, and a buffalo sauce would be great too, but I had to draw the line somewhere…trust me I wanted to make and include them all!

Each sauce is just as easy as the next. Simply combine all the ingredients and taste for salt. No cooking or blending in a food processor is required!

All the sauces are SO GOOD! My favorite is honestly good ole’ ketchup, but I do really love the honey mustard. It is SO GOOD, my favorite combo right now. And that homemade caesar dressing (also very obsessed with this).

Better Than The Snack Bar Baked Chicken Nuggets...with all the sauces | halfbakedharvest.com

So, the real question is…

Which sauce or sauces are you all about??

So curious to know? Please, please tell me in the comments. And if I missed any great ones, you have to inform me of them!

So in the end, Creighton was EXCITED! In fact, he said I made his week with these. He said the sauces are all “gas”…whatever that means.

Got to love him. He’s always got something funny to say.

I’d recommend serving these with home-baked french fries and plenty of veggies on the side. Great for a weeknight, fun for a summer dinner party, or even to take on a picnic. However you serve these up, they’re guaranteed to be a hit!

Better Than The Snack Bar Baked Chicken Nuggets...with all the sauces | halfbakedharvest.com

Looking for other fun, kid-friendly dinners? Here are some favorites:

Easy Southern Style Baked Mac and Cheese

Oven Baked Tuscan Fries

Peanut Butter Mocha Oreo Ice Cream Sandwiches

Lastly, if you make these Better Than the Snack Bar Baked Chicken Nuggets, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Better Than the Snack Bar Baked Chicken Nuggets...with all the sauces

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 190 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

Creamy Honey Mustard

Caesar Sauce

Sweet Chili

Buffalo Sauce

  • 1/4 cup hot sauce (I like Franks red hot)
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 450° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
    2. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and pickle juice. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Combine the cornflakes, Panko, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, and a pinch of pepper to a bowl.
    3. Dredge the chicken through the crumbs, pressing to adhere. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
    4. To make each sauce, combine all ingredients in a bowl. Taste and season with salt.

Better Than The Snack Bar Baked Chicken Nuggets...with all the sauces | halfbakedharvest.com

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Comments

  1. I made these last night with gf corn flakes and panko. BEST chicken tendies I’ve ever had in my life! Seriously- make this recipe now!

  2. I made these last night with gf corn flakes and panko. BEST chicken tendies I’ve ever had in my life! Seriously- make this recipe now!

  3. Do you know how well these would freeze and taste warmed in microwave? Oven always better I’m sure, but my college girl is always-on-the-go:). Thank you for beautiful yummy recipes:)

    1. Hey Sherri,
      I think that would be just fine to do! I hope you enjoy the recipe. Please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  4. 5 stars
    Everyone loved them. Really easy to prepare! Will definitely make again.
    Well done!
    Thank you!!
    Kimberly

    1. Hey Kimberly,
      Fantastic! Thanks a lot for making this recipe, I am so glad that it was enjoyed!! Have a great Tuesday. xxTieghan

  5. Absolutely delicious! Everyone loved them. Really easy to prepare!
    Well done!
    Thank you!!
    Kimberly

    1. Hey Kimberly,
      Fantastic! Thanks a lot for making this recipe, I am so glad that it was enjoyed!! Have a great Tuesday. xxTieghan

  6. Just checking; the ingredient list has Kosher Salt but the instructions dont say where to add the salt but it does say a ‘pinch of pepper’. Which is it?

    1. Hey Jackie,
      You can also add some salt with the pepper. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

    1. Hey there,
      Happy Friday! Thanks so much for making this recipe, I am delighted that it was enjoyed! xxTieghan

  7. 5 stars
    I have tried other homemade nugget recipes to tempt one of my kiddos who is a very selective eater. He has rejected them all until this one. He says next time I need to make “100 pounds” of these. Thank you!

    1. Hey Andrea,
      Fantastic! I am thrilled that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for giving it a try! xxTieghan

      1. Hey Carla,
        Love to hear this! Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try, I am so glad it was enjoyed! xTieghan

  8. 5 stars
    So so so good! We had these last night and they were a huge hit. My 2 year old kept wanting more and more. I made the honey mustard sauce (which my husband loved) and the sweet Thai Chile sauce (which was my favorite). Definitely will recommend and already shared the recipe with my sister to try.

    1. Hey Maureen,
      Fantastic! I am thrilled that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for giving it a try! xxTieghan

  9. Hello, My girls would love these. Was wondering about making extra and freezing them. What would you suggest? Would I be able to freeze these after breading them? Or should I bake, cool and then freeze?

    What would you suggest on bake time for frozen?

    Thanks!

    1. Hey Jenn,
      These would be totally fine to free before baking. To bake from frozen I would increase your baking time to at least 30 minutes. I hope you enjoy the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  10. 5 stars
    Holy Moly these are SOOOOOOOO so yummy! We made these tonight and my kiddos and husband loved them! Such a hit. Thanks for sharing xoxo

    1. Hey Danielle,
      Thanks so much for making this recipe, I am so glad to hear that it was enjoyed! Have a wonderful day:) xTieghan

    1. Hey Elizabeth,
      Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad it was enjoyed. Have the best week:) xTieghan

  11. 5 stars
    These are absolutely delicious! Crispy outside, tender inside – the whole family loved them! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hey Sandra,
      Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad it was enjoyed. Have the best week:) xTieghan

    1. Hey Lisa,
      You can do either one, I used a food processor. I hope you enjoy this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  12. I made this tonight and my husband said it was excellent. So easy to make! Next time I’ll try it also with tofu for me as I am a vegetarian. Great fun with the sauces. Thanks for another fabulous recipe!

    1. Hey Deb,
      Happy Sunday!! I am thrilled this recipe was enjoyed. Thanks so much for giving it a go! xxTieghan

  13. Made these yesterday and literally took them to the pool with my boys. So good – we ate them all! I’m wondering how to cook them in an air fryer? I’m converted to frozen nuggets in the air fryer and Id love to try these in there.

    1. Hey Sarah,
      Happy Sunday!! I am thrilled this recipe was enjoyed. Thanks so much for giving it a go! Sorry, I haven’t tested these in the air fryer, but let me know if you give it a try. xxTieghan

    1. I asked the same thing 🙂

      Hey Christina,
      Here you go:
      Greek Yogurt Ranch
      1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
      2 tablespoon buttermilk

      2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives
      1 teaspoon dried parsley
      1 teaspoon dried dill
      1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
      1/2 teaspoon onion powder
      kosher salt and black pepper

      Please let me know if you have any questions! xTieghan

    2. Hey Lacey,
      Here you go:
      Greek Yogurt Ranch
      1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
      2 tablespoon buttermilk

      2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives
      1 teaspoon dried parsley
      1 teaspoon dried dill
      1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
      1/2 teaspoon onion powder
      kosher salt and black pepper

      Please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hey Jessie,
      Here is one you might like:
      Chipotle Sesame Sauce
      2 chipotle peppers in adobo, finely chopped, plus 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
      3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

      1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
      1 tablespoon honey
      2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
      kosher salt

      Please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hey Susan,
      I used dill pickle juice, but any of those that you enjoy will work just fine! I hope you enjoy this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  14. 5 stars
    What are the quantities for the ranch ingredients? The chicken nuggets are DELICIOUS and need to try the ranch next time but it wasn’t on the list—only the Instagram story!

    1. Hey Jessica,
      Here is my recipe for the ranch:
      Greek Yogurt Ranch
      1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
      2 tablespoon buttermilk

      2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives
      1 teaspoon dried parsley
      1 teaspoon dried dill
      1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
      1/2 teaspoon onion powder
      kosher salt and black pepper

      Please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hey Janae,
      Here you go:
      Greek Yogurt Ranch
      1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
      2 tablespoon buttermilk

      2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives
      1 teaspoon dried parsley
      1 teaspoon dried dill
      1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
      1/2 teaspoon onion powder
      kosher salt and black pepper

      Please let me know if you have any questions! xTieghan

  15. Can you share the ranch dip you made? I see the ingredients on Instagram, but would love measurements!

    1. Hey Christina,
      Here you go:
      Greek Yogurt Ranch
      1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
      2 tablespoon buttermilk

      2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives
      1 teaspoon dried parsley
      1 teaspoon dried dill
      1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
      1/2 teaspoon onion powder
      kosher salt and black pepper

      Please let me know if you have any questions! xTieghan

  16. Any chance you could make these and freeze them prior to baking? Would be a great thing for the kids to reach for i.e. not processed!

    1. Hey Cathy,
      Absolutely, that would work well for you! I hope this recipe turns out amazing for you, let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

    1. Hey Annette,
      I just dill pickle juice, but either one will work just fine! I hope you enjoy this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  17. YUM!! Can’t wait to try. What are your thoughts on using an air fryer/how long should it cook for?

    1. Hey Samantha,
      Sorry, I’ve not tested these in an air fryer, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work for you. Let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  18. 5 stars
    I made them. I have no photos. I have no leftovers. There’s only three people in my house, including a 22 month old. 😳 Thank you for this recipe. It is legitimately delicious and so much better than fast food. 👌🏾 I’m literally *shook* at the honey mustard and may never buy it again. Thanks Tieghan!

    1. Hey Johnetta,
      Wonderful! That’s so great to hear this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it! Have a great Friday:) xTieghan

  19. Oh maaaan, all these sauces look incredible! Definitely going to try these. And gas!! hahaha, that makes me laugh. I listen to the podcast Better Together with Maria Menounos (highly recommmend, btw) and on the Friday special, Regular Guy Friday, they were talking about all the current terms and lingo. Gas is good! hehe

    1. Hey Jenn,
      Thanks so much!! I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  20. Hi Tieghan, This recipe looks and sounds like a huge winner for my family! One problem….cannot use Corn Flake Crumbs due to allergy. Would Panko or regular coarse crumbs work? Or….what do you suggest?
    Delicious Wishes
    Yvonne
    Thanks for all your recipes and for your great Nine Favorite Things which I enjoy with my Sunday morning coffee!

    1. Hey Yvonne,
      Sure! Panko would work just fine here. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  21. When I used to dine on Mickey D’s McNuggets, my go-to sauce was always the Sweet N Sour – sometimes mixed in some Hot Mustard.

    1. Hey Ellen,
      Yes, that is correct. I hope the recipe turns out amazing for you, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  22. Absolutely loved reading this. Love your sauces. One I would add is Buffalo hot sauce. I mix that with ranch. Yep, that’s the combo!

    1. Hey Peggy,
      Use whichever you prefer, the recipe is great with either! I hope you love them, please let me know if you give the recipe a try! xTieghan

  23. What kind of pickle juice are you using? Dill? Sweet? Or it doesn’t matter? What exactly are chicken tenders? Just breast meat? We don’t have chicken labelled like that here in Canada. Or at least not where I live .

    1. A personally don’t prefer tenders (which is just a cut of a certain part of the breast). I buy boneless chicken breasts and cut into pieces.

    2. Hey Colleen,
      Any kind of pickle juice that you enjoy will work here. If you can’t find chicken tenders, then just use chicken breasts and cut into bite sized pieces. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

      1. Hey Ellie,
        Here you go:
        Greek Yogurt Ranch
        1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
        2 tablespoon buttermilk

        2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives
        1 teaspoon dried parsley
        1 teaspoon dried dill
        1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
        1/2 teaspoon onion powder
        kosher salt and black pepper

        Please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan