The classic comfort-food meal gets a nourishing revamp with these healthy chicken nuggets and homemade french fries! Panko breaded chicken breast is pan-fried in avocado oil and french fries are baked until roasted perfection.
the perfect side to healthy chicken nuggets- How to prep the potatoes for french fries
Disclaimer: the best type of potato to use in this recipe are russet potatoes! You can try other varieties and follow this same method, but I can’t guarantee the same results!
To prepare the fries, first make sure your potatoes are washed & dried well. Potatoes typically have a LOT of dirt on them, so I like to fill a large bowl with warm water and produce wash and soak the potatoes for 10 minutes before rinsing.
Once dried, it’s time to slice the potatoes. I find it easiest to slice the potato in half lengthwise, and then cut ½ in. slices lengthwise, then lay those flat and cut long strips for your fries.
After the fries have been sliced, place them in a large bowl and fill the bowl with cold water. Soak for at least 30 minutes (if that’s all you have- that’s totally fine), but I like to put the entire bowl in the fridge for 1-2 hours when I’m able to. This process removes some of the starch from the potato and will give you that crispy exterior that you want!
Drain and rinse the potato slices and lay them on a towel to dry completely before baking.
foolproof steps for perfect french fries
Preheat the oven to 350 and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Parchment is key to crispy roasted veggies!
Either in a large bowl or just on the baking sheet, drizzle 1-2 tbsp of avocado oil over the potatoes and season with 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper and 1 tbsp Italian or Tuscan seasoning. You can also add garlic powder, paprika, cumin or onion powder if you desire.
Once the oven is preheated, bake the fries at 350 for 20 minutes. Flip (if desired) the fries, turn the heat to 425, and bake for another 20 minutes or until golden brown & wonderfully crispy.
steps for prepping the healthy chicken nuggets
I personally find the best chicken to use in this healthy chicken nugget recipe is either chicken tenders or chicken breasts. If you are serving 4, you will want the equivalent of 2 chicken breasts.
Slice the chicken breasts into strips, lengthwise, and then slice into nuggets, ensuring that none of them are too thick. If they are too thick, they will not pan-fry at the same rate and the outside may burn before the inside is cooked. Once you have your chicken nuggets sliced, set them aside while you get the dredging station ready.
setting up the dredging station
A dredging station is important to keep the breading process efficient and as mess-free as possible!
In a bowl, whisk together the 2 eggs. On one half of a plate, spread the all-purpose flour out and then spread the panko on the other half. You can definitely use two separate plates for this, but less dishes=always a win in my book!
Season the panko with 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper and 1 tbsp Italian/Tuscan seasoning and mix with a fork. Using a fork or tongs (or your fingers, although they might get breading on them!), first coat the chicken nugget in the flour, then shake off excess, dip in the egg and then roll it in the panko. Shake off the excess again- it will get crispier without excess breading!
Set the chicken nuggets aside and get ready to cook them!
how to cook the healthy chicken nuggets
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. My Lodge cast-iron is what I use every time! Allow the skillet to heat for 5 minutes, and then add in a thin layer of oil. The amount will differ depending on how large your skillet is, but you want a thin, but visible, layer.
Using tongs, carefully place the chicken nuggets into the skillet, being sure to not overcrowd. You may need to do a few batches to prevent this. Cook, rotating frequently to prevent burning, for about 10 minutes or until the healthy chicken nuggets are cooked through.
optional, but highly recommended...
One of my FAVORITE ways to eat these healthy chicken nuggets is to coat them in Mike’s Hot Honey after they are done cooking. If you’ve never tried it, I highly suggest it! You could also coat in any sauce of your choice, but they are great on their own!
Healthy Chicken Nuggets & Homemade French Fries
- 2 chicken breasts or 1.5 lbs chicken tenders
- 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp Italian or Tuscan Seasoning
- 2 russet potatoes
- Cut washed russet potatoes into fry shapes. Add to a large bowl and soak in cold water for at least 30 minutes. I like to stick the bowl in the fridge and leave it for at least an hour or two. This step removes the starch from the potatoes so that they get crispier.
- After potatoes have soaked, remove and lay them on a towel to dry.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350.
- Season the potatoes with a healthy drizzle of avocado oil (1-2 tbsp), 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper, 1 tbsp Italian or Tuscan seasoning. You can also add garlic powder, onion powder, paprika or cumin if you want.
- Bake the fries at 350 for 20 minutes, then turn the oven to 425 and bake for another 20 minutes or until golden brown, flipping halfway if desired.
- Slice chicken breasts in half lengthwise and then cut into nugget shapes. The less thick, the better.
- Set up a dredging station by whisking 2 eggs in a bowl, spreading panko on one half of a plate and the bread crumbs on the other (or use two separate plates). Season the panko with 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper & 1 tbsp Italian/Tuscan seasoning.
- Bread the chicken by first coating in flour, then dipping in egg, then coating in seasoned panko. Shake off excess.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add avocado oil in a visible, thin layer.
- Add nuggets to the pan, being careful not to overcrowd, and cook for about 10 minutes, until brown on all sides and cooked through.