These Garlic Butter Chicken Bites with lemon asparagus are a healthier version of your favorite crispy chicken nuggets. This delicious dinner is a quick and light meal for busy weeknights. Oh, and it takes about 30 minutes to make.
How much do you love to dig into a tender, juicy piece of chicken with a hot and crispy crust?
Sure, most homemade chicken nuggets recipes are high in fat from deep-frying. But these light and flavorful Garlic Butter Chicken Bites are coated in a light panko crust and baked in the oven.
So not only does this recipe skip the added oil, but it also comes with fresh green asparagus coated in lemon butter for a light, but satisfying meal.
If you’re on board for a healthier oven-baked chicken nuggets recipe that comes together super quick, asparagus and all, then let’s get cooking!
First, check out my usual helpful Tips & Tricks:
How To Make Garlic Butter Chicken Bites With Lemon Asparagus – Best Tips & Tricks
1. What ingredients can be replaced in this homemade chicken nuggets recipe?
If you don’t have all of the ingredients on hand, here are some easy swaps that will still make tender, crispy oven-baked chicken nuggets.
If you’re out of butter, you can use clarified butter or ghee for both the chicken nuggets and the asparagus.
For a Paleo, Keto, and Whole30 version of crispy baked chicken bites, you’ll need to replace the butter as above, and the panko breadcrumbs and flour with almond flour.
Also, other cuts of meat will work just as well for these garlic butter chicken bites. The recipe calls for boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but thighs or even turkey will work.
2. What is the best way to make panko chicken nuggets?
There are a few different ways to make garlic butter chicken bites that are crispy on the outside and moist on the inside.
1. First, you can follow my recipe for pan-frying the breaded chicken and finishing it in the oven. With this method, you brown the panko crust on the stove and you don’t need to worry about cooking the chicken all the way through. Then, the breaded chicken bites take about 10 minutes in the oven to finish cooking.
2. Secondly, you can make a classic chicken nugget by deep-frying the breaded chicken. For this method, you’ll need to cut the chicken into slightly smaller pieces than the original recipe calls for. This way, they’ll cook quickly in the hot oil.
- Heat the butter and oil in a nonstick skillet*.
- When the oil is hot, gently add in the breaded chicken bites. Be sure not to overcrowd the pan.
- Cook the chicken, flipping the pieces frequently for even cooking, until they’re fully browned on all sides. This should take about 8 to 10 minutes on the stove.
- Finally, remove the chicken and place on a paper-towel-lined plate to drain off any excess oil before serving.
It’s worth noting here that this method requires a higher quantity of oil (as needed).
3. You can also go the full-oven route and bake the chicken nuggets. To do this, place the breaded chicken pieces directly on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Roast the chicken in the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until it’s cooked through and the crust is golden brown. You’ll want to turn the chicken pieces over about halfway through cooking to ensure even browning.
4. Finally, you can make these garlic butter chicken bites in an air fryer*:
- Start by preheating the air fryer to 390°F.
- Then fill the air fryer basket with a single layer of breaded chicken bites and lightly spray with cooking oil or butter.
- Close the air fryer and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. You may need to cook the homemade chicken nuggets in batches to avoid overcrowding the basket. The chicken bites should be just as crispy and golden brown as ever.
Whichever cooking method you use to make these crispy chicken bites, it’s always helpful to check the internal temperature of the meat before serving. Chicken is fully cooked at 165°F (75°C).
3. What to serve with garlic butter chicken bites?
These Panko chicken nuggets go great with most vegetable side dishes. My favorite is lemon asparagus. It’s bright and zesty next to the chicken and so easy to cook right in the same skillet.
Fresh salads also pair well with these panko chicken nuggets. And here are some of my favorites:
- Try my Vegan Thai Rice Salad for a South Asian twist on your meal.
- Or go the Mediterranean with Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad.
- Cowboy Caviar with Italian Dressing is an especially crunchy and colorful side dish for homemade chicken nuggets.
- For a sweeter touch, dress up your oven-baked chicken nuggets with Mango and Avocado Salsa.
- Or for a basic all-purpose side dish, try zucchini noodles and a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper.
4. How to make homemade chicken nuggets sweet and spicy
It’s easy to mix up the flavors in this oven-baked chicken bites recipe. For a sweet and spicy twist, make a quick two-ingredient sauce by combining equal parts honey and sriracha.
Drizzle the sweet-spicy dressing over your hot chicken bites right before serving. The honey will melt into the crispy panko crust and you’ll get a hit of spice and sweetness in every bite.
5. Can I serve the Panko chicken nuggets as an appetizer?
This recipe makes a fantastic appetizer! To turn these chicken nuggets into crowd-pleasing finger food, simply insert skewers into each chicken bite. Arrange them on a platter with some other fun appetizers and watch them disappear!
That’s all for today, but I’m sure you’re already anxious to get into the kitchen and get breading, frying, and baking some delicious garlic butter chicken bites for your friends and family!
For even more satisfying chicken recipes and vegetable-packed side dishes, be sure to Subscribe to my Youtube Channel. See you there!
More Chicken Recipes:
Garlic Butter Chicken Bites With Lemon Asparagus
- 1.2 lb (545g) chicken breasts - boneless, skinless
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Sea salt and ground black pepper - to taste
- 1/4 cup (31g) plain flour
- 2 large eggs - beaten
- 1 1/4 cup (70g) panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp (30g) butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
For the Lemon Asparagus:
- 14-16 spears asparagus - 1 large bunch, ends trimmed
- 1 tbsp butter - melted
- 1 lemon - juiced (or 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice)
- 1/2 tbsp lemon zest - or zest of 1/2 lemon
- sea salt and ground pepper - to taste
- 1/2 lemon - cut into wedges
- curly parsley - chopped, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Cut the chicken into large bite-sized cubes, then sprinkle with garlic powder, sea salt, and ground black pepper.
- Prepare 3 bowls: one with flour, one with beaten eggs, and a third with panko breadcrumbs.
- Add one plate next to the bowls to hold the coated chicken.
- Lightly coat each piece of chicken with flour, then dip into the beaten eggs, then into the panko breadcrumbs, gently pressing to adhere breadcrumbs to all sides. Repeat with all chicken pieces and set aside on the prepared plate.
- Heat a large oven-proof skillet over medium heat.
- Add butter and olive oil, and once hot carefully place the coated chicken bites into the skillet.
- Fry the chicken, turning to brown all sides, for 3-5 minutes, until a crisp crust forms. You don't need to fully cook the chicken bites at this stage, as we will finish them in the oven. You might also have to cook them in 2 batches, so you don't overcrowd the pan.
- Once all the chicken bites are nicely golden, bring them to the side of the pan.
- Place the asparagus into the pan next to the chicken.
- Drizzle the melted butter and lemon juice over, then sprinkle with lemon zest, salt, and pepper.
- Transfer the pan to the preheated oven and bake until the chicken is golden brown and fully cooked, and the asparagus is crisp-tender, about 10-12 minutes.
- Add garnishes of choice and serve
- For easy ingredient swaps, including other cuts of meat that work for homemade chicken nuggets, see Tip 1.
- Tip 2 includes the best ways to cook these garlic butter chicken bites, from stovetop to air fryer*.
- For my recommendations on dishes to serve with your Panko chicken nuggets, read Tip 3.
- If you want to put a sweet and spicy twist on these crispy bites, be sure to get my simple recipe in Tip 4.
- Tip 5 includes the easiest way to transform this meal into a fun party appetizer.
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