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How To Make Perfectly Crispy Keto Chicken Nuggets At Home

As far as keto-friendly proteins go, none are as popular and versatile as chicken. We could go on and on about the many delicious ways to prepare chicken on a keto diet, but today we’re going to be focusing on one of the most beloved dishes: chicken nuggets. You know, when you get a sudden craving for crispy, juicy nuggets or have that special someone to impress. These homemade keto chicken nuggets are the perfect solution! Not only can you customize these with your favorite spices and herbs, but they’re made without any flour or breading. That means they’re low-carb and gluten-free too! Plus, they’re ready in less than 30 minutes. Before we dive into the actual recipes, let’s go over a few tips to ensure perfectly crispy nuggets every time.

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What Are The Best Keto Substitutes For Breadcrumbs?

Breadcrumbs made from white, refined bread are a definite no-no on the keto diet. But don’t worry—plenty of healthy, low-carb substitutes can still help you enjoy your favorite dishes without sacrificing flavor or texture. 

Here are some of the best options for replacing breadcrumbs with a keto-friendly alternative:

1. Crushed Pork Rinds

Pork rinds are a culinary staple of the keto diet, and they make for a great alternative to breadcrumbs. They’re high in fat, low in carbs, and have a distinct crunch that is sure to be a hit in your dishes. 

These tasty bites are made by taking pork skin, salting it and deep-frying it. This gives the rinds a nice crunchy texture, making them an ideal replacement for breadcrumbs. To use them, simply crush the rinds in a food processor or by using a rolling pin. 

Pre-processed pork rind crumbs are also available at many grocery stores, making them a convenient option. Go for the original flavor if you just want a traditional breadcrumb taste, or mix it up with flavored varieties like ranch and chili lime. 

Note, as a high-fat food, pork rinds are calorie dense. Keep portions small to avoid overdoing it with calories.

Read More: The Perfect Keto Chicken Thighs Recipe For A Quick Dinner


2. Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan cheese is a great option for adding flavor and crunch to dishes without adding carbs. It’s very low in carbs and high in fat, making it a perfect choice for keto cooking. 

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To use it as a replacement for breadcrumbs, simply grate the cheese into a fine powder. It’s best to use freshly-grated cheese for the best flavor and texture.

This substitute is good enough for coating chicken nuggets and fish filets, but it also works well in baked dishes like zucchini parmesan or eggplant parmesan. Because parmesan is already salty, you may need to reduce the amount of salt in your recipes when using it as a breadcrumb alternative.

For things like meatballs that require a bit more binding, try mixing parmesan cheese with almond meal or crushed pork rinds. Because on its own, parmesan cheese can be a bit crumbly. 

3. Coconut Flour

Coconut flour is one of the most popular keto substitutes for breadcrumbs. It’s made from dried, ground coconut meat and has a distinct nutty flavor. It’s very low in carbs and high in fiber, so it’s a great go-to for keto baking. Its high fat content also makes it ideal for keto dieters who need to increase their fat intake. 

To use coconut flour as a breadcrumb replacement, use an egg wash to create a thick paste and dip the food item you’re coating into it. Then, simply roll it in coconut flour until it’s thoroughly coated.

Coconut has a distinct flavor, so you may want to adjust your seasonings accordingly. You may also find that the texture changes a bit with this substitute, as coconut flour can be quite grainy.

4. Almond Meal

Almond meal is another great option for replacing breadcrumbs on the keto diet. It’s made by grinding almonds into a fine powder. Almond meal is high in fat and low in carbs, making it an ideal choice for those looking to stay in ketosis. 

To use it as a breadcrumb substitute, mix it with the seasoning of your choice. Then, coat the food item with the mixture and bake or fry until golden brown.

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Almond meal is a bit more expensive than some of the other substitutes, so it may be best used for special occasions. That said, it does provide a pleasant nutty flavor that is sure to be a hit in your dishes.

keto chicken nuggets air fryer

5. Psyllium Husk Powder

Thanks to its binding abilities, psyllium husk powder is a popular choice for keto breadcrumb substitutes. It’s made from the ground husks of psyllium seed and is high in fiber, making it a great choice for those looking to increase their fiber intake. 

To use psyllium husk powder as a breadcrumb replacement, mix it with an optional seasoning of your choice. Then, coat the food item with the mixture and bake or fry until golden brown.

One thing to note about using psyllium husk powder is that it can make your food slightly slimy, due to its high fiber content. If you’re not a fan of this texture, it may be best to use one of the other substitutes.

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6. Golden Flaxseed

Golden flaxseed is a great option for those looking to increase their intake of healthy fats and fiber. It has a mild flavor and is low in carbs, making it an ideal choice for keto cooking. 

To use it as a breadcrumb substitute, grind the flaxseed into a fine powder or buy it already ground. Coat your chicken nuggets in egg wash before rolling them in the flaxseed powder. Golden flaxseed can also be used to make gluten-free breadcrumbs by combining it with almond meal, egg and seasoning.

7. Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are a great keto-friendly choice for making breadcrumbs. They’re low in carbs and have a nutty flavor that pairs well with a variety of dishes.

To use them as a breadcrumb alternative, simply grind them into a fine powder and coat your food item with egg wash before rolling it in the sesame seeds. You can also combine them with almond meal and egg to make gluten-free sesame seed breadcrumbs.

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8. Homemade Keto Breadcrumbs

If you’re looking for a more traditional breadcrumb alternative, consider making your own keto-friendly version by first making or buying keto bread. Keto bread is made with low-carb ingredients such as almond flour, coconut flour, eggs and psyllium husk. 

Once you have your keto bread, tear it into small pieces and place the crumbs in a food processor. Blend until you have a coarse texture. You can then use the crumbs as a replacement for traditional breadcrumbs.

keto chicken nuggets air fryer

How To Make Keto Friendly Chicken Nuggets – The Technique

A crispy nugget isn’t just about the ingredients – it’s also about the technique. Here are some tips for making delicious keto chicken nuggets at home

1. Preheat Your Oven

Temperature is everything when it comes to yielding a crispy nugget. Make sure to preheat your oven to the correct temperature before cooking. Most keto recipes require a temperature of 400°F (204°C).

The idea is to have a hot oven so that the nuggets will crisp up quickly and evenly. You can start off with a higher temperature of 425°F (218°C) for the first few minutes, then lower it to 400°F (204°C) for the remainder of the baking time. This way, the outside will get nice and crispy while the inside remains juicy. 

2. Use An Air Fryer

If you’re looking for a faster cooking method, consider using an air fryer. Air fryers require less oil than deep-frying, so you can still achieve a crisp crust without compromising the flavor. 

Knowing how to make keto chicken nuggets in an air fryer will save you time and energy. The key is to make sure the nuggets are in a single layer so they cook evenly. You’ll also need to keep an eye on the nuggets to make sure they don’t burn.

Read More: Low Carb, High Flavor Indulgence With This Keto Cheesecake Recipe

keto chicken nuggets air fryer

3. Baking Sheet Hack

If you don’t have an air fryer, you can still make crispy nuggets without one. Preheat your oven to 400°F (204°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the nuggets in a single layer on the surface of the parchment paper and bake for 5-10 minutes, flipping them halfway through. 

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The parchment paper will help the nuggets crisp up nicely while keeping them juicy on the inside. This simple tip can be used with any type of nugget, and it will save you time and energy.

4. Sizing Matters

If your nuggets are too large, they may not cook through before the crust has become overly browned. And if they’re too small, they may dry out before the crust has had a chance to crisp up. 

The ideal size for a keto chicken nugget is about 2 inches in length and 1/2 inch thick. This size will ensure that your nuggets have enough surface area to become crispy while still cooking through. 

5. Coating

Most recipes call for coating the nuggets with a combination of egg wash and breadcrumbs. This is important for achieving that perfect crunchy exterior. 

The egg wash will help the breading stick to the nugget and give it additional flavor. For keto recipes, use an egg wash and one of the various keto-friendly breadcrumb alternatives listed above.

keto chicken nuggets air fryer

Keto Chicken Nugget Recipes Worth Trying At Home

You have your ingredients and technique down, now it’s time to find the perfect keto chicken nugget recipe. Here are some of our favorites: 

1. 3-Ingredient Keto Chicken Nuggets Air Fryer (2)

Quick, easy, and delicious – this recipe calls for just three ingredients. All you need is chicken breasts, an egg, and your favorite keto-friendly breadcrumbs. Pop them in an air fryer and you’ll have crispy nuggets in no time. 


  • 1 can (12.5 ounce) white chunk chicken breast in water, drained
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup finely shredded cheese


  1. Preheat air fryer to 400°F (204°C). 
  2. Combine chicken, egg, and cheese in a bowl. Mix until well combined.
  3. Form the mixture into nugget shapes. 
  4. Place nuggets in a single layer on the preheated air fryer basket and spray with oil. 
  5. Cook for 5-7 minutes, flipping halfway through. 
  6. Enjoy! 
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2. Keto Chicken Nuggets With Pork Rinds (1)

A 20z bag of pork rinds will change the game when it comes to crunchy keto chicken nuggets. They’re loaded with flavor and provide a great crunch that will keep you coming back for more. 


  • 1 pound diced chicken breast
  • 2oz bag of Pork Rinds, crushed
  • ½ cup Parmesan
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • ½ tsp Onion Powder
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ¼ tsp Pepper


  1. Preheat air fryer to 350°F (177°C). 
  2. In a large bowl, combine the pork rinds, parmesan, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. 
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 eggs. 
  4. Dip the chicken into the egg mixture and then coat with the pork rind mixture. 
  5. Place nuggets in a single layer on the preheated air fryer basket and spray with oil. 
  6. Cook for 10-12 minutes, flipping once halfway through.

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keto chicken nuggets air fryer

3. Pork Panko Keto Chicken Nuggets (3)

Pork panko is a great keto-friendly alternative to regular breadcrumbs. It’s different from pork rinds in that it has a sweeter flavor and is slightly crunchier. This recipe is the perfect way to try out pork panko. 


  • 1 lb chicken tenders, cut into nuggets
  • 1 ½ cups pork panko
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder


  1. Preheat air fryer to 350°F (177°C). 
  2. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and cream. 
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the pork panko, smoked paprika, salt, and garlic powder. 
  4. Dip the chicken nuggets into the egg mixture and then coat with the pork panko mixture.
  5. Place nuggets in a single layer on the preheated air fryer basket and spray with oil. 
  6. Cook for 10-15 minutes, flipping once halfway through. 

The Bottom Line

It is possible to make crispy, yet keto-friendly chicken nuggets at home. All it takes is the right ingredients, technique, and recipes to get started. Try out one of the above recipes to get perfectly crispy nuggets every time!

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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


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