Grilled Chicken Nuggets

Grilled Chicken Nuggets

You’re not going to believe how good these are and I hear you… not gonna lie… I was skeptical.

Grilled Chicken Nuggets. So good. Who woulda thought? I mean, I might be the world’s biggest advocate for fried chicken, and good old fried nuggets (or really any fried chicken shapes) are one of my favourite foods. But these grilled chicken nuggets? They are crazy good. They are also crazy easy and if the sun is a shining you can cook them up on the grill outside, but if you’re feeling like an indoor day or feel the need for bbq in the winter, they are just as good cooked indoors on a grill pan.

I like them served up with my quick and easy homemade Honey BBQ ranch sauce (spicy or no – up to you), but you can use whatever dip you like. I’ve given some options for you too, like a Honey Mustard version and a Dill Pickle version, but sky’s the limit my friend, you can do no wrong here. Well you can, but I trust you to make good decisions.

Grilled Chicken Nuggets with Honey BBQ Ranch Dip

I’m not sure I’ve ever had juicier or more tender chicken breasts, in any form. You know that I often opt for thighs (like in my Cast Iron Chicken Parmesan) and it is a rare occasion that I opt for breasts instead (although they do work brilliantly in my Crispy Chicken Sandwich). But some recipes just taste best with all white meat and my Grilled Chicken Nuggets is one of them.

Not to fear though, the sweet, buttermilk-like marinade combined with a quick cooking time keep these nuggets tender and juicy. They are the furthest thing from dry. Every time I make them I’m surprised all over again with how tender they are. If you’re looking for an alternative to fried chicken nuggets I won’t be mad at you. I would have been, until I came up with these. Think you might miss the crunch too much? Serve these up with a little side of potato chippies.

Grilled Chicken Nuggets with Honey BBQ Ranch Dip
Grilled Chicken Nuggets

Grilled Chicken Nuggets

With honey bbq ranch. Incredibly tender marinated chicken nuggets served with a smoky, sweet and as-spicy-as-you-want-it honey bbq ranch dip.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4


For the Nuggets:

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into “nugget” sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

For the Honey BBQ Ranch:

  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup bbq sauce
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Big pinch cayenne* optional


Marinate the Chicken Nuggets:

  • In a medium bowl combine the yogurt, milk, vinegar, sugar, bouillon, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper.
  • Whisk well until completely combined and smooth.
  • Add in the chicken pieces, mix well, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to several hours.

Make the Honey BBQ Ranch:

  • In a small bowl combine the mayo, sour cream, bbq sauce, honey, parsley, onion powder, garlic powder and cayenne, if using.
  • Whisk well until completely mixed.

Cook the chicken nuggets:

  • Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade, allowing the excess to drop back into the bowl. Dry the pieces slightly on some paper towel.
  • Heat a grill (either outdoor or indoor). When it’s nice and hot add in a little slick of oil or spray with cooking spray.
  • Lay the pieces on the grill with a little space between each piece.
  • Allow to cook, undisturbed, for about 2 minutes. Turn the pieces and cook for about another 2 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve the nuggets with the Honey BBQ Ranch for dipping.


    *optional. Leave out if you don’t like heat. I like this dip a little spicy.
    Keyword Grilled Chicken Nuggets
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    Grilled Chicken Nuggets in pan

    grilled chicken nuggets Recipe ingredients, tips, substitutions:

    Chicken – I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts for these nuggets and while I’m a big advocate of mixing things up, I just don’t think there are any substitutes here.

    Apple Cider Vinegar – combining the vinegar with the milk and the yogurt creates a buttermilk-ish mixture that helps to tenderize and flavour the chicken. You can sub in buttermilk if that’s what you have.

    Sugar – the sugar is a must for adding flavour to the nuggets. It also helps the exterior caramelize nicely and get those good grill marks.

    Grill – these are obviously great on an outdoor grill, but they are equally good cooked indoors on a grill pan.

    Grilled Chicken Nuggets Recipe Variations:

    Honey Mustard Version – I like to add a little dry mustard powder to the marinade, maybe 1 tsp, and make a honey mustard dipping sauce by mixing 1/4 cup each honey and mustard with about 2 Tbsp mayo.

    Dill Pickle Version – omit the vinegar and use 3 Tbsp dill pickle juice instead. Serve with a dill pickle ranch dipping sauce by mixing 1/3 cup each sour cream and yogurt, 2 Tbsp dill pickle juice, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 2 Tbsp finely chopped dill pickles and 2 tsp finely chopped fresh dill.

    Meal Salad Version – top the salad with grilled chicken breast, shrimp or steak. I also like to add a chopped avocado when I serve this salad as a full meal.

    Grilled Chicken Nuggets in pan

    Grilled Chicken Nuggets recipe, how to make it…

    Start by mixing up the marinade and giving the chicken a good soak. I’ve made these before bed and let them marinate overnight and I’ve made them when I’m short on time and/or patience and let them soak for about 30 minutes. Both very, very good. Do what works for you.

    While the chicken marinates mix up your dip. This is the easiest thing in the world. Add all the dip ingredients to a bowl and whisk well. Cover and refrigerate the dip until you’re ready to eat.

    When you’re ready for dinner remove the chicken pieces from the marinade. Let any excess drip off and then lay the chicken on a paper towel lined plate to dry off a bit. Blot them with a paper towel as well and then heat up your grill. We want to get most of the marinade off at this point because we’re going for maximum grill marks here, not chicken stew.

    Grease your grill however you like to… brush on a little oil… spray with cooking spray. Get it nice and hot and add on the nuggets. Leave them alone to cook for about 2 minutes. Flip them over to cook the other side and leave them be for another 2 minutes. Check to make sure they’re cooked through and remove. Voila. Grilled Chicken Nuggets.

    Grilled Chicken Nuggets with Honey BBQ Ranch Dip

    looking for sides to go with these grilled chicken nuggets? try these…

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    5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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