Quick & Easy Cornflake Crusted Chicken Nuggets

Quick & Easy Cornflake Crusted Chicken Nuggets

Whenever I make this recipe for gluten-free chicken nuggets, I don’t make enough. Not because there isn’t enough food. Because there isn’t enough of these particular gluten-free chicken nuggets go around. Get it? They’re that good. And I can prep them ahead of time, then just throw the raw, crusted chicken pieces in the refrigerator on a baking sheet. Time for dinner? Turn on the oven, pop ’em in right from the refrig and chicken dinner is served!

Remember the movie When A Man Loves A Woman, with Meg Ryan & Andy Garcia? Meg Ryan’s character, Alice, is a total mess since she’s an alcoholic still in denial, and Andy Garcia’s character, Michael, still gets a rush out of her getting messy and his cleaning her up. He’s scheduling playdates for their girls the morning after a particularly messy night for her, and Alice tries to weigh in. She’s drinking coffee. Michael shuts Alice down. He says to her:

“I think we have all we can handle right now with our coffee and our little spoon.”

I may have all I can handle right now with my coffee and my little spoon. I do so love my coffee and my little spoon. And Andy Garcia is like a dream come true, even if he were treating me like a child. I have no need to schedule the playdates. I’ll just drink my coffee, Andy.

But even if I’m not scheduling the playdates (which, by the way, I am), and no matter what else I’m doing that day, one thing’s for darn sure. My children are going to insist on eating dinner. And Andy Garcia is nowhere nearby to treat me like a child who can’t make dinner. So I’m gonna have to do it myself. Sometimes I need to be able to prep dinner long ahead of time, and then just throw it in the oven when we come home from my son’s karate (sad fact about karate: they don’t say “haiYA!”). Maybe you need to get dinner on the table fast when you come home from work and the kids are STARving-mom-when’s-dinner-gonna-be-ready.

That is most likely why these chicken nuggets are dinner in my house at least once a week.

Semi-Pro Tip: Grind up the plain gluten-free cornflakes (I really like Erewhon brand, since it’s just corn and salt, and very flaky) super duper fine. That way, the whole shebang bakes very fast, and the nuggets will actually stay fresh longer if you ever want to bake them ahead of time. When you bake with bits of cereal that are not finely ground, they grow stale very quickly. So grind a few boxes of cereal in a blender or food processor ahead of time, and keep it in a canister at the ready. Always buy some skinless boneless chicken at the market, and you’ll be a few minutes away from a super easy dinner at all times.

Hey, someone should totally write a gluten-free cookbook with all sorts of quick & easy gluten-free recipes. Oh wait …

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: Serves 4 to 5


1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts (about 3 breasts)

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)

Leaves from 4 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled a bit

1 cup finely ground gluten-free cornflake crumbs


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a half-sheet rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.

  • Cut the chicken breasts into cubes about 1 1/2 inches square and place them in a gallon-sized zip-top plastic bag. Add the salt, optional garlic powder and optional thyme leaves to the plastic bag, close the bag, and toss to coat. Open the bag, add the melted butter, zip it closed and toss to coat again. Open the bag once more, add the cornflake crumbs, zip it closed and toss to coat one final time.

  • Unzip the bag and dump all of the contents of the bag onto the prepared baking sheet, and spread the chicken into a single even layer. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the chicken is cooked through and the crust is golden brown, about 12 minutes. Serve immediately.

  • Variations
    Try adding some finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to the chicken with the ground cornflakes for tremendous depth of flavor.

    Instead of all butter, try 3 tablespoons of melted butter and 2 tablespoons ghee or canola oil. Oooh baby.


P.S. If you haven’t yet, please pick up a copy of both of My Cookbooks! I can’t keep the blog going without your support.

Comments are closed.

  • Shatten
    October 9, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    I love your recipes but have a much healthier option for this….I have done something similiar for years but instead of butter  I do the following…..I use lowfat evaporated milk (1/2 c) and put in bowl and add the chicken pieces, let sit for couple minutes and then using my hands I remove the chicken and let the milk drip off but some will stick.   Then put the chicken in a bag with the cornflake crumbs and fajita seasoning added.  Shake and then place on cookie sheets…the crumbs will stick to the chicken and they will taste wonderful. 

  • October 7, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    These were yummy! Thanks so much.  GFBoy asked for nuggets for his birthday dinner tonight, so I tried these adding in the parm cheese.  A huge hit around here!

  • Laura
    October 5, 2012 at 12:11 AM

    Nicole, this may sound like a strange request but would you consider putting a little side note on your receipes that call for parchment lined pans as to whether or not you line you USA pans? I never quite know whether to use it or forego it. It’s another sponsor plug opportunity, lol. :-) The chicken nuggets looks amazing!

  • Threadlady
    October 4, 2012 at 6:50 AM

    Before going GF I had a recipe using cornflake crumbs and finely ground pecams (milk, no butter to coat the chicken). It’s now a favorite with my DGK’s. Almost can’t make enough to please. I definitely am going to try yours (especially the hint of using a plastic bag – what a time and “mess” sasver).

  • October 4, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    These look so good! Thank you for sharing the recipe. :)

  • Rachael
    October 3, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    I made these last night and even my wheaty-people liked them.  LOVE the dinner ideas :)

    So, sweet miss Nicole…make me a happy girl?  Yes?
    GF Pierogies!  Oh, how I miss you!!

    • gfshoestring
      October 3, 2012 at 4:21 PM

      I’ll put pierogies on the list, Rachael. We can’t have you unhappy, now, can we? ;) I’ll be honest – I’m kind of surprised that everyone is digging the dinner ideas on the blog. I’ll keep that in mind in the future. And lots of dinner ideas in the new book. :)
      xoxo Nicole

      • jensem
        October 4, 2012 at 6:40 PM

         I’d like to second Rachael on the GF Pierogies!  I’ve tried myself, but they don’t turn out… edible?  :D

    • October 3, 2012 at 8:21 PM

      I’ll put pierogies on the list, Rachael. We can’t have you unhappy, now, can we? ;) I’ll be honest – I’m kind of surprised that everyone is digging the dinner ideas on the blog. I’ll keep that in mind in the future. And lots of dinner ideas in the new book. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Claudine
    October 2, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    Nicole, I have been following your recipes and tried almost all of them. Thanks for making my life much easier and yummier! ha,ha. Love your ideas and your site. Thanks!!! Claudine,Canada

  • Bradley Finkelstein
    October 2, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    My wife makes chicken nuggets and chicken fingers using a mix of gluten-free panko and gluten-free chicken coating crumbs. We keep kosher, so don’t use butter, but put the chicken in a beaten egg before putting them into the crumbs. We do bake the chicken nuggets/fingers, much healthier that way.

  • October 2, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    Chicken fingers with GF breadcrumbs were the first thing my girl ate ravenously after her diagnosis (like up to 8 a day!) but I like the cornflake idea even better! Love the semi pro tip :) Thanks for a fast and easy dinner recipe. I’m thrilled to hear the new cookbook has lots more. I certainly could use the inspiration!

    • gfshoestring
      October 2, 2012 at 8:30 PM

      The whole dinner-on-my-blog thing is a bit confusing to me, to be honest, Dana. I mostly figure that no one really wants to read recipes that are, essentially, naturally GF I’ve written. So I don’t usually write them. And cooking is not nearly as fun for me as baking. But there’s a bunch of good ones in the new book. That’s a promise. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • G_clark67
    October 2, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Quick and easy chicken nuggets! Yum! Love your cookbook! Looking forward to your new cookbook! I’ve had it pre-ordered for MONTHS!!!

    • gfshoestring
      October 2, 2012 at 8:29 PM

      Thank you so much for your support! I can’t wait until you get the new book. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Tonihiner
    October 2, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Thank you. My coffee and my little spoon are about all I can handle at the moment, so just thank you. I may not know how to deal with all of this other stuff, but at least I know what to make for dinner. Is this recipe in the new cookbook?

  • Anneke
    October 2, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    Was already planning to make your chicken finger recipe tonight, so I’ll switch it up to this, instead.  I love, easy, yummy stuff!  And, I love you, too, Nicole!


    • gfshoestring
      October 2, 2012 at 2:06 PM

      Right back atcha, Anneke. :)
      xoxo Nicole

      • Anneke
        October 2, 2012 at 9:43 PM

        Made these for dinner, delicious and super easy!  Anneke

  • RebeccaLB
    October 2, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    Oh my goodness – I have been working way too hard on this dish.  Dredging chicken in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs and here you go and make it easier than pie! I know I have told you in the past that you are my hero, but now I may just have to post your picture on the fridge with all the rest of my loved ones.

    • gfshoestring
      October 2, 2012 at 1:58 PM

      I do the work-too-hard version when I’m doing full cutlets for Chicken Parm, too, Rebecca. But for a regular weeknight, in a rush, shake & bake baby! So glad to save you some time, friend.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Kelly Elardo
    October 2, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    I seriously just took out chicken this morning and said to my self “self, what should you do with the chicken?” now I have  a plan.  Although this is a “quiet night” with no activities and i feel guilty doing this. Maybe I’ll be proactive and just make them ahead of time for tomorrow! Oh wow, how on the ball, I’d seem then!

    • gfshoestring
      October 2, 2012 at 1:59 PM

      I must have thought you were talking to me when you said, “self,” Kelly. Remember how I do get confused sometimes. ;)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Chris
    October 2, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    I know these are good! I have a recipe that is similar to it. It has Worcestershire sauce in the butter. Melt 3T butter and add 2t worc. sauce. Then you coat the chicken in a combination of 1 c crumbs and 1/4 grated parm cheese. Soo yummy! (I guess I should say that I got the recipe from my Incredible Edible Gluten-free Food for Kids cookbook! by Sheri Sanderson).

  • Jennifer S.
    October 2, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    OMG OMG OMG!  Thank you so much for posting a non-baked good recipe!! I’ve been struggling finding these types of recipes and use your 1st cookbook a lot!  You’re the best EVER!!!

    • gfshoestring
      October 2, 2012 at 2:11 PM

      Aw, shucks, Jennifer. There are actually tons of recipes kinda like this in my next cookbook. Plenty of quick & easy dinner recipes. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Dfal182
    October 2, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    Do you ever sleep? Thanks for all of your great recipes and even greater entertainment! Love,Dee

    • gfshoestring
      October 2, 2012 at 2:13 PM

      Sure, I sleep, Dee! Hey, for all you know, I’m asleep right now. :)
      xoxo Nicole

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