Cast Iron

Chicken Nuggets & Tater Tots With Tartar Sauce

October  4, 2022
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

An Americana take on fish and chips: beer-battered chicken nuggets and crispy tater tots. If the tartar sauce isn't your thing, give this "secret sauce" a try. Or good ol' ketchup and mustard. —Emma Laperruque

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: Beer-Battered Chicken Nuggets Will Ruin You for All Others —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Tartar Sauce
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced cornichons
  • 2 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced pepperoncini
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced dill
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1 pinch kosher salt, or to taste
  • Nugs and Tots
  • 1 pound frozen tater tots
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups canola oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 cup pale, not-too-hoppy beer
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 pinches kosher salt, plus more to taste
  1. Tartar Sauce
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt to taste. Refrigerate until ready to eat.
  1. Nugs and Tots
  2. Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat. Add the tots and toss with the Old Bay Seasoning. Bake for about 25 minutes, until very colorful and crispy.
  3. While those bake, make the nugs. Cut the chicken breasts into chunks—roughly 2 by 1 inches, a scant 1 ounce in weight. Add 1/2-inch worth of oil to a straight-sided skillet (I like a 10-inch cast-iron best here) and set over medium-high heat to reach about 365° F. While that heats up, prepare your dredging station: Add 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus 1 pinch salt, to a shallow bowl. Combine the remaining flour, beer, hot sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt in another shallow bowl. Stir the former with a fork to break up any clumps. Stir the latter with a fork until completely smooth. (Adding the beer incrementally—splash then stir, splash then stir—helps create a smooth batter.)
  4. When the oil is ready to go, prepare the chicken nuggets: Coat in flour, dunk in the batter, then get right into the pan. You don’t want to overcrowd the pan, so you’ll probably need to do this in batches. Fry for 3 1/2 to 5 minutes per side, until deeply browned and cooked through. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate—or a cooling rack with paper towels underneath—to drain and slightly cool. Sprinkle with more salt. These are best within 15 or so minutes post-fry, but if you have to wait on the tots at all, no big deal.
  5. Serve the chicken nuggets and tater tots with the tartar sauce.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Marianne Trachsel Charters
    Marianne Trachsel Charters
  • Tracy Kramer
    Tracy Kramer
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

4 Reviews

Marianne T. May 16, 2018
Do you think I could air fry them?
Emma L. May 16, 2018
I haven't tried that myself, but my guess is that a wet batter like this wouldn't fare well in the air fryer. (I imagine it would drip through the grates, whereas in the oil, it immediately puffs up.)
Tracy K. May 14, 2018
This recipe sounds like exactly what I have been looking for... any suggestion on how to prepare a large batch and freeze/reheat?
Emma L. May 14, 2018
Hi Tracy! I actually wouldn't recommend making a large batch to freeze/reheat. Beer-battered/fried foods are best served right away.