Pickle-Brined Chicken Nuggets

August 26, 2018

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Don’t throw out that pickle juice put it to good use! The salty solution adds another layer of flavor and helps retain moisture for a juicier result. Corn flake crumbs are the secret to a super crunchy nugget. If you can’t find the crumbs at your local grocery store, you can blitz your own corn flakes in a blender.

Reprinted with permission from Hardcore Carnivore: Cook Meat Like You Mean It by Jess Pryles, Agate Surrey, 2018.
Jess Pryles

Food52 Review: Featured in: Crunchy Cornflake Chicken Nuggets With a Secret Ingredient That Keeps Them Juicy.The Editors

Serves: 4 to 6
Prep time: 4 hrs
Cook time: 15 min



  • 1/2 cup pickle juice
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups corn flake crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 6 cups vegetable oil, for deep-frying
In This Recipe


  1. To make the brine, combine the pickle juice and brown sugar in a bowl, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. To make the nuggets, cut the chicken into 1 1/2–inch cubes, place in a bowl and cover with the brine solution. Put the bowl in the fridge for 2–4 hours. Remove the chicken pieces from the brine and roughly dry with paper towels.
  3. Prepare your ‘crumbing’ station with three bowls. In the first bowl, put the flour, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, pepper and salt. In the second, put the two eggs and whisk to combine. In the third, put the corn flake crumbs and paprika.
  4. Pour the vegetable oil into a deep-sided skillet and place over medium–high heat. Allow the oil to reach 365º F.
  5. While the oil is heating, take the chicken pieces and roll them first in the flour mixture, then in the egg wash, and finally coat well in the crumb mixture. Place on a large plate. Repeat until all the pieces have been coated.
  6. Add the chicken to the oil in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry for about 4 minutes on each side, then remove and place on paper towels to drain. Allow the oil to come back up to temperature between each batch. Let the nuggets cool slightly before serving.

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