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Shallow-Fry Chicken Nuggets For Maximum Juiciness

pile of chicken nuggets
pile of chicken nuggets - SerPhoto/Shutterstock

While fast food chicken nuggets make for a tasty snack when you need a quick bite, getting them just right at home seems to be a struggle. It's difficult to strike the ideal balance between a crispy, golden-brown exterior and juicy meat inside. Plus, there are so many options when it comes to cooking methods, it can be overwhelming. Do you air fry, deep-fry, or bake your nuggets? If it's maximum juiciness you're after, consider shallow-frying.

When done correctly, shallow-frying chicken nuggets can yield a ton of juiciness and flavor. The shallow-frying technique involves cooking the nuggets in a shallow layer of oil, typically around half the height of the nuggets. Fry thoroughly on one side before flipping to finish them off.

The argument as to why this process produces juicy results concerns temperature. It's best to keep the oil around 350 degrees Fahrenheit when shallow-frying, while deep-frying requires hotter oil (between 365 and 370 degrees Fahrenheit). The lower frying temperature means less of a chance of overcooking the chicken and drying it out, resulting in delicious, juicy nuggets that are crispy on the outside.

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Read more: The 15 Best Frozen Chicken Nuggets, Ranked

Learn To Shallow-Fry Like A Champ

shallow frying chicken nuggets
shallow frying chicken nuggets - Tamer A Soliman/Shutterstock

Speaking of temperature, your number one priority when shallow-frying chicken nuggets is to maintain that oil temperature. If it dips too low, the result will be greasy and soggy nuggets, while oil that is too hot will quickly overcook your chicken.

The best way to regulate the temperature of your fry oil is to avoid overcrowding the pan. Piling all the chicken pieces in at once will lower the core temperature of the oil and create issues with even cooking. Work in batches instead, and pick a pan that is wide and deep enough to partially submerge the nuggets in the oil bath while giving them some breathing room.

Use a thermometer to check the oil temperature or try the wooden spoon trick. Dip the tip of a wooden spoon into the oil and watch for small bubbles fizzing around it. The oil is too hot if it's aggressively bubbling or hissing. You can always add a bit more oil to bring the temperature back down.

Other Tips For Juicy Homemade Chicken Nuggets

person dredging chicken nugget
person dredging chicken nugget - v2pham/Shutterstock

Shallow-frying will help you achieve those perfect homemade chicken nuggets, but there are a few other ways you can ramp up the juiciness factor. It starts with the breading. To seal in the chicken's natural juices, be sure to thoroughly dry your nuggets before properly dredging them in seasoned flour, dipping them in an egg mixture, then breading them with your choice of breadcrumbs.

Brining your chicken nuggets before breading is another simple yet effective technique to preserve the natural moisture in the meat. You can do this by soaking the chicken pieces in a saltwater solution ahead of time. This way, even when the nuggets are breaded and fried, they maintain their tenderness, rather than becoming dry and tough.

Don't forget to keep an eye on the clock when cooking either. Overcooking chicken is the easiest way to zap its juices. When shallow-frying chicken nuggets, they shouldn't need more than five to seven minutes, depending on the size.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.