Dark Meat Chicken Nuggets with Honey Mustard


I’ve always made chicken nuggets from chicken breast white meat , the idea of using dark meat piqued my interest. Although the preparation would definitely take more time than cutting up a chicken breast it was more to satisfy my curiosity if they tasted as good as they looked and would they be  worth the extra work.

I didn’t come across a written recipe, instead by watching them made on the food network cooking channel.   It was the actual idea that captured my interest, the rest was my own take on spices added and a change in one of the methods of preparation.

Chicken thighs tend to be on the expensive side and are most convenient purchased bone in and skin on for this recipe especially if it’s the week they’re on sale.  Only the skin is discarded, the meat makes the nuggets, the remaining bones can be added to a stock pot for a delicious homemade chicken soup.  If you must,  buy the boned, skinless thighs… no bones for soup though!

All I can say is that the taste testers gave them thumbs up,  juicy, flavourful and super crispy were the comments made.  Those who like honey mustard appreciated the effort of the homemade variety.  Half a batch of nuggets from a package of 12 thighs  made 16 good size nuggets and the remaining meat was chopped and frozen for another day.  All in all, not too bad from a package of thighs costing just over six dollars.

The real test will be when they’re served to a more discriminating crowd…kids!

Dark Meat Chicken Nuggets

Preparation is a little more time consuming for these dark meat nuggets  but worth the effort.  It’s a recipe that can be easily changed to suit your own taste. The measurements of ingredients I’ve posted are approximate for six medium size chicken thighs.

6 medium size chicken thighs

1 egg

1/4 cup grated cheese

1/4 cup bread crumbs

salt and pepper to taste

For the bread crumb coating:

1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs

salt and pepper to taste

dried oregano, to taste

2 to 3 tablespoons grated cheese


Buying skin on and bone in thighs is most economical.


Remove skin from thighs.


Remove bones and coarsely chop meat removing any extra fat.  Don’t worry about the bits of meat left on the bone they will make great soup.


Any extra meat can be frozen for another time.  Freeze bones as well if they’re not to be used within a day.


Place chopped thigh meat into a food processor and process to desired grind.


Add egg, bread crumbs, cheese, salt and pepper or any other seasonings of choice.


Mix well.


Combine bread crumbs, cheese, oregano salt and pepper.


Drop spoonfuls of meat mixture onto seasoned bread crumbs and roll around until completely coated.


Shape into nuggets and refrigerate letting them rest for 15 to 20 minutes before frying. These can also be made earlier in the day and refrigerated until ready to cook.


Fry 3 to 4 at a time in medium hot vegetable oil making sure the center of the nuggets cook through.

Honey Mustard


Combine 1/4 cup each of mayonnaise, mustard (Dijon or Yellow), honey, 1 tablespoon white vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.


Stir until well blended.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • Because dark meat is definitely more moist than the breast and incorporating the seasoning right into the meat itself makes these nuggets very tasty.
  • The step of dipping the nuggets into beaten egg was omitted since Panko bread crumbs adhered to the nuggets very well without dipping them in egg first.  Your choice.

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