Let me start out by saying that I don’t eat fast food like, ever. Ok, there was that one incident involving McDonalds and a particularly happy happy hour a few weeks ago, but as a general rule of thumb no, never.
Greasy burgers and deep fat fried onion rings and fries are totally unhealthy, and I end up feeling like crap for about 2 days afterward indulging. It’s just not even close to worth it.
There are exceptions, naturally! Three of them, in fact – In-N-Out Burger, Five Guys, and Chick-fil-A. Each are so delicious that it’s worth a little regret and a grumbly stomach for a few satisfying bites.
Among the three, Chick-fil-A stands out for specializing in succulent, crispy breaded chicken that is always tender, all-white meat, and so dang juicy – plus the seasonings they use are just right. Imagine how tickled I was after coming across a copycat recipe I could make at home and customize to use a fraction of the oil the real restaurant uses, but still have it taste exactly like the real thing?
Chick-fil-A Bites with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce are insane!
Start the Chick-fil-A Bites by cutting a couple large chicken breasts into bite sized pieces, seasoning the pieces with salt & pepper, and placing them in a marinade of milk, 1 egg, and pickle juice.
Yes, pickle juice! I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I once heard that the key to Chick-fil-A’s signature flavor that it’s injected with pickle juice. Ok?!
Let the chicken hang out and marinate in the mixture for 2-4 hours in the fridge.
When you’re ready to cook the chicken, combine gluten-free or all-purpose flour, powdered sugar, salt & pepper in another ziplock back, and transfer the chicken pieces over using tongs. Shake the bag to coat the chicken pieces completely with the mix.
Next, heat 1/4 cup peanut oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or large skillet. If you don’t have peanut oil, vegetable or canola oil will totally do.
Test the oil to see if it’s hot enough by dropping a bit of the flour mixture into the pot. If it sizzles, the oil is ready. It it pops and spatters, the oil is too hot. If it does nothing at all, it’s too cold.
Working in two batches in order to avoid crowding the pan, place the coated chicken pieces into the oil using tongs. Cook until one side is golden brown, then flip and cook until the other side is golden brown. It depends on how big you cut your chicken, but my 1″ chicken pieces took about 3 minutes on each side.
Remove the chicken to a paper-towel lined plate, and continue with the other half.
Serve ’em hot and fresh with a simple homemade honey mustard sauce that I kind of wanted to spoon drink – it was da bomb!
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Chick-fil-A Bites with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
Chick-fil-A Bites with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce taste even better than the real thing, and are much healthier!
- 2 large chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces then seasoned with salt & pepper
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup dill pickle juice
- 1 egg
- 1-1/4 cups gluten-free or all-purpose flour (dish will not be GF if using all-purpose flour)
- 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup peanut oil, divided (or canola or vegetable oil)
- Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce:
- 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1-1/2 Tablespoons yellow mustard
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- Whisk together egg, milk and pickle juice, and pour into a large ziplock bag or bowl. Add chicken pieces and marinate in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.
- Combine flour, powdered sugar, salt and pepper in a large ziplock bag. Shake to combine. Remove chicken from the marinade and add into the bag. Shake to coat the chicken completely.
- Heat half the oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat (6 or 7 out of 10.) Test the oil by dropping in a bit of the flour mixture. If it sizzles, the oil is ready, if it pops, lower the temperature a bit.
- Gently place chicken pieces into the oil with tongs. Do this in 2 batches, as you don’t want to overcrowd the pan. Cook the chicken for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown on one side. Turn the chicken over and allow to cook for 3-4 more minutes. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate. Heat the remaining oil and continue with the other half of the chicken pieces.
- Stir together the honey mustard dipping sauce ingredients, and serve with the hot chicken bites.
Adapted from My Name is Snickerdoodle
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
I want to make Chick-fil-A Bites for dinner everysinglenight – they were such a hit! The honey mustard dipping sauce gave the bites a pretty good run for their money though. Sweet, just slightly tangy, and so creamy.
Dipped, dunked, and devoured!
Now if only we can duplicate the waffle fries!! My favorite kind of fry is waffled and the first time I ate at Chick-fil-A I wanted more. My husband will be excited to try this recipe.
The Ore-Ida frozen waffle fries are my fav! Just as good as Chik-Fil-A’s :)
Those are my go-to fast foods too! Somehow they seem more ‘real’ than everything else too, although it’s probably just in my head.
These look gooodd but I am a spicy chicken girl with pepper jack cheese. Yum.
I’m super excited to try this! I used to love their chicken, but I can’t bring myself to eat there anymore after it came out about all their anti-marriage equality donations. This will definitely fill that void!
I won’t buy from them either. It used to be easy, since we didn’t have them, but one just opened very close to my house. This recipe will help me stand by my convictions, I hope. I am not officially “boycotting” them, since it seems they have not carried their personal opinions into their hiring practices. They do have a right to their opinions, as do all of us.
Gina @ Running to the Kitchen 03.01.2012
You are the second person to post a copycat version of these this week! As someone who has to travel 2+ hours for the nearest Chick-fil-A, I’m forever grateful :)
We travel nearly two hours too! So sad…
I came home not knowing what to fix for dinner then I read your post, had all the ingredients. I only marinated 30 minutes but it still turned out great!
Dena @ 40 Fit in the Mitt 03.01.2012
We got up to 40 degrees today! If it wasn’t so wet and slushy out I would have taken a walk too.
Holly K. 03.01.2012
I used to work at Chick-fil-a back in my high school days and I can fully attest to the pickle juice in the marinade! This recipe sounds spot on, can’t wait to try it! I adore honey mustard too so this is a perfect pairing!
J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) 03.01.2012
I love Chick-fil-a nuggets but we don’t have a Chick-fil-A in NY! Probably a good thing. :) These look delish! I wonder if the pickle thing is true… hmmm!
The pickle thing is definitely true!
So fun and delicious looking! Cheers to almost-Friday!
Michelle (Better with Berries) 03.01.2012
I’ve never been to ANY of the three places you mentioned! We have two of them near us, so I guess I need to try it the next time I get fast food. Which, like you, is hardly ever! I agree – it just makes me feel so yucky afterward.
Can we all bow our heads in a moment of silence, for Michelle, who has NEVER eaten Chick Fil A! … lol No, really… this makes me sad for you! lol j/k Seriously though, tomorrow…drop everything you are doing and RUN to get a Chick-fil-a original chicken sandwich AND nuggets for the side. Yes, I am suggesting you get a chicken sandwich with a side of chicken. : )Trust me! Don’t eat the next day (kidding) or exercise double if you must! Also, for dipping sauces while your there, grab a polynesian sauce and a side of their honey roasted bbw, not the regular. DO IT! ; )
Don’t eat fast food either,but am DEF making these for my lunch tomorrow…yum yum!
kathleen @ the daily crumb 03.01.2012
i am scared to even tell my husband you posted this recipe because he is a chick-fil-a FREAK! until they opened one in chicago, he would drive to milwaukee about once/month and get a TRAY (party platter size) of nuggets to eat over a few days. i’m not proud.
anyways, these look delicious!! and i’m with you on those 3 fast food spots — generally it’s a no go for me, but those are super delish :) and i’m also always down for a mcd’s ice cream cone!
Wow girl, I am so impressed. And I thought your chipotle bowls were something….these look better than the ones at Chic-fil-A
Presley (Run Pretty) 03.01.2012
If I left this up and my husband found it, he would expect to have it in about ohhh I don’t know, four hours? Haha he’s obsessed with their chicken, but we don’t eat fast food anymore!
Yum! Perfect to try on the weekend!
These look awesome Kristin! One question: do you think you could marinate them for longer (like all day)? I don’t come home for lunch, so it would be hard to make them during the week if not!
I have made them before and we actually had them marinade in the milk mixture in the fridge for over a day (dinner plans changed) and they were moist and delicious!
Iowa Girl Eats 03.01.2012
I think you could, but I would leave out the pickle juice in the marinade, as it might start to cook/pickle the chicken if you leave it in there too long. They’ll still taste great!
Sorry, I was a manager at Chic fil a If you leave out the pickle juice..It’s not a true copycat of their chicken..
OMG! Thank you! You will make my family VERY happy!!!! I can’t wait to try this!
Jenny a stand alone Chickfila is true! I live in Florida and we’ve got tons of the stand alone ones! Let me tell you someething, that drive thru line is so long it always wraps around the entire building.
My husband & I are also anti-fastfood but there is something about Chik Fil A that draws you in. Thankfully the only one here is inside the mall. That said, rumor has it that CFA is getting a stand alone store by Kohls in WDM!?
Blog is the New Black 03.01.2012
I would never have thought to add powdered sugar to chicken?! But I trust you. ;)
Iowa Girl Eats 03.01.2012
You will adore it!