How Chick-Fil-A's Chicken Nuggets Are Actually Made

There's nothing like opening a box of Chick-fil-A nuggets and taking your first borderline mouth-scorching bite. Many copycat Chick-fil-A nugget recipes do a good job replicating them, but the franchise's secret is simple: Focus on the ingredients and use a foolproof process. The Chick-fil-A website describes a three-step method for making chicken that the company has used since its earliest days. It's the same basic recipe for nuggets and sandwiches. First, the chicken — which has been coated in secret seasoning — is dipped into a milk and egg wash. Next, it's breaded in a flour mixture. Finally, the chicken is pressure cooked in 100% refined peanut oil. 

While the chain uses free-range chicken void of antibiotics and artificial additives, this isn't all that matters. The way Chick-fil-A's nuggets are cooked is just as important — if not the most important factor. While the preparation and breading of the chicken are key, the franchise claims its chicken is also marinated and seasoned in a mix of sea salt, lemon, garlic, and herbs. However, a lot of the process happens in that pressure cooker full of peanut oil.

Pressure-frying the chicken doesn't only speed things up by cooking at a higher temperature, but it also prevents flavorful moisture from evaporating from the chicken. This helps ensure a juicier end product. This is why Chick-fil-A nuggets, when cooked correctly, are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.

Turning Chick-fil-A's chicken into golden nuggets

A 2021 TikTok video demonstrated the process from start to finish, illuminating many viewers on what happens at their local Chick-fil-A. The video, fittingly set to Justin Bieber's "Yummy," was posted by an employee.


They good 👍🏾 #swavy #foryoupage #foryou #trending #chickfila #cfa #food #whyyoubeingweirdtome

♬ Yummy – Justin Bieber

First, the worker removes a bag of diced chicken breast pieces from the refrigerator. Then, they splash the chicken with the milk-and-egg wash until it's thoroughly coated. Next, the nuggets are tossed in seasoned flour for breading, and the excess is shaken off in a sifting pan. The final step is where the real magic happens: The worker submerges a basket of freshly-breaded nuggets into hot peanut oil, closing the top of the pressure cooker. Once finished, the nuggets emerge sporting a delicious, golden-brown coloration. 

One commenter clarified the similarities between the nuggets and other types of Chick-fil-A fried chicken, writing: "That's how all their chickens made, worked there as a teenager." Other viewers generally seemed to approve of the process. One wrote: "It's real chicken at least." Another commented: " I saw real actual chicken that's all I needed to know," perhaps referencing Chick-fil-A's use of whole breast meat rather than something like "pink slime" (a McNugget myth debunked by McDonald's). Other viewers compared the method to other fast food franchises. One offered: "At least it's seasoned. I work at raising canes and we only dip it in egg yolk and flour." Does Chick-fil-A's nugget method stand out to you, or was this better left a secret?