Store-Bought Chicken Nuggets, Ranked Worst To Best

Since being invented in the 1960s, chicken nuggets have grown to become a mainstay in American cuisine. From children to those who are only young at heart, everyone can find something magical about a perfect chicken nugget. With or without dipping sauces, these things are ideal for everything from a hearty meal to a quick snack on the go.

In the fast food world, you can find many yummy chicken nuggets. McDonald's brought their Chicken McNuggets to life back in 1983. Wendy's began selling their popular Spicy Chicken Nuggets about a decade ago. However, fast food nuggets aren't the only great nuggets. You can find chicken nuggets at the store that are as good or better. All you need to do is heat them up, and they will soon be ready for you to scarf down at any time of day without needing to leave your home.

If you want to locate the top store-bought chicken nuggets, this ranking will lead you directly to the best of the best.

18. Good & Gather Chicken Breast Nuggets

Unless you want a home full of unhappy people, keep Good & Gather Chicken Breast Nuggets out of your home. Every man, woman, and child will agree that these nuggets are nasty. Not only do they smell terrible, they manage to taste even worse.

You will first notice something is wrong when you're heating up these nuggets and you see a puddle of grease emerge. If you ignore the grease puddle and the revolting aroma and go in for a bite, you'll be left with a mouthful of disappointment. Instead of the chicken nugget flavor that you know and love, these things taste like you're eating a sponge that has sopped up rancid grease. Do your household a favor and keep these nuggets of misery out of your shopping cart.

Good & Plenty is a Target store brand. While Target has some food items you should purchase, avoid these nuggets like it's your job.

17. Gardein Crispy Golden Chick'n Nuggets

On paper, Gardein Crispy Golden Chick'n Nuggets look like a great choice for the vegans of the world. Not only are these nuggets certified vegan-friendly, they have 14 grams of protein per serving and can be ready in less than 15 minutes. Created with a blend of wheat and pea protein, they look like genuine, honest-to-goodness chicken nuggets.

Tragically, all hopes and dreams will be dashed once you pop one of these nuggets into your mouth. First, your taste buds will tell you that they're virtually flavorless. When you sink your teeth into the rubbery texture, you'll be thoroughly disgusted. Unless you think chewing on a shoe sounds like a fun way to spend your evening, stay away from these faux chicken nuggets.

Even if you're a vegan who is desperate to get your nugget fix, these things aren't what you're looking for. As you'll read, you can find much better vegan-friendly options.

16. Great Value Fully Cooked Chicken Nuggets

Add these chicken nuggets to the list of Great Value foods you should stay away from at Walmart. Ignore this warning, and there's a good chance your entire day will be completely ruined.

Take a look at the reviews of Great Value Fully Cooked Chicken Nuggets, and the horror show will be enough for you to be convinced that you should never buy these things. Customers report finding everything from bones to feathers in their nuggets. Taking a big bite of a breaded feather may sound funny but it's a surefire way to wreck your mood.

Even if your Great Value nugget is free from both bones and feathers, you still won't be happy. These things are still a soggy, strange-tasting mess even at their best. If you go to Walmart, you can find other brands of chicken nuggets that are worth buying. However, even if they're sold out of all the good brands, don't go for the Great Value chicken nuggets. You'll live to regret it.

15. Ian's Gluten-Free Breaded Chicken Nuggets

You can find gluten-free versions of all your favorite foods these days, from gluten-free Oreos to gluten-free macaroni and cheese. While you can definitely locate scrumptious gluten-free chicken nuggets, Ian's Gluten Free Breaded Chicken Nuggets are not the answer.

Surprisingly, the biggest issue with these nuggets isn't the breading where the gluten has been removed. The most dire problem is the fact that the chicken has the texture of toothpaste. It tastes like regular chicken, but you'll be grossed out by the mushiness of it. It's like they took real chicken and smashed it repeatedly until it turned into a glob of chicken goo.

The breading on Ian's Gluten Free Breaded Chicken Nuggets isn't horrible. It has a chalkiness to it that's not exactly pleasant, but you could live with it if it weren't for the paste-like chicken in the middle. Look elsewhere for gluten-free nuggets that are worth your hard-earned dollar bills.

14. Fast Fixin' Chicken Breast Nuggets

From the outside, Fast Fixin' Chicken Breast Nuggets look beautiful. If you crack a nugget in half to inspect it further, you'll see perfectly white meat in the center that has no shortage of juices. Sadly, if you judge this book by its cover, you'll be let down.

The fatal flaw of Fast Fixin' Chicken Breast Nuggets is the breading. These nuggets have breading made from whole wheat, which in itself isn't a deal-breaker. However, the breading has an overpowering whole wheat flavor that's made even more unpalatable due to having a slightly sweet aftertaste. Sure, you may like to dip your nuggets in a sweet dipping sauce, but you should have control over it. If you use dipping sauces with these nuggets, their inherent sweetness will fight with the flavor of your sauce. If you don't dip the nuggets in anything, the whole wheat flavor will soon be overwhelming. Select another brand.

13. Raised & Rooted Plant Based Nuggets

Raised & Rooted Plant Based Nuggets don't bury the lede when it comes to stating what's unique about these nuggets. If you're following a plant-based diet plan, you'll be happy to learn that these things are made with a blend of golden flaxseed and pea protein. If your idea of chicken nugget perfection is Chicken McNuggets from McDonald's, you'll be even happier when you see that Raised & Rooted Plant Based Nuggets are a dead ringer for McNuggets. Put them side by side, and you literally can't tell them apart.

Unfortunately, the beauty of these nuggets is only skin deep — or breading deep, in this case. Take a bite, and instead of McNuggets-esque goodness, you're met with flavor that is entirely bland. The texture is impressive and a lot like you'll find at McDonalds, but the blandness makes these nuggets impossible to recommend.

Be warned that even though these nuggets are indeed made from plant-based ingredients, this is not a vegan-friendly food due to the presence of egg whites.

12. Member's Mark Chicken Nuggets

Many attributes of Member's Mark Chicken Nuggets are unquestionably attractive. These things are relatively inexpensive, the meat is extremely juicy, and each nugget has a lot of breading on it. This product is also made in the United States and has no added steroids or hormones.

Ultimately, though, you will be unsatisfied with your selection if you purchase Member's Mark Chicken Nuggets. First of all, they're made with a combination of chicken breast and rib meat, which has a negative impact on the flavor. It tastes like the low-quality chicken nuggets you used to get at the cafeteria of your elementary school. The meat is juicy, but the quality is obviously lacking. Furthermore, while the thick breading is enjoyable at first, eventually, dealing with all that breading becomes a chore.

If you're going to buy chicken-powered Member's Mark food from Sam's Club, go with either the Member's Mark Southern Style Chicken Sandwich or the Member's Mark Southern Style Chicken Bites. Both of those items are worthy of a spot on your Sam's Club bucket list.

11. Foster Farms Breast Nuggets

Foster Farms Breast Nuggets have one annoyance that ruins what would otherwise be a yummy experience. However, let's start with the positives. Taste-wise, these things hit the spot. The chicken is flavorful, and the breading only adds to the fun. From nugget to nugget, the consistency is impressive. You won't find a deformed nugget in the bag, and each one tastes exactly the same.

That said, Foster Farms Breast Nuggets don't deserve a seal of approval due to the crumbiness of the breading. At first, you won't notice and you won't care. But after a while, the number of crumbs that descend onto your clothing will surely be annoying. That problem will be further exacerbated by all the crumbs that stick on your fingers. And unlike Cheetos' cheesy dust, sucking on your fingers to remove the crumbs isn't enjoyable.

Unless you plan to eat these nuggets with a fork, knife, and a bib, pick a brand that is higher on this list.

10. Kirkwood Chicken Breast Nuggets

If bang for your buck is one of your leading concerns when you're shopping for chicken nuggets, going to Aldi and purchasing Kirkwood Chicken Breast Nuggets isn't a bad idea. While you can find better nuggets, these things are solidly average. Factor in the low price tag, and they do become tempting to buy.

The best thing about Kirkwood Chicken Breast Nuggets is that they get satisfyingly crispy, especially if you cook them in the oven. They may look like the aforementioned Foster Farms Breast Nuggets, but they don't have the same crumby problem. In fact, their great texture makes these a perfect choice for dipping — and your clothes and fingers will remain crumb-free.

What stops these nuggets from climbing higher on this list? The chicken lacks moisture. The meat isn't super dry, but it's dry enough that you'll notice. For that reason, you won't want to skip the dipping sauce if you buy these nuggets.

9. Bell & Evans Breaded Chicken Breast Nuggets

If you want to get your fingertips on a unique nugget, look for Bell & Evans Breaded Chicken Breast Nuggets. These things are a bit odd compared to other nuggets — but don't be surprised if you become a fan.

The first oddity you'll notice is the fact that these things are labeled as uncooked. Most frozen nuggets you purchase at the store will inform you that they've been fully cooked. But if you purchase Bell & Evans Breaded Chicken Breast Nuggets, to be safe, you need to cook them until the middle of each nugget reaches 170 degrees.

The second weird aspect you'll notice is the thickness of the nuggets. That's not a bad thing, mind you, but you should notify your jaw that you'll need to open wider to fit these bad boys into your mouth.

If you can deal with those two odd attributes, your taste buds will enjoy the fact that these nuggets are made with actual pieces of whole chicken breast and that the breading is perfectly spiced.

8. Perdue Chicken Breast Nuggets

Perdue Foods in one of the biggest names in the poultry industry, and their chicken nuggets are decidedly above average. These things won't blow you away, but you won't feel an ounce of disappointment while you're eating Perdue Chicken Breast Nuggets.

The flavor of the chicken is really impressive. This company claims that their birds eat a 100 percent vegetarian diet and live a cage-free life. They also say that no antibiotics and no hormones are used. When it comes to these nuggets, Perdue says there are no preservatives and no fillers. The result is meat that tastes amazingly fresh.

The news isn't all good, however. The breading on Perdue Chicken Breast Nuggets is too salty. If you don't like salty foods, you should pick another brand of nuggets. Even if you typically enjoy saltiness, you'll be reaching for dipping sauces after eating three or four of these nuggets. Thankfully, once you add sauce to the equation, the saltiness is no longer much of a negative factor.

7. Earth's Best Chicken Nuggets

If you're a fully grown adult, you might feel embarrassed for falling head over heels for Earth's Best Chicken Nuggets. These nuggets are labeled as being for kids, specifically toddlers at least two years old. However, don't let that embarrassment stop you, as these things are legitimately yummy.

No matter your age, you will appreciate the meat inside of Earth's Best Chicken Nuggets. It's fresh-tasting, juicy, and flavorful. If you're feeding a toddler, you'll be pleased to learn that the nuggets have no artificial colors or artificial flavors. Additionally, the chickens were vegetarian-fed and no antibiotics were used. Earth's Best has been focused on the quality and wholesomeness of their products since launching in 1985.

The only irritation with these nuggets is that the breading sometimes falls off while you're attempting to eat them. If it does fall off, eating the breading by itself isn't too fun because the breading has a minimal amount of seasoning.

6. Simulate Chicken Nuggs

If you're searching the world over for delicious vegan-friendly or plant-based chicken nuggets, Simulate Chicken Nuggs are the answer to your prayers. These bad boys are so good that you'll be convinced that the taste is too chicken-y to be true. But once you glance at the ingredients, you'll see that these nuggs are made from a combination of wheat protein, soy protein, breadcrumbs, corn flour, and other meatless components.

Simulate Chicken Nuggs claim to be the "Tesla of chicken," and that's not much of an exaggeration. They run their business like a software company, which allows them to continuously upgrade the nuggets based on customer feedback. As it stands, their nuggets are already delectable. If they keep improving, even carnivores will jump ship and head to the land of plant-based foods.

If you like the spicy nuggets like those found at Wendy's, this company also makes really good spicy nuggs. Compared to Wendy's spicy nuggets, these things are even spicier.

5. Banquet Chicken Breast Nuggets

Banquet makes some of the best frozen dinners that you can find. Many of those frozen dinners include chicken nuggets. If you can't get enough of those chicken nuggets, skip frozen dinners and head straight toward Banquet Chicken Breast Nuggets. These nuggets are just as good as the nuggets you find as part of their frozen dinners. In fact, they may be even better because you don't need to worry about them coming into contact with anything else when you're heating them up.

If you haven't eaten chicken nuggets made by Banquet in years, give them another try. They improved the recipe recently, and the results have been very strong. Previously, the meat was bland and chewy. Nowadays, the meat has the perfect texture and is much juicier. Considering that Banquet has long been a popular brand of nuggets, messing with the recipe was certainly a risk. However, that gamble paid off in a big way.

4. Trader Joe's Chicken Drumellas

Trader Joe's has many fantastic products for sale every day at every location. This chain of grocery stores is known for high-quality products at budget-friendly prices. Trader Joe's Chicken Drumellas are yet another example of exactly that.

Don't be confused by the name or their shape. Trader Joe's Chicken Drumellas definitely qualify as chicken nuggets. Yes, the shape of these nuggets isn't what you're accustomed to, but it doesn't impact that flavor at all. They're also not as large as they appear to be based on the picture on the packaging. If you dip your nuggets, don't worry about these things being too large to be dippable. They're just the right size.

From the breading to the white chicken meat, you'll be pleased with every aspect of these nuggets. That said, keep in mind that Trader Joe's Chicken Drumellas taste best if you put them in the oven. If you microwave them, you won't be as overjoyed.

3. Applegate Naturals Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets

There's a lot to love about Applegate Naturals Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets. If healthfulness is your number one consideration, you can't do better than these nuggets. Not only are they free of gluten, they're also dairy-free and casein-free. Their chickens are raised with care, never administered antibiotics, eat a vegetarian diet, and are given extra space to roam.

Compared to other gluten-free nuggets, the breading on Applegate Naturals Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets is so much better. It tastes like real, authentic breading. There's no chalkiness or powderiness at all. Add in the tastiness of their high-quality chicken, and these nuggets deserve to be near the top of this list. Even if gluten is of no concern to you, you will still adore these things.

Another positive attribute is these nuggets taste great even if you heat them up in the microwave. If you're feeling lazy and just want nuggets as fast as possible, go with these.

2. Weaver Chicken Breast Nuggets

If you've ever tasted homemade chicken nuggets, most store-bought nuggets won't be capable of living up to your expectations. There's just something special about homemade nuggets that doesn't survive being frozen and then reheated. However, before you give up all hope, give Weaver Chicken Breast Nuggets a taste test. These things taste 99 percent as good as homemade chicken nuggets, even those nuggets your grandmother used to make.

If you want that homemade taste, you'll need to fire up your oven and cook these nuggets at 425 degrees for approximately ten minutes. When they're ready, the breading will be golden brown and will taste like heaven. The chicken is extra plump and overflowing with flavors.

The Weaver brand has a history that dates back to 1937 in Pennsylvania. From day one, chicken has been the primary focus. To this day, all the products they sell are made from chicken, so it's safe to say they know what they're doing.

1. Tyson Fun Nuggets

Tyson is a behemoth in the chicken industry. They are the largest processor of chicken in the United States. When it comes to their nuggets, they can't be topped — as long as you know which ones to buy. While Tyson Fully Cooked Chicken Nuggets are the easiest to find, the ones you want are called Tyson Fun Nuggets.

While the shape of the nuggets is fun and the cartoons on the packaging are cute, these glorious goodies are seriously amazing. The whole wheat breading gets perfectly crispy, especially if you use an oven or an air fryer. The breading is seasoned perfectly. It tastes so good, in fact, that you will want to pick it off and eat it by itself. But don't do that because the best part of Tyson Fun Nuggets is the chicken. The meat is all white, super juicy, and the scrumptious flavor will leave no doubt that these are the best store-bought chicken nuggets you will ever come across.