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Turkey Nuggets

These tender, delicious, EASY and FAST turkey nuggets are gonna ROCK your world! You’ll never ever look at any other nuggets the same again. Did I say “AFFORDABLE”?

turkey nuggets on a plate

Turkey Nuggets Recipe

This turkey nuggets recipe is so fast, easy and CHEAP that you’ll be whipping these turkey nuggets up for family dinner ALL THE TIME! Just about as easy as Frozen Chicken Nuggets and far more affordable!

I’m so glad that my friend Mo encouraged me to try and make these, because he is right! They are GOOD!

My family loves them and we have to be careful or my two year old grandson will stuff his mouth full!

Perfect with Honey Mustard Dressing, Ketchup or Ranch dressing. Serve with Mac and Cheese and Green beans for a real family throw down!

pile of turkey nuggets

Here’s What You’ll Need

  • Turkey Breast Tender
  • Flour
  • Egg
  • Panko Bread Crumbs
  • Seasonings

Here’s How You Do It

  1. Set up a “breading station” – 3 dishes for breading.
  2. Heat the oil to 350 in a heavy duty pan.
  3. Cut up and bread the turkey.
  4. Fry in batches and drain on a paper towel.
  5. PRO TIPS: Be sure to read the pro tips below so that your breading does not fall off in the pan and to ensure proper seasoning.
bunch of turkey nuggets

Special Equipment

You don’t actually need any special equipment for these turkey nuggets, but the following does make things easier. The following photos may be links to Amazon and if so, when you click the photo, you will go through to Amazon where you can compare prices.

These are Amazon affiliate links and I am an Amazon affiliate. Any purchase made through this link will offer Loaves and Dishes a commission, so thank you! The commission does not affect your purchase price.

Heavy Duty Pan

I typically use a cast iron skillet for turkey nuggets, but a dutch oven or heavy frying pan or heavy sauce pan will work just fine.

Thermometer

I only recommend Thermoworks brand thermometers. They have been identified by Cooks Illustrated as the best in the business, its all I use and I agree with Cooks Illustrated.

ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4

Kitchen Spider

You might think, “Oh, I’ll never use that thing” and in reality, you’ll find yourself using it all the time. I sure do. Here’s one like I have…

Breading Station

While I do not own one of these, if I had the room in my kitchen, I would. If you bread a lot of things, then a breading station is probably the answer for you.

You can see from my video that using various bowls and plates is less than optimal.

Frequently Asked Questions about Turkey Nuggets (FAQ’s)

Are turkey nuggets healthy?

Turkey nuggets are a great substitute for chicken nuggets and often cost less!

How Long Do Turkey Nuggets Last?

If you keep covered in the fridge, turkey nuggets will last about 5 days. See reheating instructions below.

Can I Freeze Turkey Nuggets

You can freeze the already cooked nuggets, however, reclaiming the correct texture is a tricky challenge. It’s much better to freeze the turkey tender and then bread and fry it when you are ready to eat it.

turkey nuggets platter

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Turkey Nuggets

  • Choose either a premarinated turkey tender or an unflavored one. Just make sure you choose a flavor you like if you are using the marinated ones.
  • Cut the turkey into small pieces – about sugar cube size if possible. Often you’ll find that the turkey wants to fall apart if it has been marinated, if this happens, simply cut it as small as you are able to do.
  • Always use a high temp oil for frying (vegetable, canola, peanut, etc.). Do NOT use Olive oil for frying these and do not use butter.
  • You’ll want to have a thermometer so that you don’t burn your turkey nuggets and so that the oil is hot enough to fry them appropriately.
  • If you want breading to stick, follow the directions EXPLICITLY in the recipe below. It is SUPER IMPORTANT to dry the turkey meat off completely. You can do this with paper towels or with cloth towels, just so it is very very dry.
  • You can substitute the spices in the seasoning for whatever flips your trigger, but you might want to start with the mix I suggest to make sure you enjoy the turkey before getting too wild and crazy with your seasoning choices.

Substitutions

  • Turkey – You can substitute chicken breast, turkey breast, pork loin, pork chops or chicken tenders in this recipe, HOWEVER, if you use a different meat, then it won’t be a turkey nugget. Just sayin.
  • Oil – You can use any oil that is suitable for frying – Personally, I like to use either vegetable oil or peanut oil. You can use cannola, safflower, crisco, lard or whatever frying oil you prefer. Just DO NOT use Olive Oil or Butter.
  • Seasonings – Feel free to use whatever seasonings you enjoy to season the breading, just understand that it takes A LOT of seasoning to make the breadcrumbs taste just right. I’ve chosen mine based on cost savings vs flavor.
  • Flour – If you are unable to use standard all purpose flour, if there is another flour you have used in the past for frying and it has worked out ok, then it may work for this purpose. I haven’t fried with other flours so I can’t really give advice about this. You CAN use either all purpose or self rising flour.
  • Panko – I’m using the unflavored panko breadcrumbs but it is fine to use the already seasoned ones. You can add seasoning to them or use them as is.
  • Egg Wash – I’m not really aware of a substitute for the egg wash, but since the purpose is to make the panko stick onto the turkey, something like a thick greek yogurt or a thick buttermilk might work.
  • Draining on a Paper Towel – The point is to remove some of the grease. If you prefer to do this on a cloth towel or just to allow the turkey to drip onto a plate, that is fine too.

Watch Me Make Turkey Nuggets

Can You Give Me a Hand?

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turkey nuggets on a plate

Turkey Nuggets

These FAST EASY CHEAP turkey nuggets are what's up. A single turkey tender will feed 3-4 people and you'll be so glad you gave this a try!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: main
Cuisine: American
Keyword: turkey nuggets
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
resting time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 14 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 340kcal
Author: Wendi Spraker

Ingredients

  • 2 turkey breast tender cut into 1" cubes

Oil

  • vegetable oil or see substitution – 2 to 3" deep in pan

Breading

  • 1 cup flour all purpose
  • 3 large eggs beaten
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1/4 cup Old Bay
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbs baking powder

Instructions

  • Cut the turkey into 1" cubes and dry it well with paper towels. Set aside
  • Pour enough oil into your heavy duty pan to cover 2-3" deep. Set on medium to medium high heat and allow to come to temperature while mixing up the breading. Heat to 350 degrees.
  • Set up a 3 pan breading station. In one pan, put the plain flour. In the second pan, put 3 beaten eggs, in the third, mix together the panko, baking powder and seasonings and mix well. Move the cut turkey and the breading station to beside the stovetop.
  • Working in small batches 5-10 pieces at a time, place the turkey into the plain flour and mix around making sure to coat all sides of the turkey with flour, then into the eggs and swirl around making sure to coat in egg then into the panko mixing around so that the breading coats all surfaces.
  • Drop the turkey nuggets into the hot oil one piece at a time. Adjust the eye temp so that the nuggets do not cook too furiously or do not go cold. The turkey nuggets should bubble boldly and continue to do so until cooked through and should be a golden brown color when cooked. Cook to internal temp of 165. Turkey floats when it is done. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain. serve hot.

Notes

  • Choose either a premarinated turkey tender or an unflavored one. Just make sure you choose a flavor you like if you are using the marinated ones.
  • Cut the turkey into small pieces – about sugar cube size if possible. Often you’ll find that the turkey wants to fall apart if it has been marinated, if this happens, simply cut it as small as you are able to do.
  • Always use a high temp oil for frying (vegetable, canola, peanut, etc.). Do NOT use Olive oil for frying these and do not use butter.
  • You’ll want to have a thermometer so that you don’t burn your turkey nuggets and so that the oil is hot enough to fry them appropriately.
  • If you want breading to stick, follow the directions EXPLICITLY in the recipe below. It is SUPER IMPORTANT to dry the turkey meat off completely. You can do this with paper towels or with cloth towels, just so it is very very dry.
  • You can substitute the spices in the seasoning for whatever flips your trigger, but you might want to start with the mix I suggest to make sure you enjoy the turkey before getting too wild and crazy with your seasoning choices.
SUBSTITUTIONS
Turkey – You can substitute chicken breast, turkey breast, pork loin, pork chops or chicken tenders in this recipe, HOWEVER, if you use a different meat, then it won’t be a turkey nugget. Just sayin.
Oil – You can use any oil that is suitable for frying – Personally, I like to use either vegetable oil or peanut oil. You can use cannola, safflower, crisco, lard or whatever frying oil you prefer. Just DO NOT use Olive Oil or Butter.
Seasonings – Feel free to use whatever seasonings you enjoy to season the breading, just understand that it takes A LOT of seasoning to make the breadcrumbs taste just right. I’ve chosen mine based on cost savings vs flavor.
Flour – If you are unable to use standard all purpose flour, if there is another flour you have used in the past for frying and it has worked out ok, then it may work for this purpose. I haven’t fried with other flours so I can’t really give advice about this. You CAN use either all purpose or self rising flour.
Panko – I’m using the unflavored panko breadcrumbs but it is fine to use the already seasoned ones. You can add seasoning to them or use them as is.
Egg Wash – I’m not really aware of a substitute for the egg wash, but since the purpose is to make the panko stick onto the turkey, something like a thick greek yogurt or a thick buttermilk might work.
Draining on a Paper Towel – The point is to remove some of the grease. If you prefer to do this on a cloth towel or just to allow the turkey to drip onto a plate, that is fine too.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Turkey Nuggets
Amount Per Serving (0.5 lb)
Calories 340 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Trans Fat 0.01g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 177mg59%
Sodium 807mg34%
Potassium 472mg13%
Carbohydrates 41g14%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 30g60%
Vitamin A 320IU6%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 230mg23%
Iron 5mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @loavesanddishes or tag #loavesanddishes!

A Verse To Share

Lately, I’ve become so distraught with the actions of people who identify themselves as Christians. I’ve seen outright violence and hatred from some.

Is that how we are called to be? No. It isn’t. Even if we think something is evil, acting in the same way isn’t how we combat that.

Romans 12:21

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good

Recipe Rating




Wendi J Spraker

Friday 29th of July 2022

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