While McDonald’s has long been the go-to for chicken nuggets among kids and adults alike, it’s not exactly the healthiest choice. The same goes for many frozen chicken nuggets that often contain extensive ingredient lists and cringeworthy nutritional profiles. But what do you do when your little ones (or even teens) don’t seem to have a taste for anything more than breaded chicken pieces?
Well, you try to make better food choices. In which case, you’re probably looking for the best frozen chicken nuggets that you can make at home that are better for your family. Whether you’re baking these breaded jewels in the oven or frying them in an air fryer, it’s safe to say that not all chicken nuggets are created equal. (That includes popcorn chicken and chicken tenders, which, you know, are just chicken nuggets in another form.)
Beyond the shape or name of your breaded chicken, there are a few key things to keep in mind when choosing frozen chicken nuggets. We’ll get into all that, along with a roundup of how some of the most popular frozen chicken nuggets stack up against each other.
We’ll also share details on plant-based chicken nuggets that can help you indulge those cravings without compromising the health of your kids (and yourself — we don’t blame you for loving nuggets, too!).
How Do You Determine the Best Frozen Chicken Nuggets?
When it comes to judging the best frozen chicken nuggets, what often matters most to people is taste (think flavor), texture (crispy and crunchy versus soggy and lifeless), and moisture (juicy versus dry). But as a health-conscious shopper, you know it's not just a matter of taste — it's also a matter of what's behind the taste.
As such, you always want to pay attention to the fillers, additives, and preservatives that are used in the creation of many frozen foods you find in the grocery store. So be mindful when looking at the ingredients listed on the box.
One doesn’t exactly think of health when thinking about fast food or even frozen foods, for that matter. And certainly not when thinking about breaded processed food. But here at Nowadays, we believe comfort food can also be nutritious. (We’ll get to that more in a minute.) For now, just remember that your search for the best frozen chicken nuggets should focus on brands that are transparent about their ingredients and processes.
Frozen Chicken Nuggets: 4 Popular Brands
Keeping in mind that we prefer our nuggets without the chicken, we still wanted to share some of the most popular brands of chicken nuggets on the market. But before you load up your shopping cart, you may want to know how many chicken nuggets are actually made — let’s just say it’s not exactly idyllic. (You’ve been warned.)
That said, if you take a look at any list of the best frozen chicken nuggets on the market, the four brands below are what you’re likely to find.
Perdue Chicken Breast Nuggets
This is easily one of the most popular brands of chicken nuggets. Perdue’s chicken breast nuggets are fully cooked and made from white meat chicken breast mixed with some rib meat. The label indicates there’s no use of antibiotics, preservatives, added hormones, or steroids. The breading is made from a blend of corn flour and whole wheat flour. These nuggets are said to be crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside (exactly what we achieved with our vegan nuggets. But we’ll get there in a moment).
Nutrition Facts per 90g/4 pieces:
Trans Fats: Unknown
Dino Tyson Chicken Nuggets
Tyson chicken nuggets are made with boneless chicken breast meat combined with rib meat. The breading is made with whole wheat flour. The brand claims the chickens are raised with no antibiotics ever (something you want to look for on any chicken nugget label).
Nutrition Facts per 77g
Trans Fats: 0g
Applegate Naturals Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets
If you’re looking for a gluten-free option, the chicken breast nuggets from Applegate Naturals are a popular choice. The breast meat is made from chickens with no antibiotics (there’s that label again). Instead of whole wheat flour, the breading uses rice flour and a bit of corn and rice starch.
Nutrition Facts per 85g/6 nuggets
Trans Fats: 0g
Bell & Evans Breaded Chicken Breast Nuggets
Bell & Evans is one of the oldest chicken company in the game. It started in 1894 and has been making poultry products ever since. These organic breaded chicken nuggets are the brand’s top-seller.Unlike the other chicken nuggets on this list, these are made with chicken breast meat with no fillers or additives. The breading is made with whole wheat flour, though you can get a gluten-free version made with a blend of rice flour and yellow corn flour.
Nutrition Facts per 112g/3 nuggets
Trans Fats: 0g
The Best Frozen “Chicken” Nuggets
We’re just going to say this bluntly: Nowadays nuggets are the best frozen chicken nuggets on the market. (Ummm … make that “chicken” nuggets.)
While we love that there are other brands are using meat-free alternatives, it’s worth mentioning that a chicken-free nugget can still have additives, fillers, and preservatives — and often they do.
Creating the most perfect nugget with only 7 ingredients (that you can actually pronounce and recognize) was hard work, but we did it — and we’re darn proud of that. We made a nugget that could stand up to its animal counterpart in both taste and texture, and we did it with your health in mind.
Nowadays nuggets are made with:
- Organic, Non-GMO peas sustainably grown by U.S. farmers
- Whole wheat flour
- Sunflower oil
- Yeast extract
- Maple fiber
- Mushroom extract
- Filtered water
By nutritional comparison to the chicken nugget brands above, here is how Nowadays nuggets stack up:
Nutritional Facts per 85g/5 pieces:
Trans Fat: 0g
Sodium: 250 mg
As you can see, by comparison to the other brands, Nowadays nuggets can hold their own in protein content, and yet they have significantly less fat and sodium (about half that of many other nugget brands). They also tend to be on the lower side of carb content than most other chicken nugget brands.
The Choice Is Yours
When it comes to finding the best frozen chicken nuggets, the choice goes well beyond taste. These days, more chicken nugget options are made without fillers, preservatives, or hormones. But you might want to consider trying something truly different. That’s where Nowadays chicken-free nuggets come in.
We understand you want to make better food choices, and that shouldn’t mean sacrificing a crave-worthy meal. We’re committed to offering the perfect plant-based chicken nugget that is better for you, your family, and the planet. Enjoy Nowadays nuggets straight out of the box or add them to your next plant-based meal. Whatever you decide, chances are you’ll be declaring them the best frozen chicken nuggets ever. Minus the chicken, of course.