Freezer Chicken Fingers (Oven-Fried)

April 20th, 2009 by katie

Our freezer food line-up so far consists of Corn Dogs, French Toast Sticks, Breakfast Burritos, and Pizza Bagels.  Now I’ll show you a way to make oven-ready chicken nuggets for the freezer, so you can serve fresh baked chicken nuggets any time the need strikes.  I admit, I often buy pre-made frozen chicken nuggets at the grocery store.  They are a great dinner or lunch for the kids when I am working and mrChaos doesn’t feel like cooking.  This recipe, however, is so easy and cheap to put together and the nuggets take just as long in the oven as typical processed chicken nuggets.  I don’t know that I’ll be spending my money on the pre-made ones any more!

Oven-Fried Chicken Fingers for the Freezer

makes 3 lbs, prep 20 min, cook time 20 min, adapted from Gourmet, January 2004
  • 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders, trimmed of fat
  • 1 cup flour
  • seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic, as desired)
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, melted
  • 8 cups cornflakes, crushed finely
  1. Trim chicken and cut into desired shapes.
  2. Add flour and any desired seasonings to a large bowl or bag.  Add chicken pieces and toss to coat with flour.
  3. Take one chicken piece and dip it in melted butter, allow excess to drip off.
  4. Then roll chicken in cornflake crumbs, patting crumbs all over to have them stick.
  5. Place chicken on a baking sheet, continue until all chicken is breaded.
  6. Either bake chicken strips at 400°F for 15-20 minutes or place chicken strips into the freezer.
  7. After several hours, once chicken strips are frozen, place them in labeled freezer bags.
  8. Instructions to cook from frozen: place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 425°F for 20 minutes or until juices are clear.

These are a great, quick meal or snack.  The ones above are full sized chicken tenders, next time I will cut breasts into smaller pieces because I like the size and texture better.

I had a little trouble with the cornflakes crumbs: they really need to be finely crushed and even then you have to really pat them on.  I was a little skeptical as to how they would bake up, but they were delicious!  The cornflakes create a nice, crisp crumb coating.  They were actually a lot better coated than I expected them to be (the picture above is my first batch-you can see a few bare spots), the crumbs actually stuck really well.  I used chicken tenders to save some time but my kids didn’t care for the large size, so next time I will definitely make smaller breast nuggets. I first saw this recipe here, but there are variations all over the internet.  You can also make these with less fat by omitting the butter and flour and dipping the chicken in low-fat buttermilk before coating them in the cornflakes.  I have also seen them dipped in ranch dressing first.  I haven’t tried any of these variations yet, so if you do, let me know how they turn out!

Cost Analysis:

  • 3 lbs all natural chicken breasts: $11.97
  • 2 sticks organic butter: $1
  • 8 cups cornflakes: $1.40
  • Total cost for 3 pounds: $14.37 or $4.79 per pound (29.9¢ per ounce, the frozen chicken tenders at the store are 30¢ per ounce, so ha!)
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Posted in Easy, Fast, Main Dish

13 Responses

  1. Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary

    When the boys were little I made chicken fingers for them all the time. I hated the thought of them eating those nasty dinosaur shaped ones from the grocery store. I would make up a big batch and freeze them, just like you did. Bravo for giving your kids something good to eat!

  2. Amy

    Love those plates with the little dip cup built right in! Could you share where you found them?

    I got them here, about a million years ago. -Katie

  3. Happy Cook

    Wow those chicken pieces looks so yummy delicious, i am so bookmarking this recipe.

  4. noble pig

    These are much better to. My kids would love them.

  5. AmyAnne

    I’ll be doing this ASAP.

    I was going to ask the same question as Amy and my name is Amy…how spooky is that?! Not really, I know.

    BTW thanks for the Twitter link to the S’more-dillas, one word – awesome.

    The pizza bites are now a staple in these parts.

    You and your cookin’ rock.

  6. AmyAnne

    Ha! I made them. Tonight. For dinner. My family liked them so much that by the time I went over to take a picture of the finished product for FB they were all gone!

    SCORE.

  7. Wendy

    Where did you get those cute plates with the dipper cup built in? Those are perfect! The chicken looks pretty good too!

  8. Wendy

    Oops! I see now that you already answered this question. Thanks!

  9. Allie

    I have been trying to find some healthy freezer options for my kids. These are great! I think I will be trying all your freezer recipes. Btw, I just found your blog and love it! I am also a mom of 3 who food blogs for a little me time :)

  10. joann

    I made this good recipe today. It took me a lot longer than 20 minutes of prep, and I was very organized about it. Had everything ready to go, etc. I would say it took me 40 minutes, working with both hands!

    I used 2.5 lbs of chicken, 1.25 sticks of butter, and more crushed cornflakes than the recipe called for.

  11. Carol Ann

    LOVE this recipe! Just one question–I made a batch of chicken tenders and baked them all. Can I freeze them after I bake them, thaw, and reheat? Or, do you only freeze them before they have been cooked? I would prefer to cook them and then freeze them–just not sure how the thawing/cooking process with affect the coating. many thanks!!!

    Yes: cook first then freeze. Also, don’t thaw them, just pop them still frozen in a hot oven (like 425F) for about 15-20 minutes. Yay! -Katie

  12. Joelle

    After reading the cost analysis, I realized this is quite old. In 2013 there is NO way to buy at these prices…example:
    2 sticks of organic butter for $1.00?

    There is no butter that sells for $2.00 per pound today

  13. AmyAnne

    Making these for the one billionth time tonight. You. Are. Awesome.

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About chaos

cha·os -noun 1. a condition or place of great disorder or confusion. My chaotic kitchen is the result of three kids, two adults, dog, cat, and fish, a food obsession, a wine drinking hobby, and too few hours in the day. Between trying to feed a family of five healthy, happy meals, watching my weight, saving my pennies, and staying partially sane I have picked up a few tricks along the way. So here they are: the very best tips, tricks, and recipes from my chaotic kitchen-to yours!

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