This post is all about making a copycat version of the spicy McDonald’s Chicken Nugget recipe and their famous Mighty Hot Sauce.
Today I am crowning myself the McNugget queen. Not only because my body is made up of 50% water and 50% nuggets, but also because I’ve mastered an incredible remake of this McDonald’s classic.
There are a lot of great recipes I’ve made over the years. Some of my favorites are my Crunchy Sesame Chicken, Fried Chicken Elote Taco, and my PF Changs Crispy Green Beans. But occasionally there is a recipe I’ll create that actually surprises myself. This remake of McDonalds Spicy Nuggets with Mighty Hot Sauce is that recipe. These nuggets are so good they’d put McDonald’s out of business – and I’m not exaggerating.
Battered up in a crispy tempura batter and seasoned to the high heavens. These nuggets are incredibly juicy and bursting with so much spicy flavor it will make you weep (in a good way!). Then you dunk them in this homemade Mighty Hot Sauce – wowza! It’s fruity, spicy, creamy and utterly addictive.
This recipe post is all about how to remake McDonald’s Spicy Chicken Nuggets and their famous Mighty Hot Sauce.
Key Ingredients in this McDonald’s Chicken Nugget Recipe:
- Ground Chicken – this is the base for the nuggets, you can use regular ground chicken or ground chicken breast.
- Seasonings – paprika, cayenne, seasoning salt, onion powder, garlic powder, ground pepper.
- Flour & Cornstarch – the perfect combination to create a crispy batter.
- Club Soda – puffs up the batter and creates little bubbles that contribute to the perfect crisp.
- Apricot Jam – the base for the Mighty Hot Sauce.
- Hot Sauce – duh!
- Chili Paste – sambal oelek is added to the sauce to give it that spicy chili flavor.
How to Make This McDonald’s Chicken Nugget Recipe:
Frying food always takes a little more effort so for that reason I wouldn’t call this recipe simple. But I can certainly say it’s far from difficult and not too time consuming. Because we are working with a batter I do tend to make a bit of a mess with drips from the bowl into the hot oil.
To make the mess and effort worth while, I make a big batch of these. Here is how to make these nuggets:
Step 1: Combine the ground chicken with the seasonings and a dash of oil. Mix well until chicken is very smooth. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Take a few pinches of the ground chicken and form them into patties about 1/4″ thick. Place them side by side on the baking sheet. Freeze for about 1 hour so they are easy to handle when battering.
Step 2: Just before removing the chicken, heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan to 350 degrees. I like to use a thermometer to ensure the proper temp control throughout frying. In a shallow dish add 1/2 cup flour and set aside. In a medium bowl add flour, cornstarch and seasonings. Then slowly whisk in the club soda, stirring slowly just until combined (it can be a little lumpy).
Step 3: Remove the nuggets from the freezer. Drudge each of them in the plain flour coating all sides. Fully submerge into the wet batter, allowing the excess to drip off and place them carefully into the oil. Cook them for 5 minutes total, about 2 1/2 minutes on each side. Remove them and place onto a wire rack to cool. Do not place them on paper towels and it can cause them to get soggy. Each immediately for optimal crunch. To reheat, place in a 425 degree oven for about 7-10 minutes, flipping half way through.
Tools I Use:
Can These McDonald’s Spicy Chicken Nuggets Be Frozen?
YES! This is one of my favorite foods to fill my freezer with. I make a large batch (double this recipe) on a day when I am already planning to fry something else. Frying is always a bit of production so finding a reason to utilize the same pans and hot oil for something else saves me lots of hassle.
Allow these cooked nuggets to cool on the wire rack then throw them into a gallon-sized freezer bag. They will last a few months in the freezer but let’s be honest, they will NEVER have a chance at lasting more than a week or two at our house.
It’s the perfect midnight snack and the perfect in-between meal when you skipped breakfast and lunch but dinner is just a few hours away. I feel absolute bliss when I am starved and don’t have the time or energy to cook and remember these are in my freezer. It is truly the best feeling!
How To Make McDonald’s Mighty Hot Sauce:
With just five ingredients you can duplicate McDonald’s famous spicy + fruity hot sauce. Here is what you’ll need and how to make this Mighty Hot Sauce:
In a small bowl combine apricot preservers, chili paste (sambal oelek), garlic powder, Frank’s Hot Sauce, 1/2 tbsp corn starch dissolved in water. Whisk those until combined and microwave for 30-45 seconds until thickened and warmed.
How to Keep Them Crispy when Reheating:
I do not recommend microwaving them or leaving these out too long at room temp. The breading turns mushy and they are best eaten immediately after cooking.
The best way to keep these nuggs crispy is to only use an oven/convention oven or an air fryer to reheat them.
See below for the optimal reheating instructions in the oven and air fryer.
Can I Reheat These in an Air Fryer?
Of course! While I don’t recommend using an air fryer for cooking them the first time with wet batter, I do love using the air fryer to reheat these babies. From the freezer it only took 8 minutes at 400 degrees for these to be hot and super crispy. An oven works as well. I set it to 425 degrees for 10 minutes. In both scenarios, I flip them halfway through.
How to Make the Regular (non-spicy) Nuggets:
The real question is, why don’t you like spicy nuggets? Let’s hope you are reading this section because you are making these for kids! 😆
Instead of the spices listed in the wet batter, use this instead:
- 1 tbsp. Onion Powder
- 1 tbsp. Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp. Seasoning Salt
- ½ tsp. Pepper
- 2 tbsp. Mustard (added after the club soda)
Looking for More Copycat Recipes?
I hope you enjoyed this McDonald’s Spicy Chicken Nuggets recipe. I look forward to your questions and feedback below. Please be sure to tag me @BadBatchBaking using hashtag #badbatchbaking if you made this recipe and I will feature you on my story! Plus, I LOVE to see your baking accomplishments.
McDonald's Spicy Chicken Nuggets with Mighty Hot Sauce
- 1 lb ground chicken or ground chicken breast
- oil for frying vegetable oil or peanut oil
Ground Chicken Seasonings
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/2 tablespoon seasoning salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup all pupose flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2/3 cup club soda, COLD may need a little extra. Batter should not be runny or too thick
- 1/2 cup flour
Mighty Hot Sauce
- 1/4 cup apricot jam or preserve
- 1 1/2 tablespoon chili paste sambal oelek
- 4 tablespoons Texas Pete or Frank's hot sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water combined
- pinch of salt
Prep & Shape Nuggets
- Combine the ground chicken with it's seasonings and a few dashes of olive oil in a bowl. Mix well until chicken is very smooth. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Take a few pinches of the ground chicken and form them into patties about 1/4" thick. I try to make shapes similar to McDonald's (the boot, round, bell, etc). Place them side by side on the baking sheet. Freeze the tray of nuggets for about 1 hour so they are easy to handle when battering.
- Just before removing the chicken, heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan or deep fryer to 350 degrees. I like to attach a thermometer to ensure the proper temp control throughout frying.
Batter & Fry Nuggets
- In a shallow dish add 1/2 cup flour.
- In a medium bowl add flour, cornstarch and seasonings. Then slowly whisk in the club soda, stirring slowly just until combined (it can be a little lumpy).
- Remove the nugget tray from the freezer. Dredge each of them in the plain flour, coating all sides. Fully submerge into the wet batter, allowing the excess to drip off and place them carefully into the oil.
- Cook them for 4-5 minutes total, about 2-ish minutes on each side. Remove them and place onto a wire rack to cool. Do not place them on paper towels and it can cause them to get soggy. Each immediately for optimal crunch.
Mighty Hot Sauce
- In a small bowl combine all mighty hot sauce ingredients. Whisk until combined. Microwave for 30-45 seconds until warm through and to thicken. You can also prepare this over the stove in a saucepan.