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Gluten-free turkey nuggets are a hit with the little ones in the family – and the big ones, too! They bake up in the oven and can easily be frozen and reheated.
Like every other kid in America, mine are cuckoo for chicken nuggets. And to be honest, I can’t say that I blame them.
Those crispy, meaty little bites are fun to eat and dip into all sorts of sauces, making it possible to have a new experience at each meal!
However, I know that the fast-food bites, or even the frozen ones from the grocery store, aren’t the best foods to be giving my kids daily.
As a result, I’ve been on a quest to create the perfect homemade nugget for quite some time. I’ve tried chicken nuggets and fish nuggets, but can never seem to get them quite how I want them.
At long last, with these Gluten-Free Turkey Nuggets, I’ve found a recipe that’s just as good as (if not better than) the ready-made variety.
To be honest, aside from deli meat for sandwiches, I often forget about turkey when it’s not November. This recipe reminded me that I shouldn’t.
If chicken is normally the default protein on your family’s dinner menu, turkey is just different enough to make your meal interesting again. Plus, large turkey tenderloins are extremely affordable and versatile.
These nuggets were easy to make, thanks to a few ingredients I’m betting you already have on hand.
Rather than bread crumbs, I opted for a crunchy coating of cornmeal, which not only makes the nuggets crispier, but also ensures that they are gluten-free. That means I can serve up any extras to my kids’ friends without worry.
I also put together a quick honey mustard blend that’s reminiscent of a popular fast-food dip. The addition of barbecue sauce adds just enough kick, and it’s made with Greek yogurt for smooth, creamy tang.
How to prepare turkey nuggets
Having all of your ingredients ready to go is crucial when it comes to making recipes with a coating, like nuggets.
Set up your sliced meat, egg coating, and dry coating in separate bowls, assembly-line style. I also have a utensil for each bowl to prevent too much mixing. A fork works best for letting that excess egg drip off.
The basic breading method is to dip turkey into egg, then dip into the cornmeal, then place onto your baking sheet. This is great for perfectly coating each piece, but can take a lot of time.
I opt for a shortcut: mix the egg into the turkey, then place it into a zip-top bag. Add the coating mix, close the bag, and shake it up!
Since you might not get each piece coated completely, feel free to add more cornmeal to the bag and shake again to fully “crunchify” the pieces that need it.
I cook these on a wire rack set onto a baking sheet for air circulation, which helps get the nuggets crispy. Before cooking, be sure to spray your pan so the nuggets don’t stick.
Can I freeze turkey nuggets?
Because turkey tenderloins are large, you might have extra. I also sometimes cook up twice as much just to have some on hand.
If you have leftover turkey nuggets, let them cool completely after baking.
Store them in a freezer-safe bag or container, and reheat as needed. You can warm them from frozen in a 400°F oven for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of your nuggets.
You can also try this method with chicken, fish, or even cauliflower. Add your favorite spices or flavors to mix it up each time you make it!
- 2 turkey tenderloins, about 1 1/2 pounds total
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1/4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning, crushed
- 1/2 cup plain 0% Greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 3/4 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoons barbecue sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 425° F. Place a metal rack in a shallow baking pan and coat with cooking spray.
- Cut turkey into 16 evenly-sized nuggets; set aside in a bowl.
- Place egg in a small bowl and beat lightly. In another small bowl stir together the cornmeal, Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning.
- Pour egg over turkey pieces, stirring to coat, then place pieces into a plastic zip-top bag. Pour cornmeal mixture into bag, close top, and shake to coat evenly.
- Place nuggets on prepared rack. Lightly coat each nugget with cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes or until turkey is golden and crispy (165° F).
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together Greek yogurt, honey, mustard, barbecue sauce, and salt. Serve nuggets with dipping sauce. Store any leftover nuggets in a freezer-safe bag and reheat in the oven.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 499Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 731mgCarbohydrates: 102gFiber: 12gSugar: 23gProtein: 22g