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Paleo Chick-fil-A (Gluten-Free) | StupidEasyPaleo.com

Chick-fil-A Knockoff Recipe (Gluten-Free)

This Chick-fil-A Knockoff is the best healthy chicken nugget recipe you’ve ever tasted, and the secret is in the pickle juice!

Make this Paleo Chick-fil-A at home for a healthier version of the fast food favorite! The secret is in the pickle juice! It's grain-free! | StupidEasyPaleo.com

This is one of my most popular recipes of all time. Keep reading to see why!

Why Do You Marinate With Pickle Juice?

It basically brines the chicken, making it super moist and tender.

In this Paleo Chick-fil-A knock off, you’ll marinate the chicken in the pickle juice so it gets super tender. Don’t have pickle juice or like the flavor? Check the Notes section in the recipe for an easy brine alternative.

Gluten-Free Breading For Fried Chicken

Then, you’ll dredge the brined chicken in a mixture of gluten-free arrowroot flour and spices. Arrowroot is a silky smooth starch that won’t burn as easily as an almond-based flour. For this recipe, if you can’t find arrowroot flour – sometimes called arrowroot powder – then you can easily substitute tapioca starch.

Paleo Chick-fil-A (Gluten-Free) | StupidEasyPaleo.com

What Oil is Best for Frying?

Finally, you’ll pan-fry the Paleo Chick-fil-A in a healthy oil for a crispy finish. I used coconut oil which has a relatively high smoke point, but you could also use avocado oil. When you pan-fry, you add less oil than if you are deep frying and submerging the chicken nuggets.

When researching this recipe (because, you know, it’s got to be somewhat true to the original), I came across loads of different versions and tried to best tweak it to be grain- and dairy-free. A few that really inspired me were recipes from The Domestic Man and Chocolate, Chocolate and More.

Paleo Chick-fil-A (Gluten-Free) | StupidEasyPaleo.com

How Long Do You Bake Chicken Nuggets?

You can also bake the seasoned chicken in the oven instead of pan-frying. Start with 375°F for 12 minutes and go up from there. It’ll vary depending on how big your chicken pieces are.

Watch my cooking show episode for Paleo Chick-fil-A:

(And be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for fresh new cooking videos.)

What Can You Serve These Healthy Chicken Nuggets With?

Serve this Paleo Chick-fil-A with your favorite dipping sauce.

Here’s a few recipes to inspire you:

As for sides, Paleo Chick-fil-A goes perfectly with a nice green side salad, steamed greens, sweet potato fries (check out Paleo Sweet Potato Fries), or simple roasted veggies.

Paleo Chick-fil-A (Gluten-Free) | StupidEasyPaleo.com

Paleo Chick-fil-A (Gluten-Free) | StupidEasyPaleo.com

Paleo Chick-fil-A (Gluten-Free)

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Nut-Free, Whole30
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 412 kcal

 Make this Paleo Chick-fil-A at home for healthier chicken nuggets and a take on the fast food favorite! The secret is in the pickle juice! It's grain-free, gluten-free, paleo and totally kid approved.



  • 1 lb chicken breasts cut into large chunks
  • 1/3 cup dill pickle juice
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot flour
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika sweet or smoked
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil or avocado oil for frying


  1. Prep and marinate the chicken. Cut the chicken breast into large chunks, and put it in a ziptop plastic bag. Pour the pickle juice into the bag. Let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. (I kept it in overnight). After it’s done marinating, pour the pickle juice out of the bag.

  2. Add the wet ingredients. In a small bowl, mix the beaten egg and coconut milk. Pour that into the bag and let it sit for about 10 minutes while you prepare the spice mix.

  3. Prep the dry ingredients. In another small bowl, mix the coconut flour, arrowroot flour, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, onion power and garlic powder.

  4. Drain the wet ingredients. Open the bag and drain out as much egg / coconut milk as you can. It doesn’t have to be completely dry because you want something for the spice mix to stick to.

  5. Coat the chicken. Pour the spice mix into the bag, close the top, and really massage it into the chicken. This may take a minute or two but you want all the pieces to be evenly coated.

  6. Fry it up. In a large skillet over medium-high, heat a few tablespoons of coconut oil until the oil is very hot. Add a single layer of chicken (being careful not to crowd it) to the pan and fry on each side for about 3 minutes or until it’s completely cooked through. It took me two batches to cook one pound of chicken.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Use a basic salt water brine solution instead of pickle juice: 1 teaspoon salt to 1/3 cup water.

Nutrition Facts
Paleo Chick-fil-A (Gluten-Free)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 412 Calories from Fat 288
% Daily Value*
Fat 32g49%
Saturated Fat 25g125%
Cholesterol 113mg38%
Sodium 738mg31%
Potassium 454mg13%
Carbohydrates 5g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Protein 25g50%
Vitamin A 510IU10%
Vitamin C 1.3mg2%
Calcium 12mg1%
Iron 0.9mg5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Paleo Chick-fil-A (Gluten-Free) | StupidEasyPaleo.com

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296 Responses

  1. Wow i have never heard of ths chick a fila place, so i looked it up and looked the ingredients in their filet thingies, WOW, thats a lot of crap! The pickle juice intrigues me and I am going to try these this weekend!

      1. I absolutely adore this recipe!! Thank you! My family requests it weekly. Do you know the macro breakdown of a serving?

        1. Hi Jenny…sorry about that…it’s there now. We had to update some software. Just know that these nutritional labels are estimates at best. For example, all the frying oil doesn’t usually get used up, if that makes sense.

    1. I was out of paprika when I made these so I substituted 1/2 tsp each of chipotle, ancho and San Antonio chili powder. It was delicious!!
      I think the dill pickle juice is the key to the recipe….

  2. Since i hate pickles and gag when I smell them do you have another option for the pickle juice?

    1. Hi Sylvia. You could brine the chicken in a water/salt solution (a basic recipe is 4 cups of water to 1.5 Tablespoons of salt) instead of the pickle juice.

    2. I brined chicken in store bought lemon pepper marinate. It came out fabulous. And you should try adding just a dash of smoked paprika, it makes big difference.

      1. Hi Laura, Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I’m sure you’ll find more valuable information exploring the site. Have fun!

  3. I was just wondering if there is a substitute for the pickle juice? I really hate pickles!! It’s such a strong flavoring that I would think it may come through at the end. Could you comment on if you can taste the pickle juice or not- and if so, what substitutions could be made (if any)?

    1. Hi Robin…the taste of the pickle juice is definitely present in the background. You could brine the chicken in a water/salt solution (a basic recipe is 4 cups of water to 1.5 Tablespoons of salt) instead of the pickle juice.

    2. I hate pickles but I LOVE chick-fila and I made this last night and it was SO GOOD! Thanks for the recipe! I would suggest trying the pickle juice out, maybe on a small amount first. It makes the chicken so tender and delish ?

    1. It was definitely inspired by many others out there but I made it totally Paleo friendly 🙂

  4. I’m curious if you have any ideas for a healthy version of their Chik-fil-a Sauce. It has such awful ingredients but sadly I sometimes succumb to using it anyway. I’m definitely going to try your recipe this week. My eight year old will be so happy – he loves pickles and even their juice more than anything else! I just need to find some Arrowroot powder – any appropriate substitutes if I can’t find it at the store?

    1. Hi Mary, I think you can try just using 2 Tablespoons of coconut flour instead of arrowroot + coconut. I made simple honey mustard with some brown mustard, honey and apple cider vinegar.

    2. Mary B, I know what you mean. It is nearly impossible to get away from high frutose corn syrup and soy bean oil. It is everywhere. I had to quit eating Chick fil a because I have thyroid disease which I think my have been caused by polyunsaturated fats. It is hard to eat out anywhere now, but my daughter works at Chipoltle and their food is all really healthy and good. I know that the Chick fil a sauce is a mix of honey mustard and BBQ so maybe if we made the paleo version of those two and mixed them together it would work.

  5. Where does everyone get their arrowroot powder from? I have a very hard time finding it. And everywhere I’VE seen on the internet charges a ton for it.

    1. Hi Mary, I get mine from my local health food store. You can also substitute coconut flour, but it may be a bit more clumpy.

      1. What about almond flour and coconut flour? I don’t have a lot of local shopping options, but one specialty store does carry some of the Bob’s Red Mill products (which is where I got my coconut and almond flours) — I didn’t see arrowroot, but I will look next time, anyway.

      2. Bob’s Red Mill sells arrowroot in the bag like their other products. So much cheaper than buying it in the little spice jars in the spice section.

    2. I got Bob’s Red Mill Brand arrowroot powder at my local grocer in the health food section for under $7

      1. Fruitful yield by me has it. Also I hear you can substitute tapioca flour which is more commonly found and it’s essentially the same thing.

    3. I use tapioca flour – works the same way for me. I get it at Kroger in health food department. I had gotten it at local health food store before that and I’m sure other grocery stores carry it too. Hope this is helpful.

        1. Made these tonight and they were delicious. My 8 year old granddaughter even asked for seconds. The pickle juice brine made the chicken tender and juicy. Was out of paprika so subbed with chili powder. Served with homemade paleo ketchup and sweet potato fries. Paleo and kid friendly meal.

  6. LOVED this! Tasted JUST like what I remember Chick-Fil-A to taste like. We had chicken thighs thawed so used them and then made honey mustard: 1/2c paleo mayo, 1 1/2T dijon mustard + 1 T ground mustard, pinch salt, 2T raw honey. Fam said it tasted just like store-bought (and since when is THAT an endorsement? :-D). Served with Sweet Potato Fries out of “Against All Grain” cookbook and steamed zucchini. WONDERFUL meal.

    1. I love the sound of that dipping sauce…YUM!

      That sounds like the perfect combination for a healthy dinner. Great to hear that it was a success!

      1. I think the hint of pickle juice was genius. Total made the whole thing. Thanks for giving me back Chick-Fil-A! 🙂

  7. I’m usually one who hates my own cooking, but this was absolutely delicious. This is one I will make again and again!

    Just a note for those who are wondering: I usually hate the taste of unrefined coconut oil, but I used it for this, and the final product didn’t taste a bit like sunscreen.

    1. Hi Lynn! I’m really glad you enjoyed it 🙂 High five! Thanks for checking in and also for sharing your thoughts on the coconut oil. I know it will help a lot of people.

  8. Ok, I am about to serve this for dinner and I have to say it came out amazing! I didnt have arrowroot flour on hand so I used all coconut. Thank you for this recipie! Now one of my favorites for sure.

    1. Yay! I’m glad that the all coconut flour worked 🙂 So happy that you liked it, Jessica!

  9. This recipe looks awesome! I would like to incorporate it into my macros, any chance you could post the nutritional value?

    1. Hi Haley…I don’t count macros unfortunately. The coconut milk, coconut flour and arrowroot are very minimal ingredients and would probably be the only things aside from the chicken that you’d want to count? Sorry I can’t help out more!

  10. This looks awesome! I’m going to have to try tonight!! Just curious as I’ve never cooked with coconut oil (but am going to start as I know it’s SO healthy and SO delicous), do you ever bake with it?? I didn’t know if I could substitute coconut oil for other vegetable oils in baking recipes…. Thanks for the GREAT website! 🙂 Blessings!

    1. Hi Sylvia! I don’t do a LOT of baking but I have used it in muffins and cookies with great success. In fact, if you gently melt it, it should be a 1:1 substitution. Thank you for the very kind words 🙂 Steph

    2. I’ve never tried using coconut oil as a sub for veg. oil , but I have used it as a sub for butter. Works great!

  11. Oh my gosh! This was a hit! Followed the recipe to a T and LOVED it! I’ve shared it with all my CF friends and anyone else who will listen 🙂

    Thank you so much for posting great paleo alternatives that taste GREAT!

    1. Hi Deb! Thanks so much for letting me know 🙂 It’s always nice to have an alternative. Where do you CF at?

  12. Any suggestion on ingredients to make this the SPICY recipe?!? That’s my FAVORITE thing at Chick-fil-a!! Maybe cayenne??

  13. I made these last night for dinner. My whole family loved them! I made a double batch and only cooked up 1 batch last night. I cooked the rest today and then took it another step to try and mimic Chik-fil-a’s chicken salad. I miss their chicken salad sandwiches sooo much! So I chopped the nuggets up real good, added some chopped pickles, and some homemade mayo. OMG!! I’d swear this came from Chik-fil-a. It’s totally awesome and delicious! Thank you so much for posting this recipe!!

  14. Steph!

    You are truly my go to person when it comes to finding new and amazing recipes! I made these last night and they were simply delicious! Even my friends who aren’t Paleo agreed that they were better than CFA nuggets 🙂 Thanks again for another brilliant recipe.


    1. Dara! You put a huge, huge smile on my face. Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know. Hugs!

  15. I brined these with the pickle juice for about 7 hours. It was strange because the majority of the pieces had no flavor of it. The few that did maintain the flavor from the brine actually tasted like I remember chick fil a tasting back when I last had it over 20 years ago. I cut up almost 2 pounds of chicken breast (and doubled the brine and seasoning) into nuggets in the 1.5 to 2 inch range (give or take). My 7 year old daughter has never had chick fil a, so didn’t know what they were supposed to taste like. I lost track of how many she ate at her 10th nugget, but she was still going. I think she ate at least 15. Her only comment was that they could use more seasoning, which I would agree with. We are actually on GAPS diet and can’t have the arrowroot, so I used all coconut flour. I’m wondering if the coconut flour might have negated the flavor of the brine? Who knows! Next time I hope the chicken will be defrosted enough when I want to make it so that they can marinate overnight and through the next day. I am also going to increase the seasoning a bit.

    1. Hi Nancy…hmm that’s strange. When I marinated/brined it, I put it in a plastic ziplock bag and tried to turn the bag every couple hours or so.

      I don’t think the coconut flour would have affected the pickle juice flavor though it is a stronger taste than arrowroot so it’s certainly possible. It also may vary depending the type of pickles one uses.

  16. Well, it looks like I’m one for one! Just found this web site this afternoon and fixed the nuggets for dinner. Although the cooking smell was a little strange, (maybe it was the paprika, i’ve only used it on hard boiled eggs), but my husband and I ate the whole pound of chicken! i’ll definitely try more recipes-thanks for doing this site!

    1. That’s awesome, Linda! I’m super glad you liked it. Thanks for stopping by and letting me know!

  17. My friend made these and they were delicious! I would like to try the recipe, but have a child with nut allergies , including coconut, what would you recommend as a substitute for the coconut flour/oil? New to your site and loving it!

    1. Hi Sandy…you could just use all arrowroot flour if that’s an option. For the coconut oil, how about using something like ghee (clarified butter) or olive oil (though I don’t like to use olive oil at high temps). Just some suggestions for you. Thanks for your kind words 🙂

  18. I didn’t have any chicken thawed so I used turkey breast and served it with honey-mustard sauce I made with raw local honey and dijon mustard with a dash of salt. Delish!!

  19. Hi Stephanie, I made this tonight and even my picky husband thought It was great. My kids did too, so this is a keeper. I doubled the recipe and It turned out great. The honey mustard dipping sauce was a perfect addition as well.

    1. Awesome!! When the whole family likes it, I know that it’s a keeper 🙂 Thanks for stopping by to let me know, Liane 🙂

  20. This looks great, I’m going to try it tonight….do you happen to have nutritional info on any of your recipes?

  21. this was a bit of work with all the steps involved but it turned out really great! I have always wondered about that sweetness in chik fila’s food, now I know. you definitely want to do a double batch, just get it over with and cook up a ton of this stuff. I will take my own advice next time. I didn’t have arrowroot and just used all coconut flour. what’s the purpose of the arrowroot anyway?

    1. Hi Olivia…the arrowroot just gives a different (less sticky/bulky texture) to the coating than the coconut flour does in my experience.

  22. I have made this recipe several times and must say- DELICIOUS! Whether you eat Paleo or not, this is a crowd pleaser. Even your kids will love it. Here are 2 things I have learned: 1) Marinate the chicken in the pickle juice for a minimum of 3 hours. Anything less and you miss out on the faint hint of pickles. And even if you hate pickles, you will like the briney taste it gives (this came from a pickle hater); 2) Regular paprika, as opposed to smoked, gives these nuggets a more authentic Chickfila taste. Trust me! Regular paprika is where it is at! Thank you for this great recipe. It is one of my all-time favorites.

    1. Hi Shelby! Oooooh great tip 🙂 I let mine sit overnight which was even better I think. Thanks for letting us know about the regular paprika!!

  23. Does anyone know how to find a pickle juice that doesn’t have ‘natural flavors’ or xanthum gum or any of the other bad stuff that makes me ill? I live in a smallish, not progressive town, and the local grocery stores don’t carry much beyond generic, and vlasic. Both had the same ingredients listed.

    1. Great question! Hopefully someone has suggestions for you…which state/regions are you in? That may help get a more specific answer.

      1. Hi, I live in NW Florida, great beaches but few shopping choices… I found a recipe on Elana’s website for pickles that don’t require actual canning. I might try that if I don’t find anything on-line.

    2. What you want to make is fermented pickles, which should just require a lot of salt to start the process, and whatever other seasonings you would like. Many recipes require whey (NOT the powdered kind), but you can easily find recipes that only require salt (a real salt, not processed salt). Do an online search for recipes that start with “lacto-fermented”. This is the term for this method of pickling. One super easy recipe for carrots (the “juice” from these would still be a flavor that would work with chicken nuggets, doesn’t taste like carrots, but just like pickle juice is):
      This recipe does call for whey, but gives instructions down at the bottom for extra slat if you would like to leave out whey. Best of luck to you!!! 🙂

  24. Can you bake instead of fry these? I really don’t like frying my food. Do you think they would still turn out good?

    1. I think they’d taste great! Not sure how the coating would turn out texture-wise but I think it’d be fine.

  25. Love your recipes! Can’t wait to try this one. But just wanted to clarify, because I am NOT a cook and have no cooking sense, but when you drain the egg/coconut milk from the bag, you don’t save it for anything, right? Draining means tossing it? Then you add the flour mix to the bag? I’m sure my roommate would be rolling his eyes right about now but I want to make this on my own 🙂

    1. Hi there! It’s okay…I’m glad you asked. Don’t save the coconut/egg mixture…you’ll want to throw it out before you add in the flour. That was, you’ve moistened the chicken enough for the coating to stick but it’s not soupy. You’re going to be great!

  26. I just made these (tenderloins instead of nuggets, though), and they turned out great! My husband liked them, though he suggested that I tone down the pickle flavor next time (I let them marinate overnight). Even my picky nephew liked them. He ate every single chunk of chicken I gave him, which ended up being about the size of a small tenderloin; that’s a lot for him. I will definitely make this a second time. 🙂

    1. Ah…I always like it when I get the thumbs up from the kiddos! Thanks for stopping by, Erica 🙂

  27. My “picky eater” son said he likes these better than REAL Chick-Fil-A! My other son asked if we could have them for dinner every night!

  28. You’re brilliant for coming up with this!!! Do you think they would freeze well (once cooked)? It’d be great to make a big batch and then freeze some for quick meals/snacks. Thanks!

    1. Hmmmmm….I think it would freeze okay but I’m thinking the coating may slide off when defrosted?

  29. I just made this for lunch – absolutely delicious! I too used tenderloins and I brined the chicken in salt solution rather than pickle juice (as I didn’t have any). Great recipe, this will certainly be in high rotation on our dinner menu! Thanks!

  30. Just made these tonight for my family. My 3 boys were giving me funny looks as I was draining the pickle juice out (I marinated the chicken for a day). We live in CA and I’m not sure I’ve ever been to a chick fil a, but these were sooooo goooood!! And easy! I doubled your recipe and all of the chicken was gone! I was hoping to have some left over. I’m going to make a huge batch of these and freeze them for an easy lunch or snack. Thank you!

    1. You’re so welcome, Molly! It always make me smile to know it’s kid-approved…I know they can be a tough crowd 😉

  31. I used to work at Chick-fil-A and I know that we put the chicken in the pickle juice the night before. That is a big part of the final flavor. Anyway, if you have seen the news lately or follow Food Babe’s blog you know they are making some changes to their products to make them healthier. I am looking forward to trying this recipe. Thanks !

    1. Oh very cool. I read Food Babe’s blog from time to time but I missed that post. I’ll have to go check it out. Thanks for letting me know, Wendy!

  32. Any ideas on a substitute for the egg for those of us with egg intolerances? Looks amazing, can’t wait to try it!

  33. I love this recipe but I am not a big fan of coconut so I don’t use the coconut flower, I also don’t use any milk at all and find that it’s not needed when you have the egg. 🙂 I love this recipe it’s the only fast food I used to miss.

  34. This was delicious. Made it for my family this weekend and they gobbled it up. My 4-year asked for more and my pickle hating husband loved it too!

    1. Depends on how hungry you are, I suppose. If you have an average of a 4 oz serving, it’d make about 4.

  35. Just made this. It is so stinkin great!!! Doesn’t need sauce at all. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!

  36. Going to have to try this recipe. Love Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets. Now just need a paleo version of the delicious Chick-fil-A Sauce 😉

  37. I grew up eating Chick-Fil-A roughly twice a week. (My school had lunch catered, and chicken strips were my go-to) Since going vegan and then paleo, I thought I’d never enjoy Chick-Fil-A again. OMG THIS WAS SO GOOD (sorry for yelling, but wow)
    Thank you so, so much.

  38. THIS WAS AMAZING! I have been GF for over a year and now I am currently trying to go paleo. My boyfriend does not like to eat GF or plaeo, so I am always trying new recipes hoping he will “cross over”. Let’s just say he LOVED these!! These are so simple to make and everyone can enjoy them. 😉 I will be making these again!

  39. Do you happen to know the calories, fat, etc??? This would help me so much. My trainer this morning said these may not be too good for me to eat and I eat them 5 days a week for lunch… I would greatly appreciate it so I can input it into my fitness app. I’ve been trying to figure it out for hours now?? Pleaseeeee help!!!

    1. Why did your trainer say they’re aren’t good for you to eat?

      I honestly don’t have it calculated. You can trying Google for the nutrition info of the major ingredients and add it up.

  40. I’ve read through the comments and saw that you suggest salt water brine as a sub for dill pickle juice. I’m wondering if adding some apple cider vinegar and dill to the brine makes sense to you? I’m not a big dill pickle person (Ok, I REALLY am not a big dill pickle person.), but I’d like to add flavor…just flavor that doesn’t involve tossing dill pickles because there is no way I’ll eat them. ;^) Thanks for the recipes….

    1. Did you try this? Would love to hear if it worked for you. I’m also not a fan of pickles at all.

  41. I tried this tonight and oh man, so delicious!! The best part was the crunchy bits stuck to the pan, in fact I think you could make a recipe just from that!

    1. That is so awesome Michele! Thanks for taking the time to let me know…and I think you have the right idea 😉

  42. Hi Steph!
    I FINALLY got around to making this today. And it was really YUM. I’ve only had the real deal two times, but it was so long ago I couldn’t compare the two. BUT, I really like this recipe because its got ingredients that I can eat and not get sick over it, so that makes it a HUGE win in my book.
    I made two batches to feed 4 adults. I used separate bags for each pound of chicken. It may have been slightly a little more work, but it turned out perfectly. My guys tell me that I will need to make 3# for the next time; they will want leftovers (no leftovers for 2# batch.)
    Thanks for a fabulous recipe. <3
    Light & Love,

  43. These are freaking addicting. I made these for the 1st time today. Luckily for me, I made a double batch. I cooked the nuggets in batches and had to sample a few from each batch. 🙂

    1. So glad to hear that! A lot of folks tell me they should have made a double batch so you’re already ahead of them! 🙂

  44. OMG a few dips of sauce that has a few “non-paleo” ingredients IS NOT GOING TO KILL YOU AND WILL NOT MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE WHATSOEVER IN YOUR BODY COMP!! You guys have taken it waaay too far…

    1. Some people like to make their own sauce at home without going out to the restaurant. To each his own.

  45. I just made these. Pretty good but missing something. I only marinaded for 2 hours. I think playing around with the recipe would help.

      1. Thanks for the reply! I let the chicken marinade over night and it made all the difference. So delicious.

  46. DELICIOUS!!!!!!!!! I fried the chicken with avocado oil instead of coconut, it was sooo good!! Thank you for this recipe, a keeper for sure!

  47. I loved everything about these except that I think my oil was too hot. The outside was really dark and crispy but the inside seemed undercooked. No biggie I just microwaved them until they were done. Next time ill use smaller cuts of chicken and make sure the oil is right. 🙂

    1. Probably too hot on the oil, yes. The almond flour can burn if the oil is too hot.

  48. Ahhh! I made these tonight and I cannot stop eating them! These nuggets are amazing! Thank you!

  49. I’ve been doing this recipe using kraut juice for the brining, and otherwise following it completely and loving it. Tonight I was running late and didn’t want to slice up the chicken thighs I had in the fridge, so I threw them whole into a ziploc with kimchi kraut juice for an hour, then did the rest of the recipe, and instead of frying, baked them on a rack in a pan at 400 for 30 minutes, flipped them and baked another 20 minutes till they were done (easier than watching a frying pan while trying to get everything else caught up). I’m quite proud of myself because they came out great. Love your recipes!

  50. I tried this recipe; however, I did not have arrowroot flour/powder. I could taste a hint of the original Chic-fil-a taste. I didn’t leave the chicken in the pickle juice overnight (4 hours), so I’ll have to try that next time and add more salt, a little on the bland side for me.

    1. Yeah, you definitely have to leave it in a bit longer than that for the pickle flavor to really come through.

  51. Im from Australia so don’t know what Chick-fil-A is but I made this tonight and its one of the tastiest dishes ever. Love it. Certainly will be cooking again and again! Thanks for this. ps love the website too 🙂

  52. Made it for my first fried paleo meal. It was a little foamy, I figure it was the coconut oil. I didn’t let the oil reheat before throwing in the second batch so the breading fell off. Still very good recipe. I really enjoyed it better than floured copy cat recipes that tried to match Chik Fila. We just dipped it in paleo mayo with sweet potato fries.

  53. I have to say, I followed the recipe EXACTLY, let the chicken marinate in the pickle juice (which at first I thought was a little weird) overnight and cooked it today. And WOW! It is SO GOOD! It tastes like I’m cheating and the whole family just loves it! 😀 We all agree that this is something to add to our favorites list and will definitely be cooking it again! It wasn’t even that hard! Thank you for the wonderful recipe, love it!

    1. That’s great Beck! I am so glad it was a hit with the whole fam. 🙂

  54. I successfully made these last night! 🙂
    Some changes I made though: omitted the coconut milk, swapped the coconut flour for extra arrowroot and used canned artichoke brine instead.
    Here in Australia we don’t have Chick-Fil-A so I can’t really make a comparison haha, they didn’t come out crispy but I wasn’t fussed, the flavours were spot on and the chicken was so tender! Thanks 🙂

  55. Delicious recipe! Made for dinner last night, and it was a hit! I made a addition to the batter by adding some leftover roasted sweet potato hash. I rolled the battered chicken in the sweet crumbles before dropping in the pan…Man O man…it was fantastic! Thank-you because this is now my tot’s new favorite chicken nuggets!

  56. GENIUS – congratulations on a masterpiece!!! The only problem was that my two kids gobbled it up and won’t stop nagging me for more!

  57. I cannot use egg nor vinegar products…so I could substitute brine for the pickle juice but would it work without the egg or would egg replacement work? I am pretty new at this and so far….I can’t eat much of anything…lol

    1. You can use olive oil instead of egg, and use a fermented pickle juice like Bubbies which doesn’t have vinegar.

  58. I made this last night and it was just delicious. I feel like my dinners have been so lackluster lately, and this was a great boost. Was worried that the coconut flour would be objectionable (I’d never used it before) since some people in my family don’t like coconut but I couldn’t taste it and think it probably enhanced the flavor of the dish. One of my kids didn’t like the pickle juice flavor much, although he still ate the chicken and had seconds. Next time I might try your brine method as a change from the pickle juice – and the recipe is very adaptable if you wanted to try different flavors such as tandoor seasoning or Italian. Also, I love the one-bag method – brilliant. I washed the bag afterwards to recycle with my other plastic bags. I will certainly be keeping an eye on your site – thanks so much!

  59. Do you think these would be good fried in avocado oil? Along with the coconut flour? Can’t wait to try!

  60. I prefer almond flour over coconut floor. Can I use almond and arrow root? Can you share the proportions for the honey mustard sauce you mentioned?

    1. Hi Shelley…I have not tested either of those. My guess is that almond flour will burn very easily when you’re frying it.

      I didn’t really measure the honey mustard but it’s about 4 parts mustard to 1 part honey. I don’t like mine very sweet.

  61. I’m excited to make there! I’m on a freezer-meals-making kick right now. Do you have any recommendations or suggestions on how to prep them as a freezer meal? Maybe fry as you suggest, cool, freeze on a cookie sheet, store in a freezer bag and then bake in the oven when ready to reheat? TIA!

  62. Hey Steph! Just discovered you, super glad that I did!

    I put my chicken into pickle juice last night to marinate… and when I checked this morning, it’s like the chicken has cooked in places.

    Have you had this happen? Did I do something wrong?

    1. Did you use a vinegar-based pickle juice? If so, you basically “cooked” the edges with the acid in the vinegar. I probably would only leave it in there for a couple hours next time.

      1. I DID. Ah crap!! Okay. So, for the parts of the chicken that aren’t “cooked” from the brine, can I still safely use them?

        1. You should still be able to use the raw parts and cook them, provided it was all refrigerated.

  63. O….M…G! This recipe was amazing! My boyfriend and I just started the Whole30 diet last week and I was having a hard time getting my boyfriend to be on board with the program until I found this recipe. We made it along side some roasted potatoes with rosemary and garlic and the some paleo Chipotle Mayo. I am loving all your recipes! Thanks sooooo much!

  64. So I’ve never had Chick-Fil-A so I have nothing to compare it to, but damn! This was outstanding! Made the dipping sauce that someone had recommended, so good!

  65. This looks delicious, although I would argue it’s not Whole30 friendly as they recommend avoiding fried foods, even if the ingredients are compliant.

    1. You can bake them if you are wary of fried foods. Ultimately, SWYPO is subjective and is up to the individual to decide.

  66. I am making these tonight, so excited! However, I only have Ba-Tampte half sour pickles & not dill. Will that work just as well?

    1. Hi Melissa,

      I’m not sure if those pickles will have enough salt in the liquid to effectively brine the chicken. You can try!

  67. As someone who loves Chick-fil-a can I just say thank you for this recipe! My fiancé and I both loved it. I shared it with all of my co-workers.

  68. Hi there! Love this recipe. I’m really excited about it, actually. However, I’m currently on day 3 of my second Whole30 (and it’s going really well…Like, I think it’s “the one”) and I was wondering if the frying aspect is “allowed” on the Whole30 plan. Is that technically SWYPO? Note: If you say it’s a go, I’mma just do it because this sounds amazeballs.

    Your site rocks my socks off,

    1. SWYPO is a recreation of something that’s maybe not quite so healthy but a lot of it has to do with your personal food issues. What I mean is that if you used to crack out on Chik-fil-a and it represents a food with no brakes for you, I might avoid it. But really, it’s chicken with spices on it. You can fry food on whole30, just use healthier oils. People have also baked this without any issue.

      I’m glad you like it…thank you 🙂

  69. I absolutely loved this recipe. I marinated the chicken overnight and probably for a total of 20 hours. Looking forward to making it again.

  70. Thank you for this! I’m doing the 21 Day Fix right now, and my kiddo has been BEGGING me for Chick-Fil-A. I used a water-apple cider vinegar-salt brine and added a smidge of dill to the spices, and I used almond flour instead of arrowroot because it’s what I had, and frying in all the oil probably tipped me over the edge of “cheating” (next time I’ll bake them!)…. but my kid zipped right past the portion I was allowed to have and finished off the rest. “These are even BETTER!” she said. 🙂 I was supposed to have leftovers…. haha. 🙂

  71. Delicious, but next time I think I’m going to do a traditional way of doing the batter, as in dip the chicken in the egg mixture and then dredge it in the spices. I could not for the life of me get an even coating on the chicken. Still tasty though!

    1. Hmmmm haven’t heard that complication before. I wonder if you used exactly the ingredients called for in the recipe?

  72. Amazing!!!! I adore Chic-fil-a. I actually had it as a cheat meal last month! I marinated in pickle juice overnight and the chicken had a lot of the flavor. So good! I dredged in the flour/spice mix. I was worried about coconut flour but it gave great texture with NO coconut flavor. . Wonderful! All 4 kids are it and hubby. Delicious! .

  73. My husband LOVED the chicken done this way. I doubled the spice mix. Seemed too small a quantity otherwise. He did suggest the addition of some cayenne pepper. So glad I told him to save the pickle juice from the last pickle in the jar earlier this week. Needless to say, we will be having this for dinner with some frequency!

  74. Made this tonite and it was FANTASTIC! Definitely a keeper! Think I will give it a try with cassava flour next time as that is my new fave.

  75. I just made this with grilled asparagus, half of a roasted sweet potato with cinnamon and crushed pecans, and a dabble of Tessemae’s BBQ sauce – AMAZING. Keeping this as a go-to for not bland chicken!

  76. I made a double batch of these yesterday and they are amazing! Didn’t have pickle juice on hand so I just did the salt brine – still fantastic. They are moist and juicy and the flavor is delicious. This will be a staple in our house!

  77. Made this last night with tapioca flour instead of arrowroot. We LOVED it. My picky 7 year old son was fighting everyone to get seconds and thirds. Thank you so much for saving us as we are slowly transitioning into Paleo food!

  78. I’m new to grain free living and it’s been hard to find replacements for some of my old comfort foods that my husband and I can enjoy together. This recipe was a HUGE hit and so easy. I served it with a honey mustard dipping sauce made with my own homemade mayo and we both couldn’t get enough. My 5 year old loved it too, and I was the only one who thought it tasted like pickle at all. Thanks for making it feel a little more doable to be grain free! (BTW – I just started listening to seaosn 2 of your podcast too, and it’s a lot of fun.)

  79. Not a single poster has mentioned the brand of pickle juice they used, but someone did have trouble with theirs that contained vinegar, I think??
    My pickles also have it, so it won’t work?

    1. Hey Lynn…if you’re concerned about that, try using the brine recipe I noted in the post.

  80. Thanks so much for this! I didn’t have the patience for all the steps,
    So I brined the chicken, then sprinkled on the spices & stir-fried it in ghee with mushrooms and bok choy–not a chick-fil-A substitute this way, but delish! More chicken brining for tomorrow for trying the recipe as written.

    1. Hi Lisalyn, Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I’m sure you’ll find more valuable information exploring the site. Have fun!

  81. I apologize if that has already been asked and answered in the above comments! I don’t like coconut oil in savory dishes, what oil alternative would you suggest for frying the chicken that is W30 compliant? Thank you!

  82. Loved these- have been paleo for almost a year and am always on the lookout for new and exciting recipes 🙂
    Thank you so much for putting these out there and all that you do. Thank you!!!

    1. Hi Tatiana, Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I’m sure you’ll find more valuable information exploring the site. Have fun!

  83. Do they taste coconut-y?? This would be a giant fail for me. I dislike coconut unless it’s something sweet, like dessert or pancakes, etc. Not savory.

    1. Not to me and I have a really sensitive palate. You could try increasing the amount of arrowroot but I don’t know by how much so you’d be on your own with testing 😉

  84. I have made this recipe many times. It is one of my husband’s favorites! I use tapioca flour instead of almond flour. It adheres to the chicken much better.

  85. Just made these tonight. So delicious! My dipping sauce was a mix of ketchup, paleo mayo and a little sriracha. I will definitely be making these again!! Thank you!

    1. Hi Stacy, Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I’m sure you’ll find more valuable information exploring the site. Have fun!

    1. You could try it out and let us know what happens! I’ve not tried that alternate method of cooking so you’re on your own 😉

  86. Hey Stephanie,
    I just came across this and it looks wonderful. I have a toddler who has an egg allergy, can the egg just be omitted or should I substitute something else?

    1. You need something for the coating to stick. You could try adding more nut milk? I’ve never tested it without egg. Unfortunately there are just too many allergies folks have for me to cover them all.

  87. Sorry if this has already been answered… super excited to try the recipe, could I swap Otto’s cassava flour? And if so would I replace just the coconut flour or could replace both that and the arrowroot? Thanks!

    1. Hi Darcy, I’m guessing yes to both but I’m not 100% sure because I haven’t tested it myself.

    1. You could just try leaving it out and increasing the amount of coconut milk by about 2 tablespoons.

  88. Loved this. Followed recipie. The only thing I did different was fried in avocado oil. Definitely a keeper.

  89. This was SOOOOO GOOD! Thank you. I will be making this again soon. It was really delicious.
    I used tapioca instead of arrowroot (because it’s what I had on hand) and it worked fantastically. My BF doesn’t eat meat, so I made him some with Seitan, and he loved it. I bet it would work with tofu too.

  90. We aren’t paleo, but can’t use arrowroot flour because it is made in a facility with tree nuts. Would regular flour be ok?

    1. I haven’t tested it without eggs. You could try the gelatin egg thing and see what happens!

  91. Hi Steph! I’m a huge fan of you and all your recipes! I’ve made these twice and absolutely love them! My fiancé asks for them weekly now. Do you have a recipe you use for pickle juice? I keep buying jars of pickles and just using the juice, but that’s been wasteful. I browsed the website and comments but didn’t see one. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

    1. Hey Anna…definitely understand the concern. You can use a salt water brine instead (the proportions are in the blog post) and maybe add some dried dill and garlic powder. That may simulate the flavor well enough.

  92. I had to double the coating for the chicken to get it all covered, and I’d venture to say that most people will definitely need to follow suit. I also would not cook them over medium high heat, as the first batch charred right away and remained raw in the middle (but that could just be my stovetop). I had to cook mine for longer over medium low heat. That being said, the nuggets taste much better than Chick-fil-A’s, and that is coming from a former addict. For my nuggets, I swapped out the salt for season-all, added a bit more garlic powder, and added two pinches of Truvia. I will definitely make these more often.

    1. Hmmm that’s so strange on the coating…I’ve made it several times and never had to increase it. Glad you found a way to suit your needs!

  93. I’ve never been to this Chick a Filly place you mention. I can’t eat there, because of all the crap they put in their food. So I can’t attest to whether or not it tastes like Chick a filly or whatever. But…I made this just as you said (and chose the smoked paprika)…it turned out awesome! So awesome, that I’ve made it a few times now. Although, mine doesn’t get crispy…I think you mentioned the word crispy in your description??? I don’t really care, because it was so damn tasty, I didn’t need the crispy! So YAY for an excellent recipe!

  94. Do you think this would work with just chicken wings? It sounds delicious! I’m thinking of baking them at 400 for fifteen minutes? What do you think?

  95. I made this tonight, so delicious! My boyfriend that normally hates chicken, loved it! Thanks for all your great recipes, posts, and words of encouragement. I love your blog, Instagram stories, and just started listening to your Podcast. Thanks for creating such great content!

    1. I don’t think you’ll ever know how much I needed to hear this today. Thank you Kathryn!

  96. eager to try this! curious: what kind of “sauce” is in the picture? is it for the chicken? would love the recipe for that, too! thanks!

  97. I’m allergic to onions. Any ideas what could be used as a substitute? I miss Chick fil a so much and can’t wait to try this.

    1. You can leave out onion powder and maybe add a little extra garlic powder.

    1. I think people have made it in the Air Fryer. I’ve never used one so I unfortunately have no advice 🙂

  98. I made this recipe last night and my husband’s 1st reaction was “this is delicious…it tastes just like Chic-Fil-a”!! I freaked out and was all like did you know that’s what it’s called?!?! He had no clue, so my point – awesome job recreating Chick-fil-A chicken!!! A new family favorite! Thank you!

    1. I’m so glad it hit all the right notes for you guys! Thanks for stopping by and letting me know it was a hit!

    1. Hi Erin…I’m not 100% sure if the coating will stick after they’ve been defrosted but you could give it a shot!

  99. Hi! Love this recipe. I’ve made it multiple times and it’s delicious. I wanted to try out the air fryer with this recipe and not quite sure it came out like the fried version. I’m not familiar with that gadget yet. Does anyone have any tips for making this in an air fryer?

    1. You can try using a little extra coconut milk but I can’t guarantee the coating will stick as well.

  100. These seriously are the best. I’ve made them probably 20 times (I’m not even paleo) I’ve tried other recipes that claim to be “chick fil a” but these are the best. So so good.

    1. That’s so great to hear, Jill! Thanks for making your way back to the blog to let me know 🙂

  101. Hi Steph, I’ve made this for myself for lunch but hadn’t made it for the family for dinner before. My picky AF 6 year old actually ate it. Until we were out. And wanted more. Ooommmggg. I’m so happy this one is super easy thanks to your baggy trick. Sending you all the hugs for making a peaceful dinner tonight. ? Oh and I didn’t have time to brine it so I just threw in a little dill and it turned out great. ??????

    1. Thank you for stopping by Marcia! You know, when people tell me their kiddos like it, it’s the best feeling ever. A peaceful dinner for the win!

  102. Wonderful recipe. My family loves it. I was surprised at how moist the chicken is. I now save pickle juice just for this recipe ?

  103. Sooooooo tasty! I used Grillo’s Fresh Italian Pickle Spear juice for a two-hour brining & substituted chicken drumstick medallions for breasts, since that is what I had on hand. Delicious. Will be making again, probably with breast meat instead. Love that even with the quick brining, I can definitely taste a nice hint of the pickle.

  104. So I have made these before and they are DELICIOUS! However, it’s a lot of steps and prep time so it would never work for a week night meal and even on a weekend it’s questionable since family life is so busy. I would love to make these as far as I can and then freeze a bunch. At which stage would you freeze these? I would LOOOOVE if I could just take several out of a freezer bag and fry them up quick on a week night instead of relying on fast food for starving kids on the way home from an evening basketball game. Any freezing suggestions?

  105. These were a huge hit with my family, which includes 3 teen boys – 2 of which are picky eaters. I tripled the batch ( cuz teen boys, amiright?) and there were no leftovers!
    I fried in coconut & avocado oil blend as recommended but I’m wondering how they’d turn out in an air fryer. Has anyone tried this?

  106. OMG Steph!! This was an amazing success. I fed my family of 6 and everyone loved it! That is very rare indeed. Thank you so much for all you share.

  107. These have been a fave of mine for a couple years but I don’t make often because the frying takes a while (multiple batches) and is messy (grease splatter). Today I made in the air fryer and omg AMAZING!!! Seriously, just as good. I sprayed with EVOO in a misto.

  108. I had been wanting to make this for a very long time and was hesitant because I thought it was going to be more difficult. I actually brined the chicken for about 3 days (cuz, you know life happens). Recipe was simple and quick and OMG the chicken was so tender and delicious! Will definitely be making again in the very near future. I crave Chick fil A about once a month, but I can now make this myself cheaper and have enough for the next day too. THANK YOU!

  109. This is SO GOOD. All other knockoff recipes pale in comparison. We make this at least once a month in triple batches. Worth the time/effort compared to air fryer or other, easier recipes (I’ve tried them all, honestly).

  110. I have made this for my family for years and we have all enjoyed it thoroughly. Thank you! However, my son has recently developed an intolerance to egg yolk… do you have any suggestions for adapting this recipe so that my son can continue to enjoy it?

Steph Gaudreau

Hi, I'm Steph Gaudreau (CISSN, NASM-CPT)!

Nutrition and fitness coach for women, Lord of the Rings nerd, and depending on who you ask, crazy cat lady. My mission is to help you fuel for more: bigger muscles, strength, energy, and possibilities. We’ll do it with my signature blend of science, strategy…and a little bit of sass.


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