This healthy bacon-wrapped chicken nugget recipe is so quick and easy. You only require 2 ingredients and take less than 5-minutes to prepare in the oven, frying pan, or air fryer.
PLUS there's a simple 2 ingredient creamy sauce too.
The healthy gluten-free nuggets are kid-friendly, keto-friendly, and a family-friendly recipe.
While you could easily make this recipe as a bacon-wrapped chicken breast, I focused on chicken tenders for this recipe as I wanted to come up with a substitute for frozen nuggets.
Are chicken nuggets keto?
No, regular store-bought or fast food chicken nuggets are either crumbed or battered in wheat flour and unhealthy oils. They are deep-fried or baked and are often served with sugary drinks and french fries or mashed potatoes. These are all foods that are avoided on the keto diet.
There are three main health concerns when it comes to chicken nuggets:
- They are fried in oils such as canola, rapeseed, and sunflower oils. All are high in omega 6, are easily oxidized, and are incredibly inflammatory.
- They are covered in grains, flavors, and preservatives that are devoid of nutrition, high carb, and unhealthy for your gut.
- They are pretty much always accompanied by fries and tomato/ketchup sauce. This is like rubbing salt into a wound. The fries are high carb fried in toxic oil, the sauce is like pouring sugar on top. Most ketchup has as much sugar as chocolate sauce.
"When I see well-meaning parents serving their children a treat of nuggets, fries, and ketchup - the term "chemical disaster" springs to mind. When most ingredients read like a toxicology report, you know you should really walk away."
What's in a chicken nugget?
Let's look at just three examples of chicken nuggets.
Ingredients of the three above, contain a mixture of the following - chicken (parts not specified), bleached wheat flour, enriched wheat flour (enriched with niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), potassium lactate, sodium lactate, dextrose, sugar, dried whey, sodium phosphates, sodium diacetate, sodium acid pyrophosphate, calcium propionate, potassium sorbate, soybean oil, oleoresin paprika, yeast extract (MSG), modified food starch, guar gum, textured soy flour, soy protein isolate, sodium tripolyphosphate, autolyzed yeast extract (MSG), BHT.
All quantities, ingredients, nutritional information, carbs, calories, and instructions are in the recipe card below.
The crispy bacon acts as the perfect "coating" that also flavors the meat as you cook the bacon-wrapped chicken breasts.
As you probably suspect, the ingredient list in this recipe for chicken wrapped in bacon is sweet and simple.
- chicken - use tenderloins, chicken breast, or chicken strips. Whichever you have on hand is great.
- bacon -choose the least processed bacon with no brown sugar, starches, or nasties.
- spices - to be honest, I don't really add any spice to this dish. My kids like it as is thanks to the flavorful bacon. But, if you want to play with variations, you can add garlic powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, or another spice mixture to the dish before cooking.
By the way, if you are worried about nitrates/nitrites, read this article. And if you are worried about processed meat and its links (not cause) with certain cancers, read this and this article. The myths are debunked with science, not opinion.
My children absolutely adore bacon-wrapped chicken nuggets. I always make extra to keep for their healthy lower-carb school lunches. It is an incredibly easy recipe, and the sauce is optional, but I'll warn you my children fight over it. It's that good.
The instructions will be the same but how long you cook chicken breasts for will depend on whether you are making:
- Bacon-wrapped chicken nuggets - use sliced chicken breasts as shown.
- Whole bacon-wrapped chicken breasts- a whole chicken breast wrapped in bacon will require a longer cooking time depending on the size and thickness of the chicken breasts you are cooking.
To make these bacon-wrapped chicken nuggets, slice your skinless chicken breasts into thumb-sized pieces.
Take each chicken piece and wrap with enough streaky bacon to cover on all sides (as shown).
How to cook nuggets (baked, fried, air fryer)
There are three ways to cook your bacon-wrapped chicken.
You can cook your gluten-free chicken nuggets by using a frying pan or skillet on the stove, in a casserole dish or baking dish in the oven, or even air fry in an air fryer!
Whichever method you choose for cooking the bacon-wrapped chicken breast, you may need to adjust your cooking time slightly depending on how thick the sliced chicken breast is, and whether you use thinly sliced bacon or thick cut bacon. Thicker bacon will take a bit longer to cook than thinner cuts, especially if you like your bacon crispy!
1: How to cook the bacon-wrapped chicken recipe in the frying pan
Preheat your frying pan or skillet to medium. Add your favorite cooking oil and place each bacon-wrapped chicken breast (seam side down) into the hot pan and fry on all sides until golden brown.
2: How to cook the bacon-wrapped chicken recipe in the oven
Place each chicken nugget (seam side down) in an oiled baking dish and bake at 180C/350F for 20 minutes.
You may wish to turn each piece once halfway through the cooking time. Make sure each chicken is cooked to the center and the crispy bacon is cooked to perfection.
For crispier bacon, turn the grill/broiler on for the final 3 minutes.
3: How to cook the bacon-wrapped chicken recipe in the air fryer
Using an air fryer to cook bacon-wrapped chicken is quick and easy. It take very little effort.
- Preheat to 190C/375F.
- Spray the wire basket with cooking oil.
- Gently place each chicken piece (seam side down) into the oiled air fryer basket. Ensure there is plenty of space between them.
- Cook for 10 minutes, open the drawer and turn each piece.
- Cook for a further 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces being cooked and how thick the bacon is. Chicken must be completely cooked into the center of each piece.
If you love using your air fryer, I have 101 keto air fryer recipes for you to choose from (chicken, pork, ground beef, salmon, vegetables, and even desserts). Discover how to use your air fryer plus FREE printable air fryer cooking cheat sheets.
Creamy bacon sauce
Once you cook these bacon-wrapped chicken nuggets, you can make an easy creamy bacon sauce. It's optional, but I highly recommend it!
The cream cheese picks up all the lovely juices and smokey bacon flavors.
Remove the bacon-wrapped chicken from any of your three cooking methods. Set aside and keep the cooked chicken with crispy bacon warm.
Keep the oil in the frying pan, or drain the oil from your baking dish or air fryer into the frying pan.
On medium heat, add the cream cheese and heat gently to pick up all the bacon flavor from the cooking oil into the cream cheese to make a beautiful creamy sauce. Add enough double/heavy cream to make a pourable sauce.
You can pour the quick creamy sauce over any chicken recipe (such as baked chicken breasts) or over roasted vegetables. It's fantastic!
Best keto side dishes (to serve with chicken)
Instead of French fries or mashed potatoes for your chicken nuggets, serve it up with a side of cauliflower mash, cheesy keto garlic bread, or any of these popular keto side dishes to serve with chicken.
There are so many delicious low-carb and keto side dishes to serve with chicken. Bacon-wrapped chicken is a versatile family-friendly dinner and so you need to choose quick and easy healthy side dishes the entire family will love.
- Cheesy keto garlic bread
- Easy mashed cauliflower
- The best low-carb bread, pasta, and potato substitutes
- Low-carb keto almond flour bread
- Baked cheesy broccoli and cauliflower
You can use a whole chicken breast (for baked bacon-wrapped chicken), sliced chicken breast, skinless chicken breasts, chicken tenderloins, boneless skinless chicken breasts, or chicken tenders. Any type of chicken wrapped in bacon is a family favorite.
Yes, you can bake whole chicken breasts wrapped in bacon, just adjust the bake time. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the juicy chicken is fully cooked to the center.
These bacon-wrapped chicken breasts are perfect to be sliced up when cold and made into a bacon-wrapped chicken salad with homemade mayonnaise. Sprinkle some garlic powder over the top and add a few fried onion flakes for a delicious filling lunch or main meal.
Pan drippings are delicious because they have all the flavors of the bacon and cooked chicken often have tiny pieces of meat. Bacon makes everything taste great so drippings are wonderful to use in cooking or sauces. Allow the cooking oil to cool then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 months.
I hope you and your family enjoy this delicious dish! It's kid-approved and is a quick and easy chicken breast recipe.
Please rate this recipe.
Keto Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Nuggets Recipe
- Wrap each chicken tenderloin with a slice of streaky bacon.
How to cook in the oven
- Place each bacon-wrapped nugget in an oiled baking dish and bake at 180C/350F for 20 minutes.
How to cook in the frying pan
- Place each bacon-wrapped nugget in a frying pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Cook for 15 minutes turning each piece occasionally to ensure they are golden brown on all sides.
How to cook in the air fryer
- Place each bacon-wrapped nugget in your air fryer basket and cook at 180C/350F for 15 minutes. Check halfway through cooking to see if each chicken pice needs turning.
How to make the creamy bacon sauce
- Remove the bacon-wrapped chicken from any of your cooking methods. Set aside.Keep the oil in the frying pan, or drain the oil from your baking dish or air fryer into the frying pan.On medium heat, add the cream cheese and heat to pick up all the bacon flavor from the cooking oil into the cream cheese to make a beautiful creamy sauce. Add enough double/heavy cream to make a pourable sauce.
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Approximate nutrition information is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. For the most accurate nutritional data, use the actual ingredients and brands you used in your preferred nutrition calculator.
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