Cake Mix Chicken Nuggets

updated Apr 21, 2020
Sweet and Spicy Baked Chicken Nuggets
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(Image credit: Jenny Huang)

We are huge freezer-aisle fans for all sorts of shortcuts, from frozen veggies to puff pastry to chicken nuggets. But sometimes, a shortcut comes from a different, less expected place. In the case of these homemade nuggets, it’s the baking aisle. These bite-sized chicken pieces coated with a crunchy layer of panko breadcrumbs may look like your standard-issue nuggets, but we reached for something that might surprise you to get to a crust that’s sweet and spicy.

Cake Mix Is the Secret to Sweet and Spicy Nuggets

When used in place of flour, cake mix adds a sweet touch to the base before the chicken is dunked in the eggs and panko. Along with everything you’d expect from chicken nuggets, like tender, juicy meat, crispy breading, and a savory, satisfying flavor, you also get a subtle, sweet twist from the cake mix. It’s definitely not overpowering — and in fact, you might even miss it — but as you eat on, you become more aware of its playful presence.

Sweet and Spicy Baked Chicken Nuggets

Serves 2 to 4

Nutritional Info


  • 2

    large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into even bite-sized pieces

  • 1 box

    yellow or white cake mix

  • 2

    large eggs, beaten

  • 2 cups

    panko breadcrumbs

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1/4 to 1/2

    cayenne pepper

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    fresh ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

  2. Prepare the ingredients for breading in three separate wide, shallow bowls, and arrange in an assembly line. Place 1 cup of the cake mix in the first bowl; the eggs in the second bowl; and the panko, garlic powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper in the third bowl.

  3. Bread the chicken pieces one at a time. Dredge in the cake mix, tossing to fully coat each piece and then shaking off any excess; dip in the beaten eggs; and finally toss in the panko mixture, fully coating each piece. Transfer the chicken to the prepared baking sheet, then repeat with the remainder of the pieces.

  4. Bake until the chicken nuggets are golden-brown and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes, flipping once halfway through. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.