A surprising secret ingredient makes these copycat Chick-fil-a nuggets a tender, mouthwatering substitute for the real thing.
I was 18-years-old the first time I ate at Chick-fil-a. I’d just moved to Mississippi to attend college and my cousin and I were driving home- to her house- after orientation. When she realized I’d never heard of Chick-fil-a, let alone tried it, she decided to remedy that immediately. We went through the drive-thru and got nuggets, waffle fries, and lemonade.
I was hooked. Not nearly as much as J, though, who has a love for Chick-fil-a that rivals his love of oxygen. For the three years we lived in Oregon, our semiannual trips to Mississippi were filled with as many nuggets and waffle fries as we could cram in. I’m convinced the restaurant is one of the main reasons he wanted to move back.
If, like me, you’ve been on Pinterest for any length of time, you’ve seen copycat recipes for these nuggets floating around. I’d never made them before, though, mostly because I was certain they’d fall far short of the high expectations we have for the original. If I’m being completely honest, this copycat version isn’t going to fool anyone. It isn’t identical to the real thing, but it is really darn close. I’d say it’s as close as you can get without visiting Chick-fil-a.
The strange thing about this recipe is that it calls for pickle juice. The recipe I adapted mine from didn’t use pickle juice, but I’d heard rumors that it’s the “secret” to getting them as close to restaurant-quality as possible, and since my pregnant self happened to finish off a jar of pickles a couple weeks ago, I went ahead and marinated the nuggets in a combination of the juice and milk.
It made all the difference. The pickle juice provides an interesting tang, a little bit of a bite to the nugget that, if you didn’t know about the juice, you wouldn’t be able to place, but that makes them so close to the Chick-fil-a version. J hates pickles, but he never guessed the juice was there. Trust me- don’t skip it.