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The History of Chicken Nuggets: From Invention to Iconic Fast Food Staple

The History of Chicken Nuggets: From Invention to Iconic Fast Food Staple

Chicken nuggets are a beloved fast food staple around the world. These crispy, bite-sized pieces of chicken are a popular snack, meal, or party food. In this blog post, we'll explore the history of chicken nuggets and provide you with a delicious recipe to make your own at home.

History of Chicken Nuggets

The origins of chicken nuggets are somewhat disputed, but most people agree that they were first introduced in the 1950s. At that time, fast food chains were expanding rapidly, and companies were looking for ways to make their products faster and cheaper.

It is widely believed that the first chicken nuggets were created by a food science professor named Robert C. Baker. Baker was experimenting with ways to use chicken meat that was considered too low-quality for other purposes. He came up with the idea of grinding the meat into a paste, adding seasonings and other ingredients, and then shaping the mixture into small, bite-sized pieces.

Baker's chicken nugget recipe was initially intended for school cafeterias, but it soon caught the attention of fast food chains. In the 1980s, McDonald's introduced its now-famous Chicken McNuggets, which were an instant hit. Other chains soon followed suit, and chicken nuggets became a staple on fast food menus around the world.

Chicken nuggets are a popular fast food item that has become a staple in the diets of many people around the world. These bite-sized pieces of chicken are crispy, flavorful, and convenient to eat, making them a hit with both children and adults. But how did this popular food item come to be? Let's take a closer look at the history of chicken nuggets.

The Origins of Chicken Nuggets

The origins of chicken nuggets are somewhat murky, with different stories and claims regarding who first invented them. However, most sources agree that chicken nuggets were first introduced in the 1950s.

One of the earliest claims to the invention of chicken nuggets comes from a food science professor named Robert C. Baker. In the early 1960s, Baker was working at Cornell University's Department of Food Science, where he was conducting research on poultry products. His goal was to find a way to create a food product that could use up the chicken meat that was usually discarded during processing.

Baker came up with the idea of using a batter to coat small pieces of chicken meat, which could then be fried or baked. This technique allowed for the use of the entire chicken, including the parts that were typically discarded, and created a new food product that was both economical and delicious.

Another early claim to the invention of chicken nuggets comes from McDonald's, which introduced its famous Chicken McNuggets in 1980. According to McDonald's, the idea for Chicken McNuggets came from a franchisee in Knoxville, Tennessee, who was looking for a way to serve chicken to customers without the hassle of dealing with bones.

Regardless of who was the first to invent chicken nuggets, there's no denying that they quickly became a popular food item, particularly in fast food chains.

Recipe for Homemade Chicken Nuggets

If you're a fan of chicken nuggets but want to avoid the additives and preservatives often found in fast food versions, try making your own at home! Here's a simple recipe that yields crispy, delicious chicken nuggets that are sure to satisfy:


  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • Cooking oil


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. Cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.

  3. In a shallow dish, mix together the flour, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper.

  4. In another shallow dish, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water.

  5. In a third shallow dish, pour the panko breadcrumbs.

  6. Dip each chicken piece first into the flour mixture, then into the egg mixture, and finally into the breadcrumbs, pressing the breadcrumbs onto the chicken to help them adhere.

  7. Heat a generous amount of cooking oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the breaded chicken pieces to the skillet in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook until golden brown on all sides, about 2-3 minutes per side.

  8. Transfer the cooked chicken nuggets to a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 5-7 minutes, until fully cooked and crispy.

  9. Serve the chicken nuggets hot, with your favorite dipping sauces.


Chicken nuggets have come a long way since their humble beginnings in the 1950s. Whether you're grabbing a quick meal on the go or whipping up a batch at home, these tasty little bites are sure to satisfy. With this simple recipe, you can make your own chicken nuggets that are crispy, flavorful, and free from preservatives and additives. Give it a try and see for yourself why chicken nuggets are such a beloved comfort food around the world!