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Crispy Onion Baked BBQ Nuggets

Crispy Onion Baked BBQ Nuggets- Chicken bites are dipped in bbq sauce, coated in crushed French fried onions, and baked until perfectly crisp.

February 4, 2024 by Nicole Collins


Today, we’re making Crispy Onion Baked BBQ Nuggets!


Guys, I had a realization just now. I’ve been going hard on the game day recipes this year, more so than I ever have. But, I just realized that I don’t think it’s about the game day at all. It’s about the small bites. Who doesn’t love a small bite, finger food, appetizer situation? I know I sure do. I think I’m hiding behind game day because I just want to eat allllll the appies for dinner. And you know what? Sorry, not sorry.


Today’s recipe is next up on the game day/I just want to eat small bites line up. We’re taking chunks of chicken tenderloin, coating it in barbeque sauce, dredging it through some crushed up crispy French fried onions, and baking the bites until they’re golden and crisp. And really, that’s it. That’s all the instructions. Does that sound amazing, or what?


For the chicken, I like to start with chicken tenderloins. But chicken breast absolutely works too. Use what you have or whatever is on sale. Either way, we’re going to chop the chicken into bite sized pieces, season it with a little pinch of salt, and we’re basically half way through the recipe.


To coat our chicken, we’ll start with your favorite bbq sauce. I typically prefer a sweet and smokey variety. But, use what you like. We’ll mix some bbq sauce with a little water to thin it out a bit, and this will act as our binder for our coating. So, the chicken will get dipped and rolled around all through that delicious sauce.


For our breading, we’ll use a mix of crispy French fried onions and panko breadcrumbs. Now at my day job, French fried onions (FFOs as we call them in the biz) are definitely a seasonal item. We sell them the most at Thanksgiving and Easter, because they’re typically associated with green bean casserole. My coworkers and I had a conversation once about what else can people do with these FFOs, and I was able to enthusiastically chime right in. I use them as the crunch element to a salad. I use them as a crispy crunchy snack. And, I use them as a breading for chicken! And such is the case today. We’ll run those bbq coated nugs through an FFO/panko mixture until they’re completely coated, pop them on a baking sheet, spritz them with a little cooking spray, and toss them in the oven to get nice and golden brown.


To serve, there are so many different ways you can go. As a meal, I like to serve these over some white cheddar mac and cheese with a little fresh slaw on the side. As an appetizer or small bite, these pair well with an array of sauces…honey mustard, ranch, cheese sauce…take your pick. Or pick them all! The only rules on game day apply to the football field. However you choose to enjoy them, the savory onion coating combined with the sweet barbeque glue is unmatched. There’s so much flavor coming out of these bites with little to no effort.


Ok, everyone! As always, I have video tutorials for just about every recipe, including this one, on my social media; so make sure you’re following along!


I hope you guys enjoy. And, let’s eat!


Crispy Onion Baked BBQ Nuggets

Serves: 4          Print


  • ½ cup bbq sauce (I used Stubbs Smokey Brown Sugar)

  • 2 tbsp water

  • 2 cups french fried onions, crushed

  • ½ cup panko

  • 1 lb chicken tenderloins, chopped into 1 inch pieces

  • ½ tsp salt

  • cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil, and spray with cooking spray.

  2. To a shallow bowl, add bbq sauce and water. Whisk until combined. To a second bowl, add crushed french fried onions and panko. Mix to combine. To a third bowl, add chicken pieces and salt, and toss to evenly coat all the chicken.

  3. Using tongs, take one piece of chicken, dip it in bbq mix, and shake off any excess sauce. Dredge chicken in onion mix, and press gently to help adhere to the chicken. Place on prepared baking sheet, and repeat with remaining chicken. 

  4. Spritz the top of the chicken lightly with cooking spray, and bake for 10-15 minutes until the internal temp reaches 165 degrees. Enjoy!

Recipe notes:

*These nuggets are so delish on their own, they don’t need any sauce. But, they pair great with a ranch sauce, a cheese sauce, or even some more bbq sauce if you need a dipper.

*These work great as an appetizer bite, but they’re also incredible on top of a creamy bowl of mac and cheese.

*Use your favorite bbq sauce, but I really like a sweet and smokey flavor for this.


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