Mom’s Chicken Nibblers

This “recipe” is based on my mom’s amazing chicken nibblers, for which there really isn’t a recipe. When I was young, this was one of my favorite things she would make, but it’s somewhat time-intensive, so it didn’t happen terribly often.

When my mom first showed me how to make chicken nibblers, I realized she didn’t really have a recipe for it; she was just winging it with the herbs and spices that go into the breading.

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Ingredients

For the nibblers:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (600-700g)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (240g)
  • vegetable oil (enough to fill pan up to 1” (2.5cm) deep)

Various spices and herbs, including but not limited to:

  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • paprika
  • chili powder
  • cayenne powder
  • Italian herb medley (If needed, you can substitute a few random herbs – oregano, thyme, rosemary, etc.)
  • black pepper
  • seasoning salt (or regular salt)

For the Buffalo sauce:

  • butter
  • Franks Red Hot sauce

Don’t limit yourself to just Buffalo sauce…. these chicken nibblers sometimes serve as merely a vessel to get dipping sauces into my mouth. Honey, hot sauce, Nashville hot chicken sauce, bleu cheese dressing, ranch dressing, mustard…. You really can’t go wrong with the dips.

Directions

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour with your preferred spices, salt, and pepper to taste.
    Pro tip:
    Finding the right balance is all art, no science. This is the point where you get to experiment. I generally load it up with the garlic and onion powder and toss in the remaining spices pretty liberally (including black pepper). Use less of the seasoning salt and dried herbs.

  2. In a separate bowl, beat eggs until well combined.
  3. Heat oil to 300°F (150°C) in an electric or high-walled stovetop skillet. If you have a jar of bacon grease in the fridge, throw a hefty spoonful in with your oil.
  4. Dredge chicken first in egg, then in flour mixture. Drop into oil in small batches and fry in a single layer until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C). Don’t crowd or stack the nibblers.
  5. Remove chicken to a rack or dish and keep warm in your oven at the lowest setting.
  6. If making Buffalo sauce, mix equal parts of butter and hot sauce in a small saucepan on low heat until the butter is melted and sauce is combined. Serve with chicken.

More tips and notes:

I prefer an electric skillet for chicken nibblers since you can set it to a temperature and just forget about it. If you don’t have an electric skillet, a high-walled, 12” skillet would work.

Preparing your oil:

  • Pour your oil in your skillet until it is ½” deep across the entire pan.
    • If you have a jar of bacon grease in the fridge, throw a hefty spoonful in with your oil.
    • If you have any used oil that has previously been used for deep-frying (or shallow-frying), you can toss some of that in there too.
  • Your oil should be mostly new oil, but either of the above will add some flavor to your nibblers.
  • Heat your oil to 300°F (150°C) .
    • If you don’t have a thermometer, no worries. Get a single drop of water on your finger and flick it at the oil – if it pops and sizzles, you’re good to start frying. If nothing happens, keep heating it up.
  • CAUTION!!! Hot oil and water are a dangerous combination. Don’t try to test the temperature of your oil with anything more than a single drop of water!!!

Dredging the chicken:

    • Grab one to three pieces of chicken and place in the egg wash, swirl around a bit to coat.
    • With the same hand, move the egg-covered chicken to the bowl of flour. WITH THE OTHER HAND, toss some flour on the chicken, make sure each piece of chicken is fully coated with flour.
    • With your dry hand, place the coated pieces of chicken into the oil. If the chicken doesn’t start immediately bubbling and popping, your oil might not be hot enough yet.
    • Keep a wet hand and a dry hand for this entire process. One hand grabs the raw chicken, places it in the egg wash, and moves to the flour. The other hand coats with flour and drops the chicken in the oil. The alternative is one hand covered in a gluey flour and egg mixture, and you don’t want that.

Serving tip:

  • TENT some foil over the chicken before placing in the oven.
    • Poke a small (penny-sized) hole in the peak of the tent.
    • You don’t want to have a tight seal otherwise your steaming-hot chicken is going to steam itself and will lead to soggy fried chicken, and you don’t want that.

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