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  • Paleo Chick-fil-A Recipe

    Paleo Chick-Fil-A Recipe | stupideasypaleo.comThis Paleo Chick-fil-A is so tasty, and the secret’s in the pickle juice! It basically brines the chicken which makes it super moist and tender. The recipe easily doubles.

    When researching this recipe (because, you know, it’s got to be somewhat true to the original), I came across loads of different versions and tried to best tweak it to be grain- and dairy-free.

    A few that really inspired this one were Gluten, Grain and Garbage Free Chick-fil-A Nuggets from The Domestic Man and Copy Cat Chick-fil-A Nuggets from Chocolate, Chocolate and More and Chick-fil-A Copy Cat from Hilah Cooking.

    5.0 from 2 reviews
    Paleo Chick-fil-A
    Prep time: 
    Cook time: 
    Total time: 
    Serves: Serves 2 to 3
     
    Ingredients
    • 1 pound chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
    • ⅓ cup dill pickle juice
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 1 tbsp coconut milk
    • 1 tbsp coconut flour
    • 1 tbsp arrowroot flour
    • ½ tbsp paprika (sweet or smoked)
    • ½ tsp sea salt
    • ½ tsp black pepper
    • ½ tsp onion powder
    • ¼ tsp garlic powder
    • Coconut oil for frying
    Instructions
    1. Cut the chicken breast into large chunks, and put it in a ziptop plastic bag. Pour the pickle juice into the bag. Let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. (I kept it in overnight).
    2. After it's done marinating, pour the pickle juice out of the bag.
    3. In a small bowl, mix the beaten egg and coconut milk. Pour that into the bag and let it sit for about 10 minutes while you prepare the spice mix.
    4. In another small bowl, mix the coconut flour, arrowroot flour, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, onion power and garlic powder.
    5. Open the bag and drain out as much egg / coconut milk as you can. It doesn't have to be completely dry because you want something for the spice mix to stick to.
    6. Pour the spice mix into the bag, close the top, and really massage it into the chicken. This may take a minute or two but you want all the pieces to be evenly coated.
    7. In a large skillet over medium-high, heat a few tablespoons of coconut oil until the oil is very hot. Add a single layer of chicken (being careful not to crowd it) to the pan and fry on each side for about 3 minutes or until it's completely cooked through. It took me two batches to cook one pound of chicken.
    Notes
    Use a basic salt water brine solution instead of pickle juice (2 tbsp salt to 2 cups of water).
    Serve with Paleo Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce or honey mustard dipping sauce.

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    Paleo Chick-Fil-A Recipe | stupideasypaleo.com

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    184 thoughts on “Paleo Chick-fil-A Recipe

    1. Wow i have never heard of ths chick a fila place, so i looked it up and looked the ingredients in their filet thingies, WOW, thats a lot of crap! The pickle juice intrigues me and I am going to try these this weekend!

      1. I was out of paprika when I made these so I substituted 1/2 tsp each of chipotle, ancho and San Antonio chili powder. It was delicious!!
        I think the dill pickle juice is the key to the recipe….

      1. Hi Sylvia. You could brine the chicken in a water/salt solution (a basic recipe is 4 cups of water to 1.5 Tablespoons of salt) instead of the pickle juice.

    2. I was just wondering if there is a substitute for the pickle juice? I really hate pickles!! It’s such a strong flavoring that I would think it may come through at the end. Could you comment on if you can taste the pickle juice or not- and if so, what substitutions could be made (if any)?

      1. Hi Robin…the taste of the pickle juice is definitely present in the background. You could brine the chicken in a water/salt solution (a basic recipe is 4 cups of water to 1.5 Tablespoons of salt) instead of the pickle juice.

    3. I’m curious if you have any ideas for a healthy version of their Chik-fil-a Sauce. It has such awful ingredients but sadly I sometimes succumb to using it anyway. I’m definitely going to try your recipe this week. My eight year old will be so happy – he loves pickles and even their juice more than anything else! I just need to find some Arrowroot powder – any appropriate substitutes if I can’t find it at the store?

      1. Hi Mary, I think you can try just using 2 Tablespoons of coconut flour instead of arrowroot + coconut. I made simple honey mustard with some brown mustard, honey and apple cider vinegar.

      2. Mary B, I know what you mean. It is nearly impossible to get away from high frutose corn syrup and soy bean oil. It is everywhere. I had to quit eating Chick fil a because I have thyroid disease which I think my have been caused by polyunsaturated fats. It is hard to eat out anywhere now, but my daughter works at Chipoltle and their food is all really healthy and good. I know that the Chick fil a sauce is a mix of honey mustard and BBQ so maybe if we made the paleo version of those two and mixed them together it would work.

    4. Where does everyone get their arrowroot powder from? I have a very hard time finding it. And everywhere I’VE seen on the internet charges a ton for it.

      1. Hi Mary, I get mine from my local health food store. You can also substitute coconut flour, but it may be a bit more clumpy.

        1. What about almond flour and coconut flour? I don’t have a lot of local shopping options, but one specialty store does carry some of the Bob’s Red Mill products (which is where I got my coconut and almond flours) — I didn’t see arrowroot, but I will look next time, anyway.

        1. Fruitful yield by me has it. Also I hear you can substitute tapioca flour which is more commonly found and it’s essentially the same thing.

    5. LOVED this! Tasted JUST like what I remember Chick-Fil-A to taste like. We had chicken thighs thawed so used them and then made honey mustard: 1/2c paleo mayo, 1 1/2T dijon mustard + 1 T ground mustard, pinch salt, 2T raw honey. Fam said it tasted just like store-bought (and since when is THAT an endorsement? :-D). Served with Sweet Potato Fries out of “Against All Grain” cookbook and steamed zucchini. WONDERFUL meal.

      1. I love the sound of that dipping sauce…YUM!

        That sounds like the perfect combination for a healthy dinner. Great to hear that it was a success!

    6. I’m usually one who hates my own cooking, but this was absolutely delicious. This is one I will make again and again!

      Just a note for those who are wondering: I usually hate the taste of unrefined coconut oil, but I used it for this, and the final product didn’t taste a bit like sunscreen.

      1. Hi Lynn! I’m really glad you enjoyed it :) High five! Thanks for checking in and also for sharing your thoughts on the coconut oil. I know it will help a lot of people.

    7. Ok, I am about to serve this for dinner and I have to say it came out amazing! I didnt have arrowroot flour on hand so I used all coconut. Thank you for this recipie! Now one of my favorites for sure.

    8. This recipe looks awesome! I would like to incorporate it into my macros, any chance you could post the nutritional value?

      1. Hi Haley…I don’t count macros unfortunately. The coconut milk, coconut flour and arrowroot are very minimal ingredients and would probably be the only things aside from the chicken that you’d want to count? Sorry I can’t help out more!

    9. This looks awesome! I’m going to have to try tonight!! Just curious as I’ve never cooked with coconut oil (but am going to start as I know it’s SO healthy and SO delicous), do you ever bake with it?? I didn’t know if I could substitute coconut oil for other vegetable oils in baking recipes…. Thanks for the GREAT website! :-) Blessings!

      1. Hi Sylvia! I don’t do a LOT of baking but I have used it in muffins and cookies with great success. In fact, if you gently melt it, it should be a 1:1 substitution. Thank you for the very kind words :) Steph

    10. Oh my gosh! This was a hit! Followed the recipe to a T and LOVED it! I’ve shared it with all my CF friends and anyone else who will listen :)

      Thank you so much for posting great paleo alternatives that taste GREAT!

    11. I made these last night for dinner. My whole family loved them! I made a double batch and only cooked up 1 batch last night. I cooked the rest today and then took it another step to try and mimic Chik-fil-a’s chicken salad. I miss their chicken salad sandwiches sooo much! So I chopped the nuggets up real good, added some chopped pickles, and some homemade mayo. OMG!! I’d swear this came from Chik-fil-a. It’s totally awesome and delicious! Thank you so much for posting this recipe!!

    12. Steph!

      You are truly my go to person when it comes to finding new and amazing recipes! I made these last night and they were simply delicious! Even my friends who aren’t Paleo agreed that they were better than CFA nuggets :) Thanks again for another brilliant recipe.

      Dara

    13. I brined these with the pickle juice for about 7 hours. It was strange because the majority of the pieces had no flavor of it. The few that did maintain the flavor from the brine actually tasted like I remember chick fil a tasting back when I last had it over 20 years ago. I cut up almost 2 pounds of chicken breast (and doubled the brine and seasoning) into nuggets in the 1.5 to 2 inch range (give or take). My 7 year old daughter has never had chick fil a, so didn’t know what they were supposed to taste like. I lost track of how many she ate at her 10th nugget, but she was still going. I think she ate at least 15. Her only comment was that they could use more seasoning, which I would agree with. We are actually on GAPS diet and can’t have the arrowroot, so I used all coconut flour. I’m wondering if the coconut flour might have negated the flavor of the brine? Who knows! Next time I hope the chicken will be defrosted enough when I want to make it so that they can marinate overnight and through the next day. I am also going to increase the seasoning a bit.

      1. Hi Nancy…hmm that’s strange. When I marinated/brined it, I put it in a plastic ziplock bag and tried to turn the bag every couple hours or so.

        I don’t think the coconut flour would have affected the pickle juice flavor though it is a stronger taste than arrowroot so it’s certainly possible. It also may vary depending the type of pickles one uses.

    14. Well, it looks like I’m one for one! Just found this web site this afternoon and fixed the nuggets for dinner. Although the cooking smell was a little strange, (maybe it was the paprika, i’ve only used it on hard boiled eggs), but my husband and I ate the whole pound of chicken! i’ll definitely try more recipes-thanks for doing this site!

    15. My friend made these and they were delicious! I would like to try the recipe, but have a child with nut allergies , including coconut, what would you recommend as a substitute for the coconut flour/oil? New to your site and loving it!

      1. Hi Sandy…you could just use all arrowroot flour if that’s an option. For the coconut oil, how about using something like ghee (clarified butter) or olive oil (though I don’t like to use olive oil at high temps). Just some suggestions for you. Thanks for your kind words :)

    16. I didn’t have any chicken thawed so I used turkey breast and served it with honey-mustard sauce I made with raw local honey and dijon mustard with a dash of salt. Delish!!

    17. Hi Stephanie, I made this tonight and even my picky husband thought It was great. My kids did too, so this is a keeper. I doubled the recipe and It turned out great. The honey mustard dipping sauce was a perfect addition as well.

    18. this was a bit of work with all the steps involved but it turned out really great! I have always wondered about that sweetness in chik fila’s food, now I know. you definitely want to do a double batch, just get it over with and cook up a ton of this stuff. I will take my own advice next time. I didn’t have arrowroot and just used all coconut flour. what’s the purpose of the arrowroot anyway?

      1. Hi Olivia…the arrowroot just gives a different (less sticky/bulky texture) to the coating than the coconut flour does in my experience.

    19. I have made this recipe several times and must say- DELICIOUS! Whether you eat Paleo or not, this is a crowd pleaser. Even your kids will love it. Here are 2 things I have learned: 1) Marinate the chicken in the pickle juice for a minimum of 3 hours. Anything less and you miss out on the faint hint of pickles. And even if you hate pickles, you will like the briney taste it gives (this came from a pickle hater); 2) Regular paprika, as opposed to smoked, gives these nuggets a more authentic Chickfila taste. Trust me! Regular paprika is where it is at! Thank you for this great recipe. It is one of my all-time favorites.

      1. Hi Shelby! Oooooh great tip :) I let mine sit overnight which was even better I think. Thanks for letting us know about the regular paprika!!

    20. Does anyone know how to find a pickle juice that doesn’t have ‘natural flavors’ or xanthum gum or any of the other bad stuff that makes me ill? I live in a smallish, not progressive town, and the local grocery stores don’t carry much beyond generic, and vlasic. Both had the same ingredients listed.

      1. Great question! Hopefully someone has suggestions for you…which state/regions are you in? That may help get a more specific answer.

        1. Hi, I live in NW Florida, great beaches but few shopping choices… I found a recipe on Elana’s website for pickles that don’t require actual canning. I might try that if I don’t find anything on-line.

      2. What you want to make is fermented pickles, which should just require a lot of salt to start the process, and whatever other seasonings you would like. Many recipes require whey (NOT the powdered kind), but you can easily find recipes that only require salt (a real salt, not processed salt). Do an online search for recipes that start with “lacto-fermented”. This is the term for this method of pickling. One super easy recipe for carrots (the “juice” from these would still be a flavor that would work with chicken nuggets, doesn’t taste like carrots, but just like pickle juice is):
        http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2010/08/lacto-fermented-dilly-carrot-sticks.html
        This recipe does call for whey, but gives instructions down at the bottom for extra slat if you would like to leave out whey. Best of luck to you!!! :)

    21. Can you bake instead of fry these? I really don’t like frying my food. Do you think they would still turn out good?

    22. Love your recipes! Can’t wait to try this one. But just wanted to clarify, because I am NOT a cook and have no cooking sense, but when you drain the egg/coconut milk from the bag, you don’t save it for anything, right? Draining means tossing it? Then you add the flour mix to the bag? I’m sure my roommate would be rolling his eyes right about now but I want to make this on my own :)

      1. Hi there! It’s okay…I’m glad you asked. Don’t save the coconut/egg mixture…you’ll want to throw it out before you add in the flour. That was, you’ve moistened the chicken enough for the coating to stick but it’s not soupy. You’re going to be great!

    23. I just made these (tenderloins instead of nuggets, though), and they turned out great! My husband liked them, though he suggested that I tone down the pickle flavor next time (I let them marinate overnight). Even my picky nephew liked them. He ate every single chunk of chicken I gave him, which ended up being about the size of a small tenderloin; that’s a lot for him. I will definitely make this a second time. :)

    24. My “picky eater” son said he likes these better than REAL Chick-Fil-A! My other son asked if we could have them for dinner every night!

    25. You’re brilliant for coming up with this!!! Do you think they would freeze well (once cooked)? It’d be great to make a big batch and then freeze some for quick meals/snacks. Thanks!

    26. I just made this for lunch – absolutely delicious! I too used tenderloins and I brined the chicken in salt solution rather than pickle juice (as I didn’t have any). Great recipe, this will certainly be in high rotation on our dinner menu! Thanks!

    27. Just made these tonight for my family. My 3 boys were giving me funny looks as I was draining the pickle juice out (I marinated the chicken for a day). We live in CA and I’m not sure I’ve ever been to a chick fil a, but these were sooooo goooood!! And easy! I doubled your recipe and all of the chicken was gone! I was hoping to have some left over. I’m going to make a huge batch of these and freeze them for an easy lunch or snack. Thank you!

    28. I used to work at Chick-fil-A and I know that we put the chicken in the pickle juice the night before. That is a big part of the final flavor. Anyway, if you have seen the news lately or follow Food Babe’s blog you know they are making some changes to their products to make them healthier. I am looking forward to trying this recipe. Thanks !

      1. Oh very cool. I read Food Babe’s blog from time to time but I missed that post. I’ll have to go check it out. Thanks for letting me know, Wendy!

    29. I love this recipe but I am not a big fan of coconut so I don’t use the coconut flower, I also don’t use any milk at all and find that it’s not needed when you have the egg. :) I love this recipe it’s the only fast food I used to miss.

    30. Pingback: Paleo Wrap Recipe
    31. This was delicious. Made it for my family this weekend and they gobbled it up. My 4-year asked for more and my pickle hating husband loved it too!

    32. Going to have to try this recipe. Love Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets. Now just need a paleo version of the delicious Chick-fil-A Sauce πŸ˜‰

    33. I grew up eating Chick-Fil-A roughly twice a week. (My school had lunch catered, and chicken strips were my go-to) Since going vegan and then paleo, I thought I’d never enjoy Chick-Fil-A again. OMG THIS WAS SO GOOD (sorry for yelling, but wow)
      Thank you so, so much.

    34. Pingback: Recipes I love! |
    35. THIS WAS AMAZING! I have been GF for over a year and now I am currently trying to go paleo. My boyfriend does not like to eat GF or plaeo, so I am always trying new recipes hoping he will “cross over”. Let’s just say he LOVED these!! These are so simple to make and everyone can enjoy them. πŸ˜‰ I will be making these again!

    36. Do you happen to know the calories, fat, etc??? This would help me so much. My trainer this morning said these may not be too good for me to eat and I eat them 5 days a week for lunch… I would greatly appreciate it so I can input it into my fitness app. I’ve been trying to figure it out for hours now?? Pleaseeeee help!!!

      1. Why did your trainer say they’re aren’t good for you to eat?

        I honestly don’t have it calculated. You can trying Google for the nutrition info of the major ingredients and add it up.

    37. I’ve read through the comments and saw that you suggest salt water brine as a sub for dill pickle juice. I’m wondering if adding some apple cider vinegar and dill to the brine makes sense to you? I’m not a big dill pickle person (Ok, I REALLY am not a big dill pickle person.), but I’d like to add flavor…just flavor that doesn’t involve tossing dill pickles because there is no way I’ll eat them. ;^) Thanks for the recipes….

    38. I tried this tonight and oh man, so delicious!! The best part was the crunchy bits stuck to the pan, in fact I think you could make a recipe just from that!

      1. That is so awesome Michele! Thanks for taking the time to let me know…and I think you have the right idea πŸ˜‰

    39. Hi Steph!
      I FINALLY got around to making this today. And it was really YUM. I’ve only had the real deal two times, but it was so long ago I couldn’t compare the two. BUT, I really like this recipe because its got ingredients that I can eat and not get sick over it, so that makes it a HUGE win in my book.
      I made two batches to feed 4 adults. I used separate bags for each pound of chicken. It may have been slightly a little more work, but it turned out perfectly. My guys tell me that I will need to make 3# for the next time; they will want leftovers (no leftovers for 2# batch.)
      Thanks for a fabulous recipe. <3
      Light & Love,
      Stella

    40. These are freaking addicting. I made these for the 1st time today. Luckily for me, I made a double batch. I cooked the nuggets in batches and had to sample a few from each batch. :)

      1. So glad to hear that! A lot of folks tell me they should have made a double batch so you’re already ahead of them! :)

    41. OMG a few dips of sauce that has a few “non-paleo” ingredients IS NOT GOING TO KILL YOU AND WILL NOT MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE WHATSOEVER IN YOUR BODY COMP!! You guys have taken it waaay too far…

    42. I just made these. Pretty good but missing something. I only marinaded for 2 hours. I think playing around with the recipe would help.

    43. DELICIOUS!!!!!!!!! I fried the chicken with avocado oil instead of coconut, it was sooo good!! Thank you for this recipe, a keeper for sure!

    44. I loved everything about these except that I think my oil was too hot. The outside was really dark and crispy but the inside seemed undercooked. No biggie I just microwaved them until they were done. Next time ill use smaller cuts of chicken and make sure the oil is right. :)

    45. Pingback: Paleo Chick-fil-A
    46. I’ve been doing this recipe using kraut juice for the brining, and otherwise following it completely and loving it. Tonight I was running late and didn’t want to slice up the chicken thighs I had in the fridge, so I threw them whole into a ziploc with kimchi kraut juice for an hour, then did the rest of the recipe, and instead of frying, baked them on a rack in a pan at 400 for 30 minutes, flipped them and baked another 20 minutes till they were done (easier than watching a frying pan while trying to get everything else caught up). I’m quite proud of myself because they came out great. Love your recipes!

    47. I tried this recipe; however, I did not have arrowroot flour/powder. I could taste a hint of the original Chic-fil-a taste. I didn’t leave the chicken in the pickle juice overnight (4 hours), so I’ll have to try that next time and add more salt, a little on the bland side for me.

      1. Yeah, you definitely have to leave it in a bit longer than that for the pickle flavor to really come through.

    48. Im from Australia so don’t know what Chick-fil-A is but I made this tonight and its one of the tastiest dishes ever. Love it. Certainly will be cooking again and again! Thanks for this. ps love the website too :)

    49. Made it for my first fried paleo meal. It was a little foamy, I figure it was the coconut oil. I didn’t let the oil reheat before throwing in the second batch so the breading fell off. Still very good recipe. I really enjoyed it better than floured copy cat recipes that tried to match Chik Fila. We just dipped it in paleo mayo with sweet potato fries.

    50. I have to say, I followed the recipe EXACTLY, let the chicken marinate in the pickle juice (which at first I thought was a little weird) overnight and cooked it today. And WOW! It is SO GOOD! It tastes like I’m cheating and the whole family just loves it! πŸ˜€ We all agree that this is something to add to our favorites list and will definitely be cooking it again! It wasn’t even that hard! Thank you for the wonderful recipe, love it!

    51. I successfully made these last night! :)
      Some changes I made though: omitted the coconut milk, swapped the coconut flour for extra arrowroot and used canned artichoke brine instead.
      Here in Australia we don’t have Chick-Fil-A so I can’t really make a comparison haha, they didn’t come out crispy but I wasn’t fussed, the flavours were spot on and the chicken was so tender! Thanks :)

    52. Delicious recipe! Made for dinner last night, and it was a hit! I made a addition to the batter by adding some leftover roasted sweet potato hash. I rolled the battered chicken in the sweet crumbles before dropping in the pan…Man O man…it was fantastic! Thank-you because this is now my tot’s new favorite chicken nuggets!

    53. GENIUS – congratulations on a masterpiece!!! The only problem was that my two kids gobbled it up and won’t stop nagging me for more!

    54. I cannot use egg nor vinegar products…so I could substitute brine for the pickle juice but would it work without the egg or would egg replacement work? I am pretty new at this and so far….I can’t eat much of anything…lol

    55. I made this last night and it was just delicious. I feel like my dinners have been so lackluster lately, and this was a great boost. Was worried that the coconut flour would be objectionable (I’d never used it before) since some people in my family don’t like coconut but I couldn’t taste it and think it probably enhanced the flavor of the dish. One of my kids didn’t like the pickle juice flavor much, although he still ate the chicken and had seconds. Next time I might try your brine method as a change from the pickle juice – and the recipe is very adaptable if you wanted to try different flavors such as tandoor seasoning or Italian. Also, I love the one-bag method – brilliant. I washed the bag afterwards to recycle with my other plastic bags. I will certainly be keeping an eye on your site – thanks so much!

    56. I prefer almond flour over coconut floor. Can I use almond and arrow root? Can you share the proportions for the honey mustard sauce you mentioned?

      1. Hi Shelley…I have not tested either of those. My guess is that almond flour will burn very easily when you’re frying it.

        I didn’t really measure the honey mustard but it’s about 4 parts mustard to 1 part honey. I don’t like mine very sweet.

    57. I’m excited to make there! I’m on a freezer-meals-making kick right now. Do you have any recommendations or suggestions on how to prep them as a freezer meal? Maybe fry as you suggest, cool, freeze on a cookie sheet, store in a freezer bag and then bake in the oven when ready to reheat? TIA!

    58. Hey Steph! Just discovered you, super glad that I did!

      I put my chicken into pickle juice last night to marinate… and when I checked this morning, it’s like the chicken has cooked in places.

      Have you had this happen? Did I do something wrong?

      1. Did you use a vinegar-based pickle juice? If so, you basically “cooked” the edges with the acid in the vinegar. I probably would only leave it in there for a couple hours next time.

        1. I DID. Ah crap!! Okay. So, for the parts of the chicken that aren’t “cooked” from the brine, can I still safely use them?

    59. O….M…G! This recipe was amazing! My boyfriend and I just started the Whole30 diet last week and I was having a hard time getting my boyfriend to be on board with the program until I found this recipe. We made it along side some roasted potatoes with rosemary and garlic and the some paleo Chipotle Mayo. I am loving all your recipes! Thanks sooooo much!

    60. So I’ve never had Chick-Fil-A so I have nothing to compare it to, but damn! This was outstanding! Made the dipping sauce that someone had recommended, so good!

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