Spicy Chicken Nuggets

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Spicy Chicken Nuggets! A specialty of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, these chicken nuggets are marinated in lime juice, rum, and soy sauce, dredged in flour and paprika and fried.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

We first encountered these spicy chicken nuggets in a special issue of Gourmet (Sept 2007) that focused on Latin American cuisine. “Chicharrones” (cracklings) are usually made with pork, and in Mexico with pork rind.

These chicken chicharrones are a specialty of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic; they are made with chicken pieces that have been marinated in a lime juice mixture, dredged in flour and paprika, and deep fried.

We’re not that big into deep frying here, but the chicken nuggets cook up perfectly well in half an inch of oil, you just have to turn the pieces halfway through the cooking. Very tasty with a little hot sauce and fresh lime juice squirted on them.

Spicy Chicken Nuggets Recipe

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  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Marinating time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • Vegetable oil (canola oil, rice bran oil, peanut oil or other high smoke point oil)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (hot or sweet)
  • Lime wedges
  • Hot sauce

Method

1 Make the marinade: Whisk together the lime juice, rum, soy sauce, and sugar in a bowl until sugar has dissolved.

2 Marinate the chicken: Add the chicken to the marinade and let marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature (can marinate longer chilled, but allow to come to room temp for 30 minutes before cooking).

3 Heat the oil for frying: Pour enough oil in a skillet so that it comes up the sides at least a half an inch. Heat oil on medium high until it is shimmering, and a little pinch of flour sizzles when you drop it in the pan.

4 Dredge the chicken: While the oil is heating, whisk together the flour, paprika, and salt in a bowl. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture and move to a plate.

5 Fry the chicken in batches (about 3), about 3 minutes on each side, until deep golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. (If the chicken is browning too quickly, reduce the heat a bit).

Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to soak up the excess oil.

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Recipe from September 2007 issue of Gourmet magazine.

 

Showing 4 of 24 Comments

  • JH

    I’m just curious as to why you wouldn’t just go ahead and deep fry them if you are going to use 1/2 inch of oil anyway.

    You don’t have to throw away as much oil at the end of the cooking, so it’s less expensive this way. Also, hot oil is dangerous. The less of it you have in your kitchen (outside of a deep fryer which we don’t have) the better. ~Elise

  • Deb

    I like the sound of this recipe. I checked out the Appetite for China link, too, and think the mention of adding cilantro as a topping is a good one. I’m wondering what I could substitute for the rum in the marinade that would still give the recipe flavor? Thanks for another unique recipe, Elise!

  • janice

    This recipe sounds great! Could you bake the chicken rather than fry it? At what temperature in the oven?

    Then you would have baked chicken and not fried chicken. There is a difference in taste and it would be a completely different recipe. But of course you can do it. You still need the fat though, so I would dip the chicken pieces in oil (after patting them dry), then dredge in flour, then broil for a few minutes on each side. ~Elise

  • Kris

    This recipe looks great!

    Can you post a link to the original recipe from Gourmet Magazine? I’m just curious as to what tweaks you made.

    I’ve looked throughout epicurious and gourmet.com for the recipe and I’m afraid it’s not there or I would link to it. Very few tweaks, just more explanation and specificity in the instructions, and I’m allowing breasts as well as thighs, I’m frying in less oil, and I’m not shaking off excess flour. ~Elise

  • Veronica

    This sounds great! Can I do away with the rum and the soy sauce? Or is there a substitute I can use? I’m not too keen on using rum for the kids (is it okay though? won’t taste too ‘rummy’?) and one of them is allergic to soy.

    Otherwise, I’ll make it for myself! :o)

    It won’t taste rummy. The rum is needed to help the marinade penetrate. It is totally okay for the kids as there is practically no alcohol left at the end of the cooking process. As for the soy sauce, you could substitute Worcestershire sauce. ~Elise

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