Mock Chicken Nuggets

These mock chicken nuggets are full of umami flavor and crispy enough to feel indulgent.   They are made with a veal and pork mixture, breaded, and then each surface area is fried to obtain the full-on flavor that makes these irresistible.

This recipe is for skewers because we love the most flavorful bites of food.  Yet, if you look at the recipe notes, they can be made into mock chicken legs using apple skewers for larger-sized dinner portions.   


Skewered mock chicken nuggets sitting on ketchup in glass tealight holders on a round serving tray.

These appetizers are a take on the mock chicken legs that were popular with chefs dating back to the early 1900s.  Chicken was a luxury and hard to come by, while veal and pork were more affordable.  

Butchers in the meat market used inexpensive pork and veal cubes and ground them.  They then provided skewers for home cooks to form the mixture around to resemble a chicken leg.  Thus the mock chicken leg was born.  

Skewered mock chicken nuggets sitting on ketchup in glass tealight holders on a round serving tray.

Mock Chicken Nuggets

Foodie de Froid
Servings 16
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
These mock chicken nuggets are full of umami flavor and crispy enough to feel indulgent. These are a take on the mock chicken legs that were popular with chefs dating back to the early 1900s.
5 from 1 vote



  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup cracker crumbs saltines
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon crumbled sage leaf


  • cup flour
  • 2 eggs large
  • 3 cups soft bread crumbs


  • 4 tbsp butter clarified or ghee
  • 4 tbsp olive oil


  • ½ cup homemade ketchup store-bought can be used.


  • Preheat oven to 400 °F. Line two rimmed baking pans with parchment.
  • Combine the nugget ingredients in a large bowl; gently mix until incorporated.
    1 pound ground pork, 1 pound ground veal, 1 large egg, ½ cup milk, ½ cup cracker crumbs, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, ½ teaspoon crumbled sage leaf
  • Form the meat mixture to the desired height of nuggets and place it in the freezer for 15 - 20 minutes to firm it up.
  • Remove from freezer. Form the meat into squares using a square cutter the size of your desired nuggets. I use the bottom of a spice bottle to ease the meat out of the cutter. Set aside and repeat until the meat is used up.
  • Place the flour, eggs, and bread crumb into three separate dipping bowls.
    ⅔ cup flour, 2 eggs, 3 cups soft bread crumbs
  • Roll each nugget in the flour until well coated. Then dip it into the egg, ensuring all sides are wet. Then roll into the soft bread crumbs, using your hands to press the crumbs all around to adhere. Set on parchment prepared pans.
  • In large non-stick skillet, heat half of the oil and clarified butter on medium heat. Place half of the nuggets in the skillet and fry on each side of the cube until golden brown on every surface. Remove from the skillet and place in a 200 °F oven to keep warm. Repeat with the second bath of nuggets.
    4 tbsp butter, 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Place tealight holders on a large serving tray. Evenly distribute the ketchup on the bottom of each glass holder. Skewer the nuggets and place them on top of the ketchup.
    ½ cup homemade ketchup


Full-Size Mock Chicken Legs:   Divide the full recipe into 16 legs and form them on apple skewers.  
Do ahead:  These can be coated and refrigerated for up to 4 hours before frying.  In addition, these can be baked, refrigerated and reheated at 350 for 10 - 12 minutes.
Oven Baked:  Use cracker crumbs instead of soft bread crumbs to coat the meat.  Spray the nuggets with cooking oil.  Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees F , turning after 15 minutes.  The center should reach 165 degrees F.
Halve Recipe:  Make a full batch of the meat mixture and place 1/2 in a freezer bag (remove all air).  This makes it easy to have nuggets the next time you have guests stopping by.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Calories 312


Serving: 32servingsCalories: 312kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 16gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 83mgSodium: 753mgPotassium: 278mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 228IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 68mgIron: 2mg
Keyword ground pork, ground veal
Have you made this recipe? We'd love to hear how it was!

De Froid Tip: Appetizer Glasses

Glass tealight and votive holders hold perfect bite-sized portions of your favorite foods, as shown in the nuggets above.  Shot glasses are a fun twist on presenting your food fun and stylishly, as I did for the Prosciutto Asparagus Spears below. 

Fun Fact:  Catering trends for the year ahead show that individual food portions continue to be preferred over buffets.  To make your guests feel more at ease, serve your appetizers in individual serving vessels.   

They’re fun, pretty, and can be put in the dishwasher for easy cleanup.

Asparagus spears wrapped in prosciutto and served in a shot glass on a round wooden serving platter.

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We feature many appetizers and individual-sized recipes as a purposeful way to experience and share food.  

Our mouth reacts to flavors in a transitional way.  That first taste creates an exciting experience with the food’s intense flavors, textures, and visual appeal.  Yet after the first few bites, our mouths and minds adjust, and that experience deadens.  

Thus, the tasting experience!  We served 14 consecutive courses at my last tasting party.  Each was purposely selected to bring new flavors, textures, and presentations, creating surprises and wow moments throughout the night.

The Recipes

The recipes are documented with ingredients we love.  Yet my greatest hope is to have you understand why the recipes work and eventually make them into your personal version using your favorite ingredients and presentations.    

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