Crispy Turkey Nuggets

Have leftover turkey and not craving sandwiches? Turn that poultry into crispy bites, perfect for dipping.

Crispy Turkey Nuggets

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs
6 servings

Leftover Thanksgiving turkey is great for sandwiches, soups, and salads. But this year, consider turning turkey into crispy fried turkey nuggets. You can enjoy the turkey again with whatever meat is left, or set aside two pounds to make sure you can fry up this second-day meal.

We recommend making a memorable dipping sauce to make this dish even more special. A comeback sauce is always a good choice, but even a store-bought flavored mayo dip would be delicious.


  • Canola oil, for frying

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 Tbsp. Cajun seasoning (such as Slap Yo Mama)

  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise

  • 3 cups saltine cracker crumbs (from 2 standard-size sleeves [about 48 crackers] of saltine crackers)

  • 2 lb. turkey breast, cut into 1-inch pieces


  1. Add enough oil to a tall-sided frying pan to have about 1/2 inch of oil. Heat to medium heat, or about 350°F.

  2. While the oil heats, in a shallow bowl, combine the flour, seasoning, and salt. In a separate shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and mayonnaise. Empty saltine crumbs into a third shallow bowl.

  3. Dredge each piece of turkey in the flour, then the egg wash. Toss each piece of turkey in the cracker crumbs to coat well. Gently press the cracker crumbs into the meat. Place the coated nuggets on a clean plate, and finish coating the remainder of the nuggets. If you have time, place the plate of nuggets in the fridge and let chill for 1 hour. This will help the coating adhere and stick during frying.

  4. Turn the oven to 250°F (or warm), and place a cooling rack on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.

  5. Working in batches, drop the turkey nuggets into the heated oil. Give the oil a few minutes to reheat between batches. Fry the nuggets 4 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked to 165°F. Place the cooked nuggets on the cooling rack, and place the sheet pan in the oven. Keep nuggets warm until all are cooked. Serve with preferred sauce.

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