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Which brand makes the tastiest and healthiest supermarket chicken nuggets?

We taste-test chicken nuggets from Woolworths, Coles, Steggles, Ingham's and more to find the best. 

chicken nuggets on board with tomato sauce
Last updated: 05 June 2024


Checked for accuracy by our qualified fact-checkers and verifiers. Find out more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Chicken nuggets are a staple on kids' menus across the country and a tasty reminder of childhood for many adults. But can frozen supermarket nuggets ever live up to their fast food counterparts?

For the times when you want to treat your kids (or yourself) to crumbed chicken-y morsels at home, we enlisted an expert panel of taste testers to determine which supermarket nuggets outshine the rest on flavour. We also rated the nuggets on nutrition and chicken content.

As a final test, we called in the real experts – CHOICE kids – to find out which products are loved by littlies too.

CHOICE tester in a lab coat

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The best chicken nuggets according to our experts

We had our panel of experts sink their teeth into 17 supermarket chicken nuggets that we cooked in an air fryer in our kitchen lab. 

We asked our experts to give each product a taste test score, and then calculated a nutrition score based on the Health Star Rating and the percentage of chicken in the nugget.

The CHOICE Expert Rating, our overall score, is made up of the taste test score (80%) and nutrition score (20%). Weightings are in brackets.

Here are the three products that came out on top.

Coles I'm Free From Gluten & Wheat Chicken Nuggets

Coles I'm Free From Gluten & Wheat Chicken Nuggets.

Coles I'm Free From Gluten & Wheat Chicken Nuggets

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 73%
  • Price per 100g: $2.00
  • Chicken content: 62%

What the taste testers say: 

  • "Excellent chewy texture. Looks like natural fibres. Great flavour."
  • "Meat white in colour. Nice umami notes from the coating. Very moreish. Chewy, which I like in a nugget."
  • "Quite thick with thin coating, but the coating adheres well."
Ingham's Free Range Chicken Nuggets

Ingham’s Free Range Chicken Breast Nuggets

Ingham's Free Range Chicken Breast Nuggets

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 70%
  • Price per 100g: $2.66
  • Chicken content: 57%

What the taste testers say:

  • "Nugget is quite large. Meat is white – whole muscle with visible muscle fibres and excellent adhesion."
  • "Slightly bland, however umami notes are coming through. Crumb is pleasant."
  • "Size is surprisingly big for a 'traditional' nugget. Very mild flavour and little aftertaste but pleasant and not artificial tasting. Filling is moist and not too chewy."
Woolworths Chicken Breast Crumbed Nuggets

Woolworths Chicken Breast Crumbed Nuggets

Woolworths Chicken Breast Crumbed Nuggets

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 68%
  • Price per 100g: $1.10
  • Chicken content: 52%

What the taste testers say: 

  • "A little bland in flavour; texture is good and pretty chewy."
  • "Good coating crunch and meat firmness, however a little formed. Coating and chicken flavour is quite umami. Very pleasant. This one ranks quite high for flavour."
  • "Appearance is less appealing but it has good flavour."

The kids' favourites

After hearing from the adults, we dished up their top five to a panel of eight kids, to see which ones got their tick of approval. There were two clear winners from this test.

Ingham's Chicken Breast Nuggets Original

Ingham's Chicken Breast Nuggets Original

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 65%
  • Price per 100g: $1.15
  • Chicken content: 50%

This Ingham's product was far and away the kids' favourite, with our pint-sized testers raving about their unrivalled crunch factor. The adult test panel also described these nuggets as having excellent texture and a "very umami and moreish" crumb.

Woolworths Chicken Breast Crumbed Nuggets

Woolworths Chicken Breast Crumbed Nuggets 

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 68%
  • Price per 100g: $1.10
  • Chicken content: 52%

The only product to grace both the adults' and kids' most highly-rated list, these affordable Woolies own-brand 'nuggs' were described by our kids as being "yummy" and "the best". 

What's in a chicken nugget?

At its most simple (and if you're making them at home), a chicken nugget is made by coating a piece of chicken in flour, egg and breadcrumbs before deep-frying in oil or baking. You might use pieces of breast or thigh, or perhaps minced chicken.

But commercially made chicken nuggets are a different story. 

The average number of ingredients in the nuggets we tested was a massive 23

They usually include many more ingredients – a concoction of salts, sugars, and additives such as binders, water holders and preservatives – with some containing less than 40% actual chicken. The average number of ingredients in the nuggets we tested was a massive 23.

Manufacturers may add these additional ingredients to improve the texture, appearance, flavour or longevity of the product, often at the expense of its nutritional value.

What about mechanically separated chicken?

Some chicken nuggets are made using mechanically separated chicken, which is made out of the chicken left on the carcass after all the meat is cut away. 

The carcass is fed through a machine to remove any scraps of meat still clinging to it. The resulting meat is pinker, cheaper and can be used in low-quality items such as hot dogs and nuggets.  

Of the nuggets we looked at, 11 didn't specifically mention chicken breast in their ingredients, just "chicken". "Chicken" can mean any part of the muscle and attached animal fat, connective tissue, blood or skin.

How are supermarket chicken nuggets made?

Chicken nuggets are generally a 'formed' product, which means that the meat has been artificially formed or joined to resemble a cut of meat. 

Australian regulations require that formed meat products must have a declaration on the pack that they are formed or joined.

We asked food technologist Mark Lanfranchi, one of our expert taste testers, for more information on how chicken nuggets are made. 

"Chicken nuggets are made by combining different cuts of chicken meat, usually minced, with water, salts and flavours that are mixed together," he says. 

Australian regulations require that formed meat products must have a declaration on the pack that they are formed or joined

"From there, it is formed into shapes using a drum and then coated, which usually involves a pre-dust, batter and crumb process." 

After this coating process, the nuggets are partially fried for about 30–60 seconds. Mark says this allows the coating to stick to the meat and gives it a nice golden-brown colour. 

Then the nuggets are frozen and packed ready for supermarket shelves.

Are chicken nuggets healthy?

You probably don't need an expert to tell you that chicken nuggets are an example of ultra-processed food. 

Consuming ultra-processed foods is linked with many health disadvantages such as obesity, heart disease, cancers and mental health issues.

A serving of chicken nuggets would take a child straight to the limit of daily recommended sodium

Ultra-processed foods often contain more sodium (salt) and kilojoules and less of the good stuff, and this is the case with chicken nuggets. The average sodium content of the chicken nuggets we tested was more than 400mg per 100g. 

Given that the recommended sodium intake for a child 4–8 years is 300–600mg per day, a serving of chicken nuggets (100g or five to six nuggets) would take that child straight to the limit. This is concerning, as excessive sodium in our diets can lead to many health conditions.

Ethical considerations

Chicken that's labelled as "RSPCA-approved" means the chicken complies with the RSPCA standard to ensure there's a high level of animal welfare. 

The standard covers the whole cycle of the chicken production, including staff training, health of the chicken, housing and slaughter.

How we tested chicken nuggets


We tested crumbed and tempura chicken nugget products available in major Australian supermarket chains including Coles, Woolworths, Aldi and IGA. The price per 100g is based on pack price in Sydney stores (not on special) in March 2024.


Our panel of three experts tasted the air-fried chicken nugget samples 'blind' (without knowing the brands) and independently judged each sample on appearance, aroma, flavour and texture.


The CHOICE Expert Rating, our overall score, consists of 80% sensory and 20% nutrition (equally based on the Health Star Rating and the percentage of chicken).

Here's a breakdown of the sensory weightings:

  • flavour (50%)
  • texture (30%)
  • appearance (10%)
  • aroma (10%). 

We recommend chicken nuggets with a CHOICE Expert Rating of 70% or more.

A panel of eight children tasted the five best scoring products from our taste test and voted for their favourites.

Meet our taste testers

Mark Lanfranchi

Mark is a seasoned food technologist with extensive experience in processed chicken product development. During his time at Baiada Poultry, Mark specialised in enhancing the quality and flavour of cooked chicken products, his expertise extending to innovating processing techniques that improve product texture and taste. Mark continues to apply his food science knowledge, focusing on developing new food products that meet high quality standards.

Brigid Treloar 

A freelance food consultant for over 30 years, Brigid has authored eight cookbooks and contributes to newspapers and magazines, reviews restaurants, judges cookery and recipe competitions, and judges specialty foods in the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show Competition. She's an industry assessor for Le Cordon Bleu and advises many of Australia's food companies on product and recipe development, and she also provides recipes and cooking information for company websites.

Adrian Lini 

With a background in agricultural science from the University of Sydney, Adrian has always been passionate about the scientific method. As a test officer at CHOICE, he applies this passion to a wide range of home appliances, from espresso machines and kettles to vacuums, lawnmowers, and pressure cleaners. Adrian loves comparing products side by side to help consumers make informed decisions, which extends to taking part in taste tests like chicken nuggets and frozen chips.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.