One thing that Trader Joe’s seems to excel at is its ability to cater to families with little kids. When you walk the aisles you see lots of snacks and fruit drinks and yogurt tubes and stuff that you give to your children to eat or snack on. I can’t tell you how many strawberry squishers and applesauce crushers (notice the kid friendly names?) we went through when the kids were little. One of the biggest hits in our house was the Trader Joe’s Chicken Drumellas (which I am not sure they still sell, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen them). For many years the freezer was stocked with several boxes of Chicken Drumellas (aka chicken nuggets) until our children’s taste in food got more sophisticated when they became teenagers.
Trader Joe’s Breaded Chicken Breast Nuggets came out about the same time my kids stopped eating chicken nuggets so I never really had a good chance to review them because I never thought about picking up chicken nuggets for myself. As you can imagine, I take my time to walk down the aisles at Trader Joe’s when I am looking for new products to review. Many times I have to force myself to look at products that I see all the time and ask myself, “Have I reviewed this one yet?”. With hundreds of reviews, it’s hard to keep track of them all, and even I have to use the search bar on my own website to see if I have bought a product or not.
Luckily I hadn’t eaten these yet, so I picked up a bag to try. These nuggets are different than the Drumellas in the fact that they are a solid chuck of meat. Not ground up and reconstituted chicken meat and shaped into a fake shape and breaded. These nuggets are chopped up chicken breasts and then heavily coated in a thick breading. The thing you might not have noticed about these nuggets is that they are Gluten Free. There are two coating on these nuggets: Breading and Batter. The breading I assume is the stuff that goes on the very outside and the batter is the stuff that coats the nuggets underneath. The breading is based on rice flour while the batter is based on corn flour. Not sure why the difference but it does make an effective coating on these nuggets.
There is only one recommended way to cook these and that’s in the oven. They contain RAW chicken so make sure you follow the instructions to cook them all the way through. That involves an oven or toaster oven (or air fryer would work great here). I wouldn’t microwave them because they would just be mushy on the outside.
The nuggets came out of the oven with this lovely golden color and looked very appetizing, to say the least. Like I said before, these are real chunks of chicken so they are irregularly shaped.
I had these for lunch the day I reviewed them. I ate them with some ketchup, mayonnaise, and Trader Joe’s sweet chili sauce and I have to say the Trader Joe’s sweet chili sauce was hands down the winner. The nuggets have a nice crunch and texture on the outside, although several of them had a bit too much breading and I even got a nugget of breading with no chicken in it! But the breading is the good stuff IMHO. The breading and batter have some flavor from the garlic and onion powder and “other spices” so it’s not like they are bland blobs of cooked breading. Way more flavor than the Drumellas. I think the price on these is $4.99 which ain’t all that bad for real chunks of chicken.
If my kids were still eating chicken nuggets, I would easily buy bags of these and keep them in the freezer for a quick lunch or whatever snack.
I am going to give them 7 Bells as they weren’t amazing but serviceable food that could be dressed up a lot if you wanted!
chicken breast meat nuggets containing up to 15% of a solution of water, garlic powder, seasalt, cornstarch. breaded with: rice flour, modified tapioca starch, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, seasalt, dextrose. battered with: water, yellow corn flour, modified corn starch, modified tapioca starch, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, leavening (cream of tartar, sodium bicarbonate), spices, xanthan gum. predusted with: yellow corn flour, modified corn starch, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, spices. breading set in soybean oil.