How many calories are in a 12 count chicken nugget from Chick Fil A?

Chick-fil-A is a popular fast food chain known for its chicken sandwiches, waffle fries, and chicken nuggets. For those watching their calorie intake, the nutritional information for Chick-fil-A’s menu items is important to know before ordering.

Calories in Chick-fil-A’s 12 Count Chicken Nuggets

Chick-fil-A’s 12 count chicken nuggets contain a total of 520 calories. This is based on the standard serving size of a 12 count order of chick-fil-A’s breaded chicken nuggets. Here is a breakdown of the calorie information:

  • Total fat: 28g
  • Saturated fat: 4.5g
  • Trans fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 55mg
  • Sodium: 1380mg
  • Total carbohydrates: 38g
  • Dietary fiber: 2g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 28g

With a total of 520 calories per serving, Chick-fil-A’s 12 count nuggets provide a significant amount of calories in one meal. The nuggets offer a good source of protein at 28g per serving. However, they are also high in saturated fat, sodium, and carbohydrates.

Nutrition Facts for Chick-fil-A Nuggets

Here is the complete nutrition facts label for Chick-fil-A’s breaded chicken nuggets from a 12 count serving size:

Nutrition Facts 12 count Chick-fil-A Chicken Nuggets
Serving Size 12 pieces (156g)
Calories 520
Total Fat 28g
Saturated Fat 4.5g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 55mg
Sodium 1380mg
Total Carbohydrates 38g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 0g
Protein 28g

As shown in the nutrition label, the 12 count serving of nuggets contains over half of the recommended daily value for saturated fat and sodium. The nuggets do not contain any sugars, but have 520 total calories which is a significant amount for one meal item.

Calorie Breakdown of Chick-fil-A Nuggets

Analyzing the calorie composition of Chick-fil-A’s nuggets shows that a majority of the calories come from fat, followed by a high amount of calories from protein:

  • Total fat: 28g total fat x 9 calories per gram of fat = 252 calories from fat
  • Protein: 28g protein x 4 calories per gram of protein = 112 calories from protein
  • Carbohydrates: 38g carbs x 4 calories per gram of carbs = 152 calories from carbs

So out of the total 520 calories in a 12 count order of nuggets, 252 come from fat (48%), 112 come from protein (22%), and 152 come from carbohydrates (29%). This breakdown shows how the high saturated fat and sodium content contribute a lot of calories to this menu item.

How Many Nuggets in Other Chick-fil-A Servings

Chick-fil-A offers chicken nuggets in other serving sizes as well. Here is a look at some other serving options and how many nuggets they contain:

Servings Nugget Count
4 piece kids nuggets 4 nuggets
8 piece nuggets 8 nuggets
12 piece nuggets (standard) 12 nuggets
24 piece nuggets 24 nuggets
36 piece nuggets 36 nuggets
48 piece nuggets 48 nuggets

The 4 and 8 piece servings are meant for kids. The 12 piece serving is the standard individual meal option. The 24, 36, and 48 piece options are designed for sharing or multiple meals.

Nutritional Differences in Serving Sizes

While the overall nutrition facts stay the same, the different serving sizes affect the total calorie amounts someone would consume:

  • 4 piece kids nuggets = 130 calories
  • 8 piece nuggets = 260 calories
  • 12 piece standard nuggets = 520 calories
  • 24 piece nuggets = 1040 calories
  • 36 piece nuggets = 1560 calories
  • 48 piece nuggets = 2080 calories

The 4 piece kids size has 26% of the calories compared to the standard 12 piece order. The 24 piece has double the calories of the 12 piece serving. This shows how much the calorie intake increases with larger serving sizes.

Chick-fil-A Nugget Ingredients

Chick-fil-A’s breaded chicken nuggets contain the following ingredients:

  • Boneless skinless chicken breast with rib meat
  • Seasoning (salt, spice)
  • Breading (enriched bleached wheat flour, enriched wheat flour, wheat flour, leavening, sugar, yeast, soybean oil, salt)
  • Battered with (water, enriched bleached wheat flour, wheat flour, sugar, yeast, salt, baking soda, dried yellow corn flour, dried whey, soybean oil, eggs, leavening)
  • Predusted with (wheat flour, enriched bleached wheat flour, corn starch)

The primary protein source is chicken breast meat with rib meat added. A blend of bleached, enriched wheat flours make up the bready coating on the outside along with leavening agents and spices.

Overall, the ingredients represent a standard fast food style breaded and fried chicken nugget without anything unusual. The nuggets are not breaded in a healthier breading like panko crumbs or baked. So the high calorie and saturated fat counts in Chick-fil-A’s nuggets can be attributed to the traditional deep frying method.

Chicken Nugget Cooking Method

Chick-fil-A deep fries their chicken nuggets rather than baking them. Here is an overview of how Chick-fil-A fries their nuggets:

  1. Chicken breast meat is cut into nugget sized pieces
  2. The nugget pieces are seasoned then coated in a predust of wheat flour
  3. The floured nuggets are dipped in a wet batter containing wheat flour, eggs, and milk
  4. The battered nuggets are coated in a breadcrumb mixture
  5. The breaded nuggets are deep fried in oil at 350°F for 2-3 minutes
  6. The fried nuggets are salted and served warm

This traditional deep frying method contributes to the high fat and calorie content of Chick-fil-A’s nuggets compared to if they were baked. The frying oil adds a significant amount of saturated fat and calories.

Differences from Baked Nuggets

If Chick-fil-A used a baked method, the nuggets would likely have lower fat and calories. Baked nuggets normally have around 40-50% less fat and calories than deep fried nuggets. The baking process can use little or no added oils, unlike the large amounts of frying oil.

However, many customers prefer the distinctive tasted and texture of deep fried nuggets compared to baked versions. So Chick-fil-A chooses to use a traditional frying method to deliver the expected flavor and quality.

Chick-fil-A Polynesian and Chick-fil-A Sauce Calories

Chick-fil-A offers several dipping sauce options for their chicken nuggets and other menu items. Two of the most popular sauces are Chick-fil-A Sauce and Polynesian Sauce.

Adding sauces increases the total calorie amount when eating chicken nuggets. Here are the calorie counts for Chick-fil-A’s sauces:

  • Chick-fil-A Sauce
    • 1 oz serving size (2 tbsp)
    • 140 calories
    • 14g fat
  • Polynesian Sauce
    • 1 oz serving size (2 tbsp)
    • 90 calories
    • 7g fat

The Chick-fil-A Sauce adds 140 calories and 14g fat for every 2 ounces used for dipping. The Polynesian Sauce has 90 calories and 7g fat per 2 ounce serving.

While delicious, the sauces significantly increase the calorie counts. Just 2 sauces with a 12 piece nugget meal could add over 300 calories.

Healthier Dipping Sauce Options

To lower the calorie count of dipping sauces, Chick-fil-A customers can request healthier sauce alternatives like:

  • BBQ sauce: 70 calories and 0g fat per 2 tbsp
  • Honey mustard: 80 calories and 0g fat per 2 tbsp
  • Ketchup: 20 calories and 0g fat per 2 tbsp
  • Buffalo sauce: 0 calories and 0g fat per 2 tbsp

Choosing lower calorie sauces or using smaller amounts of the creamy sauces can reduce excess calories when enjoying nuggets.

Health Impact of Chick-fil-A Nuggets

While tasty, Chick-fil-A’s fried chicken nuggets have some negative health impacts if eaten regularly or in excess.

High in Calories and Fat

The 12 piece serving of nuggets contains over 500 calories and 28g of fat. Eating this frequently can lead to weight gain and obesity over time. The American Heart Association recommends limiting total fat intake to 25-35% of total daily calories.

High Saturated Fat

The nuggets also contain high saturated fat at 25% of the daily value. Saturated fat raises LDL (bad) cholesterol levels which increases risk for heart disease and stroke.

High Sodium

There is also a large amount of sodium at 1380mg or 60% of the daily recommended value. High sodium intake is associated with increased blood pressure, which also raises risks of heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke.

Minimal Fiber and Nutrients

As a fast food fried item, the nuggets themselves contain very little fiber or other nutrients. The coating adds refined carbs and the frying adds mostly empty calories and fat.

Healthier Alternatives to Chicken Nuggets

For those looking for lower calorie options that are still tasty, Chick-fil-A offers some alternatives to fried nuggets:

  • Grilled Chicken Sandwich – 440 calories, 9g fat
  • Grilled Chicken Club – 500 calories, 13g fat
  • Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap – 340 calories, 15g fat
  • Chicken Soup – 130 calories, 2.5g fat
  • Greek Yogurt Parfait – 200 calories, 3.5g fat

These grilled sandwiches and lighter menu items skip the fried coating and unnecessary calories. The soup and yogurt provide filling options under 300 calories.

Chicken nuggets can still be enjoyed in moderation as the occasional treat. But the healthier menu choices make it easier to eat at Chick-fil-A more frequently without overdoing calories, fats, sodium, and carbohydrates.


Chick-fil-A’s standard 12 count order of breaded chicken nuggets contains a significant 520 calories along with high amounts of fat, sodium, and carbohydrates. The deep frying cooking method contributes most of these calories along with the refined flour breading.

While tasty, eating fried nuggets too often can lead to weight gain and risks for chronic disease over time. Healthier options are available like the grilled chicken sandwiches, wraps, soups, and salads. Consumers can also customize nugget meals by choosing lower calorie dipping sauces and side options.

Overall, Chick-fil-A’s chicken nuggets can still be enjoyed in moderation as part of an balanced diet. Just be mindful of the high calorie, fat, and sodium amounts in the fried nugget servings.

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