I don’t know what else to say about these nuggets other than MAKE THEM! The key here is to cook them long enough so that the outside breading gets crispy and golden brown, but not so long that the feta inside completely melts. To avoid gooey nuggets (that has an awful ring to it), make sure that you don’t cut them too tiny (make big nuggets if you’re nervous!) and make sure to let them chill in the freezer for 10 minutes, just to bide you some time when it comes to cooking them. Frying the lemon zest is not necessary, but if feels fancy and what else do you have to do with your time?

Sesame-Panko Crusted Feta Nuggets with Fried Lemon Zest and Herbed Yogurt

Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
Total Time
30 min



1 large lemon

½ cup plain Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons freshly chopped herbs (mint, basil, parsley, oregano or a mixture of them all would be great)

1 large garlic clove, grated

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 large egg, beaten

½ cup Panko breadcrumbs

½ cup Italian breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Freshly ground black pepper

1 (7 ounce) block feta, sliced into (1-inch) nuggets

Neutral oil (canola or vegetable), for pan frying

Pita chips, for serving

Fresh tomatoes, for serving


Using a vegetable peeler, peel half of the lemon zest into long ribbons. Julienne these ribbons into very thin slices for the fried lemon zest. Grate the other half of the lemon zest.

Add grated zest to a medium bowl with yogurt, lemon juice, fresh herbs, garlic, and oil. Mix and season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper. Let sit in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Add egg to a medium bowl. In a separate medium bowl, combine Panko, Italian breadcrumbs, sesame seeds, oregano, thyme, and black pepper. Dredge feta nuggets in egg wash, then dunk in breadcrumb mixture, making sure that the entire nugget is covered. Repeat with remaining nuggets. Transfer to a sheet pan or plate and freeze for 10 minutes.

Heat ¼ inch of oil in a large skillet over high heat. Fry julienned lemon zest until barely golden brown, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Once nuggets have chilled, fry them until golden brown on top and bottom, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Place on serving platter, top with fried lemon zest, then serve immediately with yogurt sauce, pita chips, and tomatoes.