Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

By Rena |

Looking for a healthier way to enjoy homemade chicken nuggets? This easy Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets recipe is seasoned to perfection and cooked in the air fryer until perfectly golden and crispy. Serve with dipping sauces for a satisfying and kid-friendly dinner in under 30 minutes. 

Top view of air fryer chicken nuggets with bowl of ketchup

If you like making fast and easy dinners that everybody loves, this Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets recipe is perfect for you. It is a simple and healthy chicken nugget recipe that can be made in about 25 minutes and makes the best crispy nuggets. Plus making homemade chicken nuggets in the air fryer is more nutritious than store-bought, is dairy-free, and can easily be made gluten-free. Adults can enjoy these chicken nuggets just as kids and they can be added to your meal prep bowls and tossed in over your salad.

Why You’ll Love These Homemade Chicken Nuggets

  • Super easy. This recipe only uses 8 ingredients that you probably already have around the house. Then you just need ten minutes to prep and 15 minutes to cook before dinner is ready to serve!  
  • Kids and adults love them. Chicken nuggets are a childhood classic that no kid will turn down. But adults like them equally well, so you can serve them to the whole family. 
  • Healthier version. Making chicken nuggets in the air fryer cuts down on fat and calories compared to store-bought, deep-fried, or fast food versions. Plus they are dairy-free and can easily be adapted to be gluten-free.
top view nuggets with a side or ketchup

Ingredients You’ll Need

These are just a list of ingredients that you will need to make these air fried chicken nuggets. For full measurements, please scroll down to the bottom of this post.

Chicken breasts
Eggs
Smoked paprika
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Black pepper
Kosher salt
Panko breadcrumbs
Cooking oil spray

Ingredients for chicken nuggets on gray counter.

How to Make these Chicken Nuggets in the air Fryer – Step by Step

  • Preheat. First, preheat the air fryer at 400°F for about 10 minutes.
  • Prep the chicken. Next, trim any fat from the chicken breast and cut into 1-inch chunks; set aside.
  • Make dipping stations. In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and salt. Then in a second shallow dish place the breadcrumbs. 
Chicken pieces dipped in egg then in seasoned breadcrumbs.
  • Bread the chicken. Now dip each chicken piece into the egg and then into the breadcrumbs, pressing lightly to help the coating adhere.
Close view of chicken being coated in breadcrumbs.
  • Cook. Place chicken nuggets in the air fryer basket, in a single layer; you may need to bake in two batches or more, depending on the size of your fryer. Then spray the nuggets with some cooking oil and air fry for 12-15 minutes or until crispy and the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  • Serve! Once done remove the nuggets from the basket with a tong. Serve with your favorite dip and enjoy!
Air fryer chicken nuggets piled on plate with bowl of ketchup

How to make crispy chicken nuggets in the oven

  • Preheat oven: First, preheat the oven to 400F
  • Prepare the nuggets: Follow the same steps as you would if you were air-frying (please refer above or scroll down to the recipe card steps 2-5)
  • Line the nuggets on a greased sheet pan. Or you may add a wire metal rack on a sheet pan, spray with some cooking spray to prevent nuggets from sticking, transfer the nuggets to the wire rack. Spray the top of the nuggets with more cooking spray.
  • Next, Bake: Place them in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until they are crispy or temp reached 165 F.
  • Finally, serve with your favorite dip.
healthy chicken nuggets on a white plate

Sides to Serve with Chicken Nuggets

Tips and Substitutions

  • Chicken breasts: To help each chicken nugget cook evenly in the air fryer, make sure to cut them into equal-sized chunks. 
  • Smoked paprika: Regular paprika can also be used, but the smoked paprika definitely adds more flavor. 
  • Cooking oil spray: An olive oil spray will add a little extra flavor, but any other neutral oil will work just as well.
  • Cook the chicken in a single layer, with no pieces overlapping or touching significantly. Also, if needed, cook in two batches. This will help them get really crispy! 
  • To make gluten-free, use gluten-free panko bread crumbs.
Close top view of chicken nuggets on white plate with ketchup

FAQ’s

What is an air fryer?

An air fryer is a medium-sized kitchen appliance that works by circulating hot air around the food, similar to a convection oven. The circulating air allows food to cook much faster than it would in a regular oven. Also, it makes food like these chicken nuggets extra golden and crispy with very little oil! 

What sauces are good with chicken nuggets? 

Any of your favorite sauces will do the trick! Try barbecue sauce, ketchup, honey mustard, or our homemade ranch dressing

How do I reheat chicken nuggets? 

Save your leftovers because these reheat beautifully! You can return their golden, crispy exterior in just a few minutes. Turn on the air fryer to 400°F and reheat the chicken nuggets for 4-8 minutes, or until heated through. If using an oven, just reheat them in a 400F preheated oven for 5-6 minutes until they are crispy and warm.

How do I store these? 

Store your homemade chicken nuggets in an air-tight container or sealed zipper bag after they are completely cooled. They will last in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Can I freeze air fryer chicken nuggets? 

Yes! Allow the nuggets to cool fully, then freeze in an air-tight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. Let them thaw on the counter or overnight in the fridge, then reheat them in the air fryer or oven for 4-8 minutes, or until heated through. 

Chicken nuggets on plate and one in bowl of ketchup.

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top view of chicken nuggets on a plate with red dipping sauce

Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets are lightly seasoned and breaded, then cooked until golden and crispy. Serve with dipping sauces for a fast, satisfying, and kid-friendly dinner.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 208kcal
Author: Rena

Ingredients

  • 3 chicken breasts skinless, boneless, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 ounces panko breadcrumbs or gluten-free panko breadcrumbs
  • Cooking oil spray

Instructions

  • Preheat the air fryer at 400°F for about 10 minutes.
  • Trim any fat from the chicken breast and cut into 1-inch chunks; set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper and salt.
  • In a shallow dish place the breadcrumbs.
  • Now dip each chicken piece into the egg and then into the breadcrumbs, pressing lightly to help the coating adhere.
  • Place chicken nuggets in the air fryer basket, in a single layer; you may need to bake in two batches or more, depending on the size of your fryer.
  • Spray the nuggets with some cooking oil and air fry for 12-15 minutes or until crispy and the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  • Once done remove the nuggets from the basket with a tong. Serve with your favorite dip and enjoy!

Notes

  • Chicken breasts: To help each chicken nugget cook evenly in the air fryer, make sure to cut them into equal-sized chunks. 
  • Smoked paprika: Regular paprika can also be used, but the smoked paprika definitely adds more flavor. 
  • Cooking oil spray: An olive oil spray will add a little extra flavor, but any other neutral oil will work just as well.
  • Cook the chicken in a single layer, with no pieces overlapping or touching significantly. If needed, cook in two batches. This will help them get really crispy! 
  • To make gluten-free, use gluten-free panko bread crumbs.
  • Storage: Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. 
  • Freezing: Cook and cool fully. Then freeze in an air-tight container for up to 3 months. Thaw before reheating. 
  • Reheating: Turn on the air fryer to 400°F. Reheat nuggets for 4-8 minutes, or until heated through. 

Nutrition

Calories: 208kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 127mg | Sodium: 644mg | Potassium: 474mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 277IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 1mg
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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Priyanka @FlavorQuotient says

    5 stars
    Chicken nuggets cannot get better than this! These are looking so awesome and absolutely tempting!

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