Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets – Tastes Better from Scratch


Not only are Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets healthier, but they cook better than any other method, with perfect crispy coating and tender, juicy chicken inside.

Don’t miss my other Air Fryer recipes, like Air Fryer Tofu and Air Fryer Baked Potato.

Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets served on a plate with dipping sauce.

Let’s be honest, my husband gets just as excited as my kids do when I make these delicious Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets. The air fryer allows the breading to get that crispy coating we all love and they only take a few minutes to cook.

How to make Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets:

  • Cut the chicken into 1.5 inch pieces and place in a bowl or ziplock bag with the pickle juice and marinate for 30 minutes.
  • Add the breading ingredients to a ziplock bag: flour, powdered sugar, paprika, black pepper, chili powder, salt, and baking powder.
  • Add milk, and egg to a separate bowl and mix together. Preheat air fryer to 360 degrees.
  • Coat the chicken: Remove chicken from pickle marinade and add to the bowl with the egg mixture. Spoon out the pieces (letting any excess egg mixture to drip off) and place them in the ziplock bag with the dry seasonings. Seal and shake bag to evenly coat all of the chicken.
Three process photos for marinating and coating chicken pieces in egg mixture, then flour mixture to make chicken nuggets.
  • Spray the bottom of the fry basket with nonstick cooking spray and place half of the chicken pieces into a single layer in the bottom of the basket, spacing them out so they don’t stick together. Generously spray the top of each piece of chicken with cooking spray.
  • Fry at 360 for 6 minutes. Open air fryer, flip chicken pieces to the other side, and spray tops again with cooking spray. Increase air fryer temperature to 400 degrees and cook for 2 more minutes, or until crisp and cooked through. (Exact cooking time will vary depending on the size of your nuggets, your air fryer, etc.)
An air fryer basket with chicken nuggets inside.

Freezing Instructions:

After cooking at 360 degrees for 6 minutes, allow nuggets to cool, then place in a freezer safe bag or container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat at 380 degrees until golden, crispy and warmed through.

Variations:

  • Healthier Chicken Nuggets: leave out the powdered sugar, and use wheat flour or panko instead of all-purpose flour.
  • Gluten-free: Use gluten free flour or breadcrumbs.
  • Spicy Chicken Nuggets: add 1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper to the flour mixture.
  • Oven Baked Chicken Nuggets: prepare the same, and bake on a baking tray at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until cooked through. (Or, make my Popcorn Chicken recipe, instead!).

Serve with:

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Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets served on a plate with dipping sauce.

Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

Not only are Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets healthier, but they cook better than any other method, with perfect crispy coating and tender, juicy chicken inside.

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Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Marinate: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Servings: 5

Calories: 455kcal

Cost: 5

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Instructions

  • Marinate: Cut the chicken into 1.5 inch pieces and place in a bowl or ziplock bag with the pickle juice and marinate for 30 minutes.

  • Make Breading: Add flour, powdered sugar, paprika, black pepper, chili powder, salt, and baking powder to a ziplock bag.

  • Add milk, and egg to a separate bowl and mix together. Preheat air fryer to 360 degrees.

  • Coat the chicken: Remove chicken from pickle marinade and add to the bowl with the egg mixture. Spoon out the pieces (letting any excess egg mixture to drip off) and place them in the ziplock bag with the dry seasonings. Seal and shake bag to evenly coat all of the chicken.

  • Cook: Spray the bottom of the fry basket with nonstick cooking spray and place half of the chicken pieces into a single layer in the bottom of the basket, spacing them out so they don’t stick together. Generously spray the top of each piece of chicken with cooking spray.

  • Fry at 360 for 6 minutes. Open air fryer, flip chicken pieces to the other side, and spray tops again with cooking spray. Increase air fryer temperature to 400 degrees and cook for 2 more minutes, or until crisp and cooked through. (Exact cooking time will vary depending on the size of your nuggets, your air fryer, etc.)

Notes

Yield: Makes about 30 nuggets Freezing Instructions: After cooking at 360 degrees for 6 minutes, allow nuggets to cool, then place in a freezer safe bag or container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat at 380 degrees until golden, crispy and warmed through. Variations:
  • Healthier Chicken Nuggets: leave out the powdered sugar, and use wheat flour or panko instead of all-purpose flour.
  • Gluten-free: Use gluten free flour or breadcrumbs.
  • Spicy Chicken Nuggets: add 1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper to the flour mixture.
  • Oven Baked Chicken Nuggets: prepare the same, and bake on a baking tray at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until cooked through. (Or, make my Popcorn Chicken recipe, instead!).
Serve with:

Nutrition

Calories: 455kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 151mg | Sodium: 730mg | Potassium: 511mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 380IU | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 3mg

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