These Healthy Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets are a lighter, quicker way to make chicken nuggets that your whole family will love. You can make them in under 20 minutes and they come out crispy and perfectly juicy and tender thanks to the air fryer.
These healthier chicken nuggets really are the BEST homemade chicken nuggets I have ever made. You can make them quickly, in less than 20 minutes and they come out wonderfully crispy and juicy. Plus they are gluten free.
Easily make them ahead and store them in the refrigerator or freezer. Then you can reheat them right in the air fryer. The air fryer is such a great way to reheat frozen food or any leftovers quickly with great results.
What is an air fryer?
An air fryer is a small convection oven type of appliance that is designed to easily circulate heat all around the food you are cooking. This allows your food to get perfectly crispy in much less time. It is a much healthier way to cook any food to get it nice and golden without the use of excess oil and calories.
Can you cook chicken nuggets in the air fryer?
You absolutely can cook any chicken nuggets in the air fryer and have them on hand for a healthy meal or snack anytime. I cook frozen chicken nuggets in my air fryer all the time for my kids and it only takes 9-10 minutes at about 390 degrees.
This recipe is a much healthier version since it is made from scratch with all real ingredients.
The way the air fryer is designed allows these chicken nuggets to get incredibly crispy on the outside but stay juicy and tender on the inside. They cook in a short amount of time, which makes them perfect for an easy weeknight dinner.
How long do chicken nuggets take in the air fryer?
This easy chicken nugget recipe takes about 8-10 minutes to fully cook and become perfectly crispy and juicy. You will get the best results if you flip them over halfway through the cooking time. This allows them to get golden brown on all sides. Spraying them with a little olive oil cooking spray will also help them crisp up even more.
Freezing and reheating
Once you have cooked these chicken nuggets and allowed them to fully cool you can store them in a freezer-friendly container or bag for up to 2 months. Defrost them in the refrigerator overnight then reheat them in the air fryer at 380 degrees F for 4-5 minutes until they are crispy and warmed through.
You can also reheat them from a frozen state at 390 degrees F for 8-9 minutes. Or you can reheat them right from the refrigerator at 390 degrees F for 4-5 minutes.
Ingredients needed to make air fryer chicken nuggets
- Boneless skinless chicken breast
- Olive oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Milk – you can use a plant-based/dairy free milk
- Gluten Free Breadcrumbs
- Grated parmesan cheese – optional for extra flavor and crispiness
- Dried parsley, Garlic powder, paprika
- Salt and pepper
How to make air fryer chicken nuggets
- Prep and coat the chicken. Mix up the egg mixture in a medium, shallow bowl. In a separate bowl mix up the breading mixture. Dip each piece of chicken in the egg then in the breadcrumbs and continue until you have coated all of the chicken. Place the chicken onto a baking sheet with a rack or a clean plate so you can easily transfer it to the air fryer.
- Cook. Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F and spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray. Place the breaded chicken nuggets in a single layer (making sure they do not overlap) into the air fryer basket. Cook them at 400 degrees F for 8 minutes, flipping them over half way through the cooking time. Continue until you have cooked all of the chicken nuggets.
- Serve. Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce. See dipping sauce suggestions below.
Get full list of ingredients and recipe instructions in the recipe card below.
Tips and tricks
- Cut the chicken into even size pieces like 1-inch cubes so that it all cooks at the same time.
- Once you dip the chicken into the egg mixture, shake it a little bit to get rid of any excess egg.
- Lightly press the breadcrumbs into each piece of chicken breast as you coat it to help it stick better.
- Flip the chicken over half way through the cooking time to allow the chicken to get perfectly golden on all sides.
- For the crispiest chicken, spray the chicken with olive oil spray before you cook it. I like to use the MISTO olive oil mister.
- Make sure you place the chicken nuggets in a single layer in the air fryer basket. If you overload the air fryer then they will not cook evenly or get nice and crispy and golden.
- Switch up the breading and use regular breadcrumbs if you do not need to keep this recipe gluten free.
- To make this recipe dairy-free you can leave out the parmesan cheese or use vegan parmesan cheese.
- You do not need to use the milk or vinegar in the egg mixture but it really adds some extra flavour and juiciness to the chicken.
- Use your own spice blend or mix it up. I have made these with lemon-pepper seasoning as well as just Chili Powder and garlic powder and they were equally as delicious.
Can you make this recipe in the oven?
You can make these healthy chicken nuggets in the oven but they really will not get as crispy as they will in the air fryer.
To bake them in the oven, place them onto a lined baking sheet in a single layer after you have coated them. Then spray them with cooking spray (preferably olive oil cooking spray) and bake them at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
What sauce is best for serving chicken nuggets?
- Honey mustard – combine 1/4 cup dijon or yellow mustard with 1 tablespoon honey
- BBQ sauce
- Ranch or thousand island dressing
- Pizza sauce
These chicken nuggets pair great with so many things. Here are a few of my favorite recipes to serve them with.
- No Oil Sweet Potato Wedges
- Chopped Kale Salad with Quinoa
- Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- Easy Ranch Roasted Carrots
More healthy air fryer chicken recipes to try
- Simple Air Fryer Whole Chicken
- Healthy Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan
- Air Fryer Boneless Chicken Breast
- 15 Minute Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
Did you make this recipe? If you did, then please leave a rating and comment below. You can also tag me on Instagram @pinchmegoodfood so I can see your creation.Print