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 homemade in under 20 minutes and they come out crispy, perfectly juicy, and tender thanks to the air fryer.
Skip the take-out and make your own homemade air fryer chicken nuggets. This is a very simple and easy chicken recipe that you and your kids will go crazy for! I love that you can use any breading and even make these nuggets gluten-free!
Similar to the way we made this crispy breaded air fryer chicken breast that is equally as delicious.
Cooking chicken nuggets in the air fryer couldn’t be easier! You MUST try these!
These air fryer chicken nuggets are perfectly crispy and bite-size making them great for dipping in ketchup, honey mustard, or even BBQ sauce. The breading get’s nice and crispy and golden while the chicken stays juicy and flavorful. It’s AMAZING! They also store and reheat wonderfully! Making them perfect for meal prep!
You can pair these chicken nuggets with this butternut squash mac and cheese for a fun but still healthy dinner the kids will love!
Why you will love this air fryer chicken recipe
- Much healthier than frozen, store-bought chicken nuggets but still just as delicious!
- Thanks to the air fryer these homemade chicken nuggets cook in minutes!
- You can easily customize the breading or skip it altogether!
- Perfectly crispy, juicy, and tender chicken every time!
- Great for dipping in ketchup or honey mustard!
- No crazy ingredients
- Lower in fat than traditional nuggets.
- The kids will love them!
Ingredients you will need
- Chicken breast – Chicken breast works best in this recipe since you can easily cut it into 1-inch pieces that result in perfect chicken nuggets. I used 2 large chicken breasts that were around 5-6 ounces each and I cut them into about 20, 1.5-inch pieces.
- Eggs – two large eggs.
- Breadcrumbs – I used store-bought, seasoned breadcrumbs (not panko but panko will work). There are several brands you can choose from at most grocery stores. I prefer the chickpea-seasoned breadcrumbs or the Aleias brand, which are both gluten-free but any will work.
- Grated parmesan cheese – I like to grate my own (right in the food processor) so I know exactly what is in it but any type will work. If you need to keep this recipe dairy-free then you can skip the cheese and add pulsed nuts or more breadcrumbs.
- Milk – use non-dairy, unsweetened milk for a dairy-free version or regular cow’s milk.
- Apple cider vinegar – this gives the nuggets a nice zippy flavor
- Olive oil – to help them get nice and crispy
- Seasoning – garlic powder, paprika, dried parsley, salt, and pepper – to add all the flavor!
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 into the air fryer basket. Cook them at 400 degrees F for 8 minutes, flipping them over halfway 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 the full list of ingredients and recipe instructions in the recipe card below.
Tips and tricks for the best crispy chicken nuggets
- Cut the chicken into even size pieces like 1.5-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 halfway 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.
- Cook the chicken in batches and 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, gluten-free breadcrumbs, or panko.
- To make this recipe dairy-free you can leave out the parmesan cheese or use vegan parmesan cheese.
- You do not need to use milk or vinegar in the egg mixture but it really adds some extra flavor 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.
How long do chicken nuggets take in the air fryer?
This easy homemade 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.
What are the best dipping sauces for chicken nuggets?
We love ketchup or honey mustard but you can pick any sauce that you like to dip them in. BBQ sauce works great or even ranch dressing.
Can you freeze air-fried chicken nuggets?
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.
How do you reheat chicken nuggets in the air fryer?
You can reheat precooked chicken nuggets 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.
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.
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
- Air Fryer BBQ Chicken