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Air Fryer Nuggets Recipe

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Air Fryer Nuggets

Making air fryer nuggets is a quick and healthy way to enjoy this beloved snack. You only need a few ingredients and your favorite seasonings to create crispy, juicy nuggets. By using an air fryer, you can get that perfect crunch with much less oil than traditional frying methods.

Besides being healthier, air fryer nuggets are super easy to make. Whether you’re preparing a family meal or a quick snack, these homemade nuggets will satisfy everyone’s cravings. Plus, you can experiment with different coatings like panko bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese to find your perfect blend.

Exact Ingredients (+ Possible Substitutes)

To make air fryer chicken nuggets at home, you’ll need several ingredients. Here’s a list of what you need along with some possible substitutes to suit your needs:


  • Ground chicken or Chicken breast: Ground chicken is easier to mix, but chicken breast works well if you prefer chunks.

Dry Ingredients:

  • Flour: Regular all-purpose flour. For a healthier option, use whole wheat flour.
  • Breadcrumbs: Panko or regular breadcrumbs. For gluten-free, use gluten-free breadcrumbs or almond flour.


  • Salt: Regular table salt. You can use sea salt or Himalayan salt for a different taste.
  • Paprika: Provides a mild flavor. Smoked paprika can add a deeper, smoky taste.
  • Onion powder: If you don’t have onion powder, use finely minced onion.
  • Garlic powder: Use fresh garlic if you prefer.

Wet Ingredients:

  • Egg: Acts as a binder. If you need a substitute, try flax egg (1 tablespoon flaxseed meal + 3 tablespoons water) or a commercial egg replacer.
  • Buttermilk: Adds a tangy flavor and keeps the chicken moist. If you don’t have buttermilk, mix 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice, let it sit for a few minutes.

Optional Add-ins:

  • Carrots and Riced Cauliflower: Add these for extra nutrition. Finely grated carrots and riced cauliflower mix well with the chicken.

Use these ingredients to create tasty and healthy air fryer chicken nuggets. Customize as per your need and enjoy!


  1. Preheat the Air Fryer
    Set your air fryer to 400°F (205°C). This step ensures even cooking.

  2. Prepare the Chicken
    Cut the chicken into 1-2 inch pieces.

  3. Create the Flour Mixture
    Combine flour, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

  4. Mix the Wet Batter
    In another bowl, whisk together eggs and buttermilk.

  5. Coat the Chicken
    Dip each chicken piece into the flour mixture, then into the wet batter, and back into the flour mixture for an extra crispy layer.

  6. Arrange in the Air Fryer
    Spray the air fryer basket with oil. Place the coated chicken pieces in a single layer.

  7. Cooking
    Cook at 400°F for 8-10 minutes. Flip the nuggets halfway through cooking to ensure they cook evenly.

  8. Check Doneness
    Ensure the internal temperature of the nuggets reaches 165°F. If not, cook for an additional 2 minutes.

  9. Serve
    Remove chicken nuggets from the air fryer and serve with your favorite dipping sauces.

Enjoy your crispy, homemade air fryer nuggets!

Tips, Tricks & Storing

When cooking chicken nuggets in an air fryer, keep the following tips in mind to get the best results.

Preheat Your Air Fryer: Preheating ensures that the nuggets cook evenly. Set your air fryer to the needed temperature for about 3-5 minutes before adding the nuggets.

Don’t Overcrowd: For crispier nuggets, place them in a single layer without overlapping. This helps them cook more evenly and get that perfect crunch.

Flip Halfway: Remember to flip the nuggets halfway through the cooking time. This ensures both sides cook evenly and get crispy.

Cook Time: Generally, cook frozen nuggets at 400°F for about 10-12 minutes. Keep an eye on them towards the end to avoid overcooking.

Homemade Nuggets: If you’re making your nuggets from scratch, cut the chicken into even-sized pieces so they cook uniformly.

Season Well: Mix your spices with the flour and breadcrumbs to ensure every bite is flavorful.

Use Parchment Paper: Placing a small piece of parchment paper at the bottom of the air fryer basket can make cleanup easier.

Storing Nuggets

Refrigeration: Store any leftover cooked nuggets in an airtight container in the fridge. They should be good for up to 3-4 days.

Freezing: If you have more than you can eat, freeze them. Place the cooked nuggets on a baking sheet, freeze until firm, then transfer to a ziplock bag.

Reheating: To reheat, pop them back into the air fryer at 350°F for about 5-7 minutes. They’ll be hot and crispy again.

Recipe Variations & Serving Suggestions

Recipe Variations

  1. Spicy Nuggets: Add cayenne pepper or chili powder to the seasoning mix for a bit of heat.
  2. Cheesy Nuggets: Incorporate grated parmesan cheese into the breading for a richer, savory flavor.
  3. Herb-Infused Nuggets: Use dried herbs like thyme, oregano, or basil in the breading mix for an Italian twist.
  4. Gluten-Free Nuggets: Substitute almond flour or gluten-free breadcrumbs for a gluten-free version.

Serving Suggestions

  1. Dipping Sauces: Pair your nuggets with classic sauces like ketchup, honey mustard, BBQ sauce, or ranch dressing.
  2. Side Dishes: Serve your nuggets with French fries, sweet potato fries, or a fresh salad for a balanced meal.
  3. Wraps and Sandwiches: Add the nuggets to a wrap with lettuce, tomato, and your favorite sauce. You can also make a tasty sandwich with some cheese and pickles.
  4. Kid-Friendly Plate: Serve nuggets with vegetable sticks and a small portion of mac and cheese for a fun and nutritious meal for kids.

Helpful Tips

  • Crunchier Coating: For extra crunch, double-dip the chicken pieces in the egg mixture and breadcrumbs.
  • Juicier Nuggets: Marinate the chicken pieces in buttermilk for a few hours before coating and cooking.

Use these variations and suggestions to make your air fryer nuggets uniquely yours, and enjoy each bite!

Benjamin Happy Muncher

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.