If you are looking for a healthier way to cook chicken nuggets, then this recipe is for you. Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets are easy homemade chicken nuggets, cooked in the air fryer with no oil and still resulting in perfectly crispy nuggets. Kids LOVE these.
Just 5 ingredients is all you need to make perfect chicken nuggets. Crispy on the outside and tender in the middle, and all done in the air fryer. Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets are totally going to change the way you cook nuggets from now on.
We love making healthier alternatives to family favourites and this might be one of our best ones. I mean, what kid doesn't love chicken nuggets? Serve with their favourite dip and sides and they will dive right in.
Why you will love them
- Quick and easy - These healthy chicken nuggets cook in just 8 minutes, which is quicker than doing them in the oven.
- Healthier - Not only are the nuggets themselves healthier than frozen ones, but they are air fried to get crispy, which is healthier than frying them.
- Family favourite - Chicken nuggets always go down well with kids and these ones are no different.
- Freezable - Make a big batch of these (and cook them in batches) and then you can freeze them for easy after school dinners.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Chicken breast - You can use chicken breasts or boneless and skinless chicken thighs for these air fryer chicken nuggets. We used chicken breast to keep it leaner. Make sure to cut them into even pieces so they cook at the same rate.
- Flour - This is important as it goes on the chicken first and gives the egg something to cling to. We just used plain flour.
- Salt and pepper - To season.
- Egg - This gives the breadcrumbs something to stick to, otherwise they would just come right off.
- Breadcrumbs - This is the coating of the chicken and what makes it nice and crispy. We used golden breading, as it gives that amazing colour. But panko breadcrumbs get the crispiest. You could also make your own breadcrumbs. Panko is made from a crustless white bread that is processed into flakes and then dried. Because panko has a dryer and flakier consistency than regular breadcrumbs, they absorb less oil.
- Parmesan - We love the extra flavour this gives, and it also adds to the crispiness too.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
How to make air fryer chicken nuggets - Step by step
One: In a bowl, combine the flour, salt and pepper.
Two: In another bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and Parmesan.
Three: Coat each piece of chicken in flour, then dip into the egg and then coat in the breadcrumb/Parmesan mixture.
Four: Place the nuggets into the air fryer in a single layer, leaving space between them.
Five: Cook at 200°C for 8-10 minutes, turning halfway through.
This is a pretty simple recipe, so there aren't too many ways that you can adapt it. However, you could add a few little extras into the breading to change it up a bit. To make it crispier, and also make it feel a little more indulgent, you could mix some grated Parmesan into the breadcrumbs like we have, but you can leave it out too.
If you like spicy food, then you could mix a little bit of chilli powder into the flour with the paprika. You could also add some red chilli flakes to the breadcrumbs.
You could also follow our recipe for Chicken Goujons and then cook those in the air fryer.
What to serve with air fryer chicken nuggets
We served the air fryer chicken nuggets with some Healthier BBQ Sauce, some mashed potato and broccoli. But if you are making it more of a meal, try our incredible Paprika Chips and some ranch slaw. However there are lots of options when it comes to side dishes.
Store: You can store leftovers, however they will loose their crispiness when stored in the fridge. They will get a little bit crispy again when reheated, but nowhere near as freshly cooked. Leftover chicken nuggets should be cooled quickly and then put in an airtight container in the fridge and they can be stored for up to 3 days.
Freeze: These freeze really well and can be frozen before or after cooking. Put them on a baking tray and in the freezer until frozen (flash freezing). You can then transfer them to a freezer bag and keep for up to 2 months.
Defrost: No need to defrost uncooked chicken nuggets. You can cook uncooked chicken nuggets from frozen for 30-35 minutes until cooked through.
Reheat: You can reheat these in the air fryer for 5 minutes or they can go in the oven. You can also eat them cold.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can! It's actually our favourite way to cook them, as it's quicker. For this recipe, we made our own chicken nuggets as we wanted this to be a healthier option. But you can also cook frozen chicken nuggets in the air fryer at 200°C for 10-12 minutes.
This dish cooks in the air fryer for around 8-10 minutes, but the exact cooking time will depend on your air fryer. The best way to ensure that it is cooked through is to use a meat thermometer. Chicken is cooked when it has an internal temperature of 75°C/167°F at the thickest part of the meat.
If you use gluten free breadcrumbs and flour and make sure there is no cross contamination, then these can be gluten free.
Yes, you can make these up and keep them in a single layer in the fridge until you are ready to cook them.
We can't rate highly enough the Power Air Fryer XL. The 5 litre capacity is big enough for cooking for the whole family and it can fry, grill, bake, sauté, roast and steam. There are simple touch screen controls and it heats up quickly and can cook your food up to 70% faster than a conventional oven. Also, it's dishwasher safe.
• When breading the chicken nuggets, use one hand for putting the chicken in the flour and then putting it in and out of the egg mixture and then another hand for tossing it in breadcrumbs. This is to make sure the breadcrumb hand doesn't get covered in egg and clumps of breadcrumbs. You can also use tongs to prevent messy fingers.
• For extra flavour, add some garlic and paprika to the breadcrumbs too. We left this out as we were making them for little kids and just a little mixed in with the flour was enough flavour for them.
• Instead of egg, you can dip the chicken in melted butter, and the breadcrumbs will still stick to it.
• Don't overcrowd your air fryer basket. There needs to be a single layer without any of the nuggets touching. This is so the air can circulate around them and everything can get nice and crispy.
• You can cook these in the oven instead. They will take about 20 minutes and will need flipping half way through.
More chicken recipes
If you’ve tried this air fryer chicken nugget recipe, let us know how you got on in the comments below.
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Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
- 500 g Chicken breast - cut into bitesize pieces
- 1 Egg - whisked
- 50 g Plain flour
- 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper
- 150 g Golden breadcrumbs
- 50 g Parmesan - finely grated
- In a bowl, combine the flour, salt and pepper.50 g Plain flour, 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper
- In another bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and parmesan.150 g Golden breadcrumbs, 50 g Parmesan
- Coat each piece of chicken in flour, then dip into the egg and then coat in the breadcrumb/Parmesan mixture.1 Egg, 50 g Plain flour, 500 g Chicken breast
- Place the nuggets into the air fryer in a single layer, leaving space between them.
- Cook at 200°C for 8-10 minutes, turning halfway through.
- When breading the chicken nuggets, use one hand for putting the chicken in the flour and then putting it in and out of the egg mixture and then another hand for tossing it in breadcrumbs. This is to make sure the breadcrumb hand doesn't get covered in egg and clumps of breadcrumbs. You can also use tongs to prevent messy fingers.
- For extra flavour, add some garlic and paprika to the breadcrumbs too. We left this out as we were making them for little kids and just a little mixed in with the flour was enough flavour for them.
- Instead of egg, you can dip the chicken in melted butter, and the breadcrumbs will still stick to it.
- Don't overcrowd your air fryer basket. There needs to be a single layer without any of the nuggets touching. This is so the air can circulate around them and everything can get nice and crispy.
- You can cook these in the oven instead. They will take about 20 minutes and will need flipping half way through.