These homemade Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets are easy to make, super crispy and use ingredients that you probably already have.
This 30 minute recipe is a great dinner for busy weeknights or an easy appetizer for your next game day party.
Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets Recipe
It’s also a healthier option than purchasing store-bought chicken nuggets at the grocery store.
Ingredients you will need
Chicken Breasts: You will need boneless, skinless chicken breast for this recipe. If you like thighs better, that’s ok too!
Panko: You can use any panko breadcrumbs that you prefer. If you’re looking to switch things up a bit, you can use the breadcrumbs with Italian seasonings but I like to use plain panko and then add my seasonings later.
In my opinion, panko is lighter and flakier and gives a better crunch than regular bread crumbs.
Eggs: You can use any eggs for this recipe. The eggs work as a binder to help the panko and spices stick perfectly to your chicken.
Flour: You can use any all-purpose flour for your nuggets. If you’re gluten intolerant or are just staying away from gluten, feel free to use gluten-free flour. Almond flour is my favorite!
Spices: Garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper add so much flavor to these crispy little nuggets!
How to make chicken nuggets in the air fryer
1. Preheat the air fryer to 300° F.
2. Prepare the panko breading. In a medium bowl add the panko, all purpose flour, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper. Mix until well combined. Transfer the mixture into a shallow bowl and set aside.
3. Bread the chicken. Add the beaten eggs to a shallow bowl and dip the chicken in the egg, then in the panko mixture, and make sure to press the chicken onto the breadcrumbs to fully coat the chicken.
4. Air fry the chicken nuggets. Place the chicken nuggets in the air fryer basket and spray with olive oil on both sides. Cook for 10-12 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through.
How long do you cook chicken nuggets in the air fryer?
Homemade chicken nuggets are ready after about 10 minutes in the air fryer. Before taking them out of the air fryer, make sure you check them with a meat thermometer just to make sure they hit an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Cut same sized chicken. It’s important to make sure the chicken cubes are all even sizes. If they’re different sizes or too small they will cook unevenly and may burn.
Don’t crowd the basket. When you put your nuggets in the air fryer, be sure to space them out. If they’re touching, over lapping or sitting on top of each other they may cook unevenly and stick together.
Make them cheesy. For this recipe, you can add in some parmesan cheese into your panko before you start breading your nuggets. I recommend using grated parm for the best results.
Make them spicy. Toss in a little cayenne pepper or cajun seasoning to your panko. This will help spice your nuggets up. If you’re using cajun seasoning, watch the sodium. If it’s a little high, don’t add as much salt into your mix.
Make them flavorful. Add some delicious flavor to your nuggets, by adding Italian seasoning, dry ranch or chili powder into your panko before breading.
How to store and reheat
The best place to store leftover chicken nuggets is an airtight container for up to five days in your fridge.
Don’t put warm chicken nuggets in the container, though. Make sure they have cooled to about room temperature before refrigerating. The heat coming from your nuggets will raise the temperature of your fridge which can make other food go bad.
When you’re ready to have your leftovers, warm them by tossing them into the air fryer at 350 degrees for about 4-5 minutes, flipping halfway through. I would keep an eye on your nuggets to make sure they don’t burn when you’re warming them up.
Why are my nuggets not crispy?
Take a look at how close your nuggets are to one another. If they’re touching, you will need to space them out a little so that every part of the nugget can get air fried properly.
If your nuggets are overlapping or on top of each other, I recommend taking some of your nuggets out and putting them into a single layer. They aren’t getting crispy because the airflow is being blocked from circulating all arond the chicken.
When the chicken nuggets are too close to each other in the air fryer basket, they will steam up and get soggy.
Can I freeze these chicken nuggets?
Of course. I like to make more chicken nuggets than I need or a double batch because I love to have them ready to go in my freezer for a later date. They will keep for a few months if they’re stored in either an airtight container or an airtight bag.
I recommend either portioning them out and putting them in different baggies or separate your portions with parchment paper if you’re using a big airtight container.
The nuggets may stick together when they freeze. Before you put them into their container or baggie, make sure they are completely cooled.
Should I flip nuggets in the air fryer?
Absolutely. I think that flipping is necessary when frying most foods in your air fryer. It helps with the circulation so that your nuggets will cook evenly and get crispy every time.
Keep in mind, they will be super hot when you flip them so be careful. I like to use tongs to flip my air fryer nuggets when they’re about halfway through.
How to cook frozen chicken nuggets in the air fryer
Cooking frozen leftover chicken nuggets is super simple. Go ahead and place your frozen nuggets into your air fryer for about 10-12 minutes at 400 degrees F.
Try your best not to have them overlapping, if you need to, go ahead and cook two batches. I like to flip mine when they’re halfway cooked.
Keep an eye on your nuggets while they’re cooking, some air fryers run hotter than others. If you like extra crispy nuggets, you can leave them in the air fryer for another minute or two.
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Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
- 2 cups panko
- ¼ all-purpose flour
- 2 tsps garlic powder
- 2 tsps onion powder
- 2 tsps smoked paprika
- 2 tsps salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1.5 lbs chicken breasts cut in small pieces
- olive oil, spray
- Preheat the air fryer to 375° F.
- In a medium bowl add the panko, all purpose flour, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper. Mix until well combined. Transfer the mixture into a shallow bowl and set aside.
- Add the beaten eggs to a shallow bowl and dip the chicken in the egg, then in the panko mixture, and make sure to press the chicken onto the breadcrumbs to fully coat the chicken.
- Place the chicken nuggets in the air fryer basket and spray with olive oil on both sides. Cook the chicken for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the internal temperature has reached 165℉.
Nutrition information is approximate and was calculated using a recipe nutrition label generator.