Air fryer chicken nuggets are a guilt-free alternative to frozen store-bought brands. Tender, juicy, and packed with protein, your kids will love them and you’ll find yourself craving them just the same.
Air fryer chicken nuggets are a lifesaver for busy parents who want to cut down on processed foods. But let’s be honest, most adults crave a chicken nugget craving from time to time too! There’s nothing wrong with taking a walk down memory lane with your tastebuds now and again…
Breaded with panko bread crumbs and parmesan, these air fryer chicken nuggets form a perfectly crispy crust on the outside, while remaining super juicy on the inside. The first time you make it, you’ll wonder why you ever purchased a boxed variety from the grocery store.
Homemade chicken nuggets in the air fryer are perfect for those busy weeknights when you don’t want to fuss around in the kitchen too much. From prep to table, they come together in a quick 20 minutes and can be used for salads, sandwiches, or a quick snack. Let’s get started!
How to Make Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
Making chicken nuggets in the air fryer couldn’t be more simple. With just five wholesome ingredients and 20 minutes of cooking time, you’ll be dipping and dunking your nuggets before you know it.
- Make the Breading: Combine panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper in a medium-sized bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together your egg until smooth.
- Dip Your Nuggets: Dip each piece of chicken into the egg, followed by the dry breading mixture. Repeat until you run out of chicken.
- Place Nuggets Into Air Fryer: Coat the air fryer tray with cooking spray. Place chicken nuggets into the tray in a single layer, ensuring there is a bit of space between each piece.
- Air Fry: Air fry chicken nuggets for 9 minutes at 390°F, flipping over about 5 minutes in.
- Serve: Serve air fryer chicken nuggets warm and along with your favorite sides!
Shallow Breading Bowls: When breading foods for air frying or traditional frying, you need an assortment of differently sized shallow bowls to make the process that much easier. Invest in a good set of bowls and bread your heart away.
Tips for the Best Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
Below, find a collection of tips to help you make the absolute best air fryer chicken nuggets.
- Cut the chicken nuggets into equal-sized pieces. Cut your chicken nuggets into as equal-sized pieces as possible to promote even cooking. 1/2-inch thick and 2-inches long is ideal.
- Adjust cooking time depending on the size of your nuggets. If you decide to go with larger nuggets (chicken tenders, anyone?), add a couple of minutes of cooking time to compensate.
- Don’t overcook the chicken. Use a meat thermometer to check the doneness of the chicken nuggets. If they air fry too long, they will dry out and turn rubbery. Note: Chicken is safe to eat when the internal temperature reads 165°F.
- Avoid overcrowding the air fryer tray. The air fryer works best when the tray is not over crowded. To ensure your chicken nuggets get 360° crispiness, make sure they have enough space to soak up all that hot, circulating air.
- Use a high-quality oil with a high smoke point. Avocado oil cooking spray is great for the air fryer, as it can stand up to the high heat without burning. It also has a delicious, nutty flavor!
Shopping for an air fryer? We use to own Gourmia Digital Air Fryer and it worked great! Recently, we upgraded to the COSORI Air Fryer Max XL and are loving it. It has 13 different cooking presets and can feed 3-5 people with its huge tray.
Ways to Serve Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
Serve your air fryer chicken nuggets alongside some air fryer french fries and smoky bacon mac and cheese for a classic, all-American meal. You already have the air fryer out, why not use it again? You can also use air fryer chicken nuggets as quick salad protein. Pop them on top of a garden salad for a healthy lunch or dinner on the fly.
Also, don’t forget to bust out a couple of different dipping sauces. Honey mustard, ketchup, BBQ sauce, and ranch dressing are all great options.
Storing Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
- Refrigerating: Store air fryer chicken nuggets in an airtight container in the fridge. They will stay fresh for up to five days.
- Freezing: Freeze air fryer chicken nuggets by placing them in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. Pop the entire baking sheet in the freezer. Once completely frozen, transfer to a freezer-safe plastic storage bag for later use. Frozen air fryer chicken nuggets are great to have on hand and can be used for up to 3 months.
Reheating Tip: Reheat your air fryer chicken nuggets by popping them in the air fryer again until warmed through. Avoid microwaving nuggets, as they will turn soggy.
Do you have to flip chicken nuggets in the air fryer?
Flip chicken nuggets halfway through the cooking time to make them as crispy as possible. The key to air frying is to make sure your food gets equal love from the hot, circulating air.
How long do you cook chicken nuggets in an air fryer?
Chicken nuggets take about 10 minutes to cook in the air fryer at 390°F. Depending on the size of your nuggets, you may need to adjust the cooking time in either direction.
Can you put raw meat in an air fryer?
You can cook raw meat in an air fryer, just make sure to thoroughly wash the tray in between uses.
More Air Fryer Recipes
Looking for more air fryer recipes to add to your arsenal? Check out some Momsdish originals below:
- Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan – No-guilt crispy chicken with marinara and cheese
- Air Fryer Pork Belly Bites – No-mess pork belly
- Air Fryer Parmesan Zucchini Chips – Cheesy zucchini crisps
- Air Fryer Tortilla Chips – No-guilt tortilla chips
- Air Fryer Salmon Bites – Garlic salt, paprika and a squeeze of lemon juice
- 2 lbs chicken breast cut into nugget size
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup parmesan
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 egg
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.
- In a separate shallow bowl, whisk the egg.
- Dip each chicken nugget into the egg mixture, followed by a coating of the panko bread crumb mixture.
- Spray the air fryer basket with avocado oil cooking spray, or any other cooking spray with a high smoke point. Keeping space between each nugget, line them in the tray in a single layer.
- Air fry at 390°F for about 5 minutes. Flip the nuggets over. Air fry for an additional 4 minutes or so, depending on the size of the chicken pieces.
- Serve warm and enjoy!
Just about to begin assembling this recipe, but egg or eggs are not listed? The pictured instructions mentions egg, then in the recipe instructions it mentions egg mixture but it looks like just a plain egg?
Hi PM- Correct, it is just 1 egg, whisked. I apologize that we left it out of the recipe card, that was an oversight. Thank you for catching it and letting us know so that we can update it. I hope you enjoyed the chicken nuggets.
I've tried making nuggets before and made a mess of the Air-Fryer. You have to use the egg to make the coating stick.
Hey Simon, if you pat dry the chicken and use parmesan cheese, it will stick to the chicken. Hope the tips will help. 🙂
The panko crumbs make them so crunchy, and it is awesome not having to heat up the oven! My kids will be asking for these often I'm sure. 🙂
Haha, they are addicting, kids love them!
I love how simple yet delicious these are! Makes me feel better to be eating ones I make myself than from the store.
Katie, I am so glad you loved the chicken nuggets, thank you for taking the time to comment!
These turn out so crispy. Much better than frozen storebought versions!
So glad you loved them, thank you for your feedback!