Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

5 from 2 votes

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These homemade Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets are salty, crispy, dippable, and just as addictive as your favorite frozen version. Made with real, wholesome ingredients, these chicken nuggets are an easy and healthy way to satisfy those fried chicken cravings!

Cubed chicken breast, panko breadcrumbs, salted butter, and a few simple spices are all you’ll need to make these crisp and juicy air fryer chicken nuggets. This 20-minute dish is perfect for potlucks, dinner parties, or weekend lunches. Plus, you can cook these chicken nuggets ahead of time and pop them in the freezer.

air fryer chicken nuggets on a white plate with ketchup in the middle
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Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

When you’re ready to enjoy some piping hot air fryer chicken nuggets, simply pull them out of the freezer, stick them back in the air fryer, and voila! You have a quick and easy meal or appetizer ready to be served to friends and family. If you’re feeling extra fancy, you can even whip up a homemade dipping sauce to go alongside these nuggets. You might want to consider making a double batch of these homemade chicken nuggets, because everyone will be coming back for seconds! 

We Love This Recipe Because It’s…

  • A healthier version of a nostalgic meal.
  • A quick, 20-minute lunch or dinner idea.
  • Flavorful on its own or when paired with your favorite dipping sauce.
  • A simple four-ingredient dish.
  • Crispy, juicy, hearty, and savory.
air fryer chicken nugget ingredients

Ingredient Notes

  • Chicken Breast—Cubed into one-inch chunks.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs—Give these nuggets the maximum amount of crunch.
  • Butter—Salted and melted. Helps the breading stick to the chicken and gives the finished dish some extra richness and flavor.
  • Spices—A simple blend of salt, pepper, and garlic powder. 

Recipe Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken, butter, panko, and spices.
  2. Use your hands to thoroughly toss the ingredients together until the chicken pieces are completely coated in the panko.
  3. Air fry the chicken nuggets until crispy and golden brown. 
  4. Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!
POV holding an air fryer chicken nugget

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you put oil in an air fryer for nuggets?

Because these homemade chicken nuggets are already coated in butter, there is no need to add any oil to the air fryer before baking. The butter will help make your chicken nuggets crispy and golden brown.

Is it safe to air fry chicken nuggets?

Not only is it absolutely safe to air fry chicken nuggets, it’s also the best way to cook them! In a fraction of the time, you can have oven-level crispy nuggets ready to be dipped in your favorite sauce and devoured. 

Do you need to flip chicken nuggets in the air fryer?

Although you can flip your homemade air fryer chicken nuggets halfway through the cooking time, it’s not really necessary. Air fryers cook by circulating very hot air around your food, allowing it to cook evenly on all sides without flipping.

Are chicken nuggets better in the air fryer or oven?

Personally, I prefer making chicken nuggets in the air fryer. They cook faster than the oven and often come out crispier! Plus, I’ll take any excuse not to turn on my oven in the summer; no one likes sweating in front of a hot oven!

air fryer chicken nuggets in the basket golden brown

How to Serve and Store Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets?

No shame if you’re not a sauce person, but I find that a good dipping sauce really elevates the natural flavors of these air fryer chicken nuggets. Try whipping up a creamy mayo-based sauce like a garlic aioli or creamy barbecue. Or you can’t go wrong with a classic ketchup, ranch, or honey mustard!

I doubt that you’ll have any of these air fryer chicken nuggets left over, but if you do, be sure to store them in an airtight container! When stored properly, these nuggets will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Reheat any frozen chicken nuggets in a 390°F air fryer for about 8 minutes. Refrigerated nuggets can be heated in the microwave in 30-second intervals.

Can I Make Homemade Chicken Nuggets Without an Air Fryer?

Absolutely! Simply bread your homemade chicken nuggets as normal before spreading them evenly across the surface of a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the nuggets in the oven at 400°F for 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the center of the largest nugget reads at least 165°F. 

air fryer chicken nuggets on a white plate with ketchup on the side

Expert Tips and Tricks 

  • Want to make these homemade chicken nuggets gluten free? Simply swap out the panko for your favorite gluten free breadcrumbs.
  • Don’t want to get your hands dirty? Instead of mixing all the ingredients in a bowl, toss everything in a Ziplock bag and shake vigorously until the chicken pieces are well-coated.
  • Don’t overcrowd your air fryer basket; if your chicken nuggets are stacked on top of each other, they won’t crisp up properly. Feel free to cook these air fryer chicken nuggets in batches if necessary.
raw chicken pieces in the batter and crust

More Recipes

If you’ve tried this Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets recipe or any other recipe on Bless This Mess, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some pictures of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories.

air fryer chicken nuggets on a white plate with ketchup on the side
5 from 2 votes

Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

These homemade Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets are salty, crispy, dippable, and just as addictive as your favorite frozen version.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 8 minutes
Total: 18 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • ½ cup salted butter
  • 1 ¼ panko crumbs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

Instructions 

  • Cut your chicken breasts into small chunks about 1 inch in size.
  • In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter on 30 second intervals until it is completely melted.
  • Add the melted butter to a large mixing bowl with the diced chicken and remaining ingredients. Use your hands to work the ingredients together until the chicken is evenly coated.
  • Place half of the chicken in your air fryer basket and cook for 8 minutes at 340°F. Remove the chicken nuggets and repeat with the remaining chicken.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • You can store your leftover chicken nuggets in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also store them in the freezer for up to 2 months.
  • Reheat your frozen chicken nuggets in the air fryer for about 8 minutes at 390°F.
  • Chicken nuggets stored in the fridge can be reheated in the microwave.
  • For spicy chicken nuggets, add 1 teaspoon of cayenne chili powder and a few drops of tabasco sauce.
  • Make sure that your chicken nuggets reach an internal temperature of 165°F.
  • You can make these chicken nuggets gluten free by replacing the panko crumbs with gluten free bread that has been pulsed in a blender.

Nutrition

Calories: 340kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 133mg, Sodium: 898mg, Potassium: 454mg, Fiber: 0.3g, Sugar: 0.1g, Vitamin A: 747IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 18mg, Iron: 1mg
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Air fryer chicken nuggets provide a delightful culinary experience that combines the indulgence of fried chicken with the health benefits of wholesome ingredients. These homemade nuggets are the perfect solution for satisfying cravings while maintaining a balanced lifestyle. With their salty, crispy exterior and dippable texture, they offer a guilt-free alternative to the frozen versions found in stores.

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