Crispy and delicious homemade chicken nuggets prepared with simple ingredients and cooked to perfection in the air fryer.

Closeup Air Fried Chicken Nuggets in White Dish with Ketchup

Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside—these homemade chicken nuggets in the air fryer are restaurant-quality (without the grease) and so simple to make. Not to mention, they’re ready to enjoy in just 20 minutes.

Everyone in your family will love them, kids and grown-ups alike. They’re great for a quick and easy weeknight and make the perfect snack for game day spreads and parties. (Served with various dipping sauces, of course!)

🍗 This recipe is for fresh homemade chicken nuggets in the air fryer, taking 8 to 10 minutes at 400°F.

🧊 If you are looking for tips about cooked frozen chicken nuggets (like Tyson chicken nuggets) in the air fryer, they take about 10 to 12 minutes at 400°F.

Dipping Chicken Nugget in Ketchup

What You’ll Need

Here are the ingredients and supplies you’ll need to make these tasty nuggets.

Ingredients for Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Ingredients

1 to 1.5 pounds chicken – boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

1 cup bread crumbs – plain bread crumbs.

1/4 cup flour – all-purpose flour.

1 teaspoon salt – regular table salt or kosher salt.

1 teaspoon paprika – regular paprika.

1 teaspoon garlic powder – garlic powder (not garlic salt).

1 teaspoon onion powder – onion powder (not onion salt).

2 eggs – whole eggs.

Olive oil – extra virgin olive oil.

Air Fried Chicken Nuggets in Dish with Fries and Dipping Sauces

Supplies & Favorite Tools for Air Fried Chicken Nuggets

  • Small mixing bowl and spoon
  • Oil mister or basting brush
  • Air fryer
  • Kitchen tongs
Golden Brown Chicken Nuggets with Veggies in the Background

How to Make Chicken Nuggets in the Air Fryer

Follow these simple steps to make delicious air-fried chicken nuggets.

Step 1 | Mix bread crumbs, flour, and seasonings

To make the breading mixture, combine bread crumbs, flour, salt, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.

Mixing Breading Batter in White Bowl

Step 2 | Whisk eggs in a separate bowl

Add the eggs and whisk with a fork in a separate small bowl. Set aside.

Step 3 | Cut chicken into pieces

Carefully cut the chicken breasts into nugget-sized pieces (about 2 inches by 1 inch by 1/2 inch).

Cutting Chicken Into Nuggets on Grey Cutting Board
Chicken Breast in Pieces on Cutting Mat

Step 4 | Coat chicken with egg and breading mix

Add several pieces of chicken to the egg mix at a time. Stir until the chicken is well covered. Then, with a fork, move several pieces to the breadcrumb mixture. Flip each piece and press into the breading mix until well coated. Transfer to wax paper or a plate.

Note: We like to work in batches, so it goes quicker. For example, we coat several pieces of chicken with egg at a time and move several pieces to the breadcrumbs at a time. Another helpful tip—use separate forks for the egg vs. breading so it doesn’t make the breadcrumb mix clumpy and hard to work with.

Dipping Chicken in Egg and Then Breading Mixture
Breaded Chicken Nuggets on Wax Paper

Step 5 | Apply oil to bottom of air fryer basket

Using a basting brush (or oil mister). oil the bottom of the air fryer basket with olive oil.

Coating Air Fryer Basket with Olive Oil

Step 6 | Place nuggets in air fryer basket

Place the chicken nuggets in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Make sure to give room in between them for airflow.

Placing Chicken Nuggets in Air Fryer Basket

Step 7 | Lightly oil top of chicken nuggets

This step is what will give your chicken nuggets the golden brown crispy exterior—mist the top of the nuggets with olive oil using an oil mister. If you don’t have one, you can also use a basting brush to brush them with oil lightly.

Misting Oil on Chicken Nuggets

Step 8 | air fry at 400°F for 8 to 10 minutes

Place the basket in the air fryer and set the temperature to 400°F and the cooking time to 8 minutes. Check whether the nuggets are done (chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165°F). If not, cook for an additional 2 minutes or until done. Remove from the air fryer basket.

🔥 To preheat or not preheat the air fryer? We don’t typically preheat our air fryer. However, when we are making multiple batches, we do take into account that the second batch may take a little less time because it is heated and ready to go with the first batch.

Cooked Chicken Nuggets in Air Fryer Basket

Step 9 | Repeat steps 6 to 8

Repeat steps 6 to 8 until all nuggets are cooked.

Step 10 | Serve with dipping sauces

Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauces. We love traditional ketchup and ranch. But there are many more options—see our list here.

Golden Chicken Nuggets with Fries, Ketchup, and Ranch in White Dish

More About This Recipe – Why You’ll Love It

  • Crispy perfection at home: These air fryer chicken nuggets deliver that perfect crispy bite on the outside, just like the ones from your favorite restaurant, but without the excess grease.
  • Quick and easy: With a short prep time and quick cooking in the air fryer, these nuggets are a lifesaver on busy weeknights when you need a speedy and satisfying meal.
  • Family-friendly: These nuggets are a hit with both kids and adults, making them a fantastic choice for family meals.
  • Perfect for picky eaters: If you have picky eaters in your family, these nuggets are a great way to get them to enjoy a wholesome meal.
  • Healthier option: By using the air fryer, you can enjoy the crispy goodness of nuggets with less oil, making them a healthier choice for you and your family.
  • Customizable flavors: You can easily customize the seasonings and coatings to suit your tastes, giving you endless flavor possibilities.
  • Party favorite: These nuggets are a crowd-pleaser at parties and gatherings, adding a touch of homemade goodness to your special occasions.
Chicken Nugget with a Bite Taken and Ketchup in the Background

Dipping Sauce Ideas

There are endless options for dipping sauces that would be delicious with these nuggets, but here are a few ideas.

  • Classic ketchup: The timeless favorite for dipping chicken nuggets.
  • Honey mustard: A sweet and tangy sauce with a hint of spice.
  • Barbecue sauce: Smoky and savory, barbecue sauce adds depth of flavor.
  • Ranch dressing: Creamy and cool, perfect for mild and crispy nuggets.
  • Buffalo sauce: For those who like a bit of heat and zesty flavor.
  • Sweet and sour sauce: A combination of sweet and tangy flavors.
  • Garlic aioli: Creamy and garlicky, it adds a gourmet touch to your nuggets.
  • Honey sriracha: A spicy-sweet sauce with a kick of heat.
  • Teriyaki sauce: A savory and slightly sweet sauce with an Asian twist. Here’s our homemade recipe for teriyaki.
  • Blue cheese dressing: Ideal for those who enjoy a creamy and tangy dip with a hint of blue cheese flavor.
Chicken Nuggets on Plate with Sauces and Veggie Sticks

Tips for Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

Follow these tips for yummy chicken nuggets every time.

  • Golden brown: To achieve that golden brown, crispy exterior, lightly mist the top of the nuggets with olive oil using an oil mister or brush them with oil before air frying.
  • Preheating consideration: While preheating the air fryer is not always necessary, it’s worth noting that the second batch may require less cooking time if you’ve already used the air fryer once because it’s already heated from the previous batch.
  • Room for airflow: When placing the chicken nuggets in the air fryer basket, ensure they are in a single layer with some space in between. This allows for proper air circulation, resulting in evenly cooked and crispy nuggets.
  • Serve hot: To enjoy the crispy goodness, serve the chicken nuggets hot right after they come out of the air fryer.
  • Dipping sauce variety: Explore a variety of dipping sauces to elevate your chicken nugget experience, from classic ketchup to honey sriracha. See our list of ideas here.
Air Fried Chicken Nuggets with Fries and Sauces

What to Serve with Chicken Nuggets

Here are our favorite sides to pair with chicken nuggets.

  • Crispy french fries: Classic french fries pair perfectly with chicken nuggets. Serve with ketchup and ranch.
  • Fresh vegetable sticks: Balance the meal with a side of fresh vegetable sticks like carrot, celery, and cucumber. Dip them in ranch dressing or hummus.
  • Macaroni and cheese: The creamy comfort of macaroni and cheese is an excellent complement to chicken nuggets.
  • Side salad: For a lighter option, consider a side salad with fresh greens, cherry tomatoes, and a tangy vinaigrette.
  • Air-fried veggies: Simply toss your favorite veggies, like broccoli, zucchini, or bell peppers, with a bit of olive oil and your preferred seasoning. Air fry until they’re tender and slightly crispy.

🥦 RECIPE: Air Fryer Frozen Broccoli – see our full recipe here.

Nuggets on a Plate

Recipe Variations

There are so many delicious ways to change up this recipe. Here are a few of our favorites to get your juices flowing.

If you’re a fan of heat, try making spicy buffalo chicken nuggets. In addition to the standard ingredients, incorporate hot sauce and a pinch of cayenne pepper into your egg mixture. Pair with cooling dips like blue cheese dressing or ranch.

For a savory twist, whip up some garlic parmesan chicken nuggets. Alongside the usual ingredients, include grated Parmesan cheese, minced garlic, and chopped fresh parsley. Serve them with marinara sauce for dipping.

Chicken Nugget with Bite Take (left) Pile of Chicken Nuggets (right)

How to Store Leftovers

To store leftover chicken nuggets, allow them to cool to room temperature first. Then, place them in an airtight container or resealable bag. Refrigerate for up to 3 days for best quality. For extended storage, freeze the nuggets for up to 3 months, ensuring they’re in freezer-safe containers or appropriately wrapped for freezer storage.

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Closeup Air Fried Chicken Nuggets in White Dish with Ketchup

Homemade Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

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Crispy and delicious chicken nuggets prepared with simple ingredients and cooked to perfection in the air fryer. Great for weeknight dinners and party snacks.

  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 to 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 eggs
  • Olive oil

Instructions

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine bread crumbs, flour, salt, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Set aside.
  2. Add eggs to a separate small bowl and whisk with a fork. Set aside.
  3. Carefully cut the chicken breasts into nugget-sized pieces (about 2 inches by 1 inch by 1/2 inch).
  4. Coat the chicken with egg, then coat with breadcrumb mixture.
  5. Using a basting brush (or oil mister), oil the bottom of the air fryer basket with olive oil.
  6. Place the chicken nuggets in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Make sure to give room in between them for air flow.
  7. Mist the top of the nuggets with olive oil using an oil mister (or brush lightly with a basting brush).
  8. Place the basket in the air fryer and set the temperature to 400°F and the cooking time to 8 minutes. Check to see if the nuggets are done (internal temperature of 165°F). If not, cook for an additional 2 minutes or until done. Remove from the air fryer basket.
  9. Repeat steps 6 to 8 until all nuggets are cooked.
  10. Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauces. See ideas here.

Notes

  • Step 7 is optional (misting the top of nuggets with oil), but this is the trick to getting golden brown nuggets.
  • Author: Kelsey Restemayer
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Air Fryer
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 381
  • Sugar: 1.9 g
  • Sodium: 892.5 mg
  • Fat: 8.4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 26.9 g
  • Protein: 46.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 217.1 mg
Recipe Card powered byTasty Recipes
Plated Chicken Nuggets with Carrot and Celery Sticks

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to commonly asked questions about air fryer chicken nuggets.

Can I use frozen chicken nuggets in the air fryer?

Yes, you can cook frozen chicken nuggets in the air fryer. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F, place the frozen nuggets in a single layer, and cook for about 10-12 minutes.

How do I prevent my chicken nuggets from sticking to the air fryer basket?

To prevent sticking, lightly coat the bottom of the air fryer basket with oil using an oil mister or a brush.

Can I make chicken nuggets ahead of time and reheat them?

Yes, you can make chicken nuggets ahead of time and reheat them. To maintain their crispiness, reheat them in the air fryer at 400°F for a few minutes until they’re hot and crispy again. Avoid reheating them in the microwave, as they can get soggy.

Dipping Nugget Into Ketchup with Fries in Background

Final Thoughts

Air-fried chicken nuggets are a fantastic choice for a quick weeknight meal or party snack. They’re wonderfully crispy on the outside while staying tender inside. They’re sure to become a favorite at your table!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Have You Tried This Recipe? Please rate it in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Plate of Nuggets and Veggies with Ketchup in Cup

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