Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

These Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets are a delicious, mostly-healthy, guilt-free way to get a family favorite meal on the table quick and easy.

These Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets are a delicious, mostly-healthy, guilt-free way to get a family favorite meal on the table quick and easy.

Why I Love My Air Fryer for Chicken Nuggets

I can honestly say that my air fryer has become one of my favorite and most-used kitchen appliances. It has certainly earned its place on the kitchen counter. It’s efficient, easy to use, cooks quickly, and has always produced delicious, evenly cooked foods.

One of my favorite recipes to make in the air fryer is chicken nuggets. Rather than deep fat or pan frying, I rely on the super-heated air of the air fryer to create a crispy crust while cooking the chicken to tender, juicy perfection.

How To Bread Chicken Nuggets

I prefer chicken breasts when I make chicken nuggets, but if you like chicken thighs, you can easily substitute them. Start by cutting the chicken cut into 1-inch pieces. I like to season the pieces of chicken with salt and pepper before they’re dredged in the coating ingredients, I think it creates a more evenly seasoned nugget.

To get that delicious crispy layer on the chicken nuggets, they need to be breaded. The process is often referred to as dredging. It involves coating the pieces first in flour, then in eggs, and finally, in the breadcrumb mixture. In this case, I’ve combined two different types of breadcrumbs, regular and panko. I like the texture variations that each of them provides. If you only have one type, just use that. By adding oil to the breadcrumb mixture, a lighter texture and more even browning is achieved.

When dredging, you want to make sure that you work in batches so that all of the pieces are evenly coated. You can use pie pans or cake pans for the dredging process or use a set of breading trays.

The first step is to dredge the nuggets in the flour. I usually work with five or six nuggets at a time. The flour layer creates a surface that the eggs and the breadcrumbs can adhere to. So, please don’t skip this step.

Next, dip the nuggets in the egg, making sure that they’re evenly coated on all sides.

The last step is to coat them in the breadcrumbs. Roll the nuggets in the breadcrumb mixture making sure that all of the sides are coated.

I transfer the coated nuggets to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper placed next to the dredging station and continue until all of the nuggets have been evenly coated.

How Long do you Cook Chicken Nuggets in the Air Fryer?

Depending upon the size of your air fryer, you may need to work in batches. It’s important not to crowd the nuggets and arrange them in a single layer. If you don’t, the coating gets soggy and the nuggets won’t cook evenly. If you are working in batches, set your oven to 180˚F so that you can transfer the cooked nuggets onto a baking sheet and into the oven to keep warm.

My air fryer is 5.3 quarts. To complete this recipe, I find that two batches works well. To get that nice crispy layer, the nuggets are cooked at 390˚F for about 8 minutes. Turning them after 5 minutes of cooking time makes an even crispy crust on the nuggets. To ensure proper cooking time, insert an instant read thermometer into the center of a nugget. It should read 165˚F.

What to Serve with Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

The most obvious side for chicken nuggets is French fries. But some of my favorite non-obvious sides include Loaded Potato Salad, Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes, or a Beet and Kale Salad. A dipping sauce or two makes meal time just a little more fun. Try a BBQ sauce and a Marie Rose sauce for a twist.



Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

  • Author: Leigh Olson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 18 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


These Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets are a delicious, mostly-healthy, guilt-free way to get a family favorite meal on the table quick and easy.


  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup non-seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil


  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. On your work surface, line up three shallow bowls, cake or pie pans are perfect.
  3. In the first, place the flour.
  4. In the second, whisk together the eggs.
  5. In the third, combine the breadcrumbs, garlic powder, cayenne, and olive oil. Mix to coat all bread crumbs with the oil.
  6. Working in batches of 5 – 6 pieces, toss the chicken in the flour; next, coat all sides with egg; move the chicken into the breadcrumb mixture and make sure that all sides are coated.
  7. Transfer the coated chicken nuggets to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  8. Repeat until all of the nuggets have been coated.
  9. Transfer the chicken nuggets to the air fryer basket in a single layer. You may need to work in batches.
  10. Set the temperature on the air fryer to 390˚F and cook for 5 minutes, flip and cook another 3 minutes or until an instant read thermometer registers 165˚F when inserted into one of the nuggets.
  11. If you are working in batches, remove cooked nuggets from air fryer basket to a baking sheet and keep warm in a pre-heated 180˚F oven.
  12. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.


This recipe was tested in a Power Fryer XL 5.3 quart air fryer.

Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

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