Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets (Homemade Recipe)

Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

Chicken nuggets are one of those childhood favorites that can be hard to resist, but traditional deep fried versions are certainly not the healthiest choice. That’s why I decided to develop a recipe for air fryer chicken nuggets a healthier twist on a classic that still delivers all the crispy, savory satisfaction. I’ve created a recipe for air fryer chicken nuggets that are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. The best part is they require minimal oil and can be made in a fraction of the time it takes to deep fry.

Recipe ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • Cooking spray (olive oil or canola oil)
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

How to Make This Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets Recipe


  • Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces and place in a bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  • In separate bowls, mix together the flour, garlic powder, paprika, and onion powder. Whisk together the buttermilk and eggs. Place breadcrumbs and parmesan in another bowl.

Breading Station

  • Working with a few pieces at a time, dredge chicken in seasoned flour, shaking off any excess.
  • Dip in buttermilk mixture, allowing excess to drip off, then coat in breadcrumb mixture, pressing gently to adhere.
  • Place breaded pieces on a plate and continue with remaining chicken. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.


  • Spray air fryer basket with cooking oil. Working in batches if needed, add chicken in a single layer.
  • Cook at 380°F for 15-18 minutes, flipping halfway, until exterior is crispy and chicken is no longer pink inside.

Serving Instructions

These nuggets make a great snack or side. I like to serve them warm with ketchup, barbecue sauce, or ranch dressing for dipping. You can also crumble them over a salad for extra protein and crunch.

Storage and Freezing Instructions

Leftover nuggets can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To freeze, allow nuggets to cool completely before sealing in a freezer bag or container. They will maintain quality when frozen for 2-3 months. Simply reheat directly from frozen in the air fryer until crispy and hot all the way through.

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Can I use frozen chicken nuggets in the air fryer?

While making your own nuggets is rewarding, you can air-fry frozen ones too. Just adjust the cooking time, usually adding a few extra minutes, and voila a quick and convenient snack.

How do I prevent the nuggets from drying out in the air fryer?

Fear not! To keep your nuggets juicy, lightly brush them with olive oil before air frying. It acts as a moisture seal, ensuring that each bite is a perfect balance of crispy and tender.

Can I prepare a large batch of nuggets in one go?

Just make sure not to overcrowd the air fryer basket. Arrange the nuggets in a single layer, allowing hot air to circulate evenly for that coveted golden crispiness.

Any suggestions for a gluten-free coating for the chicken?

Swap breadcrumbs for a gluten-free alternative like crushed cornflakes or almond flour. It adds a delightful crunch without compromising on dietary preferences.

Can I marinate the chicken in advance for more flavor?

Marinating the chicken in a flavorful blend of herbs and spices enhances the taste. Aim for 30 minutes to an hour before air frying for a burst of savory goodness in every bite.

What’s the secret to achieving that restaurant-style crunch?

The secret weapon here is preheating the air fryer. Give it a few minutes to heat up before adding the nuggets. This initial blast of heat ensures that your nuggets start sizzling the moment they hit the basket, resulting in a perfect crispy exterior.

Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

I've perfected a recipe for air fryer chicken nuggets that are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. The best part is they require minimal oil and can be made in a fraction of the time it takes to deep fry.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 345 kcal


  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Cooking spray (olive oil or canola oil)


  • Now, onto the culinary dance! For prep, gather your ingredients and let the air fryer preheat. Meanwhile, indulge in a brief chicken marination if you have the time.
  • Once the nuggets are in the air fryer basket, set the timer and let the magic unfold.
  • In about 15 minutes, you'll be savoring golden nuggets that strike the perfect chord between crispy and succulent.
  • These nuggets are versatile, fitting seamlessly into casual meals or as star players in a spread of appetizers
  • So, whether it's a laid-back family dinner or a weekend get-together, your Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets are ready to steal the show.
Keyword Crispy Chicken Nuggets, Easy Air Fryer Recipes, Easy Appetizers, Homemade Chicken Bites
Hey there! I'm Betty Spangler. I love food, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple.