Deliciously flavored chicken nuggets that are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. These Air Fried Chicken Nuggets are a healthier twist on a family favorite!
I Tried so Hard
My kids love Chick-Fil-A. I mean, pretty much all kids do. That place knows what it’s doing. My kids regularly ask to go get kids’ meals with nuggets, and since everyone in my house loves the place, we regularly go.
This past winter I decided that I would recreate Chick-Fil-A nuggets at home, but air fry them to be healthier. It was going to be my copycat recipe.
I can’t even tell you how many times I tried. Over and over again. I would serve them to my family and everyone would say, “these taste good, but they don’t taste like Chick-Fil-A.”
Finally, my husband spoke truth to me. He said, “Chick-Fil-A is insanely popular for a reason, and they deep fry their nuggets. You aren’t going to make an exact replica.” He was right. So I changed courses. Instead of making a copycat recipe, I decided to change to making my own awesome chicken nugget recipe.
Air Fried Chicken Nuggets
Once I changed courses to my own nugget route, I was much more pleased with the outcome. These are fast and relatively simple to make, so they’re great for a weeknight meal.
How do I make air fryer nuggets crispy?
I have a Cuisinart toaster oven air fryer, and I find that it works best on 370 degrees. Obviously there can be variation among air fryer brands, but I recommend starting there.
Add a little cornstarch to the batter. For this recipe I used 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. For air fried chicken, and deep fried for that matter, a bit of cornstarch makes the finished chicken crispier.
3. Place the chicken in a single layer
Do NOT stack the chicken nuggets. For best results lay them out in a single layer, and flip them halfway through. If you have lots of nuggets and a small basket, cook them in multiple rounds.
4. Be generous with the oil
Be very generous with the oil. Make sure that you spray each entire nugget with oil. Double check each nugget to make sure that there are no dry flour spots. And if you see dry flour spots, spray them!!!
Seasoning for the nuggets
I played around with the ingredients for the coating of these nuggets a good bit and landed on a combination of the following:
- All purpose flour
- Powdered sugar
- Seasoning salt
- White pepper
- Black pepper
- Chili powder
- Garlic powder
My husband loves spice, so sometimes when I make these I’ll double the recipe and add 1-2 teaspoons of cajun spice to his blend! Feel free to play around and make the spice blend perfect for you!
These Air Fried Chicken Nuggets are a healthier take on a family favorite dinner item!
Air Fried Chicken Nuggets
- 3 chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces (about 1″ cubes)
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Spray vegetable oil
- Spray air fryer basket with vegetable oil.
- In a shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and buttermilk.
- In a second shallow bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, powdered sugar, salt, seasoned salt, white pepper, chili powder, black pepper, and garlic powder (see notes below).
- Working with a few pieces of chicken at a time, dip the pieces in the buttermilk mixture. Shake off excess liquid and then roll through flour mixture. Place pieces in a single layer on a plate.
- Spray all sides of chicken with vegetable oil, making sure that there are no dry spots.
- Place chicken pieces in a single layer in air fryer basket. If all pieces do not fit in a single layer, save for a second batch.
- Turn air fryer to 370 degrees. Cook for 10 minutes, flip chicken and cook for an additional 8 minutes, or until crust os golden brown and chicken is cooked through.
Disclaimer: All nutritional information provided on this website is an estimate only and is not guaranteed.
If you enjoyed these Air Fried Chicken Nuggets, you should check out these other SugarSpicesLife recipes:
Links to item used to make this recipe: