Homemade air fryer chicken nuggets are crispy on the outside and tender in the middle. This will be your new go-to easy dinner!
Pin this recipe now to save it for laterPin Recipe
Chicken nuggets are a favorite food in so many homes. Everyone loves crispy nuggets!
Making homemade air fryer chicken nuggets from scratch elevates your chicken nugget night to a whole new level, and they’re still an easy dinner totally doable for a weeknight. They taste so much better than the frozen nuggets from the grocery store!
Plus, cooking nuggets in the air fryer is much healthier than deep frying. You use a lot less oil, which means the nuggets are lower in fat but still taste incredible. The air fryer gets them nice and crispy!
Easy Air Fryer Chicken Nugget Recipe
To make these air fryer chicken nuggets, you just need to chop some boneless chicken breast into bite-sized pieces. Those little pieces are coated in flour, then dipped in an egg mixture and coated in Italian seasoned bread crumbs. I add some extra Parmesan cheese to the breadcrumbs to make them even more flavorful. The nuggets are then baked in the air fryer and ready to serve.
Air Fryer Chicken Nugget Ingredients
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Boneless, skinless chicken breast – You can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs if you’d like darker meat. I prefer chicken breast, which is very easy to cut into small pieces.
- Milk – I typically use whole milk but any kind will work.
- Ground black pepper
- Italian seasoned bread crumbs – I love the simple seasonings in Italian breadcrumbs.
- Parmesan cheese – I like to grate my parmesan cheese fresh using a microplane grater.
Here are a few ingredient variations and substitutions that you can try!
- Use regular breadcrumbs and add a teaspoon of Italian seasoning to the mix. If you do not have Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano will work perfectly!
- Use panko breadcrumbs instead of regular breadcrumbs for even more crunch. Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs are especially delicious and give the chicken a nice crispy coating.
- Use almond flour in place of regular flour and gluten-free breadcrumbs to make gluten-free chicken nuggets. My local grocery store carries gluten-free breadcrumbs and they are delicious!
- Add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper to the flour and sprinkle it over the chicken pieces. This will make fantastic spicy air fryer nuggets.
How to Make Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
- Cut the chicken: Cut the chicken breast into 1-inch pieces. Pat the chicken to dry, then sprinkle the pieces with the flour.
- Make the egg mixture: Whisk the egg, milk, pepper and salt together in a shallow bowl.
- Make the breadcrumbs: Mix the breadcrumbs and Parmesan together in a separate shallow bowl.
- Prepare: Preheat your air fryer to 400º F and spray the basket with cooking spray. I like to use olive oil spray.
- Bread: Dip the floured chicken pieces in the egg mixture, followed by the breadcrumb mixture, coating them completely in the breading. Place the breaded nuggets directly into the air fryer basket in a single layer.
- Air Fry: Cook the nuggets in the air fryer for 5 minutes, then flip them over and cook for another 4 minutes. They will be golden brown and have no pink in the center.
- Enjoy: Serve the crispy chicken nuggets right away while they’re nice and hot!
Cut the chicken breasts when they are frozen. It is easier to cut the chicken into perfect pieces when it is frozen. Use this tip anytime you need to cut chicken breast into pieces or filets and you will be shocked by how uniform and perfect your chicken will be! No more struggling to cut slimy, slippery chicken breast!
How to Store Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
Once your nuggets are cooked, you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. Reheat the nuggets in the air fryer again, heating them at 400ºF for about 2-3 minutes. This will make the breading crispy again and warm them in the center.
You can also store the cooked nuggets in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat the frozen nuggets in the air fryer for about 5 minutes to thaw and crisp them. I like to make a double batch of homemade chicken nuggets, put them in a freezer bag and freeze them for easy weekday meals.
These small nugget bites will take about 8-10 minutes total to cook in an air fryer at 400ºF. If your chicken pieces are larger, it will take a little longer. Always check the center of one nugget by cutting it in half and making sure the chicken is white all the way through.
You should flip the nuggets halfway through the cooking time to ensure they are browned evenly. Otherwise, the bottoms of the nuggets can get a little too dark.
No, you should not put foil in an air fryer. A sheet of foil will block the airflow of the air fryer and prevent the nuggets from cooking evenly. I like to grease the air fryer tray with cooking spray to prevent them from sticking and to make clean-up easier. Just skip the foil!
Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 ½ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Cut the chicken breast into 1-inch pieces. Pat the chicken pieces with a paper towel to dry them.1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
- Add the dried chicken pieces to a medium sized bowl and sprinkle the flour over the chicken. Toss the chicken to coat the pieces in the flour.¼ cup all purpose flour
- In a shallow bowl, whisk the egg, milk, salt and pepper together.1 egg, 1 tablespoon milk, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- In a separate shallow bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.1 ½ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs, ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat your air fryer to 400º F and spray your air fryer basket with cooking spray.
- Dip the floured chicken pieces in the egg mix then into the breadcrumbs, coating each piece completely in breading. I find it is easiest to dip one piece at a time.
- As you coat the chicken pieces in breadcrumbs, place them directly onto the greased tray of your air fryer. Make sure there is about ¼-½ of an inch between each nugget on the tray to allow the hot air to cook them evenly. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to cook the nuggets in batches.
- Air fry the nuggets for 5 minutes then flip them all over and cook for another 4 minutes.
- Serve the nuggets while warm!
- You can easily double or triple this recipe. The cooked nuggets freeze well and can be reheated later on.
- Add ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper to the breadcrumb mixture to make the nuggets a little spicy.