Homemade Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets are perfectly seasoned, deliciously tender and juicy inside - Easy healthier Kid friendly nuggets from scratch.
Homemade Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
These are crispy, tender, well seasoned, made with real ingredients and so much healthier than the deep fried or store bought ones.
A good nugget is hard to find, which is why these made from scratch so incredible- Can't beat a homemade recipe. Dip them in your favorite sauce and you will find yourself enjoying them much more than kids. Bonus points for healthy!
I have been late hopping onto the air fryer train, but glad I did! It comes in handy when you want to make them in a hurry or don't want to turn on the oven. Air fryer cooks food by circulating hot air around, like a convection oven.
Frozen nuggets used to my children's go to meal when they were younger and occasionally it was ours as well on a busy day. Eventually, I began baking them at home and soon became an adult favorite.
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS?
Cooking them in air fryer is the perfect way to make a homemade bite. It crisps them perfectly on the outside without over cooking. I tried these and we could not believe the perfect texture! It is absolutely the best way to make them instead of the deep or shallow frying.
DON'T OVER CROWD THE BASKET
Place them in a single layer, and leave a little space around for the hot air to circulate, which helps in crisping the nugget. OVER CROWDING will NOT make a crispy bite.
CAN I BAKE THEM INSTEAD?
Prepare as per instructions, and place on a baking tray and bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until cooked through.
Fidget writes "These were so easy and tasty. Only took 8 minutes to cook. Thanks for the recipe".
Bridget writes "I ran out of Panko after 1 cup so I used plain bread crumbs for the rest. These were so good! We had them with CFA sauce, they tasted similar to CFA nuggets"
Becky writes "it turned out great! make sure to read the instructions on your specific air fryer as some of them cook a little longer. I did mine for 13 minutes at 390 degrees and they came out perfect".
- Chicken - We used boneless skinless thighs, but boneless skinless breasts can be substituted. Cut one pound breast into ½ inch strips and then cut each into 2 to 3 nuggets.
- Egg - Helps in binding the crust.
- All purpose flour - Just one tablespoon for binding.
- Panko breadcrumbs - Gives a light and crispy coating.
- Parmesan - Parmesan gives a wonderful salty, nutty flavor.
- Seasonings - A combination of salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and dried parsley.
PRO TIPS FOR SUCCESS
- Dredge well - Using hands or tongs, make sure to press bread crumb mixture well on all sides of the meat to help it adhere well and give a thicker coating.
- Make it gluten free - Use gluten free flour and gluten free Panko bread crumbs.
- Pre heat - Pre heating the air fryer before cooking them, will guarantee a perfectly crispy yet juicy bites.
- Don’t overlap: Placing the food in a single layer without over lapping will allow even cooking. If you stack your food then it might stick together or the top ones will be over cooked by the time the bottom ones are cooked through.
- Panko breadcrumbs - If you don't have panko, then regular regular bread crumbs may be used (but, the nuggets won't get as crispy).
- Parmesan - Finely shredded parmesan cheese is highly recommended. If you are using pre shredded cheese (that is very coarse), then process for a few seconds in a small food processor or dry grinder.
- Make it spicy - Stir in some cayenne pepper along with salt and pepper.
- Use strips - Use boneless skinless tenders instead.
- Add an Italian twist - Toss in some dried oregano to the bread crumb mixture.
- Mexican twist - Toss in some taco seasoning along with salt, pepper and egg.
HOW TO MAKE?
These nuggets are made up with a bunch of pantry ingredients - Mix them up and then you’ll be ready to start!
- Cut Chicken - Trim any fat from boneless, skinless thighs and then cut them into 1 inch pieces.
- Wet batter - Toss cubed thighs with lightly beaten egg, salt and pepper. Stir in a tablespoon of flour.
- Panko breadcrumb coating - Dredge each piece with a mixture of panko, parmesan, red pepper flakes and dried parsley.
- Cook - Place in a greased basket, cook at 400 degrees for 8 minutes, until cooked through.
HOW TO SERVE?
Serve them with ranch dressing, marinara sauce, Chick-fil-A Sauce, ketchup or your favorite barbecue sauce for snack, lunch or dinner.
Storage and Re heating
Make it ahead of time
Leftover nuggets can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.
From the refrigerator - Simple microwave them for couple of minutes to quickly re heat (the breading will be soft). However, to revive the crispy coating, re heat them in the air fryer for 5 minutes or bake at 375 degree oven for 10 minutes.
How to make ahead?
This is great to make ahead too! Simply make a batch and freeze after completely cooled ----> Homemade frozen nuggets!
From the freezer - Placed in zip lock bag, tightly sealed and frozen for up to a month. Simple microwave them for few minutes to quickly re heat (the breading will be soft). However, to revive the crispy coating, Re heat them in the air fryer for 10 to 15 minutes or bake at 375 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
Frequently asked questions
It takes about 8 minutes in a 400 degree air fryer.
As the name indicates, it fries food by circulating hot air around, more like a convection oven. It is a counter top appliance that cooks food faster, browns evenly and with almost no oil when compared to the traditional deep frying methods.
One serving contains 317 calories with 35 grams protein.
Homemade Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- ¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- Trim excess fat from chicken and then cut into 1-inch pieces. Mix chicken along with lightly beaten egg, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl, until well combined.
- Sprinkle all purpose flour on top and toss around to coat the chicken and keep aside.
- In a shallow bowl, stir together panko, parmesan, red pepper flakes and pasrley (if using).
- Working with one chicken piece at a time, dredge into the panko-parm mixture, turning and pressing on all sides to coat evenly and place on a plate (try to to pack the breadcrumbs well on the chicken).
- Pre heat air fryer at 400°F for 8 minutes. Place half the chicken nuggets into the air fryer basket (spacing evenly), spray a generous coating of non-stick cooking spray.
- Cook, flipping halfway, spray with non-stick cooking spray and finish cooking, until cooked through.
- Transfer chicken nuggets and repeat process with the remaining batch.
- Serve hot with ranch dressing, ketchup, marinara or your favorite barbecue sauce.
Nutritional information, based on third-party calculations, should be seen as estimates, not guarantees, as various factors like product types, brands, processing methods, and more can alter the nutritional content in recipes.
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