Homemade Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

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Skip the drive though and make your own perfectly crispy Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets at home! Made with real ingredients (and no canned chicken to be found) these tender nuggets are ready in minutes are perfect for dipping in your favorite sauce. 

A plate of air fryer chicken nuggets with a cup of barbecue sauce on a white plate.

What you’ll love about this recipe:

  • Made With White Meat Chicken and no artificial ingredients in this air-fried chicken nuggets recipe!
  • Quick and Easy: This recipe is super straightforward and can be prepared in under 30 minutes, from prepping to eating.
  • Better Than Store-Bought: Skip the grocery store; this homemade version is unbeatable when it comes to flavor and doesn’t include any artificial ingredients or preservatives.

Nuggets just got a major upgrade

Confession time: I’ve enjoyed my fair share of McDonald’s chicken nuggets. 

There’s something addictively tasty about those little golden bites! But what if we could recreate that mouthwatering magic at home, harnessing the power of fresh ingredients and good old kitchen magic?

Eureka moment. Air fryer, come on down!

Air fryer white meat chicken nuggets are basically my new favorite thing on earth. They deliver an irresistible crunch on the outside and beautifully juicy, tender white meat inside. Plus, we’re talking fresh, quality ingredients here – skinless, boneless chicken breast and spices that you probably already have in your pantry. No fillers or questionable add-ins.

When it comes to nuggets, air frying has distinct advantages over deep frying: it saves time and it’s a healthier way to achieve nuggets with the perfect crispy coating. Plus there’s less mess to clean up and no gross oil smell to worry about!When it comes to this recipe, air frying has distinct advantages over deep frying: it saves time and it’s a healthier way to achieve nuggets with the perfect crispy coating. Plus there’s less mess to clean up and no gross oil smell to worry about!

They’ve become a constant at our dinner table and if you toss them in Buffalo sauce they’re perfect for Sunday afternoons while we watch football.  

Keep reading and I’ll show you how to make some seriously drool-worthy white meat chicken nuggets that’ll have you ditching the old deep-frying ways for good.

Overhead image of ingredients needed to make chicken nuggets in the air fryer, including chicken breasts, butter, panko bread crumbs, and seasonings.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Chicken breast. Boneless and skinless chicken breast makes this recipe a breeze! Simply cut them into bite-sized pieces (you want about 20 chicken pieces) and season them generously with salt and pepper. Prefer dark meat? No problem – you can definitely make this recipe with chicken thighs, instead. Use about 4 meaty skinless and boneless chicken thighs instead of breasts.

Unsalted butter. Butter adds flavor while giving the breadcrumbs something to cling on to. I like using unsalted butter because I can control the sodium. If all you have is salted butter, reduce the salt in the rest of the recipe by about half.

Panko breadcrumbs. Panko breadcrumbs are coarse Japanese breadcrumbs that have been lightly baked for extra crunch. They brown so nicely in the air fryer!

All-purpose flour. This helps to lock the moisture in the nuggets, and it will help all the spices and seasonings stick to them.

Seasonings. Salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne  pepper are all you need to transform these nuggets into flavorful bites!

Cooking spray for the lightest coating of oil that adds flavor and helps the nuggets brown. 

How To Make Them

Cut the chicken breast into bite-size pieces and season them well with salt and pepper. 

Coat the nuggets in the melted butter. They need this bit of fat to help the coating brown, and the butter adds another layer of flavor.

Mix the Panko, flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne. Seasoning the mixture adds to much flavor! Press the nuggets into this mixture to coat them evenly.

Preheat your air fryer and spray or brush the tray with non-stick or olive oil spray. Cook the nuggets in a single layer in the air fryer basket in batches at 400ºF until they’re golden brown and reach an internal temperature of 165ºF.


Pro Tips

Super crispy air fryer chicken nuggets.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I store leftovers? 

If you have leftover chicken nuggets (or if you make a double batch!), refrigerate them in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze them for up to 3 months. 

Reheat them in the air fryer at 375º for 4 minutes or pop them in the toaster oven  to bring back their crunch!

Are air fryer chicken nuggets healthy?

They are a much healthier alternative compared to prepared store-bought nuggets or even fast-food picks. Not only do these air fryer nuggets have less fat, but they’re made with wholesome ingredients and are cut from unprocessed chicken.

Are chicken nuggets in the air fryer easy to make?

Yes! There are really only 3 steps to making chicken nuggets: cut the chicken, bread the chicken in the flour mixture, and place the chicken nuggets into the air-fryer and cook! As long as you don’t over-crowd the cooking basket, they’ll cook up into perfectly crispy nuggets!

How many air fryer chicken breast pieces should I cut?

Aim for about 20 nugget-sized pieces from the two chicken breasts. You may get more or less depending on the size of the chicken breasts. Just be sure to cut them about the same size so they cook evenly.

Can I make gluten-free chicken nuggets?

As written, the recipe is not gluten-free. However, you can make it a gluten-free air fryer chicken nuggets recipe by swapping the flour with your favorite gluten-free flour, and by using gluten-free Panko or pork panko instead of the regular version.

How long does it take to air fry chicken nuggets?

These air fryer chicken nuggets will air fry in about 4 minutes per side. Always cook your chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees since air fryers can vary based on brand and model.

More Air Fryer Chicken Recipes

Air fryer chicken nuggets are delicious dipped in your favorite sauces.
Air fryer chicken nuggets on a plate.

Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

These Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets are crunchy on the outside and juicy on theinside! They are perfect for dunking in your favorite sauces and are healthierthan take-out! Perfect for busy weeknights, they cook in 8 minutes!
5 from 4 votes
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Course: Chicken Recipes
Cuisine: American
Keyword: air fryer chicken nuggets, homemade chicken nuggets, how to make chicken nuggets
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 175kcal


  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • pinch cayenne pepper optional
  • olive oil spray
  • barbeque sauce and honey mustard for serving


  • Preheat Air Fryer to 400°F.
  • Using a sharp knife cut the chicken breasts into about 20 nuggets.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the chicken pieces and melted butter. Mix to evenly coat and then season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • In a second bowl, mix the panko, flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper (if using).
  • Add 3 to 4 nuggets to the bowl with the panko mixture. Pess the nuggets into the coating on all sides until they're evenly covered. Transfer nuggets to a large plate or baking sheet and continue until the nuggets are the remaining chicken pieces.
  • Spray the nuggets on both sides with olive oil spray.
  • Spray or brush the air fryer basket with non-stick spray or olive oil.
  • Place the nuggets in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Cook in batches if necessary.
  • Cook for 8 minutes, flipping the nuggets halfway through.
  • Serve immediately with barbeque sauce and honey mustard for dipping.


All air fryers are different. I used the Cosori Air fryer for this recipe. You may have to adjust time and temperature if you have a different model.
Nutrition Facts
Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
Amount Per Serving (5 nuggets)
Calories 175 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 51mg17%
Sodium 440mg19%
Potassium 245mg7%
Carbohydrates 11g4%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 14g28%
Vitamin A 193IU4%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 27mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @HealthyDelish or tag #HealthyDelish!

Hi, I'm Lauren!

I'm a certified plant-based cook and enthusiastic omnivore who loves looking for creative ways to make weeknight meals more nutritious. I'm the author of Heathy Eating One Pot Cookbook and Healthy Meal Prep Slow Cooker Cookbook. I also blog at The Busy Foodie. Read more...


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3 thoughts on “Homemade Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets”

  1. I have seen multiple recipes for air fryer nuggets and was wondering is there a reason melted butter or oil is used instead of egg when breading the chicken for air fryer?

    • It’s for the flavor! It adds a little richness that makes up for the fact that they aren’t deep fried.

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