Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

air fryer chicken nuggets FI

You can make delicious, flavorful and perfectly breaded from-scratch chicken nuggets in under 25 minutes by using the air fryer. These chicken nuggets have a flavorful breading that rivals any store-bought nugget!


Units Scale
  • 16 ounces (454 g) boneless skinless chicken breast (about 2 medium-sized chicken breasts)
  • 1/2 cup (65 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided (see note 1)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (95 g) plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 - 2 1/2 tablespoons neutral oil (avocado oil, vegetable oil, etc.) (see note 2)


  1. In a medium (preferably shallow) bowl, add the all-purpose flour, black pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Mix together and set aside.
  2. Crack the two eggs into another medium bowl. Add a splash of water (about 2 tablespoons) and whisk together until the egg mixture is evenly combined and smooth. Set aside.
  3. In a third medium (preferably shallow) bowl, add the breadcrumbs and remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Mix together and set aside.
  4. Cut the chicken into about 1 1/2 inch (3.8 cm) -sized pieces.
  5. Working in 2 - 3 batches, add some of the chicken pieces to the bowl of flour. Toss the pieces around until they are evenly coated all around in the flour.
  6. Gently shake off the excess flour and add the chicken pieces to the bowl of egg. Toss the pieces around in the egg mixture until they are fully coated in the egg.
  7. Remove the chicken pieces from the egg mixture and allow the excess egg to drip off, then add the chicken pieces to the bowl of breadcrumbs. Toss the chicken in the breadcrumbs until they are evenly coated with breadcrumbs. Remove the chicken from the bowl of breadcrumbs and place them in a single layer on a clean plate.
  8. Continue the three step breading process until all the chicken pieces are coated.
  9. With a basting or pastry brush, brush the bottom cooking surface of the air fryer with oil, then pre-heat the air fryer at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) for 3 - 5 minutes, depending on the size of the air fryer (larger units may need the full 5 minutes, smaller units need less time). To save time, this step can be done about half-way through the process of breading the chicken.
  10. When the air fryer is pre-heated, carefully add the breaded chicken pieces to the air fryer in a single layer, spread evenly apart. Using a basting or pastry brush, gently dab the top and sides of each piece of chicken with oil.
  11. Air fry for 8 minutes. Half way through the 8 minute cook time, flip the chicken nuggets over with tongs, then gently dab the tops of the nuggets with oil. The nuggets are done when they are golden brown, with an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees F. If the nuggets are not cooked after 8 minutes, cook for an additional 2 minutes at a time, until the target internal temperature of 165 degrees F is reached.


I used Diamond Crystal Kosher salt for this recipe, which is lighter and flakier than Morton Kosher salt. To substitute Morton Kosher salt or regular table salt, use 1/2 teaspoon in the flour mixture, and 1/4 teaspoon in the breadcrumb mixture. 

If you prefer, you can use cooking spray in place of brushing the oil on the cooking surface and the nuggets. Please be aware that cooking sprays that have soy lecithin can cause a sticky buildup that may degrade nonstick surfaces over time. If you're concerned about this, look for a cooking spray without soy lecithin, or use an oil mister.

To avoid breading your fingers along with the chicken, use one hand to toss the chicken in the dry ingredients (flour and breadcrumbs), and the other to dip the chicken in the egg mixture.

This recipe was tested using the Instant Vortex Plus 6-in-1 6 Quart Air Fryer. Depending on the air fryer you are using, cook times may vary.

The nutrition information below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator; the nutrition counts of your dish will vary based on the brand and exact amounts of ingredients used. This nutrition estimate should not be considered a substitute for professional medical, health, or nutritional advice. See our full disclosure policy.


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