These Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets are a healthier, easier, and tastier homemade version of a drive through or frozen classic! Chicken breasts marinated in buttermilk, my secret ingredient and salt, then tossed in panko, whole wheat flour, and spices!
Easy chicken dinners like these air fryer chicken nuggets are the best! You might also love these other easy chicken dinners: slow cooker lo mein, bruschetta chicken, instant pot orange chicken, sheet pan greek chicken.
I don’t know about you, but week after a three day weekend, I am fully on the struggle bus.
I need just oooooonnnne more day. Ok. I really need like five more days . . .
Who’s with me? 😉
To make the transition back to reality a little easier?
A super easy, delicious, pretty darn healthy dinner recipe
air fryer chicken nuggets.
You guys. Do you have an air fryer yet? Trust me. I went back to forth, because I wasn’t sure I really needed/wanted one. But I am LOVING it. Better than baking, healthier than frying. That’s a win win in my book.
Now. Chicken nuggets.
It’s very rare that once a recipe has been perfected, photographed, and filmed I have a chance to go back and make the recipe again.
These chicken nuggets are definitely the exception to the rule.
I have now officially made these FOUR times.
I can’t get enough.
And I know once you try these, you won’t be able to either.
Nine ingredients and just a few minutes are required . . . skip the drive through tonight (trust me, I’ve been there after a three day weekend) and let’s make some homemade chicken nuggets instead!
Let’s start with the number one question that I know is on your mind:
Is the air fryer really healthy?
Depends on what you’re making, but overall, yes! Air frying is definitely a healthier option than deep fat frying.
I know that was kind of a non answer, but here’s the thing . . . if you’re making cheese wontons in the air fryer . . . while it’s DEFINITELY healthier than deep frying, you’re still eating cubes of monterey jack cheese wrapped in wonton wrappers that are dipped into a mayo honey mustard sauce. 😉 So. In that case, the air fryer makes a super indulgent deep fat fried cheese recipe . . . health…ier, but I still wouldn’t categorize it as health food.
Today’s recipe, however? Yes! The air fryer definitely helps keep these chicken nuggets healthy. Air fryers use hot air instead of oil to cook food while still producing that crispiness we all adore about fried food.
So, how do you make chicken nuggets at home?
It’s SO easy. I promise. Making homemade chicken nuggets at home is practically as easy as waiting in the drive through line AND you probably have most of these ingredients at home already!
You’ll start by cubing chicken breasts into 1/2 – 1 inch chunks. Throw those into a bowl and cover with buttermilk, pickle juice, and salt.
Yes. It makes these air fryer chicken nuggets SO tender and a little bit tangy and delicious.
If you absolutely hate pickle juice, just replace with more buttermilk.
But it’s not going to be quite as delicious. 😉
Just. Try it. 🙂
The chicken marinates for 30 minutes, and then you’ll coat the pieces in panko, whole wheat flour, salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder.
The last step is air frying them for 8 minutes (I’ve written out the specific directions below), but just in case you don’t have an air fryer…
How do you make chicken nuggets in the oven?
400 degrees F for about 10-20 minutes (depends on how crowded your pan is). Make sure to spray the tops lightly with cooking spray to promote browning.
Let me know in the comments below if you want more specific recipe!
That’s it! This recipe is SO quick, easy, and of course, tasty!
The chicken is insanely tender and the outer coating gets amazingly crispy and is seriously packed with flavor!
A drive through or frozen classic, these homemade air fryer chicken nuggets are quicker, easier, definitely healthier, and I promise you, even tastier!
Do you want more air fryer recipes? Show Me the Yummy!
Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/2 - 1 inch chunks
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup pickle juice or omit and use more buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Honey mustard, ranch, ketchup for dipping
- In a large bowl, combine chicken with buttermilk, pickle juice, and salt.
- Marinate 30 mins at room temperature. You can also marinate, covered, in the fridge for a couple/few hours.
- Drain marinade and set chicken aside.
- In a gallon sized ziplock baggie, combine panko, flour, salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder.*
- Place drained chicken into baggie with panko mixture, seal, and gently shake until chicken pieces are fully coated.
- Set aside.
- Hit “ON” on the air fryer. Then hit “PRE-HEAT”. Set the temperature to 400 degrees F and set the timer to 8 minutes. Hit “START”. The air fryer will beep at you when it’s finished preheating.
- Open up the air fryer and spray the basket with cooking spray. Place in the chicken nuggets, work with about 12 at a time, so you don’t over crowd them. Close the air fryer. It will beep at you when it’s finished cooking.
- Repeat with remaining chicken nuggets.
- Taste and re-season, if necessary and serve with your favorite dipping sauce!
*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.