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Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets (Chick-fil-A Copycat)

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These Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets are golden, delicious, and full of amazing flavor. Your family will love this copycat version of the Chic-fil-A nuggets.

air fryer chicken nuggets in a basket with bbq sauce to the side

Full Recipe Ingredients/Instructions are available in the 
recipe card at the bottom of the post. 
You can find important tips/tricks in the
blog post.

The Air Fryer and chicken make the perfect combination, especially when it comes to chicken nuggets. I like to make homemade chicken nuggets as they are healthier and almost as easy as the premade kinds. My family loves the Chick-fil-A nuggets so whenever we get the craving and can’t make it to the restaurant, we make these yummy nuggets. 

Now I’m not going to say that these taste exactly like Chic-fil-A nuggets but they come pretty darn close. Those nuggets are fried in peanut oil. These nuggets are air-fried (saving on fat and calories) and I use whatever oil I have on hand to spray the nuggets. According to my 10 year old, both nuggets are “yummo.”

How to Make Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets?

First, you’ll need to cut your chicken pieces in large chunks, about 2 inches big. That will give you nice and juicy pieces of chicken. 

raw chicken on teal cutting board

Then you’ll soak those beautiful chicken pieces in pickle juice for 20-30 minutes. 

raw chicken pieces in clear bag with pickle juice

After your chicken pieces are done soaking in the pickle juice, you’ll prepare your coating station for your nuggets. Grab two shallow bowls. Place egg and milk in one bowl and whisk to combine. Place flour, corn starch, powdered sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and salt and black pepper in the next bowl and whisk to combine. 

Time to Air Fry…

Prepare your air fryer basket by lightly spraying the bottom with oil from a spray bottle. I don’t recommend aerosol spray bottle oils in air fryers as it can cause the bottom of your air fyrer to peel over time. I discuss this in my air fryer tips post. I use a spray bottle and place my oils in it.

Using metal tongs, grab a piece of chicken and coat it in the egg mixture, then coat it in the flour mixture, then shake off any excess flour and place it in the air fryer basket. 

egg in a bowl, flour in a bowl, and air freyr basket with coated chicken in it

Repeat this step with all of your chicken pieces until the bottom of your air fryer is full. Do not overlap the pieces and make sure they are not touching. You’ll need them spaced apart so that air can flow around them. 

air fryer chicken pieces in air fryer basket before cooking

Close the air fryer basket and cook on 360 degrees Fahrenheit for 6 minutes. Open and spray any flour spots that appear on your chicken and then flip the pieces. If you see any flour spots on the chicken after flipping, spray that as well. Cook for 6 more minutes.

Once the cook cycle is done, if your chicken is done to your liking and has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, feel free to remove it and enjoy. If you like them a little darker, close the basket and increase the heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 2 minutes more.  

cooked air fryer chicken nuggets in basket

And that’s it, golden delicious air fryer chicken nuggets. Serve them with your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy 🙂

hand holding air fryer chicken nugget showing inside of nugget

Notes on Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets:

  • The longer your chicken soaks in pickle juice, the stronger the pickle flavor will be. I usually opt for 20 minutes.
  • I use the pickle juice that is in a jar of dill pickles. My hubby and my oldest love pickles so we always have a jar around. 
  • You can use any oil with a high smoke point to cook these nuggets. We’ve used olive oil, canola oil, and peanut oil. The only oil I do not recommend using is extra virgin olive oil as it does not have a high smoke point.
  • These chicken nuggets are best served fresh. If you need to reheat, reheat in the Air Fryer or oven.

Looking for a recipe to serve these with? Try these copycat air fryer potato wedges or these Air Fryer French Fries.

Looking for more air fryer recipes? Try these out:

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Air Fryer Chicken Recipes

Looking for more Air Fryer Chicken Recipes? Try these out:

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4 from 8 votes

Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets (Chic-fil-A Copycat)

These Homemade Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets are the perfect Chic-fil-A Copycat. These nice golden pieces of juicy chicken are perfect for any weeknight meal.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword air fryer chicken nuggets, copycat chic-fil-a nuggets
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Brining time 20 minutes
Total Time 44 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 166kcal
Author Tanya

Ingredients

  • 2 6 oz chicken breast cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup pickle juice
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 Tbs milk
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp corn starch
  • 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • oil for spraying

Instructions

  • Place chicken pieces and pickle juice in a plastic bag. Close and place in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl whisk together egg and milk.
  • In another bowl, whisk together flour, corn starch, powdered sugar, salt, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. Set Aside.
  • Remove chicken pieces from the refrigerator. Grease the Air Fryer basket with a little oil. Coat chicken pieces in egg mixture, then coat it in flour mixture, then shake off any excess flour and place it in the basket. Repeat until the bottom of the air fryer basket is full. Make sure none of the pieces are overlapping nor should they be touching. 
  • Close the air fryer basket and cook on 360 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 minutes, flipping halfway. Spray any flour spots when flipping.
  • After 12 minutes is up, increase the heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for an additional 2 minutes. 
    Remove and serve with your favorite dipping sauce. 

Video

Notes

You can use this technique and batter to make chicken tenders, chicken sandwiches, etc. 
As always, different air fryers cook differently. Use a quick read thermometer to ensure you food is thoroughly cooked.  

Nutrition

Calories: 166kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 1782mg | Potassium: 65mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 290IU | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg
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Although myforkinglife.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Under no circumstances will myforkinglife.com be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information.
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Recipe Rating




Lynn

Friday 7th of August 2020

Tried this the other night and my husband and I enjoyed them very much. We had trouble with the breading sticking on the chicken so next time I will work harder when I bread them. You said to re-heat in the air fryer; what temp and time should I use. Thanks.

Mamamooska

Monday 20th of July 2020

I think my air fryer might really suck but I don't think the recipe is quite right either. The coating wasn't sticking to the chicken. They also pretty much tasted like pickle juice, no flavor of seasoning.

Tanya

Tuesday 21st of July 2020

Sorry you felt that way, I love them. It may be your air fryer then. I've made them in three different air fryers (Ninja Foodi, philips, and bella pro) and haven't had any issues.

Shannon E.

Saturday 27th of June 2020

I LOVED this recipe! I made a few modifications to make it paleo-friendly but I followed the basic concept. The nuggets came out perfect. This will definitely be in regular rotation in my household.

Tanya

Tuesday 30th of June 2020

Thank you so much Shannon :) So glad you liked the recipe.

JP

Wednesday 10th of June 2020

Did you preheat the air fryer first?

Tanya

Wednesday 10th of June 2020

Hi JP, I didn't when I originally made the recipe but you can. Sometimes preheating can help with any sticking issues. You may just need to reduce the time by a minute or two since your air fryer will be hotter when starting.

Carol

Saturday 15th of February 2020

What kind of pickle juice do you use!

Tanya

Monday 17th of February 2020

Hi, I use pickle juice that comes in a jar of dill pickles.