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How to Cook Chicken Nuggets in an Air Fryer

How to Cook Chicken Nuggets in an Air Fryer

Last Updated on 5th August 2022 by Pauline Loughlin

The air fryer is considered a healthier way to cook a lot of foods that would normally be cooked in a vat of oil. Using the air fryer, you won’t need as much oil, and the food can still come out tasting crispy and delicious.

When cooking chicken nuggets in the air fryer, you want to be aware that there may be different cooking times for different brands of chicken nuggets.

Not all of them will cook the same way, so you may need to do a little experimenting to find out what works best for the brand you’re using. The size of the chicken nuggets and their density will help determine how long it takes them to cook.

Not all air fryers are the same either. Some of them may vary a little bit in how long it takes them to cook chicken nuggets. How many chicken nuggets you pack into the air fryer basket will determine how long it takes them to cook as well.

Keep all these factors in mind as you’re cooking your nuggets, and be prepared to make some adjustments to the cooking time or temperature.

The goal is always to get chicken nuggets to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s the recommended temperature to ensure that they are cooked fully.

The temperature can go higher than that, and that’s fine, but much higher than that will mean that they’re probably drying out or getting burnt. You can use a kitchen thermometer to test the internal temperature of the nuggets.

When using this tool, be sure to place it into the center of the chicken nuggets for an accurate reading.

How Do You Cook Nuggets in an Air Fryer?

For perfect, crispy chicken nuggets using the air fryer, follow these directions-

  1. Put your chicken nuggets into the air fryer baskets, making a single layer.Try not to stack any of them on top of each other, or they won’t cook properly and thoroughly. Depending on how big your air fryer basket is, you may need to cook a few batches. You may not be able to cook all the nuggets you want at once.
  2. Spray a little cooking oil on the nuggets before starting up the air fryer, and then cook them for about 12 to 15 minutes. How do you know when they’re done? They should be crispy on the outside, and their internal temperature should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
  3. Be careful when taking the nuggets out of the air fryer basket. The basket and nuggets will be hot, so it’s best to use a tong to remove them.

Can you reheat fried chicken in an airfryer? Of course you can  and we have a guide to reheating fried chicken in air fryer.

Should You Use an Air Fryer to Cook Chicken Nuggets?

You could make chicken nuggets a few different ways, like in the oven or in a pot of oil. What makes the air fryer worth using when you’re looking to make crispy chicken nuggets?

First of all, the air fryer is healthier. There’s less oil used, so that’s less fatty oil permeating the chicken nuggets and clogging your arteries. If you’re looking to lose weight or just be healthier, you should definitely use the air fryer instead of cooking nuggets in a pot of oil.

The only oil needed is a little cooking spray on the nuggets when you place them into the air fryer. You could choose a healthy, low-fat oil for this task.

They are also quick and easy to make an air fryer. It takes 15 minutes or less to cook them this way, and you don’t need to move them around like you would in oil.

If you’re cooking nuggets in a pot of oil, you may need to stir them occasionally so they don’t stick together or stick to the bottom of the pot.

As long as you’re cooking them in a single layer in the air fryer, you don’t need to disturb them at all till they’re done cooking.

They also cooked perfectly in the air fryer every time. If you follow the instructions I’ve given you above, you shouldn’t have any issues getting perfect looking, perfect tasting chicken nuggets every time.

The method I’ve given you works with most brands of chicken nuggets and chicken nuggets in most sizes.

Air fryers also useful for cooking all sorts of other things. You can make your entire dinner in the air fryer with a fraction of the fat and oil you’d be using when frying foods on the stove top.

There will be less mess to clean up, it’ll be much healthier for you, in the air fryer cooks quickly and perfectly each time. It’s a lot easier to control the heat level in the air fryer as opposed to the stovetop.

The open flame of a gas-powered stove top can be a little inconsistent. That’s especially true in older stoves, but that’s not a problem you run into with the air fryer.

Your fryer is also safer to use, and you won’t have to worry about oil spattering on your skin or flying about the kitchen when cooking at high temperatures in the air fryer.

That’s certainly a problem for people cooking with a pot of oil on the stove, but not something that air fryer users need to worry about. It’s a safer kitchen environment for small children and inexperienced cooks who want to make chicken nuggets without the risks associated with using a pot of oil.

What Should You Serve with Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

While the nuggets will come out crispy and tasting great without anything else needed, you may want to add some sauces to really accentuate the crispiness and flavor of the nuggets.

The most common sauces people will use with chicken nuggets are sweet and sour sauce, honey mustard, ranch, and BBQ sauce. If you’re serving chicken nuggets to a group of people, you may want to offer a few different sauces.

Try different sauces with your chicken nuggets to see what works best for air fryer nuggets or particular brands of nuggets, if you’re trying something new.

What side should you serve with chicken nuggets? They’re traditionally served with fries, but there’s all sorts of things that chicken nuggets go very well with.

They could be part of a larger, healthy meal, paired with just about any kind of pasta- particularly cheesy pasta. Serve chicken nuggets with coleslaw, a salad, beans, veggies, or waffles.

Be careful about having something too heavy with chicken nuggets, as they can already be pretty heavy and are packed with carbs on their own. While chicken and waffles are a popular combination, the combined heaviness of these two foods may be a bit much for some people.

Most people won’t add bread or another meat to a meal that already includes chicken nuggets, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you can add shrimp and grits for a southern United States specialty.

Making chicken nuggets in air fryer is quick and easy and one of the healthiest ways to make them. If you’ve never given it a try before, you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised at how good they taste, how easy they are to make, and how easy the cleanup is.

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I'm Pauline, a retired patisserie chef, mother of four and now a full time food blogger! When i'm not cooking i love long walks, reading thriller novels and spending time with my grandkids. Head to my about me page to learn more about the woman behind the food!  You can find my Facebook here