Making frozen chicken nuggets in the air fryer is SO easy, and quick, and the air fryer makes the nuggets crispier than ever. This is the only way we make frozen chicken nuggets for my kids now.
Not sure which air fryer you should get? Check out our post on the 5 Air Fryers We Love!
What Makes Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets So Good
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about eating as healthy as possible as much as possible, but I also know when to pick my battles. That means some days it’s homemade, Whole30/paleo, copycat Chick-Fil-A nuggets aaaaand some days I’m tearing open a bag of frozen chicken nuggets and dumping them into the air fryer. It’s called balance. Hear me out…
- The air fryer is a lighter way to have perfectly crispy chicken nuggets at home without all the hassle and mess of deep frying. No burnt nuggets because your oil was too hot, or soggy nuggets because the oil wasn’t hot enough. You don’t even have to deal with the oil at all! The hot air does it all for you and you still get the same delicious results. Plus, since they’re lighter than fried nuggets, they don’t really feel like “junk food”, especially if you pick a healthier brand of frozen nuggets. Zero guilt.
- Frozen chicken nuggets can go straight from the freezer to the air fryer with no thawing, which makes them perfect when you’re short on time or you just don’t feel like cooking. It’s so much faster than baking them in the oven, too.
- Get a little ambitious and cook too many chicken nuggets? No problem! You can refrigerate them and reheat the leftovers in the air fryer, too! Gone are the days of soggy reheated nuggets in the microwave or dry reheated nuggets in the oven. Preheat your air fryer to 400° Fahrenheit and fry the cold nuggets 4-5 minutes or until they’re warmed completely. You can spray them lightly with oil to help them crisp up again if you want.
Key Ingredients for Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
Frozen Chicken Nuggets – The only ingredient you need for perfect frozen chicken nuggets in the air fryer are (drumroll, please) frozen chicken nuggets! I know, you didn’t see that coming. This method works with any type of frozen nuggets – dinosaur nuggets, chick’n nuggets, lightly breaded nuggets, organic nuggets, Tyson chicken nuggets… you get the picture.
Can You Cook Chicken Nuggets and Fries in the Air Fryer At the Same Time?
You absolutely can! This is one of my favorite time-saving tricks. It’s especially great if you’re cooking small portions of both or if you have a larger air fryer.
Follow the instructions below, cooking for a total of 15-ish minutes instead of 10. Shake the basket and flip the nuggets after the first 7 minutes, then check the nuggets again around minute 12. If they’re crispy enough for your liking, take them out and let the fries cook until they’re done. It should only take another 3 minutes or so, depending on your preferred fry doneness.
If you want to cook them separately, we’ve got the perfect method for Air Fryer Frozen French Fries, too!
- All air fryers are different, so 10 minutes in my air fryer may be 12 minutes in yours. It might also only be 8. The cook times will vary depending on the type, size, and thickness of your chicken nuggets. How many nuggets you’ve got in the basket at a time affects things, too. Keep an eye on your food, especially the first time or two you try this method, and adjust the cook times as needed to get your perfect air fryer chicken nuggets.
- You don’t even really need spray oil here. If you like your chicken nuggets a little less crispy, skip the spray oil altogether or just use it on the basket itself if you’re afraid of the nuggets sticking. If you like your nuggets really crispy, though, spray the basket lightly with spray oil, place the nuggets in the basket, then lightly (lightly!) spray the nuggets, too.
- I used a Chefman air fryer with a basket for these frozen chicken nuggets. This method works in an air fryer oven with racks, too! Just remember – you want a single layer of nuggets on the air fryer trays. No stacking or piling or overlapping. The details are still the same – 400° Fahrenheit, 10 minutes, flip the nuggets after 5 minutes. With an air fryer oven, you also want to rotate the trays when you flip the nuggets. That lets them all cook as evenly as possible.
Other Air Fryer Recipes You Have to Try
- Air Fryer Salmon with Brown Sugar Crust
- Air Fryer Hot Dogs
- Frozen Chicken Breast in the Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Tater Tots
- Air Fryer Steak with Easy Herb Butter
- Frozen Shrimp in the Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Potato Wedges
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Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Nuggets
- Air fryer
- Air fryer safe spray oil (optional)
- frozen chicken nuggets
- dipping sauce of choice optional
- Preheat air fryer to 400° Fahrenheit.
- When preheated, spray air fryer basket with spray oil (optional) and place chicken nuggets in basket in single, even layer. Place basket in air fryer and cook 5 minutes.
- Remove basket and flip chicken nuggets over. Return basket to air fryer and cook another 5 minutes, for total cook time of 10 minutes.
- Transfer chicken nuggets to plate(s) and serve with plenty of dipping sauce (optional).
- Spray Oil: If you like your chicken nuggets a little less crispy, you can skip the spray oil altogether or just use it on the basket itself. If you like your nuggets really crispy, spray the basket with spray oil, place the nuggets in the basket, then lightly (lightly!) spray the nuggets with oil, too.
- Nuggets: If you’re cooking a lot of nuggets or you have a smaller air fryer, you’ll need to work in batches to avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket!
- Air Fryer Oven: Preheat air fryer oven to 400°F. Place chicken nuggets in a single, even layer on the air fryer tray(s). Fry nuggets for 5 minutes, then flip nuggets over and rotate trays. Fry nuggets another 5 minutes or until done.
- Make it Gluten Free: Use gluten free chicken nuggets.
- Make it Low Carb: Use lightly breaded nuggets or nuggets with the lowest carb count you can find.
- Make it Vegetarian/Vegan: Use plant-based chick’n nuggets.
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Cheryl Malik is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind the healthy, flavorful, family friendly recipes at 40 Aprons. She’s been a blogger for 10+ years and is known for her delicious recipes and detailed recipe instructions. Cheryl is a mom of three who lives in Memphis, TN.