Golden brown and they taste just like the real deal. Air Fryer Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets are so good, you’ll want to make them every day!
Air fryers are ALLLL the rage right now (and for good reason). I have absolutely jumped on the bandwagon and dived in head-first into air frying ALL the things. We recently tried making air fryer chicken wings and they came out so perfectly that I was inspired to try out some other awesome recipes in the air fryer. My obsession with deep-fried chicken nuggets is intense.
So of course, my next air fryer adventure HAD to be Air Fryer Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets! I may be retiring my spot in line from the Chick-Fil-A drive-thru… these copycat nuggets are crisped to perfection, flavored JUST like the restaurant, and are SO much better for you.
Just as good as the restaurant!
If your kids are anything like mine then they are obsessed with all types of chicken nuggets… Dino nuggets from the freezer, chicken McNuggets from McDonald’s, and especially Chick-Fil-A nuggets. Basically, if it’s chicken that’s breaded and fried, they’re in Heaven. I can’t say that I blame my kids though… those Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets are incredible.
But, they are heavily breaded and definitely deep-fried. I absolutely get them as a treat, but we don’t get them as often as my boys would like. So, instead of spending tons of money at the Chick-fil-a drive-through, I decided to make my own copycat Chick-Fil-A nuggets air fryer style!
We all know that I am obsessed with the air fryer – crispy, delicious, fried food but without all the oil and guilt. What’s not to love?! I can practically hear you yelling at me through your computer screen “But Aubrey! NOTHING will EVER compare to the deliciousness that is Chick-Fil-A nuggets!” Give me a shot here and try air fryer Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets out. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Other copycat recipes to make at home
- Copycat Starbucks Pink Drink – Making my favorite Startbucks drink at home has saved me SO much money! It uses real Starbucks ingredients too so it’s just as good.
- Copycat Carrabba’s Cavatappi Amatriciana – I love Carrabba’s pasta, but I don’t always love the dinner wait. Now I can make my husband’s favorte dish at home!
- Slow Cooker Copycat Wendy’s Chili – This chili is delicious all by itself, but you can also serve it over hotdogs or mix leftovers into mac and cheese!
Chicken Breasts – you’ll want two large skinless chicken breasts cut up into tiny bite-sized pieces.
Pickle Juice – there’s a bit of a debate going around on the internet as to whether authentic Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets are soaked in pickle juice. But, so many of the copycat nugget recipes use it, so I tried it both ways. I have to say, as weird as it sounds, I really do like the nuggets with pickle juice better. Give it a try!
Seasoning – Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets are known for a delicious breading that has a slightly sweet hint to it. In the seasoning for your copycat Chick-Fil-A nuggets in the air fryer, you’ll get that sweetness from a little confectioner’s sugar in the breading. To achieve that signature flavor you’ll also need some paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder.
How to make Chick Fil A nuggets in an air fryer
STEP ONE: Marinate the chicken pieces in a combination of milk and pickle juice in a mixing bowl for at least 1 hour.
STEP TWO: Preheat your air fryer to 390 degrees F and completely coat the fryer basket with cooking oil. (This will prevent your chicken nuggets from sticking to the basket…nobody wants that!) If you have a dark coating on your air fryer basket, use an olive oil spray. Grab a shallow bowl and combine the flour, spices, and confectioners sugar.
STEP THREE: While the air fryer is pre-heating, get those chicken nuggets coated! Beat the egg with a fork and add it into the milk and chicken, stirring to combine. Next, place the flour mixture in a large, shallow bowl. With a slotted spoon, remove some of the chicken pieces, letting the liquid drain from the spoon, and add the chicken to the flour mixture. Give the chicken a good mix, you want it to be completely coated. Then place it on the tray of the air fryer.
STEP FOUR: Next, spray the chicken well with cooking spray and place it in the air fryer for 5 minutes. Shake the chicken after 5 minutes and spray any flour parts with cooking spray and cook for another 3-5 minutes. The chicken is done when it is crispy and golden brown.
Tips for Success
- You probably won’t be able to fry up the whole batch of nuggets in one swoop. You don’t want to overcrowd your air fryer basket or else your copycat Chick-Fil-A nuggets won’t get all crispy. So, to avoid that, cook the chicken in batches.
- Be sure get a good coating of olive oil spray on the breaed nuggets before cooking and after shaking. This is what will crispy them up. I like to use a non-propellant olive oil spray so it doesn’t blast the flour off. I usually grab a can at Trader Joe’s, but you can find it on Amazon too.
- Serve your chicken nuggets hot with your favorite dipping sauces! Did you know that you can actually buy the REAL Chick-Fil-A sauce in stores now?! This is a game changer in our house. No more stockpiling the little packets we get when we order takeout 🙂
How many calories in Chick Fil A nuggets?
One of the best benefits of using an air fryer is that it really cuts back on the fat and calories in your favorite snacks and meals. Because you’re not deep-frying your food, but instead letting the hot air crisp it up, the calorie count is WAY less for foods cooked air fryer style.
A 12-count pack of Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets comes in at around 380 calories. That really isn’t all THAT crazy when you’re thinking of it as a meal, but that doesn’t include the delicious deep-fried waffle fries and irresistible dipping sauces. Those calories add up real fast.
In comparison, these copycat Chick-Fil-A nuggets air fryer style are only _____ calories per serving! Now you can eat your chicken nuggets, a delicious side dish (like this crispy air fryer bloomin’ onion for example….) AND your dipping sauces all without nearly as much guilt.
Want more kid-friendly dinner ideas?
- Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs
- Parmesan Chicken Tenders
- Honey Sriracha Chicken Nuggets
- Crescent Roll Taco Ring
- Crack Chicken Sliders
- In a large bowl, combine chicken pieces with the milk and pickle juice. Stir, cover, and place in the refrigerator for at least 60 minutes.
- Preheat your air fryer to 390 degrees F and completely coat the fryer basket with cooking oil. (If you have a dark coating on your air fryer basket use an olive oil spray.)
- In a shallow bowl combine the flour, powdered sugar, onion powder, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and pepper.
- Beat the egg with a fork and add it to the chicken mixture, stirring to combine.
- With a slotted spoon, remove some of the chicken pieces from the marinade, letting the liquid drain from the spoon. Then add the chicken to the flour mixture. Coat the chicken and then place them on the tray of the air fryer. (You'll need to cook in batches.)
- Spray the chicken well with cooking spray and place in the air fryer for 5 minutes. Shake the chicken after 5 minutes and spray any floured parts with cooking spray. Cook for another 3-5 minutes until the chicken is crispy and golden brown.
- Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauces.