These Air Fryer Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets are a copycat recipe of your favorite fast food nuggets with no frying required! Fast, easy and delicious!
ALL THE FLAVOR WITHOUT ALL THE OIL
We love Chick-Fil-A around here, especially their chicken nuggets! When I posted my original copycat recipe for these (that are fried in oil like you get at the restaurant), I immediately got requests for a healthier alternative. So I set about adapting them to be made in the air fryer. I don't think you can ever quite totally duplicate a fried-in-oil crunch and taste but I think we can come pretty close. So if you want a fun takeout food without having to break out the deep fryer, then you have to make my Air Fryer Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nugget recipe!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Yes. For this recipe it is necessary. We want that basket already hot before adding the chicken to help seal in the juices and provide that crispy coating.
This is an extra step in air frying that helps the chicken get golden and crispy. Since it is not frying in oil, you need that extra measure to make sure that they come out like they were fried. I suggest using an olive oil or coconut oil spray. These have a less damaging effect on the air fryer basket like a vegetable oil spray would. Vegetable oils can often make the basket sticky and hard to clean.
This is a real integral part of this recipe so I would recommend using buttermilk. I can't stress that enough. Real, thick buttermilk.
Now, you can make a copycat version by adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to whole cow's milk or heavy cream. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes and stir then continue with the recipe. But as I always say in my other recipes that use buttermilk, there really is truly nothing like real buttermilk.
The Chick-Fil-A sauce can be purchased at many grocery stores now. I found some at Walmart as well as Kroger. However, we also really love it with ranch dressing or even honey mustard.
Yes - definitely! With any recipe like this (where it is battered) you will want to spray very well with olive oil spray. It helps the coating from sticking to the basket. Also, if you are going to line your air fryer basket with those new precut air fryer liners, make sure there are plenty of holes in them to allow the air to circulate. If you don't do this, the chicken will not cook properly.
These will be done after about 8 minutes cook time or when the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F.
Yes. Although I haven't tested them out in the oven yet. However, if I were to give my best guess here, I would suggest you use butter to make them. It's the only way you are going to get the outside of it truly crispy without adding some sort of additional coating like bread crumbs or crushed crackers. Melt about 5-6 tablespoons of butter and put it into the bottom of a large baking pan with higher sides. Layer out the prepared chicken on the baking pan. Bake at 400F degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip them all over and continue to bake for about another 10 minutes (until internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165F degrees).
These will need to be placed in an airtight container in the refrigerator where they will keep for up to 4-5 days. You can reheat in the air fryer at 390 degrees F for about 3-5 minutes.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (FULL RECIPE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST)
- chicken breasts
- dill pickle juice
- all-purpose flour
- powdered sugar
- salt and pepper
- olive oil spray
HOW TO MAKE AIR FRYER CHICK-FIL-A CHICKEN NUGGETS:
Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, set aside.In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and pickle juice until smooth.
Add the chicken and coat in the mixture. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to overnight. Overnight is best here if you can remember to do it the night before.
In a gallon-sized ziploc bag add the flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Shake it up so everything gets mixed together. Preheat the air fryer to 390°F.
Place pieces of chicken into the flour mixture, close the bag, and shake to coat the chicken. I do about ¼th batch at a time.
Spray the basket of the air fryer with olive oil spray. Place the chicken nuggets (making sure they are not touching) into the air fryer basket. I used a 5-quart air fryer here. Spray well with the olive oil spray, make sure each piece is coated.
Air fry for 8 minutes, flipping halfway through, and spray liberally with more olive oil spray. Chicken is done when an internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Repeat with the remaining nuggets.
WANT MORE DELICIOUS RECIPES? YOU MUST TRY THESE!
Air Fryer Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets
- 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup dill pickle juice
- 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- ½ tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 ½ teaspoons table salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Olive Oil Spray
- Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, set aside.In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and pickle juice until smooth.
- Add the chicken and coat in the mixture. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour or up to overnight (overnight is best).
- In a gallon-sized ziploc bag add the flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Shake it up so everything gets mixed together.
- Preheat the air fryer to 390°F.
- Place pieces of chicken into the flour mixture, close the bag, and shake to coat the chicken. I do about ¼th batch at a time.
- Spray the basket of the air fryer with olive oil spray.
- Place the chicken nuggets not touching into the air fryer basket. Spray very well with the olive oil spray, make sure each piece is coated.
- Air fry for 8 minutes, flipping halfway through, and spray liberally with more olive oil spray. Chicken is done when an internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Repeat with the remaining nuggets.
- Make sure you spray you air fryer basket.
- Spray your chicken as well to help it get crispy and browned.
- Do not overcrowd you pan, cook these in batches.
- I used a 5-quart air fryer for this recipe.
- Try to soak the nuggets in the buttermilk overnight, if possible. It really tenderizes the chicken and makes them so moist.
“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.
Sounds delicious and I'm planning on making it tomorrow with some chicken I have in the fridge. But what kind of pickle juice? Sweet or dill? Thank you! Love your recipes.
Brandie @ The Country Cook
Good question Cynthia! I just use dill pickle juice. Hope that helps!