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a hand dipping a chicken nugget into a white bowl of sauce
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5 from 2 votes

Crispy Chicken Nuggets Air Fryer Method!

For a healthier way to enjoy chicken nuggets, give these crispy homemade air fryer chicken nuggets a try! Juicy and tender chicken pieces are seasoned and cooked until perfectly crispy and golden – you won’t even know that they aren’t deep fried! They take about 20 minutes from start to finish and use simple ingredients like panko breadcrumbs, spices and chicken breast. Serve with chilli mayo, ketchup or your favourite dipping sauce for kid-friendly dinners or lunchboxes (that adults will love too!).
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time6 mins
0 mins
Total Time16 mins
Course: Appetizer, healthy, lunchbox, Main Course
Cuisine: Australian
Servings: 20 nuggets
Calories: 56kcal


  • 2 large chicken breasts approx 500 grams/1.1 pounds
  • ¼ cup cornflour/cornstarch
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½-3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • cup buttermilk
  • cup breadcrumbs
  • ¾ cup panko crumbs
  • cup parmesan cheese freshly and finely grated
  • olive oil spray or canola or vegetable oil spray

Optional, to serve

  • dipping sauce of choice to serve
  • chopped parsley


  • Pre-heat your air fryer to 180°C/356F for 5 minutes.
  • While the air fryer is heating, trim any fat from the chicken and cut the breasts into nugget sized pieces (approx. 20 pieces), or chicken tenders if you prefer.
  • In a bowl, mix the cornflour with the pepper, salt, paprika, garlic powder and onion powder. Toss the chicken pieces through the cornflour mix until they are completely coated on all sides.
  • Mix the breadcrumbs, panko and parmesan together in a separate bowl. Set up a station with three bowls; one containing the chicken pieces, one for the buttermilk and one for the breadcrumb mixture.
  • One by one, dredge the chicken pieces through the buttermilk until completely coated, then coat them in the breadcrumbs until covered on all sides. Rest the coated nuggets on a clean plate until they are all coated in the breadcrumb mixture.
  • Arrange the nuggets in a single layer along the bottom of the air fryer basket, or on racks if your fryer has them. You may need to do this in batches, depending on the size of your air fryer.
  • Cook the nuggets at 180°C/356F for 6-8 minutes, until the coating is crisp and the chicken has cooked through the middle (internal temperature 74°C/160F).
  • Serve immediately with your favourite dipping sauces, or store them according to the notes below to enjoy later.


  1. Buttermilk is used in this recipe. If you don't have any handy, you can easily make your own! Simply mix a cup of milk with 1-2 tsp of lemon juice or white vinegar, stir and allow to sit for 10 minutes before using.
  2. Fresh parmesan cheese is recommended over store-bought, pre-grated cheese. This is because it will incorporate better into the breadcrumb mixture.
  3. For extra crispy nuggets, you can toast the breadcrumbs in the oven for 5 minutes at 180C/356F before adding the parmesan and coating the chicken. This is an optional step that adds an even crunchier texture!
  4. Storage;
    In the fridge: leftover chicken nuggets can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. To re-heat, return to the air fryer and cook at 180C/356F for around 4-5 minutes, or until heated through.
    In the freezer: allow the nuggets to cool completely before spreading over a baking tray in a single layer (this ensures that they don’t stick together). Place the tray in the freezer and allow the nuggets to freeze before transferring to a freezer safe bag or container. Freeze for 2-3 months.
  5. For gluten-free nuggets, use your choice of gluten-free breadcrumbs instead of regular.
  6. For a dairy free option, leave out the cheese and switch the buttermilk for 1-2 lightly whisked eggs or some homemade dairy free buttermilk. Follow the instructions in step 1 of these notes, but use your favourite dairy free milk.
  7. Got a hungry crowd? This recipe can be easily multiplied to make more.


Calories: 56kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 144mg | Potassium: 105mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 73IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg