Some Sundays, the foods I crave feel like they would be too much after a Saturday of indulging. You can ignore this feeling as I often do because football and food are destiny and fighting that is just wrong, OR you can find ways to feel a LIL less guilty while enjoying your favorite team. This week I NEEDED chicken nuggets, and not only is Chick-Fil-A closed on Sundays, I wanted a nugget that didn’t make me feel like oily weights were sitting in my stomach. I happened to have chicken tenders in my fridge, so I grabbed a few extra ingredients and got cooking! This recipe utilizes one of my favorite kitchen tools, the Air Fryer! Don’t have one? You can also bake these nuggets in the oven BUT may I say the holidays are coming and there are great Air Fryer deals to be had. Add it to your list and make this again. Let’s go through this super easy (even I can do it) recipe!
Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
- 2 large chicken breasts or a package of chicken tenders
- 1 cup of buttermilk
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- 2-3 tbsp panko breadcrumbs (I’ll admit, I used more!)
- 3 tbsp parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp paprika (I used this sparingly, not my husband’s favorite flavor)
- ½ tsp salt and pepper (don’t be shy here)
- Canola oil spray
Step 1: Marinate Chicken in Buttermilk.
Whether you have tenders or breasts, cut up the chicken into bite-sized pieces (I always like to season my chicken before doing ANYTHING else so add some salt and pepper here as well), and dunk those chunks into a large bowl of buttermilk. Let the chicken soak in the buttermilk for 5 minutes. Also, at this point, you can turn on your Air Fryer to preheat at 400°F for 5 minutes.
Step 2: Prepare the Breadcrumb Mixture
During your 5 minutes of soaking, prepare your breadcrumb mixture, just adding all of the components (breadcrumbs, panko, parmesan, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper) into a bowl. Mix these dry ingredients as best as you can to make a nice homogenous mixture!
Step 3: Drain Buttermilk, Add Breadcrumb Mixture, Air Fry
In this step, we drain the buttermilk from the bowl of chicken, leaving buttermilk-soaked chicken bites. Add the breadcrumb mixture to these little guys and coat by tossing. At this point, your Air Fryer is nice and hot, you can add the chicken nuggets in a single layer and spray with canola oil spray to get that nice crispy outside. Cook 4 minutes and flip the nuggets and cook for another 4 minutes. I suggest cooking these in batches in a single layer because stacking the nuggets will prevent them from cooking evenly and getting that crispy outside, we all LOVE.
Step 4: Serve Nuggets HOT with a Sauce of Your Choosing.
As the nuggets come out of the Air Fryer, throw them on a serving dish with your favorite sauces! I used a sweet chili sauce and a honey mustard- both were great! Love BBQ? That works too. Make a sauce you think would go perfect with these? Let us know! But no matter the sauce, we hope you enjoy these game-day Air Fryer chicken nuggets.