These crispy air fryer Chick-fil-A nuggets recipe will curb your fast food cravings without all the extra oil. This healthier copycat recipe is made with skinless chicken breast meat and a unique ingredient - pickle juice! You'll love this quick dinner inspired by Chick-fil-A with your favorite dipping sauce.
Love homemade chicken nuggets? Try my Buffalo chicken nuggets.
Air fryer chick-fil-a nuggets
This delicious recipe is all about curbing your chicken nugget craving!
We all crave that signature flavor Chick-fil-A offers. So why not learn to make these air fryer chick-fil-A nuggets at home with no cooking oil or deep frying.
This recipe has a surprise ingredient. Can you guess what it is?
It's pickle juice! That's what gives this recipe its real deal flavor- but without pickle flavor! Leave it to Chick-fil-A to use such an interesting ingredient.
So if you're ready to have your tastebuds blown away, grab your apron and your air fryer and let's start cooking these delicious air fryer chick-fil-A nuggets!
Why you'll love it
Easy dinner - the air fryer makes dinner a snap because it's faster than baking. It's a great option for those busy weeknights when you have a lot going on.
Healthier alternative - the air fryer uses less oil cutting calories and fat grams. This homemade version is made with real ingredients that are cooked in hot air instead of oil.
Family friendly - kids love finger foods made from simple ingredients and they will love these crispy air fryer chicken nuggets with some my buttermilk ranch dressing, homemade bbq sauce made with ketchup, honey mustard sauce, or other favorite.
Chick-fil-A copycat - now you can get the same crispy golden brown nuggets, but at home.
Love the air fry method? Try my Air Fryer Chicken Wings!
Scroll to the bottom of the post for precise ingredients and printable recipe card.
Boneless chicken breasts - the best way to get copycat nuggets is to use chicken breasts cut into pieces. Use boneless chicken thighs if you prefer, adjusting cooking time if necessary.
Milk - regular milk is part of the marinade that is needed as a tenderizer for the meat.
Dill pickle juice - that surprise ingredient that gives that unique taste and helps tenderize the meat. We use leftover pickle juice from the jar of our favorite dill pickles.
Honey - we prefer honey for this recipe, but you can also try maple syrup, white sugar (be sure it dissolves) or even powdered sugar.
Yellow mustard - more of that trademark flavor.
Breadcrumbs - regular, dry breadcrumbs. Use panko bread crumbs if you prefer.
Salt and black pepper - you can add additional seasonings such as garlic powder or onion powder. Just a bit will do - about ¼ teaspoon.
Cooking spray - we love using avocado oil spray, or canola oil spay.
Top tips to know ahead
- Be sure you're familiar with how your brand air fryer works.
- Be sure to place chicken in a single layer for best results.
- Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. Chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees F.
- You can marinate the chicken in just pickle juice if you are avoiding dairy and sugar!
- No air fryer? Try baking them in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 20 to 25 minutes flipping them over at the halfway point.
Step One: In a medium shallow bowl, add the milk, pickle juice, mustard, honey, and salt and pepper.
Step Two: Cut the breast in pieces, I like to use my kitchen scissor for that, but you can also use a knife, just be sure you have one inch chunks of chicken breasts. Add the chicken to the milk and pickle juice mixture. Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Step Three: Preheat the air fryer to 380 F. Prepare a plate or large bowl with breadcrumbs. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade, letting the excess drip off. You can lightly dab them with a paper towel, but you'll need some moisture so the breadcrumbs stick.
Dip the chicken pieces in the breadcrumbs until they are evenly coated.
Step Four: Spray the air fryer basket with a bit of nonstick cooking spray and spray the chicken nuggets as well. Place them in the basket in an even layer doing your best to leave a little space between. You may need to cook in batches.
Step Five: Cook at 380˚F for 5 minutes. Turn the chicken over and continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes until the inside of the chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
What dipping sauces should I use for these Air Fryer Chick-fil-A Nuggets?
There are so many choices when it comes to sauces. You can get some authentic Chick-fil-A sauces at most grocery stores now. Ketchup is the old stand-by but we like this Southern White Gravy and this Creamy Cajun Sauce and Dip when we want a little kick.
Storage and reheating
Store leftover chicken nuggets in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Freeze in an airtight container (freezer safe) for up to three months.
Reheat in the microwave until hot.
Reheat in the air fryer at 350 degrees F for about 6 minutes. Add a minute or two more if reheating from frozen and cook until heated through.
Or place them on a baking sheet in a 350 degrees F preheated oven for about 6 minutes or until heated through.
Try my No Bake Chocolate Pie for dessert!
These homemade air fried nuggets are full of protein and low in fat and calories. Most store bought and fast food nuggets are processed with lots of unnecessary ingredients and deep fried, making them an unwise choice.
Warm up your chicken nuggets in the air fryer for about 5 minutes at 380 degrees F.
These homemade Chick-fil-A copycat nuggets should be cooked for about 10 minutes or an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
More easy air fryer recipes
- Air Fryer Crispy Whole Chicken
- Air Fryer Frozen Biscuits
- Air Fryer Bang Bang Cauliflower
- Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Thighs
- Air Fryer Chicken Fajitas
- Air Fryer Juicy Bratwursts
- Air Fryer Bean and Cheese Tostadas
Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
- 1 lbs skinless and boneless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch chunks up to 1.5 pounds
- ½ cup milk any variety
- ½ cup dill pickle juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 1 cup breadcrumb dry, panko
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Cooking spray
- In a medium bowl, add the milk, pickles juice, mustard, honey, and salt and pepper.
- Cut the kitchen breast in pieces, I like to use my kitchen scissor for that, but you can also use a knife.
- Add the chicken to the milk and pickles juice mixture.
- Place in the fridge and marinate for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Prepare a plate with breadcrumbs.
- Dip the chicken pieces in the breadcrumb until they are evenly coated.
- Spray the air fryer basket with a bit of cooking spray.
- Place the chicken pieces in the basket of the air fryer. Cook at 380 ˚F for 5 minutes. Turn the chicken over and continue cooking for 5 minutes until the inside of the chicken is cooked to 165 degrees F.