Skip to Content

How to Make Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Nuggets

Tender, juicy Chicken Nuggets ready for a fast lunch or dinner in just a few minutes with this easy recipe! If you’ve never made Frozen Chicken Nuggets in the Air Fryer before, you’re in for a real treat. Ditch the oven and possibly soggy chicken nuggets, you’ll get nice crispy breaded chicken nuggets every time when you use an Air Fryer.

One of my absolute favorite kitchen appliances is my Air Fryer.  I must confess, I actually have more than one air fryer, since I use them for so many things, often at the same time.

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see our disclosure.

Today I want to make talk about how to make an all time favorite in the air fryer, frozen chicken nuggets.

It’s sort of funny, because I didn’t even think about making chicken nuggets in the air fryer until I had it for a couple of years.

Once I did, I never went back to making chicken nuggets any other way.

Let’s talk about how to make the best frozen chicken nuggets around in the air fryer.

frozen chicken nuggets to be made in air fryer

Why You’ll Love This Idea

  • Perfectly cooked chicken nuggets every time
  • You don’t have to wait for them to thaw before cooking them
  • Healthier than traditional fried chicken nuggets
  • Uses way less oil than a deep fryer
  • Just what you need for a quick lunch, quick snack, or super easy dinner for the kids

How to make air fryer frozen chicken nuggets

There are a couple of steps when it comes to making frozen chicken nuggets in the air fryer.

Prepackaged Frozen Chicken Nuggets Prep Notes:

Pro Tip: If you are using packaged frozen chicken nuggets (like Perdue or Tyson chicken nuggets, or whatever your favorite brand is), first things first: read the ingredients.  If there is some sort of oil in the ingredients, you do not need to add more oil to your chicken nuggets to make them in the air fryer.

Many brands of frozen chicken nuggets will say something like “breading set in oil” in the ingredients. You’re good to go if this is the case.

Homemade Frozen Chicken Nuggets Prep Notes:

If you’re cooking frozen chicken nuggets you have made yourself and have not added any oil, be sure to mist them with your favorite cooking spray.

I like to make big batches of chicken nuggets and freeze them, like my favorite gluten free Chick-fil-A style nuggets.

How to Cook Frozen Chicken Nuggets:

Preheat your Air Fryer to 400 degrees for five minutes. 

Place chicken nuggets in the Air Fryer basket or Air Fryer tray and cook your frozen chicken nuggets for 10 minutes. Using a meat thermometer, check the internal temperature.  Remember, chicken is cooked and safe to eat once it reaches 165 degrees F.

You may have to add another minute or two of cook time based on the size of your chicken nuggets. If you have nuggets of different sizes, as you check on them, remove the ones that are finished cooking so you don’t overcook them and dry them out. You do want crispy chicken nuggets, but you don’t want burnt or hard, dry chicken nugget pucks.

That’s all there is to it! Cooking chicken nuggets in the Air Fryer is a quick and easy way to make them.


Any leftover chicken nuggets should be stored in an airtight container or a ziptop bag in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. To reheat chilled nuggets, I suggest popping them back in the fryer so you can enjoy hot, crispy nuggets again in no time. You should only need maybe 6-8 minutes to reheat them back up.

What size air fryer should I use?

There are so many air fryers out there, it can be hard to pick one.  My best advice is to keep an eye on the capacity!  The bigger the size, the more food you can put in it!

This air fryer has a 5.8 quart capacity, and a square basket, which is great for cooking chicken nuggets and other breaded or battered items.

COSORI Air Fryer Max XL(100 Recipes) Electric Hot Oven Oilless Cooker LED Touch Screen with 13 Cooking Functions, Preheat and Shake Reminder, Nonstick Basket, 5.8 QT, DIGITAL-Black

Get More Info on COSORI Air Fryer

Still have questions?  I know I did when I first started cooking with the air fryer, so I’m going to do my best to answer some of them.

homemade chicken nuggets in air fryer

Can you cook chicken nuggets and fries together in air fryer?

Yes, but be sure to start your fries first! While frozen chicken nuggets take a little over 10 minutes, french fries can take longer.

Whether they are fresh or frozen, french fries usually take closer to 20 minutes in the air fryer.

Also, pay attention to the type of fries you’re cooking. The required cook time for sweet potato fries can be different compared to tater tots or other fries.

chicken nuggets made in air fryer

Can I stack my chicken nuggets in the air fryer?

While you can stack your chicken nuggets in the air fryer, I don’t recommend it. When you stack items with breading in the Air Fryer, they tend to stick to each other and damage the breading.

For the best results, put your chicken nuggets in the air fryer in a single layer.

Some air fryers have accessory racks to provide more layers of cooking, and so do some air fryer toaster ovens. Just make sure to air fry chicken nuggets in a single layer so the machine has enough room to efficiently and appropriately move the hot air around the basket or tray to cook the nuggets healthier and faster. You want evenly cooked, safe chicken to eat, right?!

BLACK+DECKER Crisp 'N Bake Air Fry Toaster Oven, Stainless Steel, TO3215SS, 6 Slice

Get More Info on Black & Decker Air Fryer Toaster Oven

How long do you cook frozen food in air fryer?

The cooking time for frozen foods varies in the air fryer, but in general you’ll just need to add a few more minutes when you are cooking something frozen.

For example, I cook fresh asparagus in the air fryer for 8 minutes, but I cook frozen asparagus in the air fryer for 10.

Do I have to preheat the Air Fryer before adding the food?

 I go back and forth on if preheating the air fryer matters or not, in general. For frozen food, it definitely makes a difference when it comes to browning and crispiness!

I think this is because the frozen chicken nuggets don’t have time to defrost as the air fryer heats up.

How do I freeze my homemade chicken nuggets?

I love batch cooking, and I love to make a ton of chicken nuggets at the same time and freeze them.  The trick is making sure they are extremely well breaded so they don’t stick together too much in the freezer.

If I know I am freezing a set of chicken nuggets, I bread them extra carefully, and I make sure to put them through the bread crumbs of flour a second time just to make sure.

Even if they do stick together a little bit when they are frozen, they will be easy to pry apart.

Another trick is to freeze them flat in a ziplock bag in a baking pan, so they have time to freeze without sticking to each other.

Once they are frozen, you can allow them to touch, and remove the air from the ziplock so they will stay nice and fresh.

How do I cook frozen chicken nuggets?

There are many ways to cook frozen chicken nuggets, but I like the air fryer the best.  It is quick, easy, and doesn’t heat up my whole kitchen like an oven will.

If you’re making a really big batch of chicken nuggets, it may be worth using the oven, since you will have the best results if you put the chicken nuggets in a single layer.

If you make a lot of chicken nuggets, you may want to consider an air fryer toaster oven instead of a regular basket size air fryer.  It has a bigger surface area than many baskets.

How long do I cook frozen chicken nuggets in an air fryer?

Generally, cook frozen chicken nuggets for 10 minutes, and check their temperature.  You want them to be at least 165 degrees farenehit.

Depending on the size of the chicken nuggets, you may need to cook them for a few more minutes.

What Brands Can I Use with These Directions?

These directions work with all brands of chicken nuggets!  Be sure to pay attention to the internal temperature of the chicken nugget.

Start with 10 minutes of cooking time after preheating your air fryer.  If you are making large chicken tenders or chicken patties, you may want to start with 12 minutes.

I hope this helped you make the perfect air fryer chicken nuggets!

Tips and Variations

  • You can make vegetarian nuggets, be sure to check the instructions on the package for an adjusted temperature if needed, and a suggested cooking time.
  • Feel free to make your own homemade Air Fryer chicken nuggets from chicken tenders or chicken breasts.
  • Serve the best chicken nuggets with honey mustard sauce, ketchup, or any other of your favorite sauces.
  • Pair these nuggets with your favorite side dishes to make a complete and easy meal in just a matter of minutes.
  • Work in batches when making Air Fryer nuggets to make sure they all cook evenly. 

Now that you see just how fast and easy it is to make Chicken Nuggets Air Fryer style, I hope you get the courage to make your own at home. It’s an easy recipe that is super simple to follow and doesn’t dirty up the whole kitchen in the process.

Share and join us on social media!