Frozen Chicken Nuggets Air Fryer Guide (Easy & Crispy)

By Autumn Ellenson

What is better to feed hungry kids than air fryer chicken nuggets or chicken tenders? They are a hot, hearty, not to mention delicious, treat that even the pickiest eaters love to eat. And, let’s be honest, we adults love them, too.

You can even take nuggets to the next level by serving several different dipping sauces or other complementary finger foods.

The following covers everything you need to know about air frying delicious chicken nuggets for your next get-together or kid-pleasing meal!

What is so Great About Air Frying Your Nuggets?

If this is your first time air frying nuggets, you are in for a treat! You cannot go wrong when you air fry chicken nuggets.

Air frying gives you crispier chicken nuggets than microwaving, healthier nuggets than frying, and faster cooking than baking. Air frying food, really, is a total game-changer.

Air Frying Nuggets = healthier + crispier + faster

An air fryer holdes your food in a food basket while a fan circulates heat down and around the food. The rapid circulation cooks the food, making it crispy without added oil. You get the delicious crispness of fried food, like crispy nuggets, without the added calories!

How to Air Fry Frozen Chicken Nuggets

chicken nuggets and ketchup next to air fryer

It’s super easy and quick to air fry frozen chicken nuggets. You pull them straight from the freezer and place them in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Pop ’em in (no need to spray oil), turn the air fryer on, flip nuggets halfway through, and voila! As for temp and cook times…

What Temperature Do I Cook Chicken Nuggets in an Air Fryer?

Set the air fryer temp for frozen chicken nuggets to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the ideal temp for ideal crispiness! And as for frozen chicken nuggets air fryer time…

How Long Do I Air Fry Frozen Chicken Nuggets?

In general, air fry frozen chicken nuggets for a total of 10-12 minutes. For best results, flip the nuggets at the 7-minute mark. The bigger or thicker the nuggets, the longer it takes, of course. So, popcorn chicken, for instance, has a shorter cooking time than chicken tenders.

Which Chicken Nuggets Are the Best?

chicken nuggets and ketchup on plate

Really, any frozen chicken nuggets will do in an air fryer, but here are the most popular brands for frozen nuggets:

  • Tyson Chicken Nuggets (my personal favorite brand)
  • Bell and Evans Breaded Chicken Breast Nuggets
  • Fast Fixin’ Jumbo “Nugget-Shaped” Popcorn Nuggets
  • Banquet Chicken Breast Nuggets
  • Applegate Naturals Chicken Nuggets

You can also be fun and get the kids Dino nuggets. Even the pickiest eater can’t resist biting the head off a T-rex.

What About Meatless or Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets?

You or some of your guests may have dietary restrictions or follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. The air fryer is a great way to cook up crispy, veggie nuggets or vegan chicken nuggets for those guests.

You can also make homemade chicken nuggets with gluten-free breading for anyone on a celiac or wheat-free diet.

Be sure to thoroughly clean the air fryer basket between cooks and let your guests know that you are using the same basket. Or purchase a second basket to use for different dietary restrictions.

What Sauce Goes with Chicken Nuggets?

chicken nugget dipping sauces

You have made your delicious nuggets but don’t want to use boring old ketchup every time. What are some other options?

  • Spicy or Regular Ketchup (classics are classics for a reason)
  • Ranch
  • Honey Mustard
  • Garlic Aoili (ooo fancy)
  • Horseradish Mayo
  • Nacho cheese (oh yeah!)
  • Tahini Dip
  • Hot Sauce (Sriracha, anyone?)
  • Different Barbeque Sauces (I love Kinder’s)

Are you having friends over for a party? Game night? Here are some other finger foods you can serve with your air fryer nuggets:

  • Air fryer french fries
  • Air fryer pizza rolls
  • Air fryer frozen chicken wings
  • Air fryer corn dogs
  • Air fryer popcorn chicken

Or maybe you just want to Cook Frozen Hamburgers in the Oven.

How Long do Chicken Nuggets Last in the Fridge?

If you store leftover nuggets in an airtight container in the fridge, they can last for 1 to 2 days. You can pop them in the microwave in a rush, but it’s better to put them back in the air fryer. Here’s how…

How to Reheat Chicken Nuggets in Air Fryer

Preheat the air fryer to 350˚F (180˚C) and place chicken nuggets in a single layer in the basket. Cook for about 2 minutes, flip the nuggets, then cook for another 2 minutes. That’s it!

Air Frying Tips for Your Favorite Foods

air fryer with tips in word bubble

If you are new to air frying, these tips are for you!

1. Your air fryer does not need extra oil or cooking spray.

2. You can cook your food from frozen. There is no need to thaw it first!

3. Be sure not to overcrowd the air fry basket. Gently shake or turn foods if needed so that they cook evenly.

4. Remember to set a timer to toss/turn/shake your food, as directed in the recipe.

5. Does your recipe call for a non-heated air fryer? That will affect your food’s overall cooking time. To avoid burning your food, read the recipe carefully to see if you should pre-heat the air fryer or cook the food from cold.