Can you air fry frozen chicken nuggets? You bet! These air fryer frozen chicken nuggets turn out crispy, just like chicken nuggets baked in the oven. Make a Tyson chicken nuggets air fryer recipe, Perdue chicken nuggets air fryer recipe, or use your favorite brand for a quick and easy weeknight dinner. Learn about how to find the best chicken nuggets, what temp to air fry chicken nuggets, and much more!
We're all about EASY today. Air fryer nuggets are perfect when you come home and you're hungry but you just don't have the energy to make food. There’s no digging out a recipe and measuring stuff with these simple frozen chicken nuggets air fryer instructions.
Making chicken nuggets is one of the easiest things ever. To make air fryer breaded chicken nuggets, just plop them in the air fryer basket and cook them. Serve them with some dip, and your kids will gobble them up!
Seriously, what is it about chicken nuggets and kids? Anyway, frozen chicken bites in air fryer are low effort and just about guaranteed to be a family dinner win. Plus, air fried nuggets come out crispier than chicken nuggets cooked in the microwave.
Along with this air fryer frozen chicken nugget recipe, you’ll learn how to choose a healthier chicken nugget. I'm also going to share nutrition information for frozen chicken nuggets that I use.
Cooking frozen raw chicken nuggets in air fryer is such a time saver! It takes a long time to blend and shape the chicken, and then bread and brown homemade nuggets. You’ll love frozen air fryer chicken nuggets when time is short!
- 🔪 How to Air Fry Frozen Nuggets
- ⏲️ How Long to Cook Frozen Chicken Nuggets in Air Fryer
- 🔥 Chicken Nuggets in Air Fryer Oven Instructions
- ❓️ Chicken Nuggets Internal Temperature
- ⭐ Are frozen chicken nuggets healthy?
- 🤔 What are the healthiest chicken nuggets?
- 🐔 Frozen Chicken Nuggets Air Fryer Ingredients
- 🌡️ Can you reheat chicken nuggets?
- 🧂 Chicken Nuggets Dips
- 🥗 What goes with chicken nuggets?
- 🍟 Can you cook chicken nuggets and tater tots in air fryer together?
- 🥶 Can I keep frozen chicken nuggets in the refrigerator instead of the freezer?
- 📋Frozen Chicken Nuggets Nutrition Information
- 💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
- 👩🏽🍳 More Easy Chicken Air Fryer Recipes
- 👨🏾🍳 Best Frozen Snacks for Air Fryer Recipes
- The Disclaimer…
- 📖 Recipe
🔪 How to Air Fry Frozen Nuggets
Let’s talk about how to cook frozen chicken nuggets in the air fryer! Chicken nuggets cook really quickly in the air fryer, so make any side dishes first. Here are step-by-step directions for air fryer frozen chicken nuggets:
- Place 8 ounces of frozen chicken nuggets (about 12 nuggets) in an air fryer basket or tray.
- Spread them out in a single layer, leaving space between the nuggets. Don’t stack them; you want air fryer air circulation on all sides of the nuggets to make them extra crispy. Time to air fry!
⏲️ How Long to Cook Frozen Chicken Nuggets in Air Fryer
How long do you cook frozen chicken nuggets in an air fryer? What is the frozen chicken nuggets air fryer time? Air fry chicken nuggets for a total of 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200C). Flip the nuggets halfway through cooking time.
Use the top rack position (closest to the heat element) if you have an air fryer oven. There is no need to preheat the air fryer or use an oil spray. My air fryer oven took 10 minutes, while my small air fryer took 8.
Check with a meat thermometer to ensure the nuggets reached at least 165F (74C). Add more cooking time if needed. Allow the nuggets to cool for a couple of minutes before serving with dipping sauce.
🔥 Chicken Nuggets in Air Fryer Oven Instructions
You can cook more frozen chicken nuggets at once if you have an air fryer oven with two trays. They’ll take more time because one of the trays is further from the heating element during cooking.
To begin, place 14-16 ounces of chicken nuggets on two air fryer trays. Make sure they are in a single layer with adequate space between them. Put the trays in your air fryer.
Air fry the frozen nuggets for 10 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200C). Then, flip the chicken nuggets over and switch the position of the air fryer trays in the oven.
Air fry the nuggets for an additional 10 minutes at 400F (200C). They should have reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74C) at this point. The chicken nugget breading should be nice and crispy.
To serve, allow the nuggets to cool for several minutes and serve with your favorite sauce. Enjoy!
❓️ Chicken Nuggets Internal Temperature
Frozen chicken nuggets that have not been fully cooked should reach a minimum safe temp of 165F (74C). Use a meat thermometer to ensure your nuggets have reached the safe temperature.
Some chicken nuggets are fully cooked. If the packaging doesn’t specify this, assume the nuggets are raw or only partially cooked.
⭐ Are frozen chicken nuggets healthy?
My question here (as a registered dietitian and nutrition expert) is “healthy for who?” To use an extreme example, if you're a person who has limited their diet to solely chicken nuggets, adding more is probably not healthy for you.
On the other hand, if eating foods such as chicken nuggets and pizza ("fear foods" for some) helps you maintain your eating disorder recovery, chicken nuggets may be an excellent food for you. Many general nutrition tips online (including on this site) are inappropriate for those with a history of eating disorders.
It's definitely possible to have an overall healthy diet that includes the occasional meal of chicken nuggets. In terms of nutrient density and amount of processing, I would not say that frozen chicken nuggets are the best choice. That said, stressing out over eating 100% "perfectly" all of the time often isn't optimal either.
🤔 What are the healthiest chicken nuggets?
If you eat chicken nuggets rarely, choose the brand of frozen chicken nuggets you enjoy. It could be Tyson chicken nuggets, whatever brand reminds you of McDonald's chicken nuggets, or something else.
It's ok to eat a food simply because you like it. Some people must maintain strict food restrictions as part of their medical nutrition therapy. Even in those cases, it’s often possible to find substitutes for favorite foods.
That said, if you're eating a lot of chicken nuggets, one or more nugget meals per week, the type you choose is more important. The nuggets are a larger part of your diet, displacing other (perhaps more health-promoting) foods.
The "healthiest" nuggets, at least in terms of nutrient density and minimizing intake of ultra-processed food, will usually be homemade chicken nuggets. Homemade nuggets can use whole cuts of chicken, whole grain breading, and limit the high sodium content typical of most store-bought chicken nuggets.
If you're buying frozen nuggets, aim for a product with an ingredients list similar to what you might make at home. Here are some things I want from a healthy chicken nugget:
- Minimally processed chicken meat (white meat is leaner, but dark meat is fine too)
- A breading made with little (or no) refined grains: Breading made of whole grains, legumes, nuts, or seeds would be better choices
- Minimal (or no) added sugar
- Minimal (or no) low quality added oils (canola, soy, etc.)
- Reduced sodium content (low sodium compared to competitor brands)
- Bonus points for added veggies (or other healthy ingredients not typically found in chicken nuggets)
Kidfresh white meat chicken nuggets meet my "healthier nugget" criteria above. Plus, they taste normal, with no weird aftertaste from the hidden veggies or whole grains. IMVHO they’re the best brand of frozen chicken nuggets I’ve found.
🐔 Frozen Chicken Nuggets Air Fryer Ingredients
To make these air fryer frozen chicken nuggets, here's what you need:
- Frozen chicken nuggets (do not thaw)
- Your favorite dipping sauce
That’s it! No cooking spray needed, or anything else.
I tested Great Value chicken nuggets and Kidfresh chicken nuggets in the air fryer. Chicken nugget brands other than the ones I used should work fine too.
That said, be sure to keep an eye on them the first time you air fry. You may need to adjust the baking time slightly.
One of my bags of chicken nuggets had air fryer directions that recommended preheating the air fryer and cooking at a lower temp. You’ll save time using my air fryer instructions, and the nuggets turn out just as good.
I tested this recipe with a 10-Quart Kalorik Digital Air Fryer Oven and an Okaysou air fryer. You can make air fryer chicken nuggets in a Ninja Foodi, Philips, Nuwave, Pampered Chef, Actifry, Instant Pot Vortex, Cosori, Breville, or another air fryer. However, cooking times may need to be adjusted depending on the air fryer you use.
Air fryer ovens tend to take longer to cook foods than smaller air fryers. The disadvantage of small air fryers is that they cook smaller amounts of food at one time. The only other piece of kitchen equipment I recommend for this recipe is a meat thermometer.
🌡️ Can you reheat chicken nuggets?
Leftover chicken nuggets can be kept in a covered airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Keep any dipping sauce separate. To reheat chicken nuggets use my how to reheat McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets instructions.
My air fryer oven took 3-4 minutes at 400F (200C) to reheat nuggets. My small air fryer with an air fryer basket only took 2 minutes. It's important to think of air fryer recipes as a loose guide, since there’s variation in how air fryers cook.
🧂 Chicken Nuggets Dips
What are some good sauces for chicken nuggets? Try one of these:
- BBQ sauce
- Sweet and sour sauce
- Vegan honey mustard
- Ranch dressing
- Buffalo sauce
- Sweet chili sauce
- Chick Fil A sauce
- Keto cheese sauce
🥗 What goes with chicken nuggets?
What goes with frozen chicken nuggets cooked in the air fryer? When I use the air fryer for chicken nuggets, I love serving vegetables on the side! Here are some side dishes that go with chicken nuggets:
- Air Fryer Frozen Tater Tots
- French Fries in Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Jicama Fries
- Air Fryer Frozen Vegetables (try Brussels sprouts!)
- Wildflower Bread Chopped Salad (Copycat Recipe)
- Air Fryer Radishes (Keto, Low Carb)
🍟 Can you cook chicken nuggets and tater tots in air fryer together?
Yes, you can cook chicken nuggets and tater tots (or chicken nuggets and fries, etc.) together in an air fryer. However, watch out for these issues:
- Air fryer running out of room: My large capacity air fryer barely has enough space for the whole package of chicken nuggets. Most air fryers won't fit nuggets and sides together unless you're making a single serving.
- Moisture: If your air fryer has two racks, foods that release moisture as they air fry can make your nuggets soggy. This is probably going to be a much larger issue with frozen green vegetables than with frozen fries.
- Food safety: No matter what you cook your chicken nuggets with, they must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74C). Don't pull everything out of the oven just because one thing looks done.
- Varied cooking times: If your nuggets finish cooking through first, you can take them out of the air fryer and continue cooking the fries.
🥶 Can I keep frozen chicken nuggets in the refrigerator instead of the freezer?
You could keep frozen chicken nuggets in the refrigerator, but it would drastically shorten their shelf life. You should not keep uncooked chicken nuggets in the fridge for more than 1-2 days. Frozen chicken nuggets will stay fresh in the freezer for months.
Additionally, this recipe (and most oven recipes for frozen chicken nuggets) provide directions for cooking from frozen. You will need to adjust the baking or air frying times if the nuggets have been thawed.
Your best bet is to keep chicken nuggets in the freezer. Only cook or air fry the amount that your family will eat in that meal.
📋Frozen Chicken Nuggets Nutrition Information
One serving of air fryer chicken nuggets has 240 calories, 17 gram net carbs, and 9 grams protein. This is for a 5-piece serving of Great Value chicken nuggets. Chicken nugget calories and other nutrition info will vary by brand and portion size.
For example, 5 Kidfresh chicken nuggets is only 130 calories. They’re fairly low calorie because they’re made with chicken breast (a lean protein). Additionally, they have "70% less fat than the leading brand of breaded chicken nuggets" and are low in saturated fat.
Chicken nuggets with hidden veggies and whole grain chicken nuggets provide more fiber. Added veggies may also provide vitamin C, a nutrient not normally found in chicken nuggets.
Some other differences between chicken nugget brands may include protein and sodium content. Great Value nuggets provide 9 grams of protein per 5 nuggets. Kidfresh nuggets provide 12 grams of protein per 5 chicken nuggets.
The package states Kidfresh has "40% less sodium than the leading brand of breaded chicken nuggets." Five nuggets contain 250 mg of sodium (10% DV). To compare, Great Value chicken nuggets provide 560mg sodium (23% DV) per 5 chicken nuggets.
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). I typically give items with flour, like chicken nuggets, the bump to level 3. Chicken nuggets usually provide far more calories from added fats and refined carbs than filling protein. Many find them easy to overeat as a result.
In the case of Great Value chicken nuggets, you get 135 calories from fat and 68 calories from carbohydrates per 5-piece serving. Only 36 calories come from protein.
There are some things you can do to make a chicken nuggets meal a little more supportive of a healthy weight. First, consider adding some lean protein to your meal. Protein is very important in helping us to stay full and maintain our lean body mass as we age.
My second recommendation is to pile on the veggies! Vegetables provide a lot of volume for very few calories (as long as you don't drown them in oil).
One vegetable that people tend to get a lot of is potatoes in fry and chip form. Instead of french fries or tater tots, consider adding some other veggies to your plate. Your plate will be more colorful, and you may develop some new side dish favorites along the way!
Make air fryer refrigerated chicken nuggets by cooking for 3-5 minutes at 400F (200C). Make sure the nuggets are in a single layer, with space between them for air circulation.
The fastest and best way to make frozen chicken nuggets crispy is to air fry them. Oven baking chicken nuggets takes longer than air frying, and microwave nuggets don’t crisp up well.
You can make air fryer veggie nuggets using the air fryer time and temp in the recipe below. Note: you will need to adjust the cooking time if your vegan nuggets are larger or smaller than regular chicken nuggets.
Though the breading on frozen chicken nuggets may appear cooked, the chicken underneath may be raw. You need to cook uncooked chicken nuggets to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to help prevent food poisoning. Some chicken nuggets are fully cooked, and will specify this on the packaging.
At the time of writing, Tyson chicken nuggets are fully cooked. Check the package label for the most current information.
Most chicken nuggets contain grains in the ingredients list, so they are not keto diet friendly. Your best bet for keto nuggets is probably going to be to make them yourself. Here is a recipe for keto orange chicken that includes a keto nugget recipe.
Most chicken nuggets contain white flour and are not gluten free. Applegate brand makes frozen gluten free chicken nuggets that are available at Whole Foods through Amazon.
👩🏽🍳 More Easy Chicken Air Fryer Recipes
Are you looking for more ways to cook chicken in an air fryer? If you like frozen chicken nuggets, I highly recommend my Air Fryer Chicken Patties recipe. You can cut the chicken breasts into different shapes to make air fryer homemade chicken nuggets or air fryer chicken strips instead!
Let's not forget though that crispy chicken bites aren't the only way to enjoy this delicious poultry. Here are some other air fryer chicken recipes to add to your repertoire:
- Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Tenders (Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Strips)
- Dino Nuggets Air Fryer Recipe (Air Fryer Tyson Fun Nuggets)
- Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Breast (Easy Dinner Idea!)
- Air Fryer Rotisserie Chicken
- Frozen Chicken Wings in Air Fryer (Buffalo Wings Recipe)
- Air Fryer Chicken Shawarma
- Air Fryer Chicken Legs
👨🏾🍳 Best Frozen Snacks for Air Fryer Recipes
What are the best foods for the air fryer? Chicken nuggets make a tasty appetizer, snack or main dish. Here are some other frozen foods in the air fryer ideas:
Don’t miss this post on the Best Frozen Foods for the Air Fryer while you’re here!
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats no sugar post. Let's get cooking!
Frozen Chicken Nuggets Air Fryer Recipe (Time and Temp)
- 8 ounces frozen chicken nuggets (about 12 nuggets)
- dipping sauce
- Place frozen chicken nuggets in an air fryer basket or tray. Spread them out in a single layer, leaving space between the nuggets.
- Air fry chicken nuggets for a total of 8-10 minutes at 400°F (200°C). Flip the nuggets halfway through cooking time. Use the top rack position if you have an air fryer oven. There is no need to preheat the air fryer or use cooking spray.
- Check with a meat thermometer to ensure the nuggets reached at least 165°F (74°C). Add more cooking time if needed. Allow the nuggets to cool for a couple of minutes before serving with dipping sauce.