Air fryer chicken nuggets made with chicken breast and a simple grain free coating are going to become a family favorite!
These healthy chicken nuggets are baked in the air fryer and get a crispy, golden, crunchy coating without added oil! Made with almond flour and arrowroot powder, these chicken tenders are gluten free, egg free, grain free, paleo, low carb and Whole30 friendly!
Why you will love this recipe
- Easy to make – making homemade chicken nuggets in the air fryer is so much quicker than using the oven! And since the air circulates around each chicken nugget, they get so much crispier than using the oven! The hardest part of this recipe is breading the nuggets, but that goes pretty quick.
- Simple, healthy ingredients – you likely have all the ingredients you need to make these Whole30 chicken nuggets in your fridge/pantry right now! No eggs needed! This recipe uses dijon mustard instead of eggs to coat the chicken in!
- Kid friendly – finally a recipe that your kids are guaranteed to love as much as you! Who doesn’t love a good chicken nugget! Make them into tenders as well if that is more your kids style!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Boneless skinless chicken breast (or chicken thighs or turkey breast) – cut the chicken into nuggets using kitchen shears or a sharp knife. You can also use boneless, skinless turkey breast or turkey tenders in place of the chicken.
- Dijon mustard – dijon mustard coats the chicken and acts like eggs in this recipe and helps the dry ingredients stick to the chicken. You can use 1-2 eggs whisked in place of the dijon.
- Almond flour – almond flour provides the crunchy coating for the Whole30 chicken nuggets. You could also use cashew flour or grind up sunflower seeds to make a sunflower powder (you can also buy sunflower seed meal online if you don’t want to make it yourself).
- Arrowroot powder – arrowroot helps create that crispy coating on the chicken that everyone loves. You can also use tapioca powder or cornstarch in place of the arrowroot.
- Spices: Salt and Herbs de Provence (or Italian seasoning) – these help to add flavor to the chicken nuggets. You can omit the Herbs de Provence (or Italian seasoning) to make these more neutral tasting. If you don’t have italian seasoning on hand, check out the other flavors you could use below.
- Non-stick spray (olive oil spray or avocado oil spray) – be sure that you are using a non-stick spray that only has one ingredient (like avocado oil or olive oil) and doesn’t have any propellants. Using a non-stick with propellants added can degrade your air fryer basket coating.
How to make air fryer chicken nuggets
Start by cutting the boneless, skinless chicken breast (or boneless, skinless chicken thighs) into bite size pieces using a sharp knife or kitchen shears. I usually use kitchen shears because it’s so much easier
Have 2 pans or bowls out for the chicken, one for the dijon mustard and one for the coating.
Mix together the almond flour, arrowroot powder, salt and seasoning in the pan for the coating.
Coat the chicken in dijon mustard.
Once overed in dijon mustard, dredge the chicken in the dry mixture and be sure to fully coat the chicken.
Place the chicken nuggets in the air fryer basket, making sure not to overcrowd the basket.
Bake at 390F for 15 minutes, flipping halfway
Depending on the size of your air fryer you may need to do this recipe in batches to cook all of the chicken.
- When dredging chicken in a wet mixture then a dry mixture, try to keep one hand “wet” and the other “dry” to avoid having your fingers cake up with batter.
- The dijon mustard works just as well as an egg wash and it also adds a layer of flavor to the chicken. If you don’t want to use the dijon mustard and can use eggs, (just whisk up an egg or two and dip the chicken nuggets in the egg before the crust mixture).
- Make ahead tip: cut the chicken into nuggets up to 2 days in advance! Be sure to keep the cut chicken in a well sealed container until you are ready to use it.
- If you are short on time, you can buy chicken tenders from the store. You can quickly cut these down into nuggets or use the tenders as is.
- Don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket when making chicken nuggets. It’s important there is room for the air to circulate around the nuggets as they cook. If you want to double the recipe, cook the air fryer chicken nuggets in two separate batches. Note that the second batch may cook quicker since the air fryer will be preheated.
- Every air fryer cooks slightly differently depending on the size and watts of the air fryer. Once you make these chicken nuggets in the air fryer once, you will have a better idea on the exact cooking time you need.
What spices can be used to coat homemade chicken nuggets
- Garlic powder
- Curry powder
- Ranch seasoning – (1 tablespoon dried chives, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon dried parsley and 1/2 teaspoon dried dill)
- Cajun seasoning
What to serve with air fryer chicken nuggets
Serve them with your favorite dip: Homemade Ketchup, Dairy Free Ranch, Sweet and Sour Sauce, BBQ Sauce or Spicy Tahini Sauce and sweet potato tots or broccoli tots (or both)
Cauliflower mash and the best broccoli for a low carb meal
With mashed potatoes and roasted brussel sprouts and asparagus for a Whole30 meal everyone will love.
Over salad greens with creamy italian dressing.
Air fryer chicken tenders common questions
The dijon mustard works just as well as an egg wash and it also adds a layer of flavor to the chicken.
If you don’t want to use the dijon mustard and can use eggs, you could also use a traditional egg wash (just whisk up an egg or two and dip the chicken nuggets in the egg before the crust mixture).
Instead of almond flour you can use sunflower seed, pumpkin seed or hemp hearts. Put whatever seed you want to use in a high speed blender or food processor and blend until the seeds are broken down into a flour like texture.
If you decide you want to double or triple the recipe, you can always store the extra in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you need them to last longer than 3 days, you should put the air fryer chicken nuggets into the freezer and pull them out when you need them.
How to store leftovers
Fridge: Store leftover air fryer chicken nuggets in the fridge in a well sealed container for up to 3 days. Reheat them in the air fryer or a toaster oven.
Freezer: After cooking, you can freeze the chicken nuggets after allowing them to cool completely. Freeze them in on a cookie sheet or in a gallon size freezer bag in a flat layer so they don’t freeze together. Once frozen you can transfer them to a freezer bag or freezer safe container.
To reheat frozen air fryer chicken nuggets you can use the air fryer or the toaster oven. You could reheat the frozen nuggets in the microwave but they may get soggy.
If you love this recipe, you should try
Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets$11.75 Recipe/$1.96 Serving
Guided Recipe Video
- 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast - $10.49
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard - $0.12
- 2 tbsp arrowroot powder (or tapioca) - $0.16
- 1/2 cup almond flour (see post for nut free ideas) - $0.73
- 1/2 tsp salt - $0.03
- 1 tsp herbs de Provence (or Italian seasoning) - $0.10
- olive oil or avocado oil spray - $0.12
- In a large pan, combine the arrowroot flour, almond flour, salt, and herbs de provence
- Cut the chicken breast up into bite size pieces using a knife or kitchen shears.
- Place the cut up chicken in a separate large pan or plate.
- Add the dijon mustard to the chicken and coat the chicken, moving it around with your hands until fully coated with a thin layer of mustard.
- Transfer the chicken to the pan filled with the almond flour mixture a few pieces of chicken at a time.
- Coat the chicken nugget pieces in the almond flour mixture, being sure to press down and really make sure all sides are getting coated.
- Place the coated chicken into the air fryer basket, making sure it doesn’t get over crowded.
- Once the basket is full, spray the chicken with a light mist of the non-stick spray. This might require you to cook the chicken in batches depending on the size of your air fryer
- Cook at 390F for 15 minutes. After 9 minutes, flip the chicken carefully.
- Serve with your favorite dipping sauce
Tuesday 18th of August 2020
This was so good! It even had my picky teen's vote! I'll definitely make this again.
Wednesday 26th of August 2020
That is a win for sure Risa!! I'm sure these disappeared quickly with teens in the house :)
Thursday 2nd of April 2020
Easy, delicious, and fits both our diets (mine and hubby's, that is). I didn't have Dijon mustard, so I subbed 4 teaspoons brown mustard and 2 teaspoons honey. Since I don't have an air fryer, I cooked my chicken at 425 degrees for about 12 minutes. Air fryer would probably make the nuggets crispier, but we both loved these nuggets. Thanks for sharing your recipe!