It’s no secret that Chick-fil-A knows how to make great chicken – so great that even if you’re a bigger fan of their sandwich, you can surely appreciate their nuggets too. (Because, well… same chicken, different form.) While you’re probably not too eager to bust out your fryer and hot oil in lieu of heading to their drive-thru, you can use your air fryer to get the same great flavor right in your own kitchen. (Promise! These are addictive, moist, and have a flavorful crispy exterior.) There are just a couple of tips and tricks to getting them right which I’ll tell you all about below.
One trick to getting that signature flavor is soaking your chicken in pickle juice. Yes, pickle juice – but make sure to use dill and not sweet. Twenty to thirty minutes will give you great flavor, and you can work on the coating while you wait. The other key to success is in the flavor in the breading and the perfect mixture features flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. It’s pretty spot on!
You’ll want to dredge your chicken in the flour mixture, then the egg wash, and then back in the flour again. Make sure to spritz your air fryer basket with some oil and place the chicken in a single layer in the basket so they’re not touching. While usually you don’t want to use much extra oil in air fryer cooking, here you’ll want to spray the chicken with oil to encourage even browning.
Sixteen minutes well get these golden brown and crispy but still moist in the middle. You’ll want to flip halfway through (and spritz with oil again) but most machines will prompt you to turn your food anyway. Don’t have an air fryer? No problem – there are oven baking directions at the end of the instructions down below.
And don’t even think of trying to approximate the Chick-fil-A experience without their sauce! We have a perfect copycat for that recipe too. Just click here to check it out. (You only need a few pantry ingredients to make it and it’s SO good.)
Air Fryer Copycat Chick-fil-A Nuggets
10m prep time
16m cook time
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup pickle juice
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoons black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- Oil for spraying
- Place chicken pieces and pickle juice in a ziptop bag and chill for 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk together egg and milk in a shallow bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, corn starch, powdered sugar, salt, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. Set aside.
- Grease air fryer basket with a bit of oil.
- Coat chicken pieces in flour mixture, then egg mixture, then flour mixture again, shaking off any excess. Place in air fryer basket in a single layer and spritz with oil.
- Cook on 360°F for 8 minutes, then flip chicken. Spray any flour spots with oil. Cook 8 minutes more.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Oven instructions: Place nuggets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake 20-25 minutes at 400°F. Spray with oil before baking.
Recipe adapted from My Forking Life.