Have you ever craved that satisfying crunch of Asian-style chicken in nugget form? Well, if this dish has peaked your interest, I have the recipe for you! These air fryer Asian chicken nuggets are crunchy on the outside, juicy, and tender on the inside without any of that messy oil pan fried business. They are incredibly flavorful on their own or can be dipped in a sweet and creamy peanut sauce. This is the perfect lunch or dinner for the whole family to enjoy!

chicken nuggets are being served on a plate with an asian dipping sauce
Plate and enjoy by dipping in this tasty asian dipping sauce

These Asian-style chicken nuggets are not your traditional deep fried chicken nuggets. I put my very own Asian and healthier twist on this classic American dish.

Made in the air fryer, these nuggets have the crunch on the outside and are still juicy and tender on the inside.

For this recipe I used chicken thighs. The reason I chose chicken thighs is because the chicken thighs hold lots of that depth of flavor from the Asian style marinade I soak them in. For the breading, I combined arrowroot starch and gluten free baked crackers to create a light and crispy breading. Then I cooked them up in the air fryer for less than 15 minutes. Yes, you read that right, FIFTEEN MINUTES!

Now you have the sizzling hot chicken nuggets ready to be dipped in a sweet and creamy Asian Peanut Sauce. Just a match made in heaven.

Ingredients are laid out for the Asian chicken nuggets.
Ingredients are laid out for the Asian chicken nuggets.

Ingredients for Asian Chicken Nuggets

Chicken breast or chicken thighs: This recipe works great with either cut. The starch “traps” the moisture inside of the chicken so the chicken breast will not come out dry if that is the cut you choose to use. Chicken thighs are a softer and more tender cut but also fattier. So take your pick! You cannot go wrong!

Arrowroot starch: This is a gluten free version of starch, which I love using in many Asian recipes. It not only can create the perfect sticky asian sauce like this one, but also is perfect to “coat” chicken before cooking. It helps “lock” the juice and moisture inside of the chicken. As a result, no matter if it is chicken breast or chicken thighs, they will come out incredibly tender and juicy.

You can also use corn starch as an alternative, so no need to run out to the store if you’re good with gluten!

Crushed crackers/chips: Along with the starch, I also mixed in my favorite baked gluten free crackers. When choosing crackers to use, you will want to choose the kind that is light and crispy. For example, I don’t think pita chips will work well with this recipe since they tend to be on the thicker side. You also will want to choose crackers that are milder in flavor, definitely not salt and vinegar.

chicken nuggets are being served on a plate with an asian dipping sauce
Plate and enjoy by dipping in this tasty asian dipping sauce

Key Ingredients in The Chicken Nugget Marinade

Coconut Aminos: This is a great alternative to soy sauce if you need a soy free or gluten free alternative! Coconut aminos is also a tad bit sweeter than soy sauce and just as tasty.

Rice vinegar: Vinegar acts as an agent that helps tenderize and break down the meat so it is extra tender and it also lends a subtle hint of brine flavor. It is less acidic than white vinegar and also has a slightly sweet taste to it.

Minced ginger: You can freshly mince your own ginger or use some from a pre-minced jar. Either way, you will get a bright and zesty result!

Minced garlic: Garlic is a staple in Asian cooking, to be honest most of my savory dishes have it! It’s just that good. Finely mince the garlic or use from a jar if that is what you have.

Onion powder: My dad always said, “Onion, ginger and garlic: are the three musketeers in Chinese cooking!” So I have to include a little onion powder in this recipe just to elevate that flavor profile a little bit.

How to Make Air Fried Chicken Nuggets

Now the chicken are breaded, let’s get them into the air fryer.

Cook Time for Chicken Nuggets

Depending on the size of the chicken you cut up, the cooking time may vary slightly. Since we are air frying at a very high temperature, the time will be less than 15 minutes.

I start cooking for 13 minutes and check on the chicken just to make sure the internal temperature reach 165F but without being overcooked.

chicken nuggets are being served on a plate with an asian dipping sauce
Plate and enjoy by dipping in this tasty asian dipping sauce

Can I Store and Reheat These Air Fryer Nuggets?

These Asian Style chicken nuggets are best enjoyed fresh out of the air fryer.

But if you have leftovers, do not worry! Simply store them in an air tight container in the fridge up to 3 days.

To reheat these chicken nuggets without having them being totally soggy, you can reheat them in the air fryer! Easy peasy, and so yummy.

I you enjoy dips with your chicken nuggets, you could also drizzle some of my Honey Sriracha Sauce over top for an added kick of flavor and heat!

Happy cooking and I hope to see all your dishes tagged on Pinterest and Instagram!

chicken nuggets are being served on a plate with an asian dipping sauce

Get the recipe:Asian Chicken Nuggets {Air Fryer}

These Asian chicken nuggets dipped in peanut sauce are re crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside, and are easy to make in an air fryer.
5 stars (1 review)

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lb chicken breast or chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot starch
  • 1 cup crushed crackers/chips, * See options in notes

Chicken Marinade

  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 inch ginger , minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp onion powder

Instructions 

Marinade Chicken

  • Mince fresh ginger and garlic. Set aside. (If you do not have fresh ginger, you can sub for ground ginger).
  • Cut the chicken into 1-2 inch bites sized pieces.
  • In a shallow bowl, combine the cubed chicken and the marinade – coconut aminos, rice vinegar, minced ginger and garlic, and onion powder.
  • Cover and let it marinade for at lesat 30 mintues.
  • In a big ziplock bag, combine starch and crushed chips.
  • Remove the chicken from the bowl of marinade and place them in the bag.
  • Shake the chicken loosely to make sure they are evenly covered in the breading mixture.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 400F
  • Spray the air fryer basket with avocado oil, then line up the chicken nuggets in the basket. Fry for 13-15 minutes or until the chicken has reached internal temperature of 165F.

Notes

  1. If you are using pan fried method: Heat up 2-3 tbsp of avocado oil in a cast iron skillet. Fry the chicken 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a paper towel to cool.
  2. If you don’t like tortilla chips, you can use potato chips as well. My favorite is nacho flavored chips to coat these chicken nuggets
  3. Check out detailed Whole 30 dipping sauce in the post above

The Nutrition Facts above are specific to the ingredients I chose to use for this recipe, which may vary.