This Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets recipe is easy, healthy, and delicious! It is Paleo, Keto and can be made Whole30. No deep frying needed, but still perfectly crispy and flavorful.
Copycat Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets, this healthy homemade version came out perfect – tender, juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside.
You know I am obsessed with my air fryer. There are so many things you can make in it.
What can you make in an Air Fryer?
When it comes to chicken nuggets, I have to confess my love for Chick-Fil-A.
I may have come up with this healthy chicken nugget recipe on Sunday (when Chick-Fil-A is closed).
These crispy healthy chicken nuggets I “fried” up are made with all clean ingredients:
- Real chicken breast cut into little pieces
- Then, tossed in paleo-friendly breading
- Fried up in air fryer
- And dipped in a simple homemade whole30 “nugget” dip.
This air fryer chicken nugget recipe is so easy and flavorful. Tom couldn’t even believe there was no breadcrumb used in the recipe.
Ingredients you need to make these Healthy Chicken Nuggets?
with No breadcrumbs?
- Chicken Breast
- Avocado oil (high smoking point)
- Almond flour
- Coconut flour
- Plantain chips or certain tortilla chips (paleo-friendly)
- Salt and Pepper
Nope, this healthy chicken nugget recipe doesn’t require any breadcrumbs, not even the gluten-free ones.
All you need are almond flour, coconut flour, and a few spices.
Products I used here
I promise they turn out so flavorful. I could literally eat the “breading” by itself.
How to make Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
Step by Step to the most crispy healthy chicken nuggets – (You need 2 shallow bowls)
Bowl 1: Make Paleo “breading” mix
Firstly, in a medium to a large shallow bowl, combine almond flour, coconut flour and seasoning together. Set aside.
Crumble up about 1 cup tortilla chips, plantain chips, or your favorite kind of chips.
Then combine with the flour.
Bowl 2: Beat 1 egg with 2 tbsp cooking oil
Note: You can use potato chips or any chips you like. My favorite is Nacho Siete tortilla chips. It is paleo-friendly.
Pat dry 1 – 1 .5 pounds chicken breast or chicken thighs (I usually like a mix of both).
Then cut into pieces.
How to Air Fry Healthy Chicken Nuggets?
First Step: Dip cubed chicken in Egg wash.
Second Step: Coat chicken with the flour/seasoning.
Third Step: Place them in the air frying basket. Make sure you don’t overcrowd them so they can get “fired” by the heat circulation all around.
Last Step: Fry it up, and enjoy it.
Healthy “Frying” methods for this Healthy Chicken Nugget Recipe
Obviously, I’m not that fancy and just have a deep fryer sitting in my kitchen. So here are a couple of frying methods you could use in this recipe:
1. Air fryer
Very minimum oil required for this frying method. And you don’t have to flip the chicken nuggets.
Because the hot air flows all around these crispy bad boys.
2. Cast-iron skillet
The reason I choose cast-iron skillets is that it can get a lot hotter than a regular pan.
So you can have chicken nuggets that are super crispy on the outside but still moist and soft on the inside.
However, if you don’t own a cast-iron skillet, you can use a regular pan. Just make sure you heat up the oil on high for a couple of minutes before frying.
Appliances I used here
I highly recommend using Avocado oil when frying these chicken nuggets.
Since we want the frying process to be hot and quick, oil with a low smoking point like olive oil or coconut oil will start smoking very quickly.
On the other hand, Avocado oil has one of the highest smoking points in cooking oils.
Why do I love this Healthy Chicken Nuggets Recipe?
1. So easy to make
2. It is so flavorful: a little spicy, a little sweet
3. You feel so cool when you tell your friends “Hey I made some healthy air fryer chicken nuggets, what’s up”
Substitutes you can use for Healthy Chicken Nuggets
1.Almond flour and coconut flour
Both almond flour and coconut flour are paleo, keto, and whole30 friendly.
If you don’t happen to have them in hand, or you are not following any of these dietary restrictions, you can use panko, gluten-free or regular breadcrumbs.
How to: Sub for the total amount of almond and coconut flour
You can use any type of chips of your choice to add a nice crunch.
My favorites are:
- Siete Tortilla chips – Paleo Friendly, Gluten-free
- Trader Joe’s Plantain chips – Paleo Friendly, Gluten-Free
Note: Chips are not compliant with Whole30, despite the ingredients listed.
An easy Whole30 Chicken Dipping Sauce
I would like to call this “Almost Chick-fil-A” Sauce. This dipping sauce is so easy to make. I used half ketchup and half BBQ sauce. If you are following the whole 30 diets. I have linked a couple of my favorite whole 30 brands for ketchup and BBQ sauce.
These healthy chicken nuggets are not just drive-through finger food. But they definitely finger-licking good!
They are perfect for a summer party, a kid’s friendly dinner, or just fulfill our guilty pleasure for a quick and easy meal.
And this chicken nugget recipe is paleo, keto and whole 30. I’m secretly calling it “Almost Chick-Fil-A” chicken nuggets.
Ooo also I look forward to seeing your creations! You can use “Tried it” on Pinterest or share on Instagram by tagging #shuangyseasts
More Healthy Chicken Recipes you might like:
- 1 -1.5 lb chicken breast (room temperature)
- 2/3 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp salt and pepper (to taste)
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2-3 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 tbsp arrowroot flour
- 1 cup chips (optional) *
- Preheat air fryer to 400F.
- Cut the chicken into 1-2 inch bites sized pieces, marinate with arrowroot flour, salt, and pepper.
- In a shallow bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, onion, and garlic powder. crumble up a cup of chips (optional). Mix well to combine.
- In a second shallow dish, whisk the eggs and avocado oil.
- Dip the chicken with the egg wash, then coat with the "breading"
- Spray the air fryer basket with avocado oil, Place the coated chicken nuggets in the air fryer basket (make sure not to overcrowd them). Fry for 8 minutes.
Dipping Sauce **
- Combine 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce and 1/4 cup of Ketchup
- Dip and Enjoy!
- If you are using the pan-fried method: Heat up 2 tbsp of avocado oil in a cast-iron skillet. Fry the chicken for 3 - 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a paper towel to cool.
- *You can use tortilla chips, plantain chips, or potato chips as well, your choice!
- **Check out detailed Whole 30 dipping sauce in the post above
Nutrition Fact below does not including dipping sauce.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This does not result in any extra cost for you, but it does mean that I make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 362Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 359mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 28g
The Nutrition Facts above are specific to the ingredients I chose to use for this recipe, which may vary.