We created the perfect copycat Chick-Fil-A nuggets using the air fryer! They get perfectly crispy on the outside, flavorful and tender on the inside, and they’re perfect for dunking in some copycat Chick-Fil-A sauce!
My daughter would eat chicken nuggets and chicken sandwiches for every meal if we let her and Chick-Fil-A is obviously the place to go for some of the best nuggets and sandwiches you can find in a drive thru.
Of course, the lines are always out to the road and they’re closed on Sundays. What’s a person to do when a Chick-Fil-A nugget craving hits?
Make them at home in the air fryer!
Y’all aren’t going to believe how easy this recipe is and how delicious this chicken gets with just a few simple steps.
My daughters dreams of eating nuggets for every meal just might come true thanks to this one.
Chicken – We’re using 2 large chicken breasts here, which should be just under a pound.
Marinade– Pour the juice out of your favorite jar of dill pickles for this recipe. You’ll mix that with milk and eggs and let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes.
Breading– You’ll want plain or unseasoned bread crumbs and flour to form the crispy breading on your nuggets.
Seasonings– You’ll need powdered sugar (stick with me here), garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder. PlThe seasonings are all commonly found in your kitchen with flour, powdered sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder being needed.
How to make copycat Chick Fil A nuggets in the air fryer:
Marinate the Chicken– Cut the chicken into nuggets and place them in a bowl with the pickle juice, milk, and eggs. Pop this in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Bread the Chicken- Ad the flour, bread crumbs, powdered sugar, and spices to a large ziptop bag and smush things around to stir them together. Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken from the marinade and place it directly into the bag of breading. Seal the bag and shake to coat the chicken thoroughly in the breading.
Air Fry- Spritz your air fryer basket with vegetable oil spray and place the chicken in a single layer in the basket. Spritz the chicken liberally with oil spray. Air Fryer for 10 minutes at 370 degrees F. Halfway through cooking, shake the basket and spritz again with oil for maximum crispiness!
One of the benefits of using the air fryer is that you can use less oil when cooking. That’s true in this recipe, but do be generous with the oil spray or your breading will come out dry.
We sprayed the chicken with oil spray until the breading looked moist both before cooking and halfway through cooking. You may use less oil, but your nuggets won’t be as crispy or look quite the same.
You’re still using much less oil than if you deep fried, plus you get to avoid the hassle of heating up a hot pan full of oil and cleaning up afterwards.
Powdered sugar isn’t an ingredient you see often in chicken nuggets, but Chick Fil A nuggets do have a hint of sweetness in the breading! We recreated that by adding in a bit of powdered sugar here.
You can certainly leave it out if you’re trying to avoid sugar, but it does add to that Chick Fil A vibe.
Sure, just keep them in an air-tight container or freezer bag and they should be good in for 3-5 days if kept in the fridge. When the time comes to reheat, use your air fryer at 370 degrees again and cook until warm.
The secret to tender, juicy, and flavorful chicken is the pickle juice bath it takes before being cooked. The acids in the pickle juice help tenderize the meat and also add in flavor right from the start. While we can’t confirm for certain that Chick-Fil-A uses pickle juice in their recipe, all signs point to yes!
Absolutely! Follow the recipe as directed, but rather than heating an air fryer, heat a pot of oil to 375 degrees. Fry in batches for 3-4 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the breading is golden brown.
More recipes you might like:
- Honey chipotle chicken strips
- Lemon pepper chicken wings
- Frozen fries in the air fryer
- Air fryer onion rings
Let us know your opinion!
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- 2 large chicken boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- ½ cup dill pickle juice
- ½ cup milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- ½ cup flour
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- Chop the chicken into bite sized pieces and set aside.
- Add the pickle juice, milk, and eggs to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
- Add the chicken to the liquid and place in the fridge, covered, for 30 minutes.
- While the chicken is marinating, add the breadcrumbs to a blender or food processor and process until finely ground.
- Add the breadcrumbs, flour, sugar, salt, and spices to a large zip top bag and stir to combine.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken from the marinade and add it to the zip top bag. Seal and smush the chicken around to coat in the breading.
- Spritz your air fryer basket with oil spray and arrange chicken in a single layer in the basket, with space between for air to flow. Liberally spritz the chicken with oil spray.
- Air fry at 370 for degrees for 10 minutes, shaking the basket and spritzing liberally with additional oil halfway through cooking.
There is some debate about whether or not Chick-Fil-A marinated their chicken in pickle juice. We like the way it tenderizes the meat and seasons it, so we do add pickle juice. You can leave it out if you prefer.
Powdered sugar may seem like an odd ingredient for chicken, but it does add that subtle sweetness that CFA nuggets have. You may skip this if you're trying to cut back on sugar.
Be sure to liberally spray the chicken with oil before and during cooking to really mimic that Chick-Fil-A breading. The breading will come out fairly dry otherwise. We use an oil mister filled with olive oil - still healthier than deep frying!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 402Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 161mgSodium: 1245mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 2gSugar: 13gProtein: 29g
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