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You should absolutely make homemade air fryer chicken nuggets


NelsonG

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chicken nuggets on plate with airfryday logo

I am a sucker for crispy chicken. I am constantly craving (and cooking, and eating) chicken wings. I've made my entire apartment reek of oil just to fry chicken. I am legit ashamed of how many late-night orders of chicken tenders I've placed in my life.

So it tracks that when I saw a viral TikTok recipe for simple, air fryer chicken nuggets, I had to give it a go. The recipe from @doosifit on TikTok promised tasty, healthy nuggets that were incredibly easy to make. Spoiler alert, I found that to be true. Here's what you need to know.

Ingredients

  • About 8 oz. of ground chicken

  • Nacho cheese Quest chips

  • Seasoning of your choice (I used salt, pepper, garlic powder, and chili powder)

Directions

  1. Season your chicken and mix it well to distribute the seasonings evenly.

  2. Shape the ground chicken into nuggets. Eight ounces should yield about eight nuggets.

  3. Dump your chips into a resealable plastic bag. After sealing the bag, smash the chips into crumbs.

  4. Dip the nuggets into the chip crumbs to form a crust.

  5. Air fry at 390 degrees for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Enjoy!

Here's how the process looked for @doosifit.

air fryer chicken nuggets being seasoned, breaded, and fully cooked
Just two real ingredients and ten minutes for homemade nuggets. Credit: Screenshots: TikTok / @doosifit

The details

OK, so first, a confession. We're always on a bit of tight schedule here at AirFryDay. And this week we had to ditch Mashable's office and film in my new apartment — which I just moved into Saturday — because of scary COVID levels in NYC. What I'm trying to say is I couldn't find Quest chips for the life of me. I searched two grocery stores, a CVS, and a Duane Reed. No dice.

So...I had to ditch the whole "healthy" thing and use Spicy Nacho Doritos rather than the protein chips. The sacrifices I make for content.

Now the actual process of making these nuggets is stupid easy. Like beyond simple. All you do is season some chicken then form nugget shapes out of that ground chicken. Basically just smoosh out a rectangle. Then you drop the nuggets in crushed chips and it coats itself. Ground chicken is incredibly sticky, so it takes zero effort to get the chips to stay on the nuggets. Then you just spray your air fryer with nonstick and plop the nuggets in.

Here's how mine looked before being cooked.

chicken nuggets uncooked in air fryer basket
Ready to air fry. Credit: Mashable

I air fried at 390 degrees for 10 minutes — flipping the nuggies halfway through — and bing, bang, boom I had a pretty decent lunch. Here's the finished product.

cooked air fryer chicken nuggets on plate
Not bad! Credit: Mashable

The verdict? Listen, this isn't gourmet. It's not even nuggets like you'll get from a fast food joint — all greasy, juicy, and crispy. But the air fryer nuggets are crunchy. And the recipe is easy. They're sort of a simpler cousin of the tender recipe I tested a few weeks ago. The lean ground chicken is a little dry and the crisp chips lose a little bit of crunch as they soak into the meat.

Still, you get a relatively crunchy bite of chicken that's perfect to dip into your favorite sauce. The saltiness of the chips adds to the crust, even if it's not as good as a more complicated nugget. I don't think much would be lost subbing in the Quest chips for the Doritos, if you can get your hands on the healthier snack. The crust hardly even tasted like Doritos, it was more just a salty crunch, which I think any old chip could accomplish.

All in all, in like 15 minutes total, this recipe yields a perfectly fine version of a chicken nugget. That's kind of the ideal for a viral air fryer recipe — something simple and tasty, ready in a pinch.

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