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Healthy McDonald's Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

Everyone is out here cutting up chicken breasts into chunks for chicken nuggets but I'm telling you, you're doing it wrong. This recipe captures that McDonald's chicken nugget texture, we all love, in a healthy way!

The breading is key to a crispy nugget. By mixing breadcrumbs with corn meal and delicious spices we make sure the crust is crispy and the chicken is juicy.

By using ground chicken instead of traditional chicken breasts cut up into nuggets, we can mix flavor into the filling and ensure consistency throughout the nugget. I like to flavor both the meat mixture and the breading with a variety of spices. First, form them into little meatballs before using the palms of your hands to make the classic nugget shape.

Pro tip: use nonstick spray on your hands to avoid the meat mixture sticking too much!
I use my air fryer to make sure the nuggets are juicy and the crust crispy but if you don't own an air fryer, you can make these in the oven as well!

Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

16 nuggets | Cook time: 15 minutes

Notes: You can also make these in an oven. Arrange the nuggets on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet and bake at 375F for 15 minutes (on convection if you have it).



  • 1 lb ground chicken

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning

  • 1/2 tsp paprika

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp pepper

  • 1 tbsp milk

  • 1 tbsp egg whites

  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


  • 1/2 tsp old bay seasoning

  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs

  • 2 tbsp cornmeal

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp pepper


  1. In a shallow dish whisk together the breading seasonings.

  2. In a bowl, combine filling mixture together until just combined. Form 16 “meatballs” out of the mixture. To avoid excess sticking, I recommend spraying your hands with non stick olive oil spray before forming the balls.

  3. Then, use the palms of your hands to shape the balls into nuggets or little logs and roll them in the breading until fully coated in the breading.

  4. Transfer coated nuggets to an air fryer and spray with nonstick olive oil spray. Cook at 375F for 15 minutes, flipping and respraying halfway.

  5. Remove the nuggets from the air fryer and serve with your favorite dipping sauce!

These would also be delicious tossed in buffalo or barbecue sauce! For an extra kick add 1/8 tsp cayenne to the chicken mixture.


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Nutrition Facts are provided as a guideline only. Exact nutrition will depend on quantity, brand and ingredients used.

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