5 from 1 votes

Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Nuggets

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Once you learn how to make air fried frozen chicken nuggets, you will agree that there is no better way to get tender, juicy family favorite nuggets. I would venture to say there is no more important recipe out there than learning to make chicken nuggets in the air fryer.  From frozen to crispy, the air fryer basket makes the cooking time a snap!

In fact, each chicken piece turns into the juiciest chicken with very little effort. Once you learn air fryer frozen chicken nuggets, you will have an instant and easy way to make the kids happen lunch, dinner, or a quick snack. 

pile of frozen chicken nuggets fresh from air fryer.

Why you will love Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

No Oil for the most Crispy Chicken Nuggets: Frozen chicken tenders skip the baking sheet and microwave (which just make them mushy) and instead provide you with crispy chicken tenders with zero cooking spray or oil.

Nuggets or Tenders: Before you get started, this air fryer recipe uses frozen chicken strips or frozen chicken nuggets. If you are looking for homemade air fryer chicken tenders or air fryer chicken wings, we have both of those recipes too!

Perfect with Sauce: Grab some of your favorite dipping sauce because this is hands down the BEST way to take those frozen Tyson chicken tenders to crispy air fryer chicken tenders in no time at all. 


  • Frozen Nuggets – There really are a great deal many types of frozen chicken nuggets. We like dinosaur nuggets and most of the Tyson brands. 
  • Favorite Sauce

How to make Frozen Chicken Nuggets in Air Fryer

This recipe was made in the Ninja Foodi All in One 6 quart with an Air Fryer lid.

Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Nuggets ninja foodi
  1. Preheat the air fryer to 390 degrees for 5 minutes.
  2. Place batch of chicken nuggets or small chicken pieces into the air crisp basket.
  3. Place air crisp basket into Air Fryer.
  4. For chicken nuggets, cook for 12 minutes, shaking halfway through cooking to make sure you get the most crispy nuggets coating on all sides.

Serve chicken nuggets with a dipping sauce like BBQ sauce, honey mustard, ketchup, ranch, or copycat chick-fil-a sauce

Can Chicken Strips be cooked the same as Chicken Nuggets? 

Yes! Frozen chicken strips can be air fried the exact same way as frozen nuggets.

Golden crispy chicken tenders (also known as chicken strips) (from a variety of different brands that you can buy at any grocery store) are truly an easy, great way to get the most crispy chicken strips ever with a golden-brown crust. Fast food can be temping on a school night but if you keep a bag of frozen tenders in the freezer, the air fryer makes them perfect!

This recipe was made in the Ninja Foodi All in One 6 quart with an Air Fryer lid.

  • Frozen Chicken Strips
  • Favorite Dipping Sauces
  1. Like the oven, the air fryer also needs to be preheated for the best results.
  2. Preheat air fryer to 390 degrees for 5 minutes.
  3. Place uncooked tenders into the basket in a single layer.
  4. For frozen chicken strips, cook for 18 minutes, flipping over halfway through. Serve with dipping sauce.
ninja foodi Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Strips

Expert Tips

While most kids (and adults) will love eating a breaded chicken tender just the way it is, there are a few ways you can alter store-bought nuggets to taste more homemade. 

  • In a bowl, meltdown a half tablespoon minced garlic, half a stick of butter, and some grated parmesan cheese. Add already cooked chicken nuggets or tenders to the bowl and toss right after they come out of the air fryer. Instant garlic parmesan tenders!
  • To make chicken tenders into buffalo chicken tenders, the same thing. Just add fully cooked chicken tenders in a shallow bowl with a bit of your favorite barbeque or buffalo sauce and lightly toss. 
  • No oil needed
  • Remember to pre-heat air fryer or the timing will be altered in the recipe. 
  • No need to defrost frozen nuggets, this recipe is for right from freezer nuggets. 
  • Because this recipe is not for homemade chicken nuggets with real chicken breasts, no need to worry about internal temperature or canola oil. 


What side dish goes with frozen chicken nuggets? 

Chicken tenders and nuggets go great with sweet potato fries or regular fries and if looking for a lighter side dish option, try serving with a side of veggies like smashed brussels sprouts or broccoli salad. Typically a chicken recipe will go with almost anything and it’s more about deciding if you want a healthier way or just prefer something simple like chips.

What sauce to serve with Frozen Chicken Nuggets? 

Ketchup, Honey Mustard, Ranch, Copy Cat Chick Fil A Sauce, or BBQ sauce are the most common dipping sauces. 

plate of chicken tenders cooked in air fryer with side of sauce

Once you get a handle on your air fryer, it can be fabulous to make frozen foods taste amazing. Learn how to air fry frozen mozzarella sticks, air fried corn dogs (including mini corn dogs), or air fryer pizza rolls.

Additionally, the air fryer is great for all types of recipes. Try Air Fried Babybel cheese, air fried and roasted potatoes and bacon, air fryer baked potatoes, and even air fryer apples with cinnamon!

5 from 1 votes

Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Nuggets

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Super simple frozen chicken nuggets in the air fryer times and temps. Chicken nuggets in the air fryer give you the easiest and most crispy golden brown nugget. Plus, the air fryer makes nuggets, chicken strips, or chicken tenders a snap with NO OIL. Tender juicy chicken centers with fantastic breaded outsides, make air fried chicken nuggets the perfect weeknight dinner.


  • Frozen Chicken Nuggets or Frozen Chicken Strips
  • Favorite Dipping Sauces


Air Fried Frozen Chicken Nuggets

  • Preheat air fryer to 390 degrees for 5 minutes. 
  • Place FROZEN chicken nuggets into the air fryer/air crisp basket.
  • Frozen chicken nuggets cook for 12 minutes (also on 390).
  • Shake cooking nuggets halfway through cooking to ensure golden brown coating on all sides.
  • Serve chicken nuggets with dipping sauce.

Air Fried Frozen Chicken Strips

  • Preheat air fryer to 390 degrees for 5 minutes. 
  • Place FROZEN chicken strips into the air crisp basket in a single layer.
  • Frozen chicken strips should cook for 18 minutes (continuing on 390 degrees), flipping halfway through to make sure both sides crisp up.
  • Serve crispy chicken strips with dipping sauce. 


Air Fryer Used in this recipe was the Ninja Foodi All in one 6.5 quart. The Ninja Foodi has an inner ceramic bowl and an air crisp basket. The air crisp basket was added to the inner ceramic pot to cook the strips and nuggets. Air crisp lid was used.
Serving Size
  • For the strips, 3 is a serving. 
  • For the nuggets, 5 is a serving. 


Serving: 5nuggets | Calories: 227kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 968mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g

Nutritional Disclaimer: The nutritional data provided here is auto-calculated and intended for your convenience only. As it’s generated via automation, its accuracy may be compromised. For precise nutritional insight, please compute the values utilizing the actual ingredients in your recipe through your chosen nutrition calculator or application.

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5 from 1 votes

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