Healthy chicken nuggets at your favorite fast food stop is a myth! After the breading, highly processed oils, and who-knows-what’s in that mystery meat – what could be a healthy dinner just turned into another weight loss stall.
But what about keto chicken nuggets? Is there such a thing? And if so – how do you make them, what’s the best way to cook them, and how long to air fry chicken nuggets??
Sounds like you have lots of questions. Don’t worry – I got excited too when I found out you can eat chicken nuggets on keto!
Keep reading, and I promise to answer everything you need to know about air fried chicken nuggets.
Are Chicken Nuggets Keto?
If you’re talking about the frozen nuggets you buy at the grocery store, absolutely not! Most of those crispy chicken nuggets have all of the same qualities found in the fast food variety.
Healthy homemade chicken nuggets made from low carb ingredients? Yep – those kind are perfectly keto legal!
Of course, we’re also talking about healthier nuggets that are made from high quality meat, not the processed junky meat many frozen chicken nuggets are made from. So if I use the term crispy chicken tenders in place of nuggets, now we understand each other 😉
Keto Chicken Tenders Ingredients
Even though I already have a keto chicken tenders air fryer recipe I love, I wanted to test out a crispier crust with keto-friendly bread crumbs. The result was a low carb recipe my whole family loves!
Yep – these keto air fryer chicken tenders make a great kid-friendly dinner too!
The main ingredients include skinless chicken breast, an egg, heavy cream, and pork rind crumbs.
If you prefer skinless chicken thighs to chicken tenderloins or breasts for your air fryer nuggets, those work too.
While I chose Italian pork rind crumbs, the Pork King Good brand I chose comes in other flavors, including ranch seasoned and spicy cajun. This makes it easy to switch up the flavor of your low carb chicken nuggets without a ton of work.
I also used kosher salt and black pepper to add a little spice into the mix. A high heat spray comes in handy as well to help with a crispy crust.
How to Make Healthy Chicken Nuggets
Start by prepping the chicken. In order to make these nuggets juicy, it’s always best to brine before you bake – or in this case, air fry.
You can either allow the chicken to soak in a bowl of water combined with 2 tablespoons of kosher salt, or for a different flavor, let the chicken chunks soak in pickle juice. Either way, cover the chicken in your preferred brining solution and place in the fridge for 10-30 minutes. Remember – the longer you brine, the saltier the meat.
Once brining is complete, remove the chicken from the fridge and carefully empty the water into an empty sink. Avoid contaminating other cooking supplies with the leftover chicken juice. (Read here for bonus chicken safety tips).
Then trim any fat or unwanted chicken pieces, and cut the chicken into 1 inch pieces. Set aside.
More Keto Fried Chicken Tenders Prep:
Before you’re ready to make this air fryer chicken nuggets recipe, finish the prep work by beating the egg and heavy cream together in a shallow bowl. Then spread the pork rind breadcrumb mixture flat onto a lined baking sheet.
Next, line the air fryer basket with perforated parchment paper and preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F.
If you choose to use parchment paper in the air fryer, it’s important that it has a lot of holes so the hot air can circulate.
Alternatively, you can spray the basket with a non-stick cooking spray. Both coconut oil and avocado oil are a great option since not only are they healthier than highly processed vegetable oil sprays, but they also do a better job of keeping the food from sticking to the basket.
Finally, set up a dipping station with the chicken chunks first, egg wash next, low carb bread crumbs, and a cutting board or large plate last.
How to Air Fry Chicken Nuggets
Start by dipping each piece of chicken individually into the egg mixture. Be sure to thoroughly coat both sides with egg, and then allow the excess to drip off.
Next, dip the egg coated chicken into the pork rind crumbs. For best results, I dip each side twice to make sure it is fully coated. Then add the coated chicken strip to the cutting board.
Continue this process until all of the chicken is coated. Since you should only cook chicken in a single layer with a little space in between each piece, you may need to work in batches. If this is the case, you can coat the second batch of nuggets while the first batch cooks.
Once your first batch is ready to go, spray both sides with the cooking spray. This is a great way to help the chicken crisp up in the air fryer.
Then, place chicken tenders into the basket, and air fry chicken nuggets for 5-6 minutes before you flip. The cooking time for a full batch is around 10-12 minutes.
If this is your first time making air fried chicken nuggets, keep a close eye on them as they cook since various air fryer cooking times may vary.
Air Fryer Tips & FAQs
Do I need to preheat my air fryer?
Yes, this is a good idea. A hot air fryer tray helps keep the chicken juicy and the crust crispy.
Since you don’t use cooking oil, this is an air fryer method that helps make the nuggets crispy.
You don’t have to spray your air fryer basket if you use perforated parchment paper. If you place the breaded chicken directly into the basket, then you should use a nonstick cooking spray to keep it from sticking.
If you’re using grocery store chicken nuggets, you don’t have to spray the basket since those are made with oil. Since it’s the kind of oil that keeps us fat and sick, my guess is you’re not here for that 😉
Air fry these nuggets for a total cook time of 10-12 minutes, or 5-6 minutes per side. Check to make sure chicken is white on the inside, or cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
An easy way to freeze this homemade version (to use for keto meal prep) is to first cook them fully. Then freeze the nuggets on a sheet pan in a single layer. Once frozen, add to an airtight container that’s freezer safe. Store for 1-3 months.
Air frying frozen chicken nuggets should take around 15-20 minutes. Don’t forget to flip halfway through.
Air Fryer Keto Chicken Tenders Wrap Up
Air fryer recipes are a great way to help you stick to a low carb diet. You get crispy food that’s also healthy – no deep fryer required!
Once you’re ready to devour your crispy air fryer chicken tenders, try dipping them in this delicious low carb honey mustard sauce. Of course, your favorite low carb BBQ sauce is a good option too.
Don’t forget to save this recipe to Pinterest for next time and share it on social media!
Keep scrolling for the nutrition information and recipe card.
Make Keto Easy!
Want to learn more about how I used delicious recipes like this to lose 100 pounds? Jump into the Keto Quick Start Course to learn the same info that finally helped me kick yo-yo diets to the curb.
Hundreds of other women have also used this same life-changing information to finally lose weight with keto – even when no other plan worked! It’s a healthier way to lose weight than pretty much any other weight loss advice out there.
Keto Chicken Nuggets
More of My Favorite Recipes:
Homemade Chicken Tenders (no air fryer required)
Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
Healthy homemade chicken nuggets perfect for the air fryer! These keto chicken nuggets are an easy way to stick to a low carb diet, while feeling like you’re cheating with fried foods. Except you’re not! These crispy chicken tenders are perfectly keto legal!
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 25 mins
- Yield: Recipe Serves 4 1x
- Category: Keto / Low Carb Dinner or Lunch
- Method: Air Fryer
- Cuisine: Keto / Low Carb
- Diet: Diabetic
- 1.5 lbs chicken
- 1 cup pork rind crumbs
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 tsp kosher salt (plus 2 tbsp to brine chicken)
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- coconut or avocado oil cooking spray
- For juicy chicken, brine in a large bowl of water with 2 tbsp of kosher salt, or enough pickle juice to cover chicken. Brine for 10-30 minutes in the fridge.
- Then, carefully discard of chicken juice and cut the chicken into 1 inch chunks. Set aside.
- Beat the heavy cream and egg together in a shallow bowl.
- Spread the pork rind crumbs onto a flat surface, like a cutting board or a large plate.
- Line the air fryer tray with perforated parchment paper or spray it with nonstick spray.
- Set up a dipping station, with the chicken first, egg wash second, flattened pork crumbs third, and flat surface last.
How to Air Fry Chicken Nuggets:
- Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F.
- Dip the chicken into the egg wash. Shake off excess egg after thoroughly coating both sides.
- Then dip the egg coated chicken into the pork rind crumbs. Make sure both sides are coated well and then place onto a flat surface.
- Repeat until all of the chicken is fully coated, then spray both sides of the chicken with a cooking spray. This helps the chicken get even crispier.
- Place chicken in the air fryer basket. Leave space in between each piece to allow the air to circulate.
- Air fry chicken nuggets for 5-6 minutes, and then flip. Air fry until fully cooked, which should take another 5-6 minutes.
- It’s important to leave space in between the chicken pieces. If all of your chicken doesn’t fit on the first try, work in batches.
- If you’d rather fry your keto chicken nuggets, heat coconut oil up in a large skillet and fry 3-4 minutes per side.
- Want to bake instead? Bake at 450 degrees F for around 10-15 minutes. Double check the nuggets are fully cooked with a meat thermometer. They are done once they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
- Reheat leftovers in a convection oven or on the stove top over medium heat.
- Serving Size: Recipe Serves 4
- Calories: 416.8
- Sugar: .3
- Sodium: 807.5
- Fat: 16.4
- Saturated Fat: 4.4
- Unsaturated Fat: 0
- Trans Fat: .2
- Carbohydrates: .3
- Fiber: 0
- Protein: 64.3
- Cholesterol: 220.4
Keywords: Healthy Chicken Nuggets, Keto Chicken Nuggets, Keto Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets