Make your favorite take-out at home with Air Fryer Barbecue Chicken Nuggets, which are easy to make gluten-free too with just a few ingredients!
We all know that you can buy a bag of frozen chicken nuggets or chicken chunks at the store that is coated with delicious barbecue sauce, right? They even carry them at most of the deli areas of the grocery store too ready to eat.
They are so yummy, but what happens when you are gluten-free?
You can’t eat them! Of course, many of us just want to make them from scratch to have control over what ingredients are in them too.
I decided to adapt my Gluten-Free Air Fried Chicken to make these AMAZING Air Fryer Barbecue Chicken Nuggets or as I like to call them, Chicken Chunks.
Do you have to make these gluten-free?
If you are not gluten-free, not at all. The seasoned flour is what makes these gluten-free or not gluten-free depending on what type you use.
If you are gluten-free, Better Batter Seasoned Flour is my all-time favorite. In full disclosure, I write menu plans for them, but I can say I’ve used their products for more than 6 years and they are by far the best.
For those that do not need gluten-free, this seasoned flour is a great choice too. Basically we are getting all the great flavor from the seasoned flour to coat the chicken with before covering it with sauce. It gives it that fried and crispy texture.
What barbecue sauce should you use for Air Fryer Barbecue Chicken Nuggets?
I’ll tell you that I am biased, I love Head Country. I have serious hands down love affair with their barbecue sauce. It’s all gluten-free, it’s all great ingredients and so delicious.
It’s also made in Oklahoma where I’m from, so it’s local for us. My favorite is this Apple Habanero. I actually do not like spicy foods, but this is just so subtle and full of flavor. It’s not all that spicy like you’d expect. Trust me, I’m weak when it comes to spice and I can handle this without any issue.
These will be good though with your favorite too, so if you have a preference use your favorite sauce.
Tips for making Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets:
I’ve always been huge on making them with chicken thighs instead of chicken breast, primarily because chicken breast dries out easily; however, I tried chicken breast with these and they were PERFECT.
I really think the sauce and olive oil spray keep them from drying out, plus being on top of the temperature of the meat.
- Invest in a quick read thermometer to be sure the meat reaches 165 degrees when it does it’s done.
This particular Thermapen is my favorite. It’s fast and accurate.
- Semi-defrost the chicken breast, I’ve found it works best if you defrost it almost but not all the way. If the chicken is just partially frozen it is very easy to cut into nice, even chunks without having little strings of chicken or having it shred when you cut it.
The perfect chunks can be cut when it’s partially frozen.
- Don’t be too conservative with the seasoned flour.
The chicken really needs a good thick coat of seasoned flour.
- The chicken needs a nice coat of barbecue sauce, once it’s coated, put it back in the air fryer to get it a little more crisp to coat the chicken.
At this point, you can add foil to your air fryer basket if you want to prevent sticky sauce on the basket.
Ready for a bite? This is a great recipe to pair with air fryer french fries and call it dinner or lunch.
Air Fryer Barbecue Chicken Nuggets
- 2 Large Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
- 1/2 Cup Seasoned Flour or Gluten-Free Seasoned Flour
- 1 Cup Barbecue Sauce
- Olive Oil Cooking Spray
- Cut the chicken into small bite-size chunks and place in a mixing bowl.
- Coat with the seasoned flour.
- Spray the basket of the air fryer with olive oil cooking spray and evenly pour the chicken into the air fryer.
- Cook at 390 degrees for 8 minutes.
- Open the air fryer, coat with olive oil spray and turn the chicken if necessary.
- Cook for an additional 8 minutes.
- Check the chicken to be sure it's at least 165 degrees.
- If so, remove and place it into a clean bowl.
- Add in the sauce and mix well, coating the chicken.
- Line the air fryer with a sheet of foil if you prefer or simply add the chicken back to the air fryer and cook for an additional 3 minutes until the sauce is warmed up and the chicken is a bit more crispy and coated.
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