It’s my joy to share with you a delectable recipe for homemade Chick-Fil-A grilled nuggets. With each serving containing 27 grams of protein, only 1 gram of carbs, and 1 gram of fat, you can now enjoy these succulent chicken nuggets without enduring long queues. To make it even more authentic, I’ve included a 2-ingredient honey BBQ sauce that brings you closer to the real deal!
How to Prepare Chick-Fil-A Grilled Nuggets in an Air Fryer
Creating these mouthwatering grilled nuggets is a breeze, despite a 30-60 minute marinating period. This recipe is a twist on Simplistically Living’s Chick Fil A grilled nuggets, which involves pan frying and a slightly different seasoning blend. Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this version:
- Diced chicken breast
- Pickle juice and your choice of milk
- Powdered sugar
- Garlic powder
- Smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper
That’s it! Follow the step-by-step instructions below, and I’ll also share some ingredient modifications and air frying tips along the way. You’ll find a printable recipe card at the end of this article for your convenience.
Step 1: Marinate the Diced Chicken Breast in Pickle Juice and Milk for 30-60 minutes.
Using diced chicken (or any meat) provides a larger surface area for the seasoning to adhere to, resulting in enhanced flavor in every bite. Although not crucial for flavor, I recommend not skipping the pickle juice and milk bath. I personally prefer skim milk, but feel free to use any type of milk you have on hand. For a richer flavor, buttermilk can be used, as seen in my spicy baked chicken tenderloins or crispy buttermilk pan-fried chicken breast recipes.
If you don’t have pickle juice, you can substitute it with a small amount of vinegar and broth, or something else pickled like jalapeño peppers. Alternatively, adding fresh citrus juice, like in my air fryer Greek chicken and potatoes recipe, can provide a unique twist, though it will alter the flavor profile slightly.
Step 2: Drain the chicken and season it with powdered sugar, black pepper, smoked paprika, salt, and garlic powder.
Ensure that you drain the chicken well, although there’s no need to pat it dry like in my recently published air fryer chicken tenders recipe. A little moisture is acceptable since we won’t be adding any oil to the air fryer.
Clumping or loose seasoning in the bowl should be avoided. If this happens, it’s likely that you didn’t drain the diced chicken well enough. In such cases, drain any remaining liquid and add a bit more seasoning if necessary.
As for the seasoning blend, there’s no definitive answer to what Chick-Fil-A grilled nuggets are exactly seasoned with. However, it’s been suggested that they include powdered sugar in their classic chicken nuggets, so it’s plausible that it extends to the grilled chicken nuggets as well. While it may not be 100% accurate, this seasoning blend comes incredibly close, and the powdered sugar truly works wonders. Trust me on this one!
Side note: For six other flavors, check out my complete guide to air fryer chicken nuggets.
Step 3: Air fry the nuggets at 400ºF for 10-12 minutes.
I tested this recipe using the Instant Pot Air Fryer combo and the 6.5-quart Ninja Foodi. Different air fryer models and sizes might have slightly different cooking times, but the variation should be minimal.
In the recipe card below, I’ve added a note that you can broil the nuggets for a few minutes at the end of cooking if you desire a slightly crispier texture on the edges. The broil function, available in the Instant Pot and Foodi, allows you to achieve crispy edges without drying out proteins, as evidenced in my pork tenderloin carnitas or spicy BBQ pulled pork recipes.
And there you have it, perfectly grilled Chick-Fil-A nuggets, ready to be dipped and savored!
How to Make These Nuggets Without an Air Fryer
If you don’t have an air fryer, you can still enjoy these delicious nuggets. Simply pan fry them over medium heat for 6-8 minutes with a splash of olive oil or cooking spray, similar to my pan-fried buffalo chicken bites recipe. Alternatively, you can bake them at 400ºF for 15-18 minutes directly on a baking sheet. This baking time and temperature are similar to what I used for the aforementioned baked chicken tenderloins.
Serving Your Grilled Chick-Fil-A Nuggets
Speaking of dips, I personally enjoy mixing honey mustard and BBQ sauce for these Chick-Fil-A grilled nuggets, as well as for chicken dishes of all kinds. This combination closely resembles their honey roasted barbecue sauce. However, if you’re looking for the classic sauce, you can check out this copycat Chick Fil A sauce recipe from Build Your Bite.
Although I don’t have a copycat Chick-Fil-A fries recipe, I highly recommend trying my copycat Five Guys Cajun fries and spicy air fryer sweet potato fries recipes. They’re equally delicious and will complement your grilled nuggets perfectly.
Okay, that should cover everything you need to know. If you have any recipe-related questions that I missed, please feel free to drop a comment below. And once you try and love these grilled Chick-Fil-A nuggets, I’d greatly appreciate it if you could leave a review. Enjoy your homemade nuggets!