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A closeup of a plate topped with air fryer chicken nuggets, a paleo, nut-free, gluten-free, and grain-free favorite.
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4.86 from 28 votes

Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets (Paleo, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Nut Free)

These crunchy air fryer chicken nuggets are a guaranteed hit with both kids and adults! Coated with crushed plantain chips, these healthy chicken bites are paleo, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, and irresistible!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Brining time15 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Air Fryer, gluten-free, grain-free, nom nom paleo, nomnompaleo, nut-free, paleo
Servings: 4
Author: Michelle Tam


Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

  • 3 cups cold water or use 2 cups of pickle juice in place of salt brine
  • Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 9 ounces plantain chips or strips
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cassava flour or tapioca or arrowroot powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • avocado oil spray

Honey Mustard Sauce

  • ¼ cup Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey


  • Place a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.
  • Make the brine for the chicken by pouring the water in a large bowl and mix in ¼ cup Diamond Crystal kosher salt until it dissolves.
    Alternatively, you can pour 2 cups of pickle juice in a bowl to use as the salt water brine.
  • Cut the breasts into bite-sized pieces until you have about 28 uniform pieces total. Use a meat pounder to smush each piece until they’re about ½-inch thick.
  • Add the chicken to the prepared brine and cover and store in the fridge for only 15 minutes.  If you’re using pickle juice, marinate the chicken in the fridge, covered, for at least an hour and up to 8 hours.
  • Plop the plantain chips in a food processor and process until a coarse powder is formed. You should end up with 2 cups of plantain crumbs.
  • Transfer half of the crumbs to a shallow bowl. (If you put all the crumbs in the shallow bowl, they will clump up as you coat the chicken.)
  • In another shallow dish, add the eggs, cassava flour, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt. Whisk together until a sticky paste forms.
  • Take the chicken out of the brine and pat dry with paper towels.
  • In batches, dip the chicken in the egg mixture, shaking off any excess. Coat the chicken with the plantain chip crumbs, gently patting them. Set the nuggets on the prepared wire rack in the rimmed baking sheet.
  • Add more plantain chip crumbs to the dish when it runs low. Continue coating the chicken pieces until finished.
  • Now, air fry the chicken nuggets in batches. Lightly spray the bottom of the air fryer with avocado oil spray and place the chicken nuggets in a single layer. Spray the tops of the nuggets with avocado oil.
  • Air fry at 400°F for 8 to 10 minutes or until the outside is golden brown and the center is fully cooked. If the nuggets are frozen, air fry for 14 to 16 minutes. Repeat until finished.

Honey Mustard Sauce

  • If desired, make honey mustard sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the dijon-style mustard and honey until uniform. Serve the nuggets with the sauce.



Pro tip: to keep your hands relatively clean, use one hand to grab the chicken from the batter and use your other hand to pat on the plantain chips.
Freezing instructions
  • If you are freezing the nuggets, after you are finished with step 10, place the uncooked nuggets on the wire rack in the rimmed baking sheet in a freezer for 4 hour or until solid. Then, transfer the frozen nuggets to a sealed container or freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 4 months.
  • The frozen nuggets can be cooked directly from the freezer. Air fry at 400°F for 14 to 16 minutes or until cooked through and crispy on the outside.


Calories: 534kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 21g | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g