Instant Pot Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets (From Frozen)

Learn how to cook air fried chicken nuggets from frozen with the Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer or in a regular Instant Pot with the accessory air fryer lid. Crispy outside and tender inside, these nuggets are served with a delicious honey mustard sauce. They are super quick to make and great for a fuss-free dinner, lunch, game night or finger food when guests come over.


FROZEN CHICKEN NUGGETS – AIR FRYER METHOD

Keeping a stash of frozen chicken nuggets in the freezer makes it easy to whip up a quick meal for the family or to nibble on with friends. Kids love them too, and you can add a healthy vegetable side dish to serve up a balanced meal.

Cooking chicken nuggets in an air fryer is very quick and in this recipe, we will show you how to do it using the Instant Pot Duo Crisp or a regular model with an air fryer lid. You can use similar timings for standalone air fryers as well.

You don’t need to add extra oil and can cook the frozen chicken nuggets straight from the freezer. They will be done in 10-12 minutes depending on size. While they are cooking, you can whip up our honey mustard sauce and a quick salad, vegetables, and boil some pasta noodles or quinoa.

Frozen chicken nuggets air fryer recipe for Duo Crisp Instant Pot

WHAT TO SERVE WITH CHICKEN NUGGETS

You really can’t have chicken nuggets without a dipping sauce! A chicken nugget is pretty versatile and can take on many flavors. While there is nothing wrong with using regular ketchup or mayo for dipping, it’s worthwhile spending a few extra minutes whisking together something a little special.

  • Mix a little minced garlic to make aioli
  • Whisk Sriracha hot sauce or sweet chili sauce into mayonnaise
  • Go classic with smokey BBQ or our honey mustard dipping sauce
  • Try herby zesty chimichurri or tomato salsa for something refreshing

Chicken nuggets are often served as finger food but they are great to build a meal on. From mashed potatoes or pasta noodles to regular rice or quinoa, adding a healthy carbohydrate is always a good start. Finish up with your favorite salad or cooked vegetables to complete the dish. In the summer, coleslaw or potato salad are great companions to chicken nuggets.

Chicken nuggets honey mustard sauce dipping

INGREDIENTS YOU WILL NEED

Here is what you need to make this recipe.

Chicken nuggets: There are so many brands of frozen chicken nuggets with different sizes and thicknesses, which will affect cooking time (by 1-2 minutes). We always look for a higher percentage of chicken meat in the nuggets, which you tend to get with organic or free-range brands.

However, you might prefer a more processed, softer nugget texture, which is also fine. The good thing about air frying is that you can start with the base cooking time and then test one of the nuggets for readiness. If they need to get crispier, you can add a few minutes to the cooking time.

Frozen chicken nuggets

For honey mustard sauce: This is a very easy dipping sauce that goes well with chicken. You will need regular mayonnaise, wholegrain mustard, honey and a little hot sauce, which can be omitted if you must avoid spice. You can always make a larger portion and store it in the fridge for sandwiches.

Honey mustard mayo dipping sauce for chicken nuggets

HOW TO COOK FROZEN CHICKEN NUGGETS IN AIR FRYER

You will find the full recipe with ingredients and nutritional breakdown in the recipe card below. Here are some handy step-by-step photos of how to cook frozen chicken nuggets in the air fryer. You can use a 6-quart Instant Pot with an additional Air Fryer lid, basket and broil tray OR the Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer model (which is what we used). Feel free to adapt our recipe to your own air fryer model, timings would be quite similar.

First of all, there are a few factors that might affect the cooking of frozen nuggets. They vary in size, thickness, meat percentage and thickness. It’s always best to not overcrowd the basket/tray but we cooked our nuggets overlapping each other slightly and it still worked well as long as you flip them over halfway through. If you need to make a large portion of nuggets, cook them in two batches.

Step 1. Insert the air fryer basket inside the Instant Pot. Arrange frozen chicken nuggets on the bottom of the basket in one layer (no extra oil is necessary) and if you have extra nuggets, gently overlap them on top as a second layer (see photo below).

Step 2. Place and secure the air fryer lid on top. Select Air Fryer function (this will be on top of the lid if it’s an accessory Instant Pot air fryer lid, or on the front of the Instant Pot Duo Crisp). Set the temperature to maximum, which is 204 C / 399 F and adjust the time to 10 minutes for smaller nuggets and 12 minutes for thicker, larger nuggets (or somewhere in between, you can always increase the time or stop cooking earlier).

Step 3. At around 7 minute mark, open the lid and place it on a safety mat. Use tongs to flip the nuggets or move them around the air fryer basket. Place the lid on top to continue air frying for the remaining time. Check again at the end and feel free to add 1-2 extra minutes if you like them extra crispy.

Repeat with another batch of nuggets. This might take quicker as the pot and the air fryer lid will be quite hot already. Shake out any burnt bits of chicken from the basket before adding a new batch of nuggets. If a BURN FOOD error comes up, reduce the heat by a few degrees and it should disappear.

HONEY MUSTARD DIPPING SAUCE

Combine the sauce ingredients and whisk through until smooth. Taste to see if you like more heat, more kick from mustard or more honey. You can use some hot mustard in place of hot sauce or add a little ketchup for color. Toss potato wedges with rosemary, seasonings and olive oil. Use your hands to coat everything evenly. This sauce will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days in an airtight container.

Air fryer chicken nuggets from frozen using Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer

FULL RECIPE & NUTRITION

Below is the full list of ingredients, instructions, notes, tips and nutritional breakdown. Don’t forget to rate this recipe and leave a comment with feedback or any questions.


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Instant Pot Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets (From Frozen)

Instant Pot Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets (From Frozen)

  • Author: Instant Pot Eats
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Instant Pot Air Fryer
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Cooking frozen chicken nuggets in the Instant Pot air fryer is quick, easy and delivers perfectly crispy nuggets with tender insides in just 10-12 minutes! This recipe is for Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer or the regular Instant Pot model with the accessory air fryer lid. Served with a delicious honey mustard sauce, these air fried chicken nuggets are great for a fuss-free dinner, lunch, game night or finger food when guests come over.


Ingredients

Scale

24 frozen chicken nuggets (6 pieces per serve)

For honey mustard sauce

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard

12 teaspoons hot sauce or Sriracha


Instructions

  • Insert the air fryer basket inside the Instant Pot. Arrange frozen chicken nuggets on the bottom of the basket in one layer (no extra oil is necessary) and if you have extra nuggets, gently overlap them on top as a second layer (see photo below).
  • Place and secure the air fryer lid on top. Select Air Fryer function (this will be on top of the lid if it’s an accessory Instant Pot air fryer lid, or on the front of the Instant Pot Duo Crisp). Set the temperature to maximum, which is 204 C / 399 F and adjust the time to 10 minutes for smaller nuggets and 12 minutes for thicker, larger nuggets (or somewhere in between, you can always increase the time or stop cooking earlier).
  • At around 7 minute mark, open the lid and place it on a safety mat. Use tongs to flip the nuggets or move them around the air fryer basket. Place the lid on top to continue air frying for the remaining time. Check again at the end and feel free to add 1-2 extra minutes if you like them extra crispy.

  • Repeat with the second batch of nuggets, you will find that this will be quicker as the pot and the air fryer lid are already hot. If there are any burnt bits of chicken in the basket, shake it out. If BURN FOOD error comes up, reduce the heat from 204 to 200 and it should disappear. 

  • Make the sauce. Combine the sauce ingredients and whisk through until smooth. Taste to see if you like more heat, more kick from mustard or more honey. You can use some hot mustard in place of hot sauce or add a little ketchup for color. Toss potato wedges with rosemary, seasonings and olive oil. Use your hands to coat everything evenly. This sauce will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days in an airtight container.


Notes

Cooking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of the nuggets. Start with 10 minutes at 204 / 399 F and add a few extra minutes if needed. The Instant Pot Air Fryer lid takes about 3 minutes to heat up.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 6 nuggets + 1-2 tbsp sauce
  • Calories: 360
  • Sugar: 5.6 g
  • Sodium: 679 mg
  • Fat: 26.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 18 g
  • Fiber: 0.6 g
  • Protein: 12 g
  • Cholesterol: 35.6 mg

Keywords: Instant Pot Duo Crisp, Air Fryer Recipes, Chicken Recipes, Nuggets

By Instant Pot Eats

About us: We are a team of Instant Pot enthusiasts, who love good food and cooking. Our blog is dedicated to delicious recipes you can make using your trusted pressure cooker.

PS. This post may contain Amazon affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission for purchases made through these links. 

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