This is the easiest homemade gluten free chicken nuggets recipe to make, and they are made with simple ingredients. You can make them in an air fryer, or bake them in the oven. The whole family will go nuts over this easy air-fried chicken nuggets recipe!
I am so excited to share my new recipe with you. I have made this parmesan ranch nuggets recipe for a long time for my family, but I never thought to post it on the blog. They are perfect for picky eaters and I hope your family loves them as much as mine does.
If you love using your air fryer as much as I do, check out all of my Gluten Free Air Fryer Recipes.
Why These Nuggets Are Great:
This recipe is one of those keeper recipes that you will make over and over again.
- The chicken nuggets are crispy on the outside and tender and moist on the inside. You will want to make a big double batch because these will disappear slowly.
- They cook in about 11 minutes in your air fryer, or 20 in the oven.
- Our picky eater loves ranch so adding that flavor to this chicken nuggets recipe is a win-win!
- You can use this air fryer chicken nuggets recipe for any cut of chicken, both boneless and bone-in!
- Homemade nuggets are so much healthier than fast food or processed frozen nuggets you buy in the store.
My family loves chicken and I have tons of delicious Gluten Free Chicken Recipes on the blog for you to explore.
- Chicken Breasts - You can use any boneless or bone-in cut of chicken for this recipe.
- Gluten Free Bread Crumbs or Panko - There are several brands including Ian's and Alexia. I find it is a lot cheaper to make my own homemade gluten free bread crumbs.
- Ranch Dressing - I love to use the Hidden Valley brand, but LiteHouse and Newman's Own are also gluten free ranch dressing brands I use. Use my Gluten Free Ranch Dressing to make it from scratch!
- Parmesan Cheese - I like to use grated, not shredded.
- Salt - Use sea salt or kosher salt.
- Oil - You will want to spray your nuggets with oil. I don't recommend olive oil. Use an oil like avocado oil, or another high smoking point oil.
How To Make Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets:
Step 1: For best results, use a sharp knife to cut your boneless skinless chicken breasts into nugget-shaped pieces. (I make them in 1-inch pieces, but you can cut them larger.)
HINT: Cut the chicken on a cutting board that can go into the dishwasher so that it can be sterilized when cleaned. Place the cut raw chicken into a medium bowl.
Step 2: Add the ranch dressing to the chicken chunks. Use a pair of tongs to toss the chicken to coat it all in the ranch dressing. This is the secret ingredient that keeps these nuggets so moist on the inside! See Ingredient Notes for gluten free options. In this recipe, you will use the ranch to get the bread crumbs to stick and NOT an egg mixture.
Step 3: Mix well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate. I like to allow the chicken to sit in the ranch dressing for a minimum of 15 minutes. You will be surprised at how much the ranch flavor in these hidden valley ranch chicken nuggets absorbs into the chicken!
Step 4: Add the gluten free bread crumbs or panko to a shallow dish and mix in the grated parmesan cheese.
Step 5: Put a piece of chicken into the bread crumbs and toss to coat. Repeat until all of the chicken is coated in the coating mixture.
Step 6: Spray the basket with cooking oil and line the breaded chicken nuggets into the air fryer basket in a single layer. Make sure the nuggets are not touching each other so that air can circulate around each piece. Spray cooking oil over the nuggets.
Cook in the air fryer at 400º F for 10 minutes. (Actual time may depend on how large you cut your chicken pieces.) Small pieces of chicken will cook a LOT faster than larger chunks. If you can't fit all of the nuggets in the first batch, you can cook the rest in a second batch.
Remove the cooked ranch chicken nuggets and repeat until all of the chicken pieces are cooked. You can verify the chicken is done with a meat thermometer when the internal temperature is 165º F.
If you love crispy, you may also want to try my crispy gluten free air fryer mushrooms recipe.
Oven Baking Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375º F. Follow all of the same directions to prep, marinate, and coat the nuggets. Line the bread crumb-coated nuggets up on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. The best way to get them crispy is to spray them with a little light oil (not a cooking spray) so that they crisp on the outside.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on how large your chicken nuggets are. Check the internal temperature on a couple of the largest nuggets to ensure they are 165º F. The nuggets should be a nice light golden brown.
- Sriracha sauce for a spicy kick!
- These Baked Gluten Free French Fries
- Air Fryer Green Beans
- BBQ Sauce or your favorite dipping sauces.
- Sweet potato fries
Expert Tips and Recipe FAQ:
You can use gluten free bread crumbs or panko in this recipe. I find they are a lot cheaper to make from scratch using my gluten free bread crumbs recipe.
Yes, you can cook these gluten free nuggets in a frying pan. Add 2 tablespoons of light oil and heat under medium heat. Add the nuggets and cook for 4-6 minutes on each side, depending on how thick your nuggets are. Be sure to check the internal temperature to verify they are 165º F.
If your gluten free chicken nuggets didn't turn out crispy, it may be because you didn't cook them long enough. Double-check that the internal temperature reads 165º F. Also be sure you sprayed them with oil. If you want to know which oil is best for the air fryer, check my air fryer oil list.
You can easily freeze leftover nuggets. I store them in a freezer-safe Ziplock-style bag.
These ranch nuggets will keep up to 4 days in an air-tight container, or up to 4 months in the freezer.
If you are totally crazy about ranch dressing flavor, you can even dip these nuggets into your favorite ranch dressing! Also, check out my gluten free chicken nuggets web story!
More Gluten Free Chicken Recipes:
- Gluten Free Chicken Pot Pie
- Crispy Gluten Free Fried Chicken
- Gluten Free Chicken Parmesan
- Roasted Herb Chicken
- Gluten Free Chicken and Waffles
This post was updated from an older March 2021 post with more detailed directions.
Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets
- Mixing bowl
- 1 pound chicken breasts raw
- ⅓ cup ranch dressing * see note
- ⅓ cup gluten free bread crumbs * see note
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese grated
- If you are baking these in an oven, preheat your oven to 375º F. See the Notes section for oven directions.
- Cut the chicken breasts into chicken chunks and put into a mixing bowl.
- Pour the ranch dressing over the chicken and mix to coat the chicken evenly.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the chicken to marinate for at least 15 minutes. You can cover them and put them into the refrigerator overnight if you plan to meal prep these for the next day.
- Preheat your air fryer to 400º F.
- Add the bread crumbs and parmesan to a bowl and mix well.
- Put 4-5 chicken chunks into the bread crumb mixture and toss to coat them evenly with bread crumbs.
- Spray the air fryer basket with cooking oil (do not use olive oil!) and add coated chicken to the basket. Make sure to have space between each nugget so air can circulate around each one. This will help make your nuggets crispier.
- Spray the top of the nuggets with oil and cook for 10 minutes.
- Remove the basket when they are done and check the internal temperature of the largest nuggets to ensure they are 165º F.
- Ian's and Alexia both make great gluten free bread crumbs. It is also easy (and cheaper) to make your own gluten free bread crumbs from scratch.
- There are several brands of ranch dressing that are gluten free. I use Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing in this recipe, but LiteHouse and Newman's Own are also delicious.
- You can use boneless chicken thighs if you have those on-hand. And if you want to get creative, chicken wings!
Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.
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