Gluten Free Chick Fil A Air Fryer Nuggets

Six months to the day since my last entry … that’s too long.  I’ve been doing plenty of cooking and baking, but I’ve found it hard to take the time it takes to write out recipes.  Tonight’s little experiment changed that.  This NEEDS to be written down and shared.

As my grandmother used to say, I got a bee in my bonnet today, and while I had a healthy dinner planned out, I couldn’t get the idea of Chick Fil A out of my head.  My little celiac misses Chick Fil A; he can eat the grilled nuggets, but what kid doesn’t love fried chicken nuggets and fries?  That said, I really hate frying foods for the most part as it’s messy and stinks up the house.

Enter the Air Fryer.  I have no affiliate links which is a shame because I could have made a fortune off all the Instant Pots I have sold, and by the time I am done, I might just do the same with the Air Fryer.  [Just do me a favor: if you’re going to go through Amazon, go through so that a portion of your purchase will go to the charity of your choice (I chose Compassion, International).]

Back to the Air Fryer … I bought this one from Williams Sonoma over Memorial Day.  So far, I’ve used it for fries, frozen chicken nuggets, and taquitos, all of which have been delicious.  Tonight was my first attempt at a fresh meal in the Air Fryer, so I was a little nervous.  I based this recipe off This Old Gal’s recipe with a few modifications.

My husband is out of town for a conference, so tonight it was just me and the 5 year old (who eats like a grown man).  I stopped at the store on the way home and picked up the smallest package of chicken I could find.  I chopped these tenderloins up into smaller bites.

I did a quick marinade of the chicken in pickle juice.  Pickle juice?  Yes, pickle juice.  Blog after blog suggested this as the trick to a convincing CFA dupe, and it didn’t disappoint.

Half a cup of juice plus chicken for 30 minutes … let’s go.

While the chicken marinated, I mixed 2 eggs with 1/2 cup of milk.  For the amount of chicken I had, I could easily have cut this in half.

Next came the flour and spices.  Since I was making this GF, I had multiple options to replace AP flour.  My best successes have come with something simple, so tonight I chose white rice flour.  I added salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and powdered sugar and stirred well to combine.

Hey look, the chicken is ready!

Here’s my setup: I preheated the Air Fryer to 360F and then placed the basket over an empty plate to hold the mess.  I sprayed the inside with coconut oil spray just prior to breading the chicken.

I did the chicken in 4 batches; it took less than 5 minutes to do it all.  First, dip the chicken into the egg mixture to coat.

Then move the chicken into the rice flour mixture.  Toss with tongs to coat.

Move the chicken into the fryer basket.  When it’s all done, give the chicken a quick spray with coconut oil to aid in browning.

Toss in the chicken for 10-12 minutes.  Halfway through, pull out and stir to get all the chicken exposed to the hot air.

When the coating is crispy, you’ll be done!

I literally had to choke back a few tears when I took my first bite.  I haven’t had fried goodness like this in 20 months.  The little celiac was just as thrilled with the results.

I will DEFINITELY be making this again soon!!!


Gluten Free Chick Fil A Air Fryer Nuggets

  • 1/2 cup dill pickle juice
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 – 1 pound of chicken tenderloins
  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed
  1. Cut tenderloins into bite sized pieces.
  2. Marinate chicken for 30 minutes in dill pickle juice.
  3. Scramble eggs and mix well with milk.
  4. Combine rice flour, paprika, salt, peper, garlic powder, and celery seed.
  5. When 30 minutes is up, preheat Air Fryer to 360F and give basket a light coating of coconut oil.  Remove chicken from pickle juice directly into egg mixture (do in batches).  Move chicken from egg mixture into flour mixture and cover well with flour.  Move chicken into fryer basket.  Repeat until all chicken is covered in flour mixture.
  6. Spray chicken with coconut oil and put into Air Fryer for 10-12 minutes.
  7. At 5 minutes, stir chicken with spatula to ensure even browning.
  8. When coating is brown and crispy, chicken is ready to eat!

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