I have been craving something sweet, yet garlic-y, with a hint of spice. So here we have it, STICKY CHICKEN NUGGETS. Perfectly air-fried chicken nuggets, lightly brushed with a perfectly delicious sauce.
This recipe reminds me of my Nashville hot chicken nuggets, recipe here, except definitely not as spicy. This is a kid-friendly, wimp friendly (which I am) version of that amazing recipe.
Let’s see a close up of that amazing sauce!
My husband requested some of my healthy homemade ranch with this dish. You can find that recipe here. It tastes, in our opinion, better than ranch and, of course, it is way healthier. It looks really good too!
Here is What You Need:
- Chicken tenderloins
- Egg beaters
- Light margarine
- Minced garlic
- Brown sugar replacement
- Hot wing sauce
I love using chicken tenderloins to make chicken nuggets because they are already thin and you just need to make a few slices. But go ahead and use any form of chicken
For the breadcrumbs, I use Italian Panko most of the time.
I prefer egg beaters for this type of use. They are very liquid-y, which is perfect to coat the chicken in. Real eggs are string-y and cover too much. Plus, cracking eggs is literally my arch nemesis, so egg beaters it is.
My light margarine of choice is ICBINB, and for those who are not in the know, that’s I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. I literally grew up on this brand and I am so brand loyal to them. It tastes like ‘real’ butter too and I honestly prefer using this. Only 1 point for an ENTIRE TABLESPOON. That a lot if you need butter for anything else.
My brown sugar replacement of choice is Swerve. I mean is there any other!? I picked up a pack on amazon, you can find that here. Zero points and tastes like real sugar. They have a ton of varieties too.
For the hot wing sauce, I used Sweet Baby Ray’s buffalo sauce. I love their bbq sauce so I tried out this one and it was really good.
What To Do, Step By Step
Start by slicing up the chicken tenderloins into bite-sized, nugget shaped pieces. About 5-6 pieces per tenderloin, depending how big the tenderloins are and how small you want the nuggets.
You will need two small, shallow bowls. I use Tupperware, it’s the best I have for this and the perfect size.
Pour out the liquid egg whites in one, and combine the flour, breadcrumbs and seasonings in another.
Little tip is to make sure the breadcrumbs are not too big. Either buy a brand that has very crushed up breadcrumbs or crush up the one’s you have. Our’s were a little too big so we sealed them in a baggie and crushed them with a rolling pin.
We are going to set up a little fried chicken assembly line. Start with the chicken tenderloin pieces on one end, move on to the egg whites, breadcrumb/flour mixture and then the air fryer.
Grease the air fryer tray with cooking spray, I love the butter version. It will work out well with this dish as we will be using margarine as the base for our sauce.
One by one, dunk chicken pieces in the liquid egg whites. Gently roll each piece in the flour mixture, to coat, then place in the greased air fryer, in a single layer without chicken pieces touching.
You will have to work fast or work in batches as to not let the chicken set too long. If it sets, the flour will soak into the chicken and it will get soggy. We did about half and half. Luckily I have a two drawer air fryer and didn’t have to wait for the first batch to be done before cooking the second. I love my air fryer! Grab it here.
Air fry the chicken for 1 minute then spray with cooking spray. You need to make sure the chicken is heated up before spraying. This will prevent it from getting soggy and will simulate for of a frying experience.
Air fry the chicken for another 3 minutes. Flip the chicken over, spray with cooking spray again then cook again for another 4-6 minutes.
You can also cook them in the oven, but it is better in the air fryer.
While the chicken cooks, we will make the sauce.
Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the margarine and melt it. Add in the minced garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.
Add in the seasonings, brown sugar, and honey and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and add in the buffalo sauce and water. Careful adding the water as it will bubble over quickly. Stir until thickened, about 2-3 minutes.
Once chicken is cooked, brush sauce onto the cooked chicken pieces. It is a lightly coated sauce type of dish. I wanted to simulate a less spicy Nashville hot chicken tender dish. Still really good and flavorful.
How good to these look! I am in love!!
Let’s get on to the recipe though! These are too good to keep you waiting!
Sticky Chicken Nuggets
- 12 ounces chicken tenderloins about 4-5 pieces
- 1/4 cup liquid egg whites
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/8 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon light margarine ICBINB
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar replacement Swerve
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 teaspoons buffalo sauce
- 2 teaspoons water
- Slice chicken tenderloins up into bite-sized pieces, about one inch by one inch
- In a small bowl, combine flour, breadcrumbs and chicken seasonings. Pour the liquid egg whites in another bowl. You can use eggs, just whisk well
- Grease air fryer with cooking spray and preheat to 400 degrees
- One by one, dunk chicken pieces in the liquid egg whites. Gently roll each piece in the flour mixture, to coat, then place in the greased air fryer, in a single layer without chicken pieces touching
- Air fry for 1 minute then spray with cooking spray. Cook for another 3 minutes
- Flip chicken over, spray with cooking spray again and cook for another 4-6 minutes, until fully cooked (Or bake at 450 for about 10 minutes, flipping halfway)
- Meanwhile, melt margarine in a small pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for about 2 minutes
- Add in the seasonings, brown sugar, and honey and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and add in the buffalo sauce and water. Stir until thickened, about 2-3 minutes
- Once chicken is cooked, brush sauce onto the cooked chicken pieces