These Air Fryer Chicken Bites are crispy, juicy, full of flavor, and are ready in under 20 minutes! Best of all, they don't require any of the mess or fuss of breading, making them a super-quick and easy meal!
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Table of contents
- These Air Fryer Chicken Bites are crispy, juicy, full of flavor, and are ready in under 20 minutes! Best of all, they don't require any of the mess or fuss of breading, making them a super-quick and easy meal!
- Save this recipe for later on Pinterest:
- What are chicken bites?
- Why you'll love chicken bites made in the air fryer:
- Using chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs:
- How to cook chicken bites in air fryer:
- A chicken cutting cooking hack:
- Recipe pro-tips:
- What to serve with this chicken bites recipe:
- Refrigerating and freezing directions:
- Dietary adaptations:
- Recipe FAQs:
- Tools needed to make this recipe:
- More Easy Chicken Recipes
Raise your hand if you like childhood classics redone with a bit of grown-up flair?! I know I sure do.
These bites are like chicken nuggets, but stepped up a notch. With unprocessed chicken thighs, savory and sweet herbs and seasonings, and a little kick of heat these air fryer chicken bites with no breading will -- finally -- make you so happy to be an adult.
But that doesn't mean that kids won't like them, too. See my notes below to turn down the heat in the seasoning and let the crew dive into these bites with your hands if you please. 'Cause both kids and adults will love these tender and juicy meat chunks.
Save this recipe for later on Pinterest:
What are chicken bites?
Also known as chicken chunks, cubed chicken, chicken nuggets, or diced chicken, chicken bites are cut up pieces of boneless chicken that are seasoned with herbs and spices or breading before cooking at high heat. The high heat makes the chicken chunks crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.
This chicken bites recipe is made in the air fryer, allowing the chicken to get nice and crispy without needing to use any oil. Best of all, these air fryer chicken nuggets are made with no breading, making them a super easy and mess-free main dish or snack option!
Why you'll love chicken bites made in the air fryer:
This recipe always hits just right! It's...
- Simple - calling for just common pantry seasonings and boneless skinless chicken thighs, this recipe is easy to whip up while being big on flavor.
- Quick - requiring less than 20 minutes from start to finish, these chicken chunks in the air fryer will be done faster than you can say "YUM."
- Delicious - brown sugar, soy sauce (or coconut liquid aminos), savory seasonings, and a pinch of cayenne pepper come together for an unexpectedly balanced and zesty flavor.
- Comforting - similar to diving into a plate of fried chicken, this healthier yet still crispy alternative is a satisfying way to turn around a not-so-great day.
- Boneless skinless chicken thighs - higher in fat and nutrients than boneless skinless chicken breasts, chicken thighs are more flavorful and juicy than white meat.
- Cornstarch - gives the chicken an extra crispy exterior by locking in the juices.
- Low-sodium soy sauce - adds a savory dimension to the seasoning combination, making the flavor balanced and delicious.
- Seasonings - dried parsley, rosemary, and thyme team up with garlic powder, salt, and a liberal pinch of cayenne pepper, creating a dynamic but delicious combination.
Note: adapt the amount of cayenne pepper to your taste preferences. For a solid kick of heat, use ¼ teaspoon of the pepper. For just a small touch of zest to accent the other seasonings, use a large pinch.
Using chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs:
Though these chicken chunks are the best made with boneless skinless chicken thighs, they can also be made with boneless skinless chicken breasts. Air fryer chicken breasts bites won't be as crisp or juicy as chicken thighs, but the overall flavor of the recipe will be very similar.
How to cook chicken bites in air fryer:
For the complete recipe and measurements, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- In a medium-size mixing bowl, toss the chicken pieces with cornstarch until covered.
- Drizzle the chicken with the sodium soy sauce and sprinkle it with salt, black pepper, light brown sugar, parsley flakes, thyme, garlic powder, rosemary, and cayenne pepper. Toss the chicken until evenly coated in the seasoning mixture.
- Preheat the air fryer and basket at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 2-3 minutes.
- Air fry the chicken for 11-14 minutes, turning the chicken with a spatula every 3 minutes, or until the chicken is crispy and cooked through to an internal temperature of 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
A chicken cutting cooking hack:
If you're (like me) not into getting your hands and cutting board all slimy with chicken fat and juices, try out this chicken cutting hack: cut the chicken with kitchen shears!
Using clean shears and working over a mixing bowl, hold the chicken with the non-cutting hand as you cut off 1 ½-inch or so pieces of chicken, letting the cut chicken pieces drop into the mixing bowl. From here, season the chicken and continue with the recipe as directed!
- Preheat the air fryer. This helps the basket get nice and hot, speeding up the cooking time and allowing the chicken to get nice and crispy.
- Turn the chicken often throughout the cooking time. Since the chicken needs to come in contact with the hot air of the air fryer in order to get crisp, it is important to turn or stir the chicken every 3 or so minutes throughout the cooking time.
What to serve with this chicken bites recipe:
These chicken bites made in the air fryer go with so many sides. We love to enjoy them with:
- Steamed rice
- Mashed potatoes
- Roasted broccoli
- Air fryer green beans
- French fries
- Air fryer sweet potato fries
- Side green salads
- Quinoa salad
- ...and more!
Sometimes when I'm hungry for a more substantial afternoon snack, I'll even air fry up a batch (they're that easy to make) and enjoy them with an orange or some cut up sweet peppers.
Refrigerating and freezing directions:
- Refrigerating - leftover air fryer chicken chunks keep covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
- Freezing - extra chicken chunks can be frozen in a freezer-safe bag for 2-3 months.
- Defrosting - for best results, defrost the boneless chicken chunks in the refrigerator for 24-36 hours, or until thawed through.
- Reheating - you can reheat fully thawed leftovers in the microwave on medium heat for 1-2 minutes or in the air fryer at 400 degrees for 2-4 minutes, or until heated through and crispy.
These air fryer boneless chicken bites are naturally dairy-free. To make them gluten-free, substitute coconut liquid aminos for the low-sodium soy sauce.
The internal cooking temperature of chicken thighs is 175 degrees Fahrenheit. To check this temperature, insert a cooking thermometer into the center of the thickest part of the chicken pieces.
Fresh (not frozen) chicken bites take 11-14 minutes to cook in the air fryer at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tools needed to make this recipe:
- Kitchen shears (optional)
- Cutting board
- Chef knife
- Mixing bowl
- Silicone spatula
- Air fryer: I have and love the Ninja Foodi Tendercrisp and the Instant Pot DuoCrisp
- Heat-safe spatula
More Easy Chicken Recipes
- Breaded Panko Chicken Breast
- Honey Garlic Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs
- BBQ Chicken Flatbreads
- Southwest Chicken with Black Bean Sauce
- Balsamic Chicken Thigh Marinade
- Sheet Pan Mojo Chicken
- Walnut Chicken with Brown Butter Sage Sauce
If you made and liked this recipe, don't forget to rate the recipe and let me know how it went for you in the comments! It always makes my day to hear from you!