Last updated on January 12th, 2024 at 09:01 am

Can you stack chicken nuggets in an air fryer (Done it!)

Stacked chicken nuggets on a rack and in the basket of an air fryer
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There are many opinions among home cooks on whether you can stack chicken nuggets in an air fryer or not. So let’s make it clear if you can stack chicken nuggets in the air fryer.

Yes, you can stack chicken nuggets in an air fryer. But only as long as you can ensure that the hot air flows properly between the pieces. It is important to use the proper technique and the right air fryer and its accessories so that the stacking will be successful.

If you learn how to do this well, it will significantly reduce the time spent in the kitchen, and you can surprise every member of the family at the same time with freshly fried chicken nuggets.

Ways to stack chicken nuggets in an air fryer

There are few things to consider when it comes to stacking nuggets in an air fryer. You can do it with or without racks, but you need to be more careful if you do it without racks.

With racks

By using a rack inside the air fryer, you will at least double the amount of chicken nuggets you can make at the same time.

You can find different types of racks depending on the type of your air fryer. A single-layer rack is available for smaller ones, and for larger air fryers, you can purchase double-layered racks.

Using racks is very simple. Fill the air fryer bottom level with chicken nuggets, making sure they don’t touch each other, so the hot air will make them crispy on all sides. 

Place the rack in the air fryer and arrange the remaining nuggets on it, paying attention to the distance between them here as well.

Stacked chicken nuggets in an air fryer with a rack

I found some great racks on amazon which I use myself. These racks can ease your air fryer food stacking problems every time:


Airfryer rack SET of 2
  • FOOD GRADE HIGH QUALITY MATERIAL: MFTEK air fryer accessories rack is made of food grade 304 stainless steel, which is FDA Approval material, durable and heat resistant, oven safe up to 500-degrees
  • BEST AIRFRYER ACCESSORIES: Double layer rack for more versatile air fryer recipes. Maximize the heating surface of food, use skewers for shish kabob on the top layer and other foods on the grate layer.
  • EASY TO CLEAN: No stick and No rust high quality 304 stainless steel, easy to clean, Each air fryer accessories is dishwasher safe for a quick and hassle free clean up, just simple slip in the dishwasher and get your hands free.
  • DURABLE & FRIENDLY DESIGN: The rack edge is polished to a smooth surface with no rough spot, Protect your hand roundly while washing or holding. Dense parallel line prevents food from falling through.
  • 100% COMPATIBLE WITH: XL Power airfryer, Philips, GoWISE USA, Faberware, Cozyna 4.2-6.8QT and up. The Skewer rack size: 7.8*2.75inch, metal rack: 7.8*1.18inch.

Last update on 2024-01-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Last update on 2024-02-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Last update on 2024-02-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Without racks

If you would like to stack the chicken nuggets in an air fryer without using racks, it is essential to use chicken nuggets with a maximum size of 1.5 inches (4 cm) on their longest side.

Store-bought nuggets usually meet these criteria, making them suitable for stacking. If you make chicken nuggets at home, make sure they are not bigger, otherwise, they will stick together quickly, and the result can be disappointing.

If you are stacking without a rack, you have to flip the nuggets at least twice during the cooking process. The easiest way to do this is to gently mix them with a heat-resistant tong or shake and toss the basket twice during the frying process. By flipping and tossing, the whole nugget is exposed to hot air, which assures crispiness.

Stacked chicken nuggets in a basket style air fryer without racks

How many chicken nuggets can you put in an air fryer

It just depends on the size of your air fryer. Smaller ones (up to 3 quarts) can make enough food for 1-2 people at a time. It means that you can put about 10-12 chicken nuggets into it without using racks.

In a medium-sized air fryer (4-5 quart), you can fry roughly 14-16 pieces of chicken nuggets at the same time, with no rack used.

If you have an air fryer oven, you can put about 40-42 pieces of chicken nuggets in it!

How long to cook chicken nuggets in an air fryer (frozen or unfrozen)

You can cook frozen or unfrozen chicken nuggets perfectly using an air fryer, but there are a few differences that you have to pay attention to.

Using frozen chicken nuggets

If you use frozen chicken nuggets, it is very important not to thaw them before frying! It would be best to put the nuggets in the hot (preheated) air fryer when they are still frozen. Otherwise, they will not be crispy.

First, preheat the air fryer to 400 Fahrenheit (204 Celsius) for 5 minutes. The chicken nuggets available in the stores are usually pre-fried, so you don’t have to use extra oil for frying. Put the nuggets in the air fryer and start cooking.

If you use racks, fry the chicken nuggets for 8 minutes, then flip them and fry for another 3-4 minutes.

If you don’t use racks, fry the chicken nuggets for 6 minutes, then stir them with a tong or shake and toss the basket a little. Fry them for another 4 minutes, then repeat the stirring or shaking process. Fry them for an additional 4 minutes, and they are ready.

You can also use a meat thermometer: push it into the middle of one or two chicken nuggets. When their internal temperature reaches 165 Fahrenheit (74 Celsius), they are ready. If the internal temp is lower, cook them for two more minutes.

Using unfrozen chicken nuggets

If you use homemade, unfrozen chicken nuggets, the cooking time will be shorter.But it would be best if you spray them with some oil before cooking in the air fryer.

Preheat the air fryer to 390 Fahrenheit (200 Celsius) for 4 minutes. Gently spray the nuggets with oil, then put them into the air fryer and start cooking.

If you use racks, cook the nuggets for 6 minutes, flip them and cook for an additional 3 minutes.

If you don’t use racks, cook the chicken nuggets for 4 minutes. Then stir them with a tong or shake the basket, and cook for 3 more minutes. After another turn of stirring or shaking, cook them for an additional 3 minutes, and they are ready.

Which type of air fryers can you use for stacking chicken nuggets

You can use small air fryers without racks, bigger ones with or without racks, or huge air fryer ovens. But let’s take a look at some air fryers that are best for stacking chicken nuggets.


My personal favorite is the Ninja Foodi 6-in1 8-quart air fryer. It is unique in this category because it has two independent baskets with its own heaters and fans. It is perfect for stacking chicken nuggets and making the side dish simultaneously in the same air fryer.

Ninja DZ201 Foodi 8 Quart 6-in-1 DualZone 2-Basket Air Fryer with 2 Independent Frying Baskets, Match Cook & Smart Finish to Roast, Broil, Dehydrate & More for Quick, Easy Meals, Grey
  • 2 INDEPENDENT BASKETS: The original Air Fryer with 2 independent baskets, the XL air fryer lets you cook 2 foods, 2 ways, at the same time, eliminating back-to-back cooking like a traditional single-basket air fryer.
  • SMART FINISH & MATCH COOK: DualZone Technology allows you to choose between the Smart Finish feature, which unlocks cooking 2 foods 2 ways that finish at the same time, and the and a Match Cook button to easily copy settings across zones for full 8-qt capacity.
  • 6-IN-1 FUNCTIONALITY: Includes 6 versatile cooking programs: Air Fry, Air Broil, Roast, Bake, Reheat, and Dehydrate. The baskets can be washed in the dishwasher or by hand.
  • XL CAPACITY: The 8-quart air fryer capacity lets you fit mains and sides at the same time for making quick family meals, or up to 4 lbs. of French fries or chicken wings.
  • SEPARATE HEATING ZONES: 2 independent 4-quart zones have their own cooking baskets, cyclonic fans, and rapid heaters.

Last update on 2024-02-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Suppose you don’t have a lot of space in your kitchen, this Dash Compact Electric. It has a 2.6-quart basket that can fry enough food for 2 people in no time. It is big enough for around 12 nuggets but at the same time small enough to fit any kitchen.

DASH Tasti-Crisp™ Electric Air Fryer Oven, 2.6 Qt., Teal – Compact Air Fryer for Healthier Food in Minutes, Ideal for Small Spaces - Auto Shut Off, Analog, 1000-Watt
  • HEALTHIER FOOD – Dash Tasti-Crisp Air Fryer uses AirCrisp Technology instead of oil to cook vegetables, frozen foods and more, reducing added fat by 70-80%. It’s a must-have mini kitchen appliance and the teal air fryer looks great in any kitchen.
  • QUICK AND EASY – This countertop air fryer is compact, sized for any kitchen and makes cooking healthy a breeze. Just load the air cooker nonstick basket, set the temp and timer and within minutes you have crispy food.
  • PERSONAL AIR FRYER – Whether you’re cooking healthier for one or two or want an air fryer for dorm or RV, this small size is ideal. The simple air fryer for seniors and more has an auto-shut off function that prevents overcooking and a cool touch handle.
  • VERSATILE – This mini air fryer doesn’t take up much room in a kitchen or dorm but has plenty of surface area inside the PTFE nonstick basket for food. This means your vegetables and frozen treats like french fries are more crisp, faster.
  • FAST, HEALTHIER FOOD - Healthy food doesn’t have to take hours. Whether you’re in between classes or just short on time, with this air cooker oven, you can fry, roast, bake, crisp and much more in minutes. Plus, it’s an easy clean air fryer.

Last update on 2024-02-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


This Instant Vortex 4-in-1 Air Fryer is an amazing machine that you should have in your kitchen. Its 6-quart single basket is big enough to put a rack in it and make food for 3-4 people at the same time.

Instant Vortex 6QT XL Air Fryer, 4-in-1 Functions that Crisps, Roasts, Reheats, Bakes for Quick Easy Meals, 100+ In-App Recipes, is Dishwasher-Safe, from the Makers of Instant Pot, Black
  • 4-IN-1 FUNCTIONALITY: Air fry, broil, roast and reheat.
  • EvenCrisp TECHNOLOGY: Advanced technology that drives air flow top down for a perfect golden finish and crispy, tender results every time!
  • ONE-TOUCH SMART PROGRAMS: Customizable programs for one-touch wings, roasted veggies, garlicky potatoes, cookies, cinnamon buns and more!
  • FAST PREHEATING: Little to no preheating time, from frozen to golden in minutes! Create gourmet meals with the versatility of a temperature range of 120 to 400° F.
  • EASY CLEAN-UP: Non-stick, dishwasher safe air fry basket and tray.

Last update on 2024-02-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


When it comes to stacking chicken nuggets in an air fryer, the size of the air fryer doesn’t really play a big part. You can achieve the same excellent results with a smaller or larger machine. Properly sized chicken nuggets and the correct application of the technique are what lead to success.


I am a kind of person that would sneak a taste out of grandma’s pot when I was barely tall enough to reach it. I grew up in kitchens full of love and liveliness and have spent my whole live learning, experimenting and succeeding in the art of cooking. At Pro Family Chef, every day is an opportunity for a new meal and a brand new flavor. I created this website to connect people that love to cook, with the products designed to make their cooking easier, hassle-free and rewarding every time.

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