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 2021-11-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Airfryer racks for stacking food 6quart
  • 【DESIGNED TO FIT】7.9 inch diameter by 5.3 inch height is the perfect size to fit most 6 quart Instant Pot models, including Duo 60, Lux 60, Duo Plus 60, Ultra 60, Viva 60, Nova Plus 60, Duo Nova 60.
  • 【EASY TO USE】Dishwasher safe makes clean up a breeze, the stackable design offers exceptional convenience to save you precious countertop space.
  • 【DEHYDRATE FOODS】Five stackable layers make it easier than ever to dehydrate fruits and meats, lock in the nutrients and enjoy healthy snacks like chips and jerky.
  • 【SAFE HANDLING】 Thanks to the roll hemming technology, ensure safe handling with burr-free edges.
  • 【FOOD GRADE SAFETY】Featuring stainless steel food grade 304 (18/8), you can serve your family much-loved healthy meals every day.

Last update on 2021-11-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Airfryer racks for stacking food 6quart
  • Includes 1 Pcs Stainless Steel Rack 8 Qt XL Accessories Parts for Ninja Foodi Deluxe Pressure Cooker and Air Fryer 8 Quart Models FD401 OP401 BL771A FD401C FD402 FD402B4 Only
  • Warning! -- It does not fit Ninja Foodi Pressure Cookers 6.5 quart or less. It does not fit other brands 8 qt models. It fits Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL Pressure Cooker and Air Fryer 8 Quart Models FD401 OP401 BL771A FD401C FD402 FD402B4 Only!
  • Warning! -- Please check the dimensions before ordering -- Width: 8.8 in -- Length: 9.2 in -- Height: 5.8 in
  • Consists of two split trays -- Three position allows to try different cooking options. Material -- Stainless steel 304 -- Dishwasher safe
  • 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed -- For any reason you're not completely satisfied, please do not hesitate to contact us for a replacement or full refund

Last update on 2021-11-20 / 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 & Crisper Plates, Match Cook & Smart Finish 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.
  • 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 2021-11-19 / 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 Cooker with Temperature Control, Non-stick Fry Basket, Recipe Guide + Auto Shut Off Feature, 1000-Watt, 2.6 Quart - Teal
  • HEALTHIER FRIED FOOD: Dash Tasti-Crisp Air Fryer uses AirCrisp Technology instead of oil to reduce added fat by 70-80% without sacrificing the flavor of your fried food.
  • QUICK + EASY: Short on time? Simply load the 2.6-qt capacity fryer basket, set the temp and timer, and within minutes your food comes out crispy, every time.
  • SAFER: The auto-shut off function prevents overcooking, and the cool touch handle makes it safe and easy to use!
  • VERSATILE: The redesigned Crisper Basket allows for greater surface area inside the Air Fryer, so food gets more crisp, faster. Perfect for cooking frozen treats like chicken nuggets, fish sticks, and other snacks, this is a compact air fryer families will love.
  • COMPACT + LIGHTWEIGHT: Half the weight of a standard fryer, the Dash Tasti-Crisp Air Fryer is your must-have for that first apartment, smaller kitchen, college dorm life, camper/RV traveling, while its sleek design and trendy color options will accent any kitchen space.

Last update on 2021-11-19 / 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 6 Quart Air Fryer, Customizable Smart Cooking Programs, Digital Touchscreen and Large Non-Stick Air Fryer Basket, Black
  • 4-IN-1 FUNCTIONALITY: Air fry, bake, roast and reheat.
  • ONE-TOUCH SMART PROGRAMS: Customizable cooking programs for easy chicken wings, roasted veggies, cinnamon buns and more.
  • EVENCRISP TECHNOLOGY: Delivering all the crunch and tenderness of deep-frying with 95% less oil.
  • EASY TO USE DISPLAY: Touchscreen shows each stage of cooking.
  • EASY CLEAN-UP: Non-stick, dishwasher safe air fry basket and tray.

Last update on 2021-11-19 / 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.

Rok Jurca

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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