These Low FODMAP Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets with homemade Low FODMAP Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce will become your go-to recipe to curb your fast food cravings! Breaded with low FODMAP, grain-free, and gluten-free almond and tapioca flours and made crispy and tender in the air fryer, these kid-friendly, low FODMAP chicken nuggets are infinitely healthier than their fast food counterparts and I would argue even more flavorful and delicious. Eat these nuggets on their own or dipped in homemade low FODMAP sweet and sour dipping sauce, low FODMAP BBQ sauce, low FODMAP ranch dressing, or low FODMAP Ketchup (if that's your thing... ;)) for an even tastier low FODMAP lunch, dinner, appetizer, or snack. In addition to being low FODMAP, these chicken nuggets are grain-free, gluten-free, and Paleo with the sweet and sour sauce having an easy Paleo and refined sugar-free option.
Low FODMAP Chicken Nuggets: Another Jeff-Inspired Recipe
As hard as it might be to believe with all the cooking going on around here, sometimes we eat fast food. My husband, Jeff, my son, Ethan, and I were eating fast food chicken nuggets and fries one evening, feeling pretty "meh" about them during and especially afterwards. After eating "clean" for so long, fast food isn't as enjoyable anymore. Even though a lot of fast food is deep fried, it no longer tastes as good, nor do we feel good after eating it.
Suddenly, Jeff said, "You should make your own chicken nugget recipe with sweet and sour sauce," which is his favorite dipping sauce for chicken nuggets.
Jeff, the self-appointed "Creative Director" of Good Noms, Honey!, admittedly has some pretty good ideas sometimes. He's the one who is responsible for the name of the blog, after all. We also have him to thank for inspiring Low FODMAP French Dip (Instant Pot / Slow Cooker), his all time favorite sandwich, which tastes pretty damn amazing and does really well every time I post it to social media.
I decided he might be right about this, too, so I wrote these recipes. It turns out, he was right as 1) these homemade low FODMAP chicken nuggets do taste better than fast food; 2) they actually make you feel good after eating them; and, 3) they are a lot healthier. They aren't "fast food" as they take a little time and effort to prepare, but to me it's definitely worth it for a tastier, healthier result.
Is Almond Flour Low FODMAP?
I use blanched almond flour to bread these low FODMAP chicken nuggets as it's my favorite flour to use as a breading. According to Monash University's Low FODMAP Diet App, almond flour (or almond meal) is low FODMAP in quantities of up to ¼ cup or 24 grams per serving. That may not seem like a ton to work with, but let me tell you: it is.
Depending on what you're breading, things typically don't require that much flour in general to bread. We're only using ½ cup of almond flour to bread these chicken nuggets across 4 servings, which is well below the tolerable amount per serving.
In baked goods like my Low FODMAP Pumpkin Bread, you typically use another flour (my favorite being tapioca flour) in addition to almond flour to make the baked good less grainy and hold together better. Therefore, you don't have to use large quantities of almond flour in baked goods either.
While it is more expensive than regular gluten-free all-purpose flour or gluten-free panko, almond flour is grain-free, contains more protein and nutrients, and has a way better texture than AP flour or panko, in my opinion. I buy my blanched almond flour in bulk at Costco, and one bag lasts FORRR-EV-ERRR. If you don't want to buy whole bag just for this recipe, use the rest in one or more of my other low FODMAP recipes calling for almond flour:
- Carrot Cake Energy Balls
- Pumpkin Bread
- Pineapple Upside Down Cake
- Air Fryer Shrimp Taco Bowls
- Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Salad
- Instant Pot Turkey Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
- Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks
- Meatza (Meat Crust Pizza)
...with many more to come.
The equipment I use to make these Low FODMAP Chicken Nuggets in the air fryer includes:
- Air fryer (I use a Instant Pot Vortex Plus 10-quart Air Fryer)
- 2 large bowls
- Small bowl
- Multiple whisks or forks
- Basting brush
- Measuring spoons and cups
- Large piece of parchment paper
- Clean surface or baking sheet
The equipment I use to make the Low FODMAP Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce (optional - see notes for additional dipping options) includes:
- Small saucepan or saucier
- Small measuring cup or bowl
Low FODMAP Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets: Ingredients & Success Tips
Prepare the Sauce
Before I start preparing the low FODMAP chicken nuggets for the air fryer, I first make my low FODMAP sweet and sour dipping sauce or whatever sauce or dressing I plan on using. This is so the sauce has ample time to cool and/or for the flavors to meld while I'm preparing the nuggets.
Low FODMAP Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce
This low FODMAP sweet and sour dipping sauce is super quick and easy to make on the stovetop. I simply whisk the following ingredients together in a small saucepan:
- Orange marmalade - Monash University's low FODMAP Diet App lists orange marmalade as low FODMAP in quantities of up to 2 tablespoons per serving. Unless it's homemade without refined sugar, this is not a Paleo or sugar-free ingredient (unless you buy a sugar-free version). See the recipe card notes for a fully-Paleo and refined sugar-free option.
- Pineapple juice - hasn't been officially tested for FODMAPs but is generally thought to be low FODMAP as pineapple itself is low FODMAP in quantities of up to 1 cup per serving.
- Pure maple syrup - our refined sugar-free sweetener.
- Apple cider vinegar - the sour element.
- Cayenne (optional) - omit if your body reacts poorly to spice. This gives the sauce a bit of a bite but I wouldn't say it's overly spicy. We're only adding ⅛ teaspoon total.
I set the saucepan with the ingredients on medium high heat. While the mixture is heating up, in a small measuring up or bowl, I whisk together 1 teaspoon of tapioca flour and 1 teaspoon of cold water to make a slurry. Once the liquid in the saucepan starts to bubble, I slowly add the slurry to the saucepan, whisking constantly until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute. I remove the saucepan from the heat and set it somewhere to cool. If the sauce appears liquid-y, it will continue to thicken while it cools.
Other Dipping Options
If you're not a fan of sweet and sour sauce for your chicken nugget dipping, here are a few other low FODMAP dipping options for you:
Low FODMAP ranch dressing is my personal fave; ketchup isn't one I would personally pick but might appeal to some people.
Make the nugget interior
To prepare the Low FODMAP chicken nuggets for the air fryer, first I add the following to a large bowl:
- Ground chicken - provides the best texture, shape, and flavor for the chicken nuggets. I also tested chopped chicken breasts and, while a bit more work, the ground chicken worked far better for the nuggets.
- Tapioca flour - a low FODMAP gluten-free flour that binds the nuggets together and helps retain their shape.
- Garlic-infused olive oil - adds garlicy flavor without the garlic and keeps the nuggets from sticking to the parchment paper.
- Ground black pepper
I mix the ingredients with my hands until combined. Then, I place a piece of parchment paper on a clean surface or baking sheet. I roll the meat mixture into 1 tablespoon-sized balls, set them on the parchment paper, and then flatten them using my palm.
Don't worry about making them perfect as they simply won't be unless you want to spend hours shaping them. Also, this recipe should produce four 6-piece servings, but in this particular batch, you might notice I only got 23 nuggets out of the deal. *Shrugs shoulders* I could go back and try to make some of them smaller to get a 24th nugget, but oh well. We only have 3 people in our family, so it doesn't particularly matter.
Once all the nuggets are formed, I beat an egg with a sprinkle of salt in a small bowl, using a basting brush, I baste each nugget with egg, flipping them once coated to baste the other side.
Make the nugget breading
To make the nugget breading, I whisk together the following ingredients in a large bowl:
- Blanched almond flour - see my discussion on almond flour above for FODMAP and other hopefully useful information.
- Ground black pepper
I dredge the egg-coated nuggets in the almond flour, gently shaking off the excess flour, and place them onto my air fryer pans.
If using a small air fryer without a built-in preheat function
As mentioned, I now use an Instant Pot Vortex Plus 10-Quart Air Fryer, which is large enough to cook these nuggets in a single batch (yay!) and has a built-in preheat function. The recipe instructions are primarily written for using this type of air fryer; however, if you use a smaller air fryer without a built-in preheat, I suggest preheating your air fryer for 10 minutes at 400°F prior to adding your nuggets to the pan. Once breaded, place the nuggets on a plate until they're ready to be added.
Also, my Vortex air fryer pans don't require spraying, but if food tends to stick to your air fryer pan, spray it with cooking spray prior to adding the nuggets. I like using avocado oil cooking spray, but whatever spray you prefer should do.
If you have a smaller air fryer, you will most likely have to add the nuggets in two batches. Spray the tops of the first batch once in the pan, and air fry for 10 minutes at 400°F, flipping the nuggets halfway through cooking. Once the first batch is cooked, place somewhere to keep warm while you cook the other batch. If the first batch gets cold while cooking the second, you can throw them back in the air fryer for a minute once the second batch is completed. Don't cook them for too long though as they will easily overcook.
If using an Instant Pot Vortex Plus 10-Quart Air Fryer
To make these low FODMAP chicken nuggets in my Instant Pot Vortex Plus 10-Quart Air Fryer, I press the “Air Fry” button, set the temperature to 400°F, and set the timer for 10 minutes. Once prompted to “Add Food,” I add both pans to the air fryer, adding one pan to the top rung and the bottom pan to the bottom rung. Once prompted to “Turn Food” halfway through cooking, I remove pans to a baking sheet, and using a fork, flip the nuggets, spray the tops with cooking spray, place the pans on the opposite rungs in the air fryer, close the door, and continue to air fry for the remaining time.
Once the timer has stopped, I remove the air fryer pans to a fresh baking sheet and check the temperature of the thickest nugget using an instant read thermometer. Ground chicken must be at an internal temperature of at least 165°F to be safely consumed.
I serve these low FODMAP chicken nuggets in low FODMAP sweet and sour dipping sauce or one of the other dipping options listed above. This recipe makes about four 6-piece nugget servings (although I only got 23 nuggets out of this batch this time).
Low FODMAP Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets with Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce (Gluten-Free, Paleo Option)
- Instant Pot Vortex Plus 10-quart Air Fryer or your preferred air fryer
- Small measuring cup or bowl
Low FODMAP Chicken Nuggets:
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
- 1 tablespoon garlic-infused olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon paprika, divided
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup blanched almond flour*
- Avocado oil cooking spray, or your preferred cooking spray
Low FODMAP Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce (Optional – see notes for other dipping options):
- ¼ cup orange marmalade, see notes for Paleo option*
- ¼ cup pineapple juice*
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne, optional
- 1 teaspoon tapioca flour
- 1 teaspoon cold water
- Prepare the dipping sauce. If making the sweet and sour sauce, in a small saucepan, whisk together all the sauce ingredients except for the tapioca flour and cold water and place on medium high heat on the stovetop. Whisk together tapioca flour and cold water in a small measuring cup or bowl to make a slurry. Once the liquid in the saucepan starts to bubble, pour the slurry into the pot and whisk constantly until sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Remove saucepan from heat and set somewhere uncovered to cool. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. If making another dipping sauce to make the nuggets in (see notes for options), prepare those recipes in advance to allow them to cool and/or the flavors to meld.
- Make the nugget interior. To a large bowl, add ground chicken, 2 tablespoons of tapioca flour, 1 tablespoon garlic-infused olive oil, ½ teaspoon of the salt, ¼ teaspoon of the paprika, and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper and mix with your hands to combine. Set a large piece of parchment paper on a clean surface or baking sheet. Using your hands, roll the meat mixture into 1 tablespoon-sized balls, place on the parchment paper, and then flatten the balls into nuggets with the palm of your hand.
- Baste nuggets. Using a whisk or fork, beat egg and a sprinkle of salt together in a small bowl. Dip a basting brush in the egg mixture and coat the nuggets in egg. Flip the nuggets and baste the other side.
- Bread nuggets. To another large bowl, add ½ cup almond flour, ½ teaspoon of the salt, ¼ teaspoon of the paprika, and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper and whisk to combine. Dredge the egg-coated nuggets into the breading until evenly coated, gently shaking off the excess breading. If your air fryer does not have a built-in preheat function, place breaded nuggets onto a plate and preheat your air fryer for 10 minutes at 400°F prior to adding the nuggets. Place nuggets onto/into air fryer pan(s), spraying the pan(s) with cooking spray if food tends to stick to your pan(s). Spray the tops of the nuggets lightly with cooking spray. Depending on the size of your air fryer, this may need to be done in two batches. See the "If using a smaller air fryer without a built-in preheat function" section above for more detailed instructions.
- Air fry nuggets. If using an Instant Pot Vortex Plus 10-quart Air Fryer (which is what I use) with a built-in preheat function, press the “Air Fry” button, set the temperature to 400°F, and set the timer for 10 minutes. Once prompted to “Add Food,” add both pans to the air fryer, using the top and bottom rungs. Once prompted to “Turn Food” halfway through cooking, remove pans to a baking sheet, and using a fork, flip the nuggets, spray the tops with cooking spray, place the pans on the opposite rungs in the air fryer, close the door, and continue to air fry for the remaining time.
- Check temperature. Remove the nugget pans from the air fryer, and using an instant read thermometer, check the internal temperature of the thickest nugget. Ground chicken must be at an internal temperature of at least 165°F to be safely consumed.
- Serve and dip. Serve nuggets dipped in the cooled low FODMAP sweet and sour dipping sauce, low FODMAP BBQ sauce, or low FODMAP ranch dressing. Serve alongside Low FODMAP Air Fryer French Fries (see notes) dipped in Low FODMAP Ketchup.
- Dipping sauce options: As an alternative to dipping your nuggets in low FODMAP sweet and sour sauce, you could dip them in low FODMAP BBQ sauce, low FODMAP ranch dressing (to make this recipe Keto / low carb), or low FODMAP ketchup (if that’s your thing…😉). A half batch of these recipes will probably be more than enough for dipping your nuggets unless you would like to use them for other things (they each go with several recipes on the blog – just search for them in the search bar).
- Almond flour: Per Monash University’s Low FODMAP Diet app, almond flour (or almond meal) is low FODMAP in quantities of up to ¼ cup per serving.
- Orange marmalade: low FODMAP in quantities of up to 2 tablespoons per serving. It’s not a paleo compliant ingredient unless it’s homemade without refined sugar.
- Paleo option: Omit orange marmalade and increase pineapple juice to ½ cup. The sauce will lose a lot of its zing but still be yummy.
- Pineapple juice: hasn’t yet been tested for FODMAPs but is generally considered to be low FODMAP as pineapple is low FODMAP in quantities of up to 1 cup chopped per serving. Make sure your pineapple juice doesn’t have any added high FODMAP ingredients or sugar if needing refined sugar-free.
- Low FODMAP Air Fryer French Fries: if you’d like to make fries to go with your chicken nuggets, this is when having two air fryers comes in handy; however, if you only have one, I suggest air frying the fries while you’re preparing the nuggets and then keeping them warm in a 200°F oven while your nuggets are air frying. I do this in my Low FODMAP Air Fryer Fish and Chips recipe, and while it’s not a perfect situation, it works. You could also bake the fries in the oven, but I’d take air fryer fries over oven baked fries any day. They're so much better!
- Servings: Makes about four, 6-piece nugget servings.
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