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Homemade Air Fryer Corn Nuggets Recipe

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Our air fryer corn nuggets recipe offers a ton of flavor in an easy to put together dish kids and adults alike adore. It’s quick and easy enough to make these just about any night and feed your family a hearty dinner or give your kids a great afternoon snack that you can feel good about feeding them. This will quickly become a new favorite and on your table over and over again!

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 Air fryer Corn nuggets
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What are corn nuggets?

Corn nuggets are delicious, fried, and sweet and savory treats that you can serve for dinner or lunch or as a snack to your hungry family. Resembling miniature chicken nuggets, these tasty bites originate from Texas and feature a light, slightly sweet corn fritter batter filled with whole corn kernels, essentially turning them into a very appealing entree.

This best corn nuggets recipe, which typically yields about 12 corn nuggets depending on the size of your scoop, offers a versatile and vegan alternative to traditional fried chicken nuggets, and can satisfy those sneaky cornbread cravings too. Dress them up with your favorite sauces for a personalized touch.

Air fryer Corn nuggets

Why you’ll love this corn nugget recipe

Our corn nugget recipe contains more than just corn and flour. It's like a cookbook of flavors, with the inclusion of green chilis, garlic, cilantro, and paprika, ensuring a taste that will tantalize your palate. Keeping the calorie count in mind, we opt for a high smoke point using a simple cooking spray or a smidgen of peanut oil— instead of a traditional deep-fry.

This air-fryer technique, utilizes a fraction of the oil, making it an optimal option for your appetizer recipes. Such diligent prep tips assure crispy perfection with each serving, while the calorie conscious approach ensures the health factor isn't compromised. So, you can feel at ease about serving them to your family.

We also provide you instructions for deep frying corn nuggets if you choose to go the traditional way of making them.

What ingredients do I need to make corn nuggets

When you make this corn nuggets recipe, you’ll want to have the following ingredients on hand:

  • Corn kernels - You can use your preferred type (white, yellow, mixed) as well as frozen, or freshly chopped off the cob. - Rice Flour, Salt, and Pepper - These essential spoonfuls are a must for most recipes. In our case, they enhance the flavor of the corn nuggets. You can choose to use white flour or all-purpose flour as an alternative to rice flour.
  • Garlic cloves - You’ll want to mince or crush them into tiny spoonfuls.
  • Green chili - You can add more or fewer spoonfuls depending on your heat preferences.
  • Cornmeal - Dropping spoonfuls of this into the mixture creates a denser, more flavorful batter used in the nuggets.
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Paprika
  • Few tablespoons of water (if needed) - This is particularly necessary if the flour mixture is too dry or crumbly; the correct texture for your dough should be sticky enough to hold together when scooped up with a spoon or cookie scoop.

Remember to make adjustments to the quantity of flour if you switch from rice to all-purpose or white flour.

Air fryer Corn nuggets

How to make corn nuggets

Here’s how to make delicious corn nuggets at home:

Air fryer Corn nuggets
  • First, defrost frozen corn kernels in the microwave until they reach room temperature.
  • Next, squeeze out any excess water from the kernels.
  • When ready, add 1 cup of corn kernels to a blender and make a paste.
  • Add the corn paste plus ½ cup of reserved corn to a large bowl, all spices and then mix well before forming into a dough-like ball.
Air fryer Corn nuggets
  • If needed, add a few tablespoons of water to make it more of a dough consistency.
  • Next, apply some oil to your hands so the dough does not stick on your palms as you divide them into 10 to 12 equal pieces to create nugget patties from. 
  • Place the patties on a piece of foil to make it easier to air fry the corn nuggets.

Air fry corn nuggets

  • First, preheat the air fryer to 360 °F.
  • Next, place the corn nuggets in the air fryer and cook for 5 to 8 minutes or until they are golden-brown in color
  • Finally, remove the corn nuggets with the help of kitchen tongs and serve with ketchup or your favorite dipping sauces, like Copy-cat Chic Fil A Sauce.
Air fryer Corn nuggets

Deep Fry Corn Nuggets

  • Set out a large pot over medium heat.
  • Subsequently, attach a cooking thermometer to the side of the pot and fill it with 2 inches of frying oil. Position a plate lined with paper towels next to the stovetop.
  • Once the oil reaches 370°F, take the batter out of the refrigerator.
  • Start frying in small batches, carefully dropping the corn nuggets into the hot oil.
  • The oil temperature is likely to drop to around 350°F - manage the heat accordingly to keep the temperature constant around 360°F.
  • Proceed to fry the corn nuggets for approximately 3 to 5 minutes until they are golden or dark gold.
  • Use a skimmer or slotted spoon to transfer the nuggets to the holding plate. To test readiness, cut open one of the nuggets to confirm that they are tender but fully cooked inside.
  • If necessary, adjust the cooking temperature and time.
  • Following the frying procedure, drain the nuggets on the paper towel-lined plate to remove any excess oil.
  • Your nuggets are now ready. Serve immediately while still warm, either on their own or with a side of your favorite dipping sauce.

Remember to maintain the oil temperature at 360°F and adjust the burner if necessary. According to research, overheating oil can lead to changes in the taste and quality of the nuggets. Constant monitoring of the temperature will help mitigate this possibility.Where further context is provided, the ideal oil temperature for deep-frying is 360°F (185°C). At this range, the nuggets will cook through without burning. If the oil is too warm, the nuggets will burn, and if it is too cold, they will soak up the oil leading to a soggy result.

Pro tips and tricks

When you want to make the best corn nuggets, follow these easy tips and tricks:

  • Make sure to leave some spacing between each nugget to ensure even cooking. -We recommend lightly greasing the corn nuggets with cooking spray or just a small amount of vegetable oil.
  • Frozen or fresh corn tends to have the best flavor, so we typically avoid canned corn when possible.
  • When mixing the dough, adding just the right amount of shortening can make all the difference. It should be melted over the stove or in the microwave until no clunks remain.
  • If the dough is too dry, add in a bit more water to achieve the desired consistency.

If you're planning to cook a large batch, remember that you may need to double or triple the recipe. This dish is perfect for big get-togethers or a game time finger snack and can even be prepared on a grill for that extra touch during summer festivities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to serve corn nuggets?

We love to serve corn nuggets with ketchup, Copy-cat Chic Fil A Sauce, Spicy Mustard Aioli Sauce, and other sauces and gravies. You can serve them as a snack or as part of a dinner or lunch. You could also serve them in a wrap with lettuce, tomatoes, and your favorite sauce. 

How can you store the left-over corn nuggets?

To store, allow the corn nuggets to cool and then place them in an airtight container. You can then store them in the fridge for up to 4 days. Alternatively, you could freeze them for about 6 months. 

Air fryer Corn nuggets

How do I make corn nuggets from scratch?

This recipe shows you how to make delicious nuggets from scratch. You just need a few ingredients and spices, mainly corn, flour, and chili peppers. You can then use your air fryer to give them a great golden brown, crispy outside and soft interior.

What kind of corn should I use?

We use either frozen or fresh corn. You can use sweet, super sweet, white, yellow, or mixed. When we make this corn nuggets recipe, we tend to avoid canned corn.

Can I use canned corn instead of fresh corn for this recipe?

You could, but it won’t taste as good. Canned corn tends to be a bit rubber-like and contains lots of salt. In a pinch, canned corn can work, but generally frozen or freshly removed from the cob works great.

What is the best way to season corn nuggets?

When we make them, we love to use chilis, cilantro, paprika, and garlic. You could make them sweeter if you like or even dessert like with a bit of sugar or sweetener and vanilla extract. You could also use just about any of your favorite seasoning mixes to make a variety of savory options.

Air fryer Corn nuggets

Can I make corn nuggets in an air fryer or do they need to be deep-fried?

While deep frying corn nuggets is traditional and tasty, you can cut a lot of fat and get similar results using your air fryer. We show you how to do that in this recipe.

How long do I need to cook corn nuggets?

When we make corn nuggets, we cook them for about 5 to 8 minutes / 3-5 minutes while deep frying. You can also judge time needed based on the color of the nuggets. When they turn golden brown, they are generally done.

Can I make corn nuggets in advance and reheat them later?

Yes, you can make them, store them, and then blast them until warmed through in your air fryer or oven.

Are corn nuggets a good option for vegetarians or vegans?

Yes! Our corn nuggets recipe is naturally vegan so you won’t need to make any variations to the recipe to keep with your dietary needs.

Can I use gluten-free flour or other alternative ingredients in this recipe?

When we make corn nuggets, we use rice flour which is naturally gluten free. You can use wheat or other flours, many of them are gluten free.

Air fryer Corn nuggets

Other Variations for Corn Nuggets

Several variations of corn nuggets exist. They often involve changes to the recipes such as different flours, spices, and adding milks. You can also make them into different shapes. If you like, you can also add in jalapenos, cheese, or other seasonings and spices for a unique flavor combination.

Spicy corn nuggets

For a fiery twist on this comfort food favorite, add some heat to your corn nuggets. Incorporate one chopped jalapeno and a teaspoon of chili powder into the corn batter before frying. Alternatively, try a sprinkle of cayenne pepper or even some crushed red pepper flakes for a spicy version. This adds a bit of kick to each bite and satisfies those yearning for a bit of spice when eating corn nuggets. Enjoy this with a cooling dip, like ranch or blue cheese dressing, for a game day-worthy snack.

Cheesy corn nuggets

For an irresistible cheesy version of corn nuggets, simply add shredded cheese to your corn batter. You can use mozzarella, cheddar, Pepper jack, or a blend of your favorite cheeses. As the nuggets cook, the cheese will melt and make these already delicious bites even more comfortingly rich and gooey. This is a big hit not just with kids but adults too! Enjoy these cheesy morsels right out of the fryer with your favorite tangy tomato sauce.

Storing and Reheating Corn Nuggets

How to store leftover corn nuggets

Stored corn nuggets properly to extend their shelf life and maintain their taste! If you've taken the time to make these delicious treats, you may find yourself wondering how you can email a recipe like this to a friend or family member. Before we get into that, it's important to understand how to store leftover corn nuggets. After allowing the nuggets to cool down to room temperature, place the leftovers in an airtight container or a sealable plastic bag. This small but crucial step helps to prevent the nuggets from drying out and ensures their freshness is retained.

If you're going to eat them over a longer period, you have the option to place the leftovers in a ziplock bag and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months! This approach to meal preparation, designed for efficiency, means your leftover corn nuggets can last in the fridge for up to 4 days, allowing you to enjoy these tasty delights throughout the week as a quick snack or meal option.

Best way to freeze and reheat corn nuggets

Absolutely, you can freeze corn nuggets! After indulging in your mouthwatering corn nuggets, there's a likelihood you might have some extras. Ensuring these leftovers cool entirely—an essential step—before progressing is recommended. To preserve these remnants, position them in a browser-friendly ziplock bag or an airtight container that's approved for freezer use. Classily accomplish the act of storing these surplus nuggets in the freezer for a remarkable duration of 3 months.

When your corn nugget cravings resurface, strategically retrieve them from their frosty storage, neatly arrange on a baking sheet, and bake at a consistent 400ºF until they are sumptuously heated throughout. It's important to remember though, reheating might slightly alter their initial crispiness, but this approach conveniently enables you to savor the nuggets once more. Additionally, consider reheating by frying the nuggets in a piping hot skillet or tossing them into an air fryer at a steady 350ºF until they regain their signature crunchiness. The versatility of these reheating procedures aid in retaining the structural integrity of the nuggets. Luxuriate in your nuggets served scorching hot, possibly paired with some customized dipping sauces of your preference.

Understanding Corn Nuggets Better

Difference between corn nuggets and corn fritters

Corn nuggets, my friend, have unclear origins. Their widespread popularity across the United States makes pinpointing a definite region, somewhat challenging. However, many food enthusiasts speculate that they sprout from the Southern United States.

Here, we're slicing the differences between corn nuggets and corn fritters. Both came from South America, yet present two distinct food experiences. With corn fritters, you'll note thin, flat shapes, usually sweet with pan frying features.

But our beloved nuggets? They vary, presenting unique flavors from the use of sweet corn. Nuggets often see deep frying or frying and experience diverse seasonings like spicy or sweet and spicy. Their round shape comes from freezing to maintain form before frying.

So, nuggets and fritters, while having corn in common, deliver different culinary experiences. Either way, they're delectable, offering a satisfying crunch! Enjoy.

Let us know what you think

If you make this delicious recipe, let us know how it went! When you make this, be sure to take a pic and tag us on Instagram @dbellyrulesdmind or Facebook @thebellyrulesthemind!

Air fryer Corn nuggets

Homemade Corn Nuggets Video Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes

Our air fryer corn nuggets recipe offers a ton of flavor in an easy to put together dish kids and adults alike adore.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cup Corn kernels
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 2 garlic cloves / minced
  • 1 green chili (chopped, adjust to taste)
  • 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Few tablespoon water ( if needed)

Instructions

  1. First, defrost frozen corn kernels in the microwave until they reach room temperature.Air fryer Corn nuggets
  2. Next, squeeze out any excess water from the kernels.
  3. When ready, add 1 cup of corn kernels to a blender and make a paste.
  4. Add the corn paste plus ½ cup of reserved corn to a large bowl, all spices and then mix well before forming into a dough-like ball.
  5. If needed, add a few tablespoons of water to make it more of a dough consistency.Air fryer Corn nuggets
  6. Next, apply some oil to your hands so the dough does not stick on your palms as you divide them into 10 to 12 equal pieces to create nugget patties from. 
  7. Place the patties on a piece of foil to make it easier to air fry the corn nuggets.

Air Fryer corn nuggets

  1. First, preheat the air fryer to 360 °F.
  2. Next, place the corn nuggets in the air fryer and cook for 5 to 8 minutes or until they are golden-brown in color
  3. Finally, remove the corn nuggets with the help of kitchen tongs and serve with ketchup or your favorite dipping sauces, like Copy-cat Chic Fil A Sauce.

Notes

  • Make sure to leave some spacing between each nugget to ensure even cooking. -We recommend lightly greasing the corn nuggets with cooking spray or just a small amount of vegetable oil.
  • Frozen or fresh corn tends to have the best flavor, so we typically avoid canned corn when possible.
  • When mixing the dough, adding just the right amount of shortening can make all the difference. It should be melted over the stove or in the microwave until no clunks remain.
  • If the dough is too dry, add in a bit more water to achieve the desired consistency.

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About Soniya

Hello, I am Soniya, the cofounder of The Belly Rules The Mind.  Originally from Mumbai, India, I am settled in Virginia US with my husband.

I am a mother of 2 energetic boys, referred to as R2 (15-year-old) and R3 (10-year-old) on the blog. In case you are wondering who is R1, well that is my husband. 

My hubby and I were born in Mumbai, India, where we were spoiled by the wealth of food choices available to us. We could enjoy everything from yummy street food to multi-cuisine restaurants and we became very picky about what we like and what we don't. Read more

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