Are you a big lover of chili cheese nuggets but don’t want to fry them in a ton of oil? Follow this recipe to find out how to make them with only a few oil splashes. You will get the same crunchy texture, and the chili cheese nuggets will keep their shape. Let’s dive in!
Who doesn’t love melted cheese? What about a plate full of crunchy spicy cheese nuggets? What if we combine those two and make some chili cheese nuggets from another world?
The only detail that may stop some of us from making this dish is that these nuggets are usually made in deep frying with a lot of oil.
To avoid this situation and make them healthier, I will tell you how I make them in the air fryer and what you should pay attention to ensure that the cheese nuggets keep their shape.
If this is not the first time on my blog, you know I don’t usually like to use store-bought frozen ingredients, and I prepare almost everything from scratch from my family.
In that way, I’m sure about the quality of the ingredients I use in those dishes, they don’t contain any preservatives, and I can adjust the taste precisely to my family’s liking.
If you are a person like me, then welcome to the board. Let me tell you what you should pay attention to get some crunchy homemade cheese nuggets. If you plan to serve them to your kids, remove the chili from the recipe because they will be spicy.
👩🍳 What You Will Find in This Post?
- A few tips on what you need to do to ensure that the cheese nuggets keep their shape.
- How to make sure that all the nuggets will bake evenly?
- How to bake the nuggets evenly on all sides without shaking them.
- A few serving suggestions for those nuggets.
🥰 Why You Will Love This Recipe?
- It is a healthier alternative to classic nuggets because they are not fried. We will use an air fryer for cooking them so that we will need almost no oil.
- It is a perfect recipe to use leftover mashed potatoes or boiled carrots if you have any of those.
- You can adjust the level of spiciness to your liking.
🥘 Ingredients and Substitutes
- Boiled Potatoes. I used boiled potatoes of the crumbly kind, but you can replace them with mashed potatoes if you have any leftovers.
- Gruyere and Gouda Cheese. I used these types of cheese for their intense and creamy flavor, but you can replace them with any other flavored cheese you prefer
- Mozzarella. I picked this cheese in this recipe for its texture. You can replace it with another cheese with a neutral taste that melts and spreads well when it’s hot. An excellent alternative to mozzarella cheese is to use Provolone cheese instead.
- Chili Pepper. I used two small dried chili peppers, but you can replace them with dried chili flakes or fresh chili peppers.
👩🍳 Step-by-step Directions
First of all, you should boil the potatoes.
Quick Note: To save you some time, you can boil the potatoes in the microwave oven to hurry up the process.
Pro Tip: After you have the boiled potatoes ready, you should leave them for about an hour on the countertop to make sure that they cool down completely. The nuggets will not keep their shape if the boiled potatoes are still warm.
Grate the boiled potatoes with a grater and put them in a large deep bowl in which you will mix all the ingredients for the cheese nuggets.
In that bowl, besides the boiled potatoes, add the cheese, hot pepper, and an egg. Mix well all the ingredients. If you use cheese that is not salty, you can add more salt if needed.
In my case, I did not add any additional salt because the cheese had an intense taste already.
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After you have well homogenized the composition, we should form the nuggets.
Pro Tip: Use a tablespoon, measurement spoon, a scale, or even better, if you have under your hands an ice cream scoop, to form all nuggets of the same size.
Before we start, take a large plate and pour the breadcrumbs into it. Then on another plate, beat an egg.
In order to obtain a more resistant and crispy crust, we will make a double breading.
For this, take a nugget that you just formed, and roll it well on a plate with breadcrumbs.
Quick Note: If you plan to eat these cheese nuggets with your hands, I will advise you to make them in an elongated shape, so they will be easier to eat. If you eat them with a fork, you can leave them rounded.
After you coated them with breadcrumbs or panko, roll the nuggets in another plate with a beaten egg and soak them one more time in the plate with breadcrumbs.
After you have finished forming all the nuggets, you can bake them right now, or if you want to make sure that they will keep their shapes even better, you may consider freezing them and then baking them after freezing.
Quick Note: As those chili cheese nuggets freeze well, you may consider making them in a larger amount and keeping them in the freezer for a quick snack on days when you don’t have time but need to serve something quick on the table.
Arrange the nuggets in the air fryer basket in a single layer. If you need to prepare more chili cheese nuggets, cook them in a few batches.
Pro Tip: For a better result, I recommend not overloading the air fryer basket. Consider leaving a little space between the nuggets so that the air will circulate easier between the nuggets and they will cook evenly on all sides.
Quick Note: As you can see, in my 5.8QT air fryer I put 12 cheese nuggets.
Cook the nuggets for 15 minutes at 400°F.
Quick Note: As the air fryer models differ from one model to another, also, if you have a different air fryer basket size, the cooking time may vary. Because of that, on every recipe, be with an eye on your dish and check it from time to time.
During baking, a little cheese will come out, but this is also very tasty and becomes crunchy. If it bothers you, you can remove those pieces just before serving.
Serve the spicy cheese nuggets while they are still hot near a sauce of your choice. I served them with a homemade honey dill sauce.
🍽️ Serving Suggestions
Serve the cheese nuggets while they are still hot because when the nuggets are still hot, the outside will be crispy, while on the inside, you will get a fluffy hot cheese that spreads well.
Consider serving those cheese nuggets near a dipping sauce or roasted vegetables like are:
🏆 Expert Tips. What to Pay Attention To?
- If you have time, freeze the nuggets right after shaping them. By freezing them, the nuggets will keep their shape better during baking.
- Try to cover the cheese nuggets as much as possible with breadcrumbs. By covering well on all sides, we also will minimize the melted cheese flows during the baking.
- Let them cool down if you just boiled the potatoes for this recipe. This small detail will also help the cheese nuggets keep their shapes better.
- Use potatoes with a high starch content to make the nuggets fluffier on the inside after baking.
- If you make those chili nuggets, then they will freeze, don’t thaw them after freezing because they will become mushy and lose their shape. Consider cooking them directly from the frozen.
- Don’t cook them for too long, as the cheese will leak. As all the ingredients are already cooked, all you will need is to melt the cheese and give them a nice golden color.
♻️ Make Ahead, Storage and Heating:
You can prepare a larger amount of chili cheese nuggets and keep them in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you need them, remove them from the freezer, and bake them directly from the frozen.
Up to 3-4 days. However, if you plan to keep the cooked cheese nuggets in the fridge, then I don’t recommend doing so because their crust will soften. To save a little bit of the situation, consider reheating them in the air fryer to return a part of their crispiness.
You can freeze the chili cheese nuggets for about three months in the freezer.
📋 Recipe Card:
Chili Cheese Nuggets
- 2 Potatoes Boiled
- 2.5 oz Gruyere Cheese Shredded
- 2.5 oz Gauda Cheese Shredded
- 5 oz Mozzarella Shredded
- 1 Chili Pepper or to taste
- 1 Eggs Medium
- 2 Eggs Beaten
- 1 cup Breadcrumbs
- Boil and wait until the potatoes cool down.2 Potatoes
- Grate the boiled potatoes and mix them with the grated cheese, an egg, and a chili pepper. Mix everything well.2 Potatoes, 2.5 oz Gruyere Cheese, 2.5 oz Gauda Cheese, 5 oz Mozzarella, 1 Chili Pepper, 1 Eggs
- Form all the nuggets of a similar size.
- Coat the nuggets with breadcrumbs.1 cup Breadcrumbs
- Soak the chili nuggets in the plate with beaten eggs, then again in the breadcrumbs.2 Eggs
- Repeat the previous step until you will coat all the nuggets.
- Bake them at 400°F for about 15 minutes.
- Serve them while they are still hot.
- Make sure that the boiled potatoes are cooled down completely.
- Use a scale, a measurement spoon, or, even better, an ice cream scoop to make sure that all the nuggets will be the same size.
- If you plan to eat the nuggets with your hands, consider making them longer to be easier to hold them and to enjoy as finger food.
- To improve the shape of the nuggets, if you have time, consider freezing them. In that way, the nuggets will keep their shape better after baking.