Air Fryer Cashew Crusted Chicken

March 22, 2019 9 Comments
Airy Fryer Cashew crusted chicken is dairy free, egg free and gluten free. It is easily cooked in the air fryer and a healthier chicken recipe. #dinner #food #chicken #glutenfree #chickendinner

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Are you skeptical about the Air Fryer? Are you worried it will sit in the box and never see the light of day on your kitchen counter? Cue-cashew crusted chicken! This recipe will get you using your Air Fryer every week. So go ahead and dust off those cobwebs and take it out of it’s box today.

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Air Fryer Worth It?

Around Christmas time, no matter where I looked I was being bombarded with Air Fryer recipe suggestions. It started feeling like everyone I knew was asking for one for Christmas, or asking me why I hadn’t tried using mine yet. Enough peer pressure led me to get to work.

I threw in some Brussels sprouts for abut 5 minutes and out came a crunchy flavorful transformed Brussels sprouts that tasted somewhat magical. Even my toddler, who casually tosses them on the floor, asked for more….REAL magic. It was so easy to use and so delicious. Why hadn’t I used this gadget sooner?

Ok……. but this recipe said cashew crusted chicken. Sorry, I totally digresses. My point was, after I saw how I could magically turn Brussels sprouts into an edible vegetable my toddler would eat, I was determined to see what else my Air fryer could turn into magic.

Cashew Crusted Chicken Makeover

A few months ago ,a recipe of mine went viral-ish on Pinterest. You can check out the baked version of Air fryer cashew crusted chicken right here. I was inspired to create this recipe when I was in the middle of doing a Whole 30 and really wanted fried/breaded chicken, but couldn’t have it (against Whole 30’s rules). So I used cashews in place of the “breading” and the rest is history.

The coating is a mixture of finely ground whole cashew pieces and spices. Personally, I like some larger chunks of the cashews as well as some finely ground pieces. You can process the cashews to your liking. The paprika gives the perfect amount of smokiness and pop of flavor.

Cashew crusted chicken breading and spices. #cashewcrustedchicken #airfryer

Cashew Crusted Chicken was ready for a makeover in the air fryer. It’s the same delicious recipe, with similar steps. At the end you just add a little spray olive oil. on top, cook for less time, and this time you get super crunchy and moist “fried” cashew chicken.

Our family is mostly dairy free, and because of that we use unsweetened almond milk. I am sure that regular milk would work just fine. It’s important to make sure that you dunk the chicken into the almond milk first, and then press down firmly into the cashew mixture. This ensures the cashew’s will stick right to the chicken.

Cashew crusted chicken made in the air fryer. Easy and delicious chicken dinner recipe idea made in just a few minutes. Cashew crusted chicken is #eggfree and #dairyfree #dinner #chickenrecipes #mealideas

Make sure that when you are buying your cashews that they don’t had added salt. I love these organic cashews or buy them wholesale from Thrive Market.

Air fryer chicken. Chicken is breaded with cashews instead of breading making it gluten free. The chicken is also coated with almond milk making it dairy free and egg free as well. #chickendinner #chickenrecipe #easydinner

Cook the chicken in batches for about 18 minutes, flipping the chicken about half way through. The crust should be golden brown and crunchy.

Air Fryer Tips

One thing to know about the Air Fryer is that you can only cook as much as it can hold, and you don’t want to layer things. It’s important to make sure that the food has space, so the air fryer can perfectly “fry” your food.

The chicken only needs a light misting of olive oil. I really love this Olive oil spray and often times find it as a bonus gift or heavily discounted at Thrive Market.

This is a perfect recipe for a picky toddler. It is close enough to chicken nuggets but doesn’t have the saturated breading like most store bough chicken nuggets have. Except unlike store bought chicken nuggets, this air fryer cashew chicken is packed with nutrients and flavor.

Air Fryer Cashew Crusted Chicken

Airy Fryer Cashew crusted chicken is dairy free, egg free and gluten free. It is easily cooked in the air fryer and a healthier chicken recipe. #dinner #food #chicken #glutenfree #chickendinner
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes


  • 1 lb chicken breast tenderloins
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 8 oz bag of unsweetened cashews
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • Spray Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper


  1. Preheat air fryer to 360 degrees
  2. In a food processor pulse/chop cashews. Add paprika, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, and salt. You want a combination of chunky and finely ground pieces of cashews. Spread mixture onto a large plate and set aside
  3. Add the unsweetened milk into a large bowl
  4. Lightly season chicken breasts with desired amount of salt and pepper
  5. Dunk the chicken breasts first into the bowl of almond milk and then transfer to plate with cashew mixture and firmly press down to ensure the mixture completely covers and sticks to chicken. Repeat until all chicken breasts have been coated.
  6. Lightly spray each piece of chicken with an olive oil spray and place in Air fryer.
  7. Cook for 10 minutes, then flip and spray with olive oil. Cook for a remaining 8 minutes.


Love This Recipe? Pin It!

Airy Fryer cashew crusted chicken is a delicious gluten, dairy and egg free recipe perfect for the whole family. Easy dinner in minutes with this chicken recipe, lightly "breaded" with cashews #airfryer #chicken #airfryerchicken #cashewchicken #glutenfree #dairyfree #eggfree





Air fryer cashew crusted chicken comes together quick for an easy and delicious family friendly meal everyone will love. Instead of breading this chicken uses cashews as the "crust" making in gluten free and whole 30 compliant. The recipe as writien is also dairy and egg free #glutenfree #dairyfree #eggfree #familydinner #airfryer #chickenrecipe #chickendinner #easydinner

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  • Erin March 24, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    Oh my goodness, this looks delicious! I also love how much you like your air fryer. We have been looking into getting one, and I just can’t decide if I will like it or not. Do you find them hard to clean?

  • Meagan March 25, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    My sister has an air fryer and really loves it! I have been wondering if I should get one. This looks good!

  • Stephanie March 25, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    This looks delicious ! I love my air fryer ! although I’ve only really used it to make fries

  • Heather March 25, 2019 at 8:04 pm

    I got an air fryer/pressure cooker combo for Christmas and opted for just a pressure cooker because it was smaller. Now I’m wishing I still had the air fryer!

  • Savannah March 26, 2019 at 5:37 am

    Wow, this looks SO good! I have never seen chopped cashews as a substitute for breading before, what a great idea Ü

  • Pamela March 26, 2019 at 6:46 am

    I’m with everyone else here that this chicken looks delicious! I am also curious about the cleaning of it… is it easy? Love that it cooks quickly and it is healthier than regular frying! Sounds perfect for kids (cough and parents)! I will be looking into this for sure.

  • Mary Leigh March 26, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    These look so good! I’ve saved them and the baked version and hope to try them soon! I love a good, healthy version of a classic favorite!

  • Nikki April 2, 2019 at 1:05 am

    Looks delicious!! My daughter would probably eat it right up! One day I may get around to that air fryer!

  • Danielle April 18, 2019 at 1:57 am

    Oh my goodness!! This looks so amazing! I could eat it every day!

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    About Me

    Normal Life Mom

    I'm Christine, a mom who lives in Normal (a real place). Here to share all things food, family and fun! An emphasis on healthy family friendly foods and snacks (with allergies in mind), DIY learning activities and play ideas. Plus all things toddler/preschool and motherhood related

    Christine xoxox

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