Air Fryer Recipe for Delicious Fish Nuggets at Hook’d Up Bar and Grill

Make Tasty Fish Nuggets with an Air Fryer

Have you ever wondered how to make mouthwatering fish nuggets using an air fryer? Well, look no further! I’m here to show you how to create delectable fish nuggets that your kids will love. This recipe is not only super easy but also a great way to get your little ones to eat more fish. We’ll be using Trader Joe’s frozen fish nuggets, made with Alaskan pollock, which has a mild flavor that even picky eaters will enjoy. So, let’s get started!

air fryer trader joes fish nuggets

Why Choose Trader Joe’s Fish Nuggets?

If you’re looking for a convenient option, Trader Joe’s fish nuggets are perfect. Although homemade fish nuggets may be a healthier choice, there are times when we all need a quick and easy dinner solution. I’ve relied on frozen fish nuggets during busy evenings, and they never disappoint.

The Delight of Fish Nuggets

Fish nuggets are usually made from white fish, which is a lean protein. Trader Joe’s fish nuggets specifically contain Alaskan pollock, but you can find other variations like cod nuggets and catfish nuggets. In fact, you can make fish nuggets with any type of fish you like.

Compared to oily fish, white fish contains fewer omega-3s DHA and EPA. However, white fish is low in calories and has a mild flavor that appeals to children.

The Nutritional Breakdown

Let’s take a look at the nutritional information for Air Fryer Trader Joe’s Fish Nuggets. One serving of these delectable nuggets, which consists of six breaded fish nuggets (1.5 times the portion size on the box), contains approximately 345 calories, 25 grams of net carbs, and 19.5 grams of protein. Please note that this information excludes any dips or additional toppings you might add.

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Benefits of Making Trader Joe’s Fish Nuggets in an Air Fryer

Why make Trader Joe’s fish nuggets in an air fryer? Let me give you a few good reasons:

  • Fast: With just a quick preheat, you can have crispy fish nuggets ready to devour in 10 minutes. It’s the quickest way to enjoy this delightful dish.
  • Easy: Fish nuggets are a one-ingredient wonder. You only need a box of frozen nuggets to create a satisfying meal.
  • Perfect for New Cooks: This air fryer recipe is almost foolproof, making it ideal for beginner cooks and even college students.
  • Picky Eater Friendly: Even children who usually dislike fish can’t resist the crispy batter and delightful experience of dipping these two-bite fish pieces. It’s like having chicken nuggets but with fish! This dish can serve as an introduction to other types of fish in their diet.

Ingredients You’ll Need

To create these delicious air fryer frozen fish nuggets, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Frozen fish nuggets
  • Your favorite dipping sauce

You’ll find approximately 16 Trader Joe’s battered fish nuggets per pound. Keep in mind that cooking times may vary if the fish nuggets you use are significantly larger or smaller. It’s important to cook them from frozen, just as you would if you were baking them in the oven.

Equipment Needed

To make frozen fish nuggets in the air fryer, you’ll need an air fryer and a meat thermometer. I personally use a 10-Quart Kalorik Digital Air Fryer Oven, but smaller air fryers with a basket will work just as well. If you’re using a small air fryer, you may need to cook the box of fish nuggets in batches.

Let’s Get Cooking

Now it’s time to air fry those fish nuggets! Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C) for 5 minutes.

Remove the fish nuggets from the box and place them in a single layer on your air fryer tray or basket. If needed, use multiple trays or baskets to fit all the nuggets.

Cooking Time and Temperature

How long should you air fry frozen fish nuggets? It typically takes about 10 minutes in a preheated air fryer at 400°F (200°C). If you’re not cooking the entire box of nuggets at once, place the tray on the top rack position of the air fryer, closest to the heating element. Air fry the nuggets for 5 minutes, flip them, and then air fry for an additional 5 minutes on the top rack.

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If the nuggets aren’t crispy enough, you can flip them once more and air fry for an additional 1-2 minutes. If you have nuggets on the bottom rack as well, move them to the top rack once the top rack nuggets have finished cooking. Let the fish nuggets air fry for an additional 3-4 minutes until they reach your desired level of crispiness.

To ensure the fish nuggets are cooked through, use a meat thermometer to check if they have reached a safe internal temperature of 145°F (63°C). After cooking, let the nuggets rest for 1-2 minutes to crisp up even more. You’ll love the extra crunch! If the nuggets are a bit oily, you can blot them with a paper towel before serving.

For those who prefer oven baking, follow the directions on the Trader Joe’s fish nuggets box. Typically, it takes about 15-18 minutes in an oven preheated to 475°F (246°C), flipping the nuggets halfway through cooking time. However, keep in mind that cooking times may vary depending on your oven.

Please resist the temptation to microwave the frozen fish nuggets if you want them to maintain their crispiness. Trust me on this one!

Delicious Dipping Sauces

Now, let’s talk about the best dips for Trader Joe’s fish nuggets. Here are some of my personal favorites:

  • Tartar Sauce
  • Cocktail Sauce
  • Sweet Chili Sauce
  • Honey Mustard
  • Ranch Dressing (You can try the Homemade Ranch Dip in my Air Fryer Breaded Mushrooms Recipe)

Some kids enjoy ketchup with their fish nuggets, but that’s a personal preference. I’m not really a fan of ketchup with fish nuggets, but everyone’s taste buds are different!

Expert Tips from a Dietitian

Is Trader Joe’s fish nuggets a healthy option? Well, they may not be the most nutritious choice, but they’re not the worst either. While these nuggets do contain fish as the main ingredient, they also have canola oil and white flour, which can make them a little greasy. There’s no need to add additional oil when cooking them.

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It’s worth noting that ultra-processed foods like fish nuggets often have small serving sizes. For a more substantial meal, consider having 6 ounces (170 grams) of Alaskan pollock fillets without breading instead. It provides approximately 113 calories, 1 gram of net carbs, and 27 grams of protein. In comparison, a serving of 6 ounces (170 grams) of breaded fish nuggets contains 345 calories, 25 grams of net carbs, and 19.5 grams of protein. As you can see, the calorie count is significantly higher due to the oil and flour used in the breading.

However, we all know that sometimes kids won’t eat fish unless it’s breaded and served with a dip. That’s perfectly fine! If you’re looking for a lighter meal, opt for lightly seasoned fish without the breading and pair it with non-starchy vegetables. My Cod En Papillote recipe is an excellent choice for a low-calorie seafood dish.

Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for more ideas for cooking frozen fish and seafood in the air fryer? Don’t worry; I’ve got you covered! Check out these recipes:

  • Frozen Fish in the Air Fryer
  • Frozen Shrimp in the Air Fryer
  • Air Fryer Tilapia (Frozen or Fresh Fish Fillets)

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The Disclaimer…

Before you start cooking, please keep in mind that the recipes on this website may not be suitable for everyone based on individual medical needs and dietary preferences. If you require guidance in determining the best dietary pattern for you, consult with a registered dietitian or your physician.

The nutritional information provided is an estimate and should be used as a rough guide. The actual numbers may vary depending on the specific brands and ingredients you use. Keep in mind that calorie information on food labels can sometimes be inaccurate, so don’t fret too much about the numbers.

For more information about how our recipe levels can assist with your weight management goals, refer to our overnight oats no sugar post. Let’s get cooking!


Now that you have all the details, it’s time to enjoy these tasty air fryer fish nuggets!