How to Make Cheese Nuggets in Your Air Fryer

How to Make Cheese Nuggets in Your Air Fryer
These are basically cheese nuggets. (Photo: Claire Lower)

Do you love cheese? Do you love nuggets? Do you love tossing things in your air fryer and seeing what will happen? Well then, let me introduce you to Cheese Nuggets, also known as “air-fried halloumi.”

I am no stranger to cooking cheese, particularly halloumi (and, to a lesser extent, bread cheese). Halloumi does just as well on the grill as it does in the waffle maker, but something special happens in the air fryer, giving it a delicate, crispy crust you don’t get from other methods.

The grill gives a nice char and the waffle maker creates crunchy peaks and valleys, but the whipping, high-temp winds of the air fryer dry the exterior of the cheese, creating a thin, almost crackly exterior with a warm, tender, cheesy inside. Unlike mozzarella sticks or halloumi fries, there’s no breading, which keeps the focus on the cheese, and saves you from having to bread something (which is always kind of a drag, in my opinion).

Bread cheese, however, does not fare as well halloumi. It does fine in a pan or on the grill, but melts into a gooey mess in the air fryer, which is OK if you’re looking for a raclette kind of situation, but it doesn’t hold its form well enough to be dippable.

Not a nugget. (Photo: Claire Lower)Not a nugget. (Photo: Claire Lower)

You can use marinated or un-marinated halloumi, but the former is a little more exciting. You can finish it with lemon or, if you really want to lean into the nugget framing, you can use a dipping sauce, like a lemony aioli, or a sweet chilli sauce, or a zippy chilli oil. (I also wouldn’t mind a classic McDonald’s-style sweet & sour.)

Air Fried Cheese Nuggets

Ingredients:

  • Halloumi
  • Lemon for serving, or your favourite dipping sauce

Set your air fryer to 190°C. Slice the halloumi into planks, and cook for 5-6 minutes, flipping once, until the corners turn a deep, dark brown and the exterior forms a delicate, crispy skin. Serve immediately with fresh lemon or your dipping sauce of choice.

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