Animal Crossing New Horizons: Complete Iron Nuggets Guide (How to Farm Iron Nuggets and Where to Find Them)

Iron nuggets are needed throughout ACNH, and yet they’re quite a rare resource. Here’s how to farm iron nuggets.


Of all of the materials that you can harvest in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, iron nuggets might just be the most sought-after.

Available in limited supply each day, players are met early on by an excessive demand for iron nuggets from Timmy, who wants to build Nook’s Cranny – for which you can talk to residents to get a few free iron nuggets.


The demand for iron nuggets is high, and it becomes an increasingly necessary crafting material as you progress through ACNH.

In this guide, you’ll find out everything that you need to know about the much-needed iron nuggets, from how to best harvest the item to the methods of iron nugget farming.

What are iron nuggets in ACNH?

Iron nuggets are one of the core materials that you can harvest from your island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

They take the form of small black rocks with a grey base and can be found by using your shovel or axe to harvest from rocks.

At the very beginning of the game, you’ll find that most things can be built with sticks, stones, and wood, but after just a couple of days of play, you’ll be asked to amass 30 iron nuggets.

As the game progresses, you’ll be repeatedly asked to accumulate iron nuggets to create buildings and tools, so it’s best to stock up on them whenever the opportunity presents itself.

How to get iron nuggets in ACNH

Even from your earliest crafting of a flimsy shovel or a flimsy axe, you can harvest iron nuggets from rocks on your island.

To harvest iron nuggets in New Horizons, stand next to a rock, equip your axe or shovel by pressing left or right on the d-pad, face the rock, and then press A.

Each rock holds several materials that can be harvested in one day. However, from your first strike on the rock, a timer starts to limit how long you have to chip all of the materials out of the rock.

As you’re pushed back a bit after every hit on a rock – regardless of if you use a shovel or an axe – you’ll want to keep walking towards the rock while hitting it, or set up two holes to stop you from being pushed backwards.

To set up the backstop of holes, simply face the rock with a shovel in your hand, turn so that your back is to the rock, and then dig a hole slightly to your left and slightly to your right.

Setting up like this will allow you to smash the A button to try to get all nine of the potential items held by the rock without having to realign.

When hitting a rock with anything from a flimsy shovel or flimsy axe up, you’ll also find some other items, such as gold nuggets, stones, clay, and even some woodlice (pill bugs).

Your island has a limited supply of rocks, and the rocks won’t refill with harvestable materials again until the next day.

So, the situation is that the potential harvesting points of iron nuggets are fairly few, and you’re not guaranteed to get an iron nugget with each strike of the rock.

You can slightly increase your chances of getting another iron nugget in Animal Crossing by destroying one rock each day.

Whenever you eat fruit, such as apples or oranges, you become super strong in New Horizons. If you eat a piece of fruit and then swing at a rock, you’ll destroy the rock.

A destroyed rock will pop out one or two more materials, which could include an iron nugget. However, you’ll only want to destroy one rock per day as only one will respawn each day.

How to farm iron nuggets in ACNH

It is yet to be found if there is some magical rock on your island from which you can just farm iron nuggets in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

There are, however, a few ways which allow you to increase your chances of harvesting more iron nuggets each day.

Farm iron nuggets by getting the most out of each rock

As discussed earlier in the article, from the first hit on a rock, a timer begins which determines how long you have to harvest all that you can from the rock.

You can get as many as nine items out of a rock, but only if you don’t miss a single swing. Constantly walking towards the rock between each swing will sometimes allow you to get the most out of the rock, but the best method is to dig two holes behind you to act as buffers.

It’s quite fiddly to get right, and while two holes next to each other (seen above) can work, the best way is to have a bit of space between the holes so that you’re always bumped back to the middle.

As there are only so many rocks on your island that only replenish their stocks the next day, maximising your yield from each rock is the most basic way to farm iron nuggets in Animal Crossing.

Farm iron nuggets with Nook Miles

One of the currencies that you collect in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is Nook Miles. Found within the Nook Miles+ app on your NookPhone (ZL), you complete long-term goals and daily tasks to earn Nook Miles.

Of course, near the start of the game, your island’s heartless overlord, Tom Nook, demands 5,000 of these Nook Miles from you, but after that, you’ll find that you can accumulate them quite quickly.

Here’s how to cash in your Nook Miles to gain access to more iron nuggets:

  • Go into your Nook Miles+ app on your NookPhone (ZL) to see how many Nook Miles you have and to claim any completed goals for more Nook Miles.
  • Next, go into Resident Services and turn right to access the green terminal and select the Redeem Nook Miles option.
  • From the items list that you can redeem Nook Miles to claim, you’ll see the Nook Miles Ticket atop the list. It costs 2,000 Nook Miles to buy.
  • After you’ve purchased the Nook Miles Ticket, you take it from the terminal and head over to Dodo Airlines to redeem your ticket.
  • Talk to the Dodo, Orville, behind the desk to redeem your Nook Miles Ticket. You may still have the ticket that Tom Nook graciously gifted you earlier in the game, which Orville has and will redeem first.
    • To maximise this iron nugget farming technique in New Horizons, you’ll want to use as many Nook Miles Tickets as you can, so it doesn’t matter if you have multiple tickets now.
  • Once you’ve confirmed with Orville that you want to go on a trip to a new mystery island, via the Nook Miles Ticket, you’ll be off.
  • On the new island, you’ll be dropped off by Wilbur, and then you can go exploring for rocks to smash.
  • Of course, you’ll only be able to take back as much as you can carry, but as there’s a workbench on most of these random islands, you could craft what you need to out of the items on the island to free-up a bit of space.
  • When you’ve finishing farming iron nuggets from all of the rocks on the mystery island, return to Wilbur and head to your home island.

Farm iron nuggets by time travelling

If you’ve exhausted all of the rocks on your island and run out of Nook Miles, all you can do is wait until the next day for your rocks to restock or grind into achieving more goals for Nook Miles.

Or, you could try the third method: time travel to get iron nuggets from the future to serve your needs in the present.

There are some things to consider before you go time travelling in Animal Crossing, but here’s the method for how to time travel to farm more iron nuggets in New Horizons:

  • Save your Animal Crossing: New Horizons game by pressing – and selecting Save and Quit.
  • Press the ‘Home’ button to return to the Nintendo Switch home screen.
  • Press X on the Animal Crossing: New Horizons tile and close the game.
  • Go to the bottom bar and over to System Settings, and then press A to enter.
  • In System Settings, scroll all the way down the left-hand side to the System option, and then press A.
  • Within the System menu, select Date and Time by hovering over the option and pressing A.
  • Here, you’ll see that the option to Synchronise Clock via Internet is switched to On. Press A here to unlock the option to change the Date and Time setting. If you’re offline, you can go down to Date and Time straight away.
  • Go down to the Date and Time option and change the settings to the time and month of your choice, enabling you to time travel in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
  • Once you’ve changed the date, back out of the settings menus and get back to your island!

By following these steps, storing all of the iron nuggets you’ve farmed, and then coming back to the present, you could quickly find yourself with plenty of iron nuggets.

While there isn’t a sure-fire way to farm iron nuggets in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, if you’re desperate for more, you should work on perfecting your rock harvesting technique, utilise Nook Miles Tickets, or try time travelling.

Looking for more ACNH Guides?

Animal Crossing New Horizons: Complete Fishing Guide and Top Tips

Animal Crossing New Horizons: How to Time Travel, Skip Days, and Change the Season

Animal Crossing New Horizons: Complete Controls Guide and Tips

Animal Crossing New Horizons: How to Cure a Wasp Sting and Make Medicine


Ben Chopping

Will give almost any game a chance, particularly those that include wildlife, monsters, or prehistoric creatures of any kind.

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