Vegan Chicken Nuggets
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Looking for a homemade meat-free “chicken” nugget that every is going to LOVE!? I’ve gotchu! These Vegan “Chicken” Nuggets are flavorful, delicious, and simple to make. They are freeze well so they’re great to just pop in the oven for an easy and tasty meal.
I wasn’t originally planning to post this recipe for another few weeks BUT after I teased it on Instagram last week, SO MANY people messaged asking for the recipe. AND, I love that y’all love tofu as much as I do :)
SO, I bumped it up in my calendar and today we’re diving head first into a big ole plate of these TOFU NUGGETS!
Whole Foods has some “chicken fried tofu” bites that they sell at their food bar (when it’s open). I used to go there at lunch when I worked downtown Nashville and LOVED getting them. For years now I’ve said that I wanted to figure out how to re-create them at home and I’m SO HAPPY that I finally did it because OMG THESE ARE AMAZING!
I wanted these to closely resemble fried chicken/ classic chicken nuggets that you would buy at a fast food restaurant (but VEGANIZED!). I’m very happy to report that I accomplished that.
I strongly debated baking these so that they’d be a bit healthier but ultimately decided to keep things simple, classic, and FRIED!
But don’t worry- I’m already working on a baked AND air-fried version of this recipe and will link those here once they’re tested and perfect. But for today, we’re going FRIED, baby!
This recipe is pretty basic and easy BUT it is a few steps. I PROMISE it’s all worth it in the end for deliciously flavorful and crispy vegan nuggets- TRUST ME.
But first, let’s go over the ingredients:
- EXTRA FIRM tofu. “Firm tofu” would also work okay but I suggest looking for extra-firm or even “super-firm” if you can find it. Trader Joe’s sells a super-firm tofu that I am a huge fan of.
- Brine. As with traditional fried chicken, I really wanted to marinate/ brine the tofu first so that it would have extra flavor on the inside. The brine is simple: veggie broth, soy sauce, and garlic powder.
- Breading. For this, I kept things pretty classic to traditional fried chicken. For the breading we’re going to mix together: flour, nutritional yeast, spices, and cornstarch.
- Vegan Buttermilk. We’re going to make a simple vegan buttermilk by mixing together plant-based milk, lemon juice, and some flaxseed meal. As desired, you can also add in a little but of hot sauce if you like things SPICY :)
How to make Tofu Chicken Nuggets:
As I mentioned, this recipe is a handful of steps but they’re all simple, I PROMISE! Nothing crazy here :)
- Freeze your tofu. I didn’t do this and it’s not totally necessary BUT if you have the time, it does really enhance the recipe. I talk a lot about freezing tofu, how and why to do it, in THIS blog post if you want to check it out. I like to throw my blocks of tofu directly in the freezer when I get home from the grocery store.
- Press the tofu. I have a WHOLE blog post on how to press tofu with OR without a tofu press. It’s best to remove the excess moisture so that the tofu can better soak up the marinade that we’re going to put it in.
- Brine the tofu. To add lots of extra flavor, we’re going to marinate the tofu in a brine of sorts. You can do this overnight but even just 15-30 minutes makes a huge difference in the final taste of the nuggets.
- Make a vegan buttermilk. We’re going to make a simple vegan buttermilk and then place the tofu into the bowl with the buttermilk. This serves as the wet ingredients that will help the breading stick to the tofu.
- Make the breading. Whisk together all of the breading ingredients and then dip the wet tofu pieces in so that they’re fully covered in the breading.
- Double dip. For maximum taste and crispiness, we’re actually going to repeat the last 2 steps again. All together the tofu will be dipped in the buttermilk, covered in the breading, dipped BACK in the buttermilk, and then once again covered in the breading. Trust me on this.
- Fry em up. All that’s left now is to heat up your oil and then fry the nuggets for about 3-4 minutes per side. Once done, place them on a paper towel lined plate to absorb any excess moisture from the nuggets.
AND that’s it! Super easy, right? It’s a few steps but results in nuggets that are so juicy on the inside while being ultra crispy on the outside. YUMMMM!
Can I freeze these nuggets?
YES! If you’d like to make a big batch and freeze them, it works well! You’ll want to make the recipe completely as written and go ahead and cook them. Once cooked, let them cool and then place them in an air tight container and place in the freezer.
When you’re ready to eat them, simple place the frozen nuggets on a baking sheet and bake in a pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes at 425 degrees F.
As usual, if you end up making this recipe, please come back to let me know what you think of it! OR snap a quick photo and tag me on Instagram @foodwithfeeling! I always love to see what y’all are making from the blog.
These Tofu Tofu Chicken Nuggets are so deliciously crispy and will totally satisfy your chicken nugget cravings!
- 2 blocks of tofu, pressed*
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1 ¼ cup of veggie broth
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 2 cups of plant based milk
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons of golden flaxseed meal
- Optional ¼–½ cup of hot sauce
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- ½ tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1–2 teaspoons of black pepper
- Drain and press tofu according to these DIRECTIONS. Once pressed, break the tofu into large chunks. See video for reference but aim for them to be roughly the size of average chicken nuggets. You want them to be a little rough around the edges so it doesn’t need to be perfect.
- In a shallow dish, whisk together marinade ingredients. Add in the tofu and let marinate for 15 minute or even overnight overnight.
- In a large bowl, mix together the ingredients for the buttermilk and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove the tofu from the marinade (squeezing very lightly to release excess liquid- a little is totally fine and you don’t need to remove all of it) and add it into the buttermilk mixture (you can do this in stages as desired). Let sit for a few minutes while you make the breading.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, heat enough oil so that it will come up roughly halfway up your pieces of tofu (about 1/2 an inch of oil).
- In a shallow dish, whisk together all of the breading ingredients. Dip a piece of the buttermilk soaked tofu into the breading, covering on all sides. Dip it back in the buttermilk and then again cover it in the breading.
- Place the breaded tofu pieces directly into the hot oil and cook for 3 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes so that the nuggets are a nice golden brown color all around. Once done, place on a paper towel lined plate to soak up excess oil. Serve and ENJOY!*
*You can also freeze your tofu prior to making this recipe to enhance the meaty texture. Read more about freezing tofu HERE.
*Once the nuggets are completely cooked, you can freeze the nuggets for quick and easy meals later! Just freeze in an air tight container. When ready to eat, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F and bake for 20 minutes, flipping halfway.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Method: fried
- Cuisine: american
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 454
- Sugar: 1.7 g
- Sodium: 913.7 mg
- Fat: 19.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 47.1 g
- Protein: 20.3 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: vegan chicken nuggets, tofu nuggets, tofu chicken nuggets