Vegan Chicken Nuggets Recipe

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The best vegan chicken nuggets recipe, meaty crispy and crunchy and they taste oh so delicious! Everything you can expect from this classic favorite comfort food only meatless, cholesterol free and way better for you. Pan fried and air fryer methods included.

vegan chicken nuggets

Vegan Chicken Nuggets

Made from a mixture of silken tofu, vital wheat gluten and spices, these homemade meatless chicken nuggets are sure to become a favorite with kids and grown ups alike.

Easy to make and better for you than any store bought brand, especially if you air fry them without oil. Serve with ketchup or your favorite dipping sauce alongside this vegan mac and cheese or mashed potatoes.

vegan chicken nuggets

Ingredient Tips

  • Silken Tofu – It’s what lends the nuggets their tender texture, use it straight out of the package after draining the water. No pressing required.
  • Vital Wheat Gluten – or Seitan brings everything together with a perfectly meaty texture. You can order it Here.
  • Spices – Simple but flavorful; onion and garlic powders, nutritional yeast and salt are all the seasonings you need.
  • Coating – for the ultimate crispy texture I used a batter and a panko bread crumb coating, use both.

vegan chicken nuggets

How to Make Vegan Chicken Nuggets from Scratch

  1. Make the Seitan – In the bowl of a food processor combine the tofu, wheat gluten and spices and process until a smooth sticky dough is formed.
  2. Shape – Using your hands stretch the dough into a 1/3 inch thick round, place on parchment paper then cut out small nuggets using a small biscuit cutter, pastry cutter or simply tear them into bite size piece.
  3. Steam – Prepare a large steamer basket and steam the nuggets for 18 minutes. No need to flip them as they are small and cook through just fine.
  4. Coat – Dip each nugget in the batter then roll in the panko coating.
  5. Fry – Pan fry or air fry until golden brown to your liking. Specific temperature and time listed in the recipe card below.

vegan chicken nuggets with sweet chili sauce

Make Ahead, Storage + Reheating

The nuggets can be fried or air fried and then frozen on a baking sheet. Once fully set just transfer them to a lidded freezer container. When ready to eat they can be taken straight from the freezer and placed under the broiler for 2-3 minutes on each side until heated through and crispy.

Serving Suggestions

meatless chicken nuggets

vegan chicken nuggets
4.75 from 4 votes

Vegan Chicken Nuggets

The best vegan chicken nuggets recipe, meaty crispy and crunchy and they taste oh so delicious! Everything you can expect from this classic favorite comfort food only meatless, cholesterol free and way better for you. Pan fried and air fryer methods included.
Print Recipe
Prep Time:20 minutes
Cook Time:15 minutes
Total Time:35 minutes





  • To the bowl of a food processor at the tofu, wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, onion and garlic powders, paprika and salt. Process using the pulse button until incorporated into a dough. Do not over process.
    1.5 cups silken tofu, 1.33 cup vital wheat gluten, 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast, 1 Tbsp onion powder, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1.5 tsp sea salt, 1.5 tsp sweet paprika
  • Place a large piece (18x18 inch) of parchment paper on the kitchen counter and dump the seitan dough on top. Oil your hands lightly if need be to prevent sticking then stretch the dough into a 1/3 inch round or so. Use a small round biscuit cutter and cut out the nuggets. Alternatively you can just use a serrated knife or pastry cutter and make 1 inch square nuggets or long tenders, whatever you like.
    TIP: For the fastest method just use your hands and tear small nuggets out of the dough and line them up on the parchment paper. This will look more like "popcorn chicken”.

Steam the Nuggets

  • Bring a couple of inches of water to a boil in a pot large enough to fit your largest steamer basket (mine is 11 inches and perfectly fits all the nuggets). Spray the basket with a little oil and place all the nuggets inside without touching each other. Cover with a lid and steam for 18 minutes. Remove from heat.

Batter + Coat

  • Prepare two shallow bowls and mix the batter ingredients in one and the panko coating in the other. You want a thick batter but still loose enough to easily dip the nuggets in.
    1/2 cup plant milk, 1/2 cup all purpose flour, 1 pinch salt, 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • Take each nugget and dip it in the batter allowing any excess to drain then coat it in the panko bread crumb mixture. Place back on the parchment paper. Repeat the process with all the nuggets.
    1.5 cups panko bread crumbs, 1 tsp paprika, pinch salt + pepper

Pan Fry Method

  • Preheat 1 inch of vegetable oil to 375”F in a medium cast iron skillet. Carefully add the nuggets one by one making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Fry for a couple of minutes on both sides just until golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel and repeat with the rest of the nuggets. It’s important to work in batches here so the nuggets do not steam but fry quickly until crispy golden.
    vegetable oil for frying

Air Fryer Method

  • Preheat your air fryer to 375”F. Lightly spray the basket with some vegetable oil to prevent sticking then place the nuggets inside without touching each other. Air fry for 15 minutes until golden brown making sure to give the nuggets a good shake half way. (I used the Breville smart oven air fryer and the basket was perfect to fit all my nuggets. Work in batches if using a smaller air fryer to give your nuggets plenty of space to crisp up.)


Serving: 1nugget | Calories: 33kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 72mg | Potassium: 32mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 55IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: meatless nuggets, vegan chicken nuggets
Servings: 45 nuggets
Calories: 33kcal
Author: Florentina

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  1. These nuggets are absolutely incredible! They a were a major hit with the kids and the grown ups.Thank you for yet another fantastic recipe Veggie 👌🏼

  2. Hi, these sounds like fun but I wonder about the 1/2c of plant milk and the 1/2 cup of flour for 45 nuggets. Seems way to small a quantity to cover 45 nuggets. Am I missing something?

    1. That is enough for the batter, basically I just wanna get them wet so the coating sticks well. Enjoy!

  3. I got 2 questions, A) when I put the ingredients in the processor it came out super wet , like cake batter. So I added more gluten and I think it made it a bit to bready. What should the consistency be when you take it out of the processor?
    B) I use the air fryer method and I think it dried them out too much and made them puff up when I cook them for 15 minutes. Has this happened to you?

    1. Hi Stevie!
      A) The dough is going to be a little sticky (but not like cake batter, more like bread), in that case you definitely need to add more wheat gluten.
      B) The air fryer method results will very from brad to brand so you’ll need to kind of find your sweet spot with yours. Check at the 10 minute mark so you can adjust for the future and also based o the size of the nuggets. Also I going to assume you steamed the nuggets first correct? They will definitely puff during steaming but will revert back once removed from the steaming basket, so they should’t puff all that much during frying or air frying once battered.

  4. Looking forward to making these! Question, can they be baked instead? If so what temp and approximate time?

  5. My family says these are the best nuggets ever and they will not miss the store bought ones. Amazing! The only thing I did different was to sprinkle some salt flakes on the outside before serving, what can I say we like the salty around here but still way better than anything prepackaged. Thank you for this fabulous recipe Florentina!

  6. I was looking for a vegan nugget recipe that children would eat. I was a little concerned about mixing the silken tofu with the the vital wheat gluten. I am truly delighted with this recipe, I made the nuggets for a Christmas party and they were a big hit. Absolutely delicious, the amazing part was even as they got cold they never lost their crispy texture. Everything about these nuggets was perfect. Thank you for a fantastic recipe.

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