This Buffalo Tempeh is a versatile option, perfect for an appetizer, a spicy game day snack, or a delicious addition to salads or wraps. The tempeh is breaded and baked to a crispy, golden perfection then generously coated in a tangy, spicy, and buttery vegan buffalo sauce.
Tempeh is an underrated source of plant-based protein.
It has a dense and firm texture and the fermentation process gives tempeh a distinct nutty flavor.
In this buffalo tempeh recipe, the tempeh is battered and breaded then baked until golden.
It's then tossed in a creamy, tangy, and spicy buffalo sauce.
Try these spicy tempeh bites with your favorite dipping sauce or toss them in salads, tacos, or wraps!
My go-to sauce is a vegan ranch dressing or this Green Goddess Tahini Dressing!
This simple vegan tempeh recipe calls for just a handful of basic ingredients, such as tempeh, all-purpose flour, panko breadcrumbs, seasonings, and buffalo sauce!
Tempeh: Slice the tempeh into cubes or small triangles.
All-purpose flour: This the base for the batter. You can use a gluten-free all purpose flour, if needed.
Seasoning: Nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper give the batter more flavor.
Panko Breadcrumbs: Not all panko breadcrumbs are vegan but most are. Check the ingredients before purchasing. If gluten-free, use gluten-free breadcrumbs.
Spray oil: Optional, but it does help the tempeh bites crisp up in the oven and get nice and golden. I use avocado oil.
Vegan Buffalo Sauce: I use a homemade buffalo sauce. It's a mixture of Frank's Red Hot, plant-based butter, and a few simple seasonings. You can use store-bought, if desired.
See recipe card for quantities.
Is Buffalo Sauce Vegan?
Hot sauce is generally vegan-friendly, but traditional buffalo sauce often contains non-vegan ingredients like butter and Worcestershire sauce, making it unsuitable for vegetarians too.
Fortunately, making your own vegan buffalo sauce is a simple and delicious alternative!
How to Make This Recipe
Slice the tempeh, cover it in a seasoned batter, coat it with panko breadcrumbs, and bake until it's perfectly crispy and golden.
Finish by tossing in a homemade buffalo sauce for a delicious kick.
The full written recipe can be found in the recipe card below.
Step 1: Whisk together the all-purpose flour, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, kosher salt, smoked paprika, and black pepper in a shallow bowl. Pour in the unsweetened plant-based milk and whisk until smooth.
Step 2: Coat each tempeh piece in the batter and drip off any excess.
Step 3: Toss immediately into the breadcrumbs.
Step 4: Place onto a parchment-lined baking tray. Continue until all the tempeh has been battered and coated in breadcrumbs. Lightly spray or drizzle with avocado oil.
Step 5: Bake for 25-30 minutes or until crispy and golden brown, flipping halfway.
Step 6: Toss in buffalo sauce until coated- you'll need roughly ¾ cup of buffalo sauce. Toss until just coated, you don't want them to be soggy.
Step 7: Return to the oven for an additional 5 minutes.
Substitutions & Variations
Tempeh: Try buffalo tofu instead!
Make it gluten-free: Simply substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free all purpose flour and substitute the panko breadcrumbs with a gluten-free breadcrumb.
Buffalo Sauce: If you don't have time to make buffalo sauce from scratch, feel free to use your favorite store-bought buffalo sauce.
Not a spicy food lover? Switch it up by keeping the buffalo sauce on the side for dipping or try it with bbq sauce.
These buffalo tempeh nuggets can be served as an appetizer, game day snack, or a main dish.
With a dip: These vegan buffalo bites are delicious when served with vegan ranch or a vegan bleu cheese dressing with celery, carrots, and cucumbers.
On a salad: Add lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and red onion to a bowl and drizzle with vegan ranch and top with buffalo bites.
Grains: Serve over quinoa, rice, or another grain and roasted vegetables of your choice to make it a heartier meal.
Sandwich or Wrap: Use the buffalo tempeh as a filling for a sandwich or wrap with lettuce, tomatoes, and your favorite veggies.
Tacos: Serve with slaw and cilantro lime sauce on a flour tortilla.
Storage: These buffalo tempeh bites can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Reheat: Reheat leftovers in an air fryer for 3-5 minutes or a 350F preheated oven until warmed through, about 10-15 minutes.
Freeze: This recipe is not freezer-friendly.
Tips & Tricks
Preheat the oven: Don't forget to preheat your oven. This helps to ensure even cooking and proper browning.
Avoid over-measuring the flour for the batter. Spoon the flour into the measuring cup to avoid over-packing the cup. Your batter will be end up being too thick.
Be sure to allow the excess batter to drip off so the batter doesn't pool around the tempeh and knock the breadcrumbs off.
Arrange tempeh in an even layer: When placing the tempeh on a baking tray, arrange it in a single layer with space between each piece. This will help the tempeh cook evenly and get golden brown and crisp.
Frequently Asked Questions
Tempeh is a plant-based protein made from fermented soybeans, known for its firm texture and nutty flavor.
Tempeh has a nutty and earthy flavor with a slightly tangy undertone due to the fermentation process. Oftentimes, people may describe it as bitter which can be removed by steaming the tempeh before continuing with the recipe.
In this recipe, I don't find it is needed but if you are sensitive to the bitterness- you might want to try to steam it first.
Tempeh is commonly available at a wide range of different shops. You can find it in most grocery stores near the plant-based products.
More Plant-Based Protein Recipes
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
- 1 8oz Package of Tempeh sliced into triangles or cubes
- 1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs use gluten-free if needed
- ¼ cup All-Purpose Flour use gluten-free if needed
- 1 tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
- ¼ teaspoon Onion Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher Salt see note
- ¼ teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- Pinch of Black Pepper
- ½ cup Plant-Based Milk unsweetened
- Drizzle of Avocado Oil
- ¾ cup Vegan Buffalo Sauce
- Preheat oven to 450F.
- Slice the tempeh into small triangles or cubes.
- In a shallow bowl, add the panko breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
- Whisk together the all-purpose flour, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, kosher salt, smoked paprika, and black pepper in a shallow bowl. Pour in the unsweetened plant-based milk and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
- Coat each tempeh piece in the batter and drip off any excess then toss immediately into the breadcrumbs. Place onto a parchment-lined baking tray. Continue until all the tempeh has been battered and coated in breadcrumbs.
- Lightly spray or drizzle with avocado oil.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until crispy and golden brown, flipping halfway.
- Toss in buffalo sauce until coated- you'll need roughly ¾ cup of buffalo sauce. Toss until just coated, you don't want them to be soggy. Return to the oven for an additional 5 minutes.
- Serve with vegan ranch, celery, and carrots. Enjoy!
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