These are the best Crispy Tofu Chicken Nuggets ever! Family-friendly, flavorful, and protein-packed vegan tofu nuggets that are crispy, crunchy, and well-seasoned with a soft interior.
These vegan chicken nuggets are crispy on the outside, nice and soft on the inside, simple to make, and perfect for kids and adults. The tofu is pressed and dredged in a wet batter and then coated in panko bread crumbs, cornmeal, and seasonings then can be baked or fried to perfection. You must try these!
Need more dinner ideas? Check out these 25 Easy Vegan Dinner Recipes!
A deep pot for frying is essential and a thermometer to test the temperature of the oil is recommended but not required in order to make these vegan tofu nuggets.
These vegan chicken nuggets have a crispy coating but are nice and tender on the inside. Tofu is battered and rolled in a seasoned crumb coating and baked. This is my favorite tofu recipe to date and is a must-try!
- Extra-Firm Tofu, soft or firm won't work here- must be extra or super firm
- Panko-Breadcrumbs (some aren't vegan so check the ingredients)
- Finely Ground Cornmeal, adds a nice light crumble texture that isn't to be missed
- Nutritional Yeast, for flavor as well as seasonings
- All Purpose Flour & Apple Cider Vinegar to create a buttermilk
- Soy Milk, and almond milk will also work but make sure it's unsweet
I don't recommend making substitutions to this recipe as far as the breading goes unless it's more or fewer seasonings depending on your preferences. I haven't tried this with other protein sources but think chicken-style seitan and this breading recipe would make some delicious vegan chicken nuggets.
How to Make This Recipe
Press each block of extra firm tofu using a tofu press or diy tofu press for at least 20 minutes each. You can buy an inexpensive tofu press or create your own DIY tofu press by wrapping it in paper towels or clean dishcloths and placing in a shallow bowl. Then, stack heavy items on top to drain the excess water.
Whisk together the bread crumb mixture ingredients in a shallow dish: panko breadcrumbs, cornmeal, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and smoked paprika.
Whisk together the wet mixture: soy milk or non-dairy milk of choice, apple cider vinegar, all-purpose flour, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Ripe the tofu blocks into chunks. Note: I prefer ripping the tofu in to chunks instead of tofu cubes because it helps the breadcrumbs coat the sides more evenly. They also look closer to real chicken nuggets this way!
Dip each piece of tofu in the wet mixture and then toss in the dry mixture until the tofu nugget is completely coated in breadcrumbs. Then, pick a cooking method and a few sauce options and enjoy!
Tips & Tricks
Easy, full of flavor, and super crispy, this tofu nugget recipe is the perfect snack or can be served as a main dish. Here are a few tips to make this tofu nugget recipe even better!
Don't skip the pressing! Pressing tofu is very important and can't be skipped when it comes to this recipe. Removing that excess water will improve the texture and make the end product much crispier.
Rip up the tofu into bite-sized chunks instead of slicing the tofu into even cubes. Ripping the tofu helps the breading stick to the tofu more evenly and they look better and more like a traditional nugget shape when done this way.
Fry in batches! Don't overcrowd the frying pan. This goes for baking too. Don't overcrowd the baking tray. Give the tofu bites space so they can become incredibly crispy and crunchy!!
Dipping Sauce Ideas:
These incredibly crispy tofu nuggets will remind you of chicken nuggets or popcorn chicken, especially when dunked in your favorite dipping sauce! What sauce would you choose? Barbecue sauce, ketchup, spicy mayo, garlic aioli…? I need to know!
These tofu nuggets don't need a dipping sauce but if you're like me, you want more than one! Here are my top recommendations:
- Roasted Garlic Aioli or maybe add sriracha or hot sauce to make it a spicy aioli
- Homemade Vegan BBQ Sauce or Store-bought bbq sauce
- Maybe these buffalo by drizzling a buffalo sauce over the top (don't recommend soaking them or you'll miss that crunch!)
- Vegan Honey Mustard or Vegan Ranch Dressing.
To make pan-fried vegan nuggets, heat a large pot on medium heat and fill the base of the pan with a few inches of oil. When the oil is hot, add in the tofu nuggets in small batches. Fry until crispy and golden brown. If the oil doesn’t completely cover the nugget, flip it halfway and keep frying until both sides are golden brown.
Make crispy baked tofu nuggets by preheating an oven to 400F. Add the breaded tofu pieces to a parchment-lined baking tray with space in-between them so they are not touching. Spray the nuggets evenly with spray oil or drizzle with oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Store leftover tofu nuggets in an airtight container for 3-4 days. They will lose some crispiness but they are still delicious leftover. Simply reheat in the oven until warmed through or microwave them.
Yes, simply replace the panko breadcrumbs with gluten-free breadcrumbs and the all-purpose flour with gluten-free flour.
They are better fresh so I don't recommend freezing them. They can however be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days and reheated in the oven or an air fryer.
I haven't tried it but I'd say give it a shot at 400F for about 15 minutes or until golden and crispy.
More Tofu Recipes You Might Like:
If You Make This Recipe:
I would greatly appreciate if you share your review in the comments below and leave a star rating. Don’t forget to add if you made any fun substitutions. Thank you!
Crispy Tofu Nuggets
- 2 14 ounce Blocks Extra Firm Tofu, pressed
- ½ cup Vegan Panko Breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup Finely Ground Cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
- 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
- ¼ teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- ¾ cup Unsweetened Soy Milk
- 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- ¼ cup All Purpose Flour
- Press each block of tofu for at least 20 minutes each.
- Dry Mixture: In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the panko breadcrumbs, cornmeal, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, black pepper and smoked paprika.
- Wet Mixture: In an another medium-sized bowl whisk together the soy milk, apple cider vinegar, all purpose flour and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Rip up the tofu in to bite sized chunks and coat in the wet mixture and then toss in the dry mixture until the tofu nugget is completely coated in breadcrumbs. Set aside on a parchment lined baking tray and continue until all nuggets have been breaded.
- Frying Instructions: Heat a large pot on medium heat and fill the base of the pan with a few inches of oil. When the oil is hot, add in the tofu nuggets in small batches. Fry until crispy and golden brown. If the oil doesn't completely cover the nugget, flip it halfway and keep frying until both sides are golden brown.
- Baking Instructions: Preheat oven to 400F. Add the tofu nuggets to a parchment lined baking tray with space in-between them so they are not touching. Spray the nuggets evenly with a spray oil or drizzle with oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.