Vegan Chicken Nuggets are perfectly poppable bites that are great for dunking into your favorite dipping sauce. Consider making a double batch because they will disappear fast!
It’s hard to get kids to eat just about anything sometimes, especially if you’ve got picky eaters in the house. Satisfy their hungry bellies with the best vegan kid-friendly recipes! Some of my favorites include Simple Vegan Pancakes, The Best Vegan Mac and Cheese, and of course Vegan Sloppy Joes!
Vegan Chicken Nuggets
Just like my Vegan Fried Chicken, these easy to make Vegan Chicken Nuggets still have everything you love about classic chicken nuggets, just without the meat. Tofu is marinated in a simple savory blend of ingredients, coated in a seasoned cornflake crumb coating, and baked to crispy perfection.
When made just right (and it’s honestly hard to mess up), these Vegan Nuggets turn out soft and tender on the inside while being satisfyingly crunchy on the outside. Dunk them in my favorite homemade dipping sauce or whatever you enjoy most from the store!
What’s to love about these vegan nuggets?
- They’re a kid-friendly option. If you have a picky eater in the house, they’ll gobble up these Vegan Chicken Nuggets!
- The marinade really seals the deal with flavor. These Vegan Nuggets aren’t lacking in flavor, and that’s mainly because of the soy sauce based marinade. Don’t skip this super easy and vital step for the best nuggets!
- You can serve them in a variety of ways. Besides just dunking the nuggets in ketchup, ranch or barbecue sauce, there are so many ways to enjoy them! Toss them into tacos, enjoy on top of a salad, use them as a protein in a buddha bowl, etc. The list goes on and on, so get creative!
How to make vegan chicken nuggets
Find the complete printable recipe with measurements below in the recipe card.
Prepare the tofu
Press your tofu to remove the excess water, then rip it into bite-sized pieces. You can cut them if you prefer.
In a large bowl, whisk all the marinade ingredients together until well combined. Add the tofu pieces to the bowl and stir gently to coat the pieces. Let them marinate for about 10 minutes.
Bread and bake the tofu
Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a large baking sheet or two with parchment paper and spray with oil so the tofu won’t stick.
Add the plant milk to a medium bowl. Add the flour to another bowl.
In a food processor, add the cornflakes, smoked paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Pour onto a large rimmed plate or bowl.
Remove a piece of tofu from the marinade and dip into the flour, then dip into the milk. Shake off excess milk then roll in the cornflake crumbs to coat. Place the tofu on the prepared pan and continue until all pieces are coated and on the pan. Spray them well with oil.
Bake the vegan chicken nuggets for 15 minutes, then flip and bake for 10-15 more minutes.
Serve with the classic dip included with this recipe, or simply dip in ketchup, ranch or barbecue sauce. Enjoy!
Frequently asked questions
- How long will Vegan Chicken Nuggets stay fresh? Store leftover nuggets in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat in an air fryer, oven, or stovetop until crispy again.
- Can I make these nuggets in the air fryer? Yes! Spray your air fryer basket with cooking spray and place the coated tofu in a single layer (work in batches so the pieces aren’t touching). Spray with cooking spray, then set the fryer for 350ºF for 10 minutes. Flip the tofu, then cook for another 15 minutes.
- How about the skillet? I much prefer to bake the tofu because it’s less hands on and requires much less oil than the stovetop. With that being said, the skillet works! Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet on the stovetop. Add the pieces into the pan (making sure they aren’t touching) and cook until each side is golden brown. It helps if you leave the pieces alone so they have plenty of time to get crispy.
Craving some vegan chicken? I’ve got you covered!
- Vegan Chicken and Dumplings
- Chicken Broccoli Rice Vegan Casserole
- Vegan Chicken
- Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup
- Vegan Chicken Salad
Vegan Chicken Nuggets
Tofu + Marinade
- (2) 14.5 ounce blocks firm tofu
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
Milk + Flour Batter
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened plant milk
- 2 cups all purpose flour
Cornflake Crumb Coating
- 4 cups cornflakes
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- spray oil, for baking
Press, rip and marinate tofu
- Press the tofu by wrapping in paper towels (or a clean dry tea towel). Place a plate or pan on top of the wrapped tofu, and put a couple of heavy books on top of that. Let the tofu press for about 30 minutes.
- Rip tofu into pieces – Slice the tofu into about 6 slices. Now, rip each slice into medium-large pieces. You can also simply cut them into cubes, if you prefer, but ripping gives the tofu a great texture for the nuggets.
- Marinate – In a large bowl, whisk all the marinade ingredients together until well combined. Add the tofu pieces to the bowl and stir gently to coat the pieces. Let marinate for 10 minutes while you prepare the batter and coatings.
Bread the tofu and bake the nuggets
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line a large baking sheet or two with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper with cooking spray. This will help the nuggets be very crispy and not stick.
- Place milk and flour in bowls – Pour the plant milk into a medium sized bowl. Place the flour in another bowl.
- Prepare cornflake crumb mixture – In a food processor, add the cornflakes, smoked paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Add the crumbs to a medium bowl. Place the bowl of milk, flour and crumbs next to each other for a dipping station that is also close to the prepared pan.
- Coat the tofu – Remove a piece of tofu from the marinade and dip it in the flour. Shake off excess flour and dip into the milk. Shake off any excess milk, then roll in the cornflake crumb mixture to coat. Place on the baking sheet and continue until all the pieces are coated and ready to bake.
- Bake tofu nuggets – Spray the tofu nuggets well with cooking spray. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then flip and bake for 10-15 more minutes, until golden and crispy. Alternatively, fry them for a few minutes on each side in a pan coated in oil over medium-high heat, in batches.
- Make the quick classic dip – Simply whisk all dip ingredients in a bowl. That's it!
- Serve vegan chicken nuggets with classic dip, ketchup, mustard, bbq sauce or ranch and enjoy.
- Gluten free? Use gluten free tamari and gluten free flour.
- If you don’t want to use cornflakes, vegan panko breadcrumbs work in place, though they are not gluten free. And I highly prefer the crunch of cornflakes.
- Leftovers: Store leftover nuggets in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, and reheat in an air fryer, oven or stovetop until crispy again.
This recipe was originally published in 2020 and has been updated with newer writing and helpful information. I also added an extra step when coating the tofu, so the cornflake crumbs stick better.