Enjoy the irresistible crunch from the very best Vegan Fried Chicken! Made from seitan and simple seasonings, these crispy vegan tenders make for a delicious party snack or side.

close up on a large plate filled with golden brown fried vegan chicken pieces

With more and more vegan fried chicken options popping up at restaurants (like the Beyond fried chicken at KFC), I wanted to try making my own copycat recipe at home. With a perfectly crispy, golden brown breading and a tender and meaty inside, this Vegan Fried Chicken is a real winner!

Most homemade fried chicken starts the same way: breading the chicken in flour and spices before it’s fried in vegetable oil. In this recipe, the chicken is replaced with hearty vegan seitan that’s been dredged in a rich vegan buttermilk and seasoned breading. The irresistible crunch and juicy, meaty inside is so satisfying and even better than the real thing.

This vegan chicken is the BEST because it’s:

  • Moist on the inside and crispy on the outside.
  • Perfectly seasoned- no bland vegan alternative here!
  • Got best craggly, crunchy outside. Seriously, the best part!
  • Delicious on a sandwich, with potato wedges, or dipped in sauce.

You’ve gotta make these strips as part of the spread at your next party. Along with my Cauliflower Wings and Buffalo Chicken Dip, your guests will be clamoring for more!

womans hand taking a piece of fried vegan chicken from a pile on a white plate

What is it made of?

Seitan! This miracle vegan meat alternative is made by combining vital wheat gluten, seasonings, and veggie broth together. After it’s done boiling in veggie broth, the finished seitan is moist and tender, just like meat.

Seitan is usually my go-to choice when I want to make meaty-tasting and perfectly tender vegan chicken, “turkey” roast, and vegan pepperoni. It might sound a little intimidating at first, but it’s really quite simple to make at home. I keep the process as simple as possible.

How to make vegan fried chicken

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

  1. Make the seitan chicken by stirring all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Pour the broth and oil over top and stir until it comes together. Transfer it to a clean surface and knead a few times.
  2. While you bring the broth to a boil on the stove, break the “chicken” into two halves. Place them in the broth to simmer for 25 minutes.
  3. Prepare to dredge the seitan chicken by adding the buttermilk mixture ingredients to one bowl and the flour and spices in another bowl.
  4. Slice the seitan into strips. Coat each piece in the dry mixture first, then the buttermilk mixture, and the dry mixture again to finish. 
  5. Heat a pot of vegetable oil up to 350ºF. Fry each coated piece of vegan chicken on both sides until golden brown.
  6. Serve hot with chipotle mayo, ketchup, ranch, or barbecue sauce for dipping!
6 images showing the steps to making seitan and frying vegan chicken pieces

Air fryer instructions

Prepare the seitan and dredge the “chicken” pieces as normal. Place them in an even layer in your air fryer basket (working in batches if needed) and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Air fry the “chicken” at 375ºF for 15 minutes, flipping each piece halfway through. While air frying might *work*, the outcome will not taste nearly as good as frying.

Baking instructions

Again, prepare the “chicken” pieces as normal. Lay them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spray well with oil and bake in a 425°F oven for 10 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10 minutes or until the pieces are golden brown and crispy. Again, if you can possibly fry these on the stovetop the outcome will be much better than baking.

close up on a large plate filled with golden brown fried vegan chicken pieces

Tips and substitutions 

  • For less mess, designate one hand for the wet dredge and one for the dry.
  • Don’t skip the cornstarch! It’s the secret to the crispiest fried “chicken”.
  • Best oil for frying – Use vegetable oil or an alternative with a high smoke point, like peanut oil, canola oil, safflower oil.
  • Boiling seitan in broth as opposed to baking or steaming it (like in my vegan chicken recipe) allows it to absorb as much moisture and flavor as possible.
  • Instead of seitan – Make this with pressed extra firm tofu, osyter mushrooms or cauliflower florets.
  • Gluten free – I recommend using the tofu method above (as seitan isn’t gluten-free) and replace the flour with cornstarch, chickpea flour, or a gluten free 1:1 blend.

What to serve with fried “chicken”?

To make your meal or backyard party complete, serve alongside any of these delicious side dishes:

large plate filled with golden brown fried vegan chicken pieces

More fun vegan foods

close up on a large plate filled with golden brown fried vegan chicken pieces
5 stars (8 ratings)

Vegan Fried Chicken

Enjoy the irresistible crunch from the very best Vegan Fried Chicken! Made from seitan and simple seasonings, these crispy vegan tenders make for a delicious party snack or side.
Prep: 40 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 1 hr 15 mins
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients 
 

Seitan chicken

Broth for cooking seitan

Buttermilk mixture

Dry mixture

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon oregano

For frying

  • heat safe oil, such as vegetable or peanut oil

Instructions 

Prepare the seitan chicken

  • In a large bowl, stir together the vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, cajun seasoning and salt. 
  • Now add the broth and oil to the bowl with the dry ingredients, and stir until the mixture starts to come together.
  • Transfer to a clean surface and knead for a minute or two with your hands until it comes together as a large ball of messy dough. 
  • Break or slice the "chicken" into two halves. Meanwhile, bring the broth to a boil in a medium pot.
  • Place the two pieces of seitan into the broth and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes. Set aside off the heat and remove the seitan, setting it on a cutting board.

Fry the vegan chicken

  • In a medium sized bowl, combine all the ingredients for the buttermilk mixture. This is your wet batter bowl. Whisk until smooth.
  • In another medium sized bowl, add all the ingredients for the dry mixture and stir to combine.
  • Slice the cooked seitan chicken into strips. I like to cut them fairly small or thin for the best texture. They don't all have to be the same size.
  • Dip each piece into the dry ingredient bowl to coat, then coat in the buttermilk mixture,  then coat once more in the dry flour mixture. Designate one hand for the wet and one for dry, this will make things much easier. As you coat the "chicken" pieces, place them on a paper towel lined plate until they are all coated.
  • In a large pot or pan with high sides, bring a few inches of vegetable oil (safe for frying) to 350 degrees F. Use a thermometer for safety!
  • Fry until golden brown on each side, about 3-4 minutes on each side.
  • Serve immediately, perhaps alongside Vegan Mac and Cheese, Vegan Baked Beans, Vegan Buttermilk Biscuits and/or Vegan Coleslaw. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. It’s called vegan FRIED chicken for a reason, so I recommend frying for the best possible outcome. However, if you must you can try air frying or baking. Instructions are included in the post above. They won’t taste the same though.
  2. For gluten free, don’t make the seitan and use extra firm tofu instead, or oyster mushrooms or even cauliflower. And replace the regular flour with gluten free all purpose flour.
  3. For the best flavor, I recommend using Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base. Follow the instructions on the container and mix with water to make broth. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 6 servings | Calories: 505kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 1628mg | Potassium: 248mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 889IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 114mg | Iron: 4mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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Comments

  1. Why is there a difference in how you prep the seitan for regular “chicken” vs fried? I noticed in the reg version the seitan was not immersed in the water but steamed in foil.

  2. So good. This hits all the spots you want when you want “fried chicken.” It’s mouth watering: moist on the inside, crunchy on the outside, and lots of flavor. Really not difficult to make, either. Took an hour from start to finish, from clean kitchen to after-the-mess clean kitchen. I used a deep fryer and fried them in batches for about 4 minutes each. Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. You are welcome! I’m so glad the fried chicken met your expectations! Thanks for your great comments and review! Happy cooking!

    1. Hi Chelly. Yes, you can air fry or bake the “chicken” instead! See the instructions for both methods in the post above.

  3. Hi Nora,
    I don’t usually write reviews (sorry!), but did want to let you know that this, and every other recipe from your blog that I’ve tried, is fantastic! I’ve been vegan almost 10 years now and enjoy cooking (and even more so, eating!!). Most of my recipes come from someone’s blog (i do sometimes adapt them to my own and my fam’s tastes). There are so many great, accessible vegan recipes out there these days that are easy, delicious, and don’t require weird, hard-to-find or ridiculously expensive ingredients (not to mention all the substitutes you can buy now that actually taste pretty good – as opposed to the “soy cheese” and processed “vegan bacon-style strips”, etc. that were literally disgusting, lol!) – it’s great because it makes it so much easier for people to go vegan/plant-based, or just eat more plant-based meals or whatever, than it was even 10 years ago when I first started on this journey. So a big thank you to you and to people like you for sharing your knowledge and recipes <3
    I only discovered your blog fairly recently, in the last 6 months or so, and wanted to let you know that it has become one of my very favourite "go-to" recipe blogs – right up there with Minimalist Baker and Oh She Glows 🙂 (I'll assume that as a professional vegan food blogger you'll know those names and understand what a high compliment that is 🙂 )
    Keep doing what you do, it's awsome!!-
    .

    1. Thank you for leaving a review, and such a thoughtful one at that! I appreciate the feedback so much, and I’m happy you found my site. I went vegan about 13 years ago, and for years Oh She Glows and Minimalist Baker were my go to recipe sites, along with my Veganomicon cookbook, and a few others. 🙂 Thank you!!!

      1. Oh yes I have Veganomicom cookbook too! My daughter bought it for me in the early days. As much as I love books, I find online recipes more convenient because y’know, when you crave a particular “thing” it’s easier to Google “vegan lasagne recipe” or whatever than to go through all your actual books hoping to find one, (and usually getting distracted by some other completely non-related recipe that looks interesting and never getting to your lasagne, lol!) Anyway, thanks again. Love your blog – while sometimes I’m in the mood to cook something complicated with a heap of ingredients and steps, etc; most of the time I want something quick and easy and tasty (and sometimes, but not always, healthy!), which is exactly what you give us! xxx

      2. Aaaand… I should add that I actually deep fried this one… I know, I know… that is BAD!!! But I figure this isn’t meant to be health food or a regular meal, more of an occasional treat… and it was SO GOOD!!!

  4. So good and simple! The seasoning was delicious and texture was great. The only alterations I made were using oat milk (because that’s what I had on hand) and making a *little* extra flour mixture and everything turned out great, thanks for the recipe!

  5. If I use tofu for the chicken recipe (VEGAN FRIED CHICKEN) instead of seiten, do I still need to extract the water? Normally, I use fresh tofu and it’s sitting in water when I buy it. Therefore I extract the water from it. Again, do I need to extract the water and then cook it in the vegan chicken broth? Thank you very much for your reply in this matter!

  6. I just made it. I usually use extra firm tofu for fried chicken but wanted to try something else. This was great. I made patties, nuggets and tenders. All were really good. I agree that cut thin is best for texture. I have tried several of your recipes and am a fan of what you do. Thanks……So many recipes and so little time.

  7. So delicious and juicy! However, instead of making them into nuggets, I separated the dough into four equal portions before boiling and made chicken sandwiches/burgers instead! The “patty” was a tad big, I could have done maybe five or six patties instead of four, but no regrets either way ;). I also just cooked it in a non-stick pan with a thin layer of oil to make it more healthy and the end result was still yummy! I’ll be saving the recipe so thank you for posting it, Nora!

    1. Sounds like a great sandwich! Thank you so much for taking time to share your review and comments! I’m glad you loved the chicken!

  8. Hi. I really enjoy your blog and your recipes. Good work.
    I have a question on the Vegan Fried Chicken. Have you tried cooking this in the oven? I’m asking because since we went vegan, we are avoiding all fried foods. Thanks and keep cooking.

  9. You had me until I saw the amount of sodium.
    Is there a way to reduce it without losing the taste?

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