Baked Vegan Tofu Nuggets

By Alexandra Caspero on October 5, 2018

Vegan Tofu Nuggets! If you like Chick-fil-A nuggets, then you’ve gotta try this vegan version. Baked crispy tofu nuggets that are perfect for kid and adults!

What kind of predominantly plant-based mom would I be if I didn’t have a recipe for killer nuggets? While Van is still pretty young for this kind of food, I know it will only be a matter of time before he starts requesting nuggets like his friends.

And these are better than any chicken option out there.

Chewy, crispy tofu nuggets served with my dipping sauce of choice– creamy honey mustard. These are the nuggets that everyone, vegetarian or not, will love. I’ve now made these over a dozen times and have served to as many friends and kids. Obviously people knew it wasn’t chicken because I was serving it to them, but I promise that most of them said these tasted a lot like chicken nuggets.

Ingredients for Tofu Chicken Nuggets

Here’s what you’ll need for these nuggets: 

  • One package of extra-firm tofu. Firm or other softer tofu’s won’t work for this. You’ll need to drain and press the tofu first for best texture by removing the excess water.  
  • Olive oil 
  • Spices, like garlic powder, onion powder, salt an paprika 
  • All-purpose flour
  • Cornstarch
  • Baking soda

To make these gluten-free, I recommend using a gluten-free flour. I don’t recommend another alternative flour like almond flour. The texture won’t be the same.

tofu nuggets with honey mustard dipping sauce

Instructions for how to make this tofu nugget recipe

Start by lightly spraying a baking sheet with oil and set aside. You can also use a silpat or sheet of parchment paper. 

From there, tear the tofu into bite-sized nugget pieces. Toss with the olive oil and some of the onion powder, garlic powder and salt. 

In a separate small bowl, toss together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and remaining spices. The cornstarch keeps these nuggets light and crispy. 

Dredge the tofu in the flour mixture and shake off any excess flour. Try to shake off as much flour as you can, then place on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining tofu. 

Bake  for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes so it cooks evenly. For ease, I choose to bake these but they are also incredible panfried. They are a little crispier that way and can also be air-fried, directions below. Remove and serve with the creamy BBQ sauce.

Can you air fry these nuggets?

Yes! These nuggets are great in the air fryer, especially if you prefer extra crispy tofu nuggets.  To air-fry, cook at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, checking halfway through until hot and golden brown. 

The secret for perfect vegan chicken nuggets

Wanna make perfect nuggets? Here’s the secret. After draining and pressing the block of tofu, tear the nuggets instead of cubing them. Tearing the tofu creates chewy, jagged edges that makes them more fun to eat. I made these once by cutting the tofu into strips and it just didn’t taste the same. 

Consider regular chicken nuggets, they aren’t perfect cubes– they have texture on all sides and tearing them creates the same sort of texture. Tear, don’t cut.

tofu nuggets with creamy honey mustard dipping sauce

Pair with Creamy Copycat Chick-Fil-A Sauce

Way back in the day, we used to eat at Chick-fil-A fairly often. Our schools always partnered with them for discount nights, which is odd to think about now. We were encouraged to eat at Chick-fil-A (and Pizza Hut!) in order to get funds for the school.

Anyways, I could care less about the nuggets themselves but I loved Chick-fil-A’s dipping sauce. That creamy sauce that’s a mix between tangy BBQ sauce and honey mustard. Oh my, I could literally drink it. Here’s how to make a vegan version. 

Ingredients for Nugget Sauce: 

  • Vegan mayo; my favorite brands are Just Mayo, Hellman’s Vegan & Vegenaise 
  • Yellow mustard or dijon mustard
  • Liquid sweetener like honey, agave and maple syrup. I do like honey for this and but for a completely vegan version, then use agave or maple syrup.  
  • BBQ sauce
  • Fresh lemon juice

I used honey in this, which is technically not vegan, but you could substitute any liquid sweetener instead. I’m not going to pretend that there are any redeeming health benefits to this sauce, but to me nuggets aren’t nuggets unless their served this way. Of course, you can dip with regular ketchup or BBQ sauce. 

Can you freeze these crispy baked tofu nuggets?

I don’t recommend freezing these nuggets after making them. The batter can fall off and tofu changes texture once it’s frozen.  

You can make them ahead of time and keep in the fridge, but they will loose their crisp after making them. 

More Kid-Friendly Plant-Based Recipes: 

Promise you’ll make these soon, then come back and tell me what you think! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

 

Print
tofu nuggets with honey mustard dipping sauce

Vegan Baked Tofu Nuggets

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: main dish, tofu, dinner
  • Method: baked
  • Cuisine: vegan, american
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Vegan Baked Tofu Nuggets! If you like Chick-fil-A nuggets, then you’ve gotta try this vegan version. Baked crispy tofu nuggets that are perfect for kid and adults!


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: main dish, tofu, dinner
  • Method: baked
  • Cuisine: vegan, american
  • Diet: Vegan
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: main dish, tofu, dinner
  • Method: baked
  • Cuisine: vegan, american
  • Diet: Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

For the tofu nuggets:

  • 1 (15 ounce package) extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, divided
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

Copycat Chick-Fil-A Nugget Sauce: 

  • 1/4 cup mayo (I love Just Mayo, Hellman’s Vegan & Vegenaise)
  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 3 tablespoons honey (I like honey for this, but vegan version use agave/maple syrup)
  • 3 tablespoons BBQ sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly spray a baking sheet with oil and set aside.
  2. Tear the tofu into bite-sized nugget pieces and place in a bowl; toss with oil, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, toss together the flour, cornstarch, remaining onion powder and garlic powder, baking soda, paprika and remaining salt.
  4. Dredge the tofu in the flour mixture and shake off any excess flour. Place on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining nuggets.
  5. Cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes so it cooks evenly. Remove and serve with the sauce!
  6. To make the sauce, whisk together all ingredients. Season to taste, as needed and eat. So good!

Notes

Tearing the nuggets into equal size pieces makes it easier to cook and more “nugget” like. See commentary above.

To make these in an air-fryer, I recommend cooking them at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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    1. Deb
      February 23, 2020 AT 4:43 pm

      It’s amazing how close these are to fast food style chicken nuggets. I had drained & frozen some tofu and then lost the recipe I was going to use. So after defrosting and pressing out more water, I used this recipe. Tearing them really does make a huge difference!

      1. Leaf
        October 31, 2021 AT 7:11 am

        Hi, would like to know the nutrition information is it for 100g or serving size? 🙂

        1. Alex
          November 1, 2021 AT 9:40 am

          Per serving size

    2. Dorothy
      February 9, 2020 AT 4:36 pm

      These were great! Fun way to change up the tofu routine. We used these as the “meat” for Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches. Definitely saving this recipe! Thank you!

      1. Alex
        February 11, 2020 AT 8:06 am

        YUM! That sounds amazing- thanks Dorothy!

    3. Nancy
      January 13, 2020 AT 7:27 am

      How do you think this will do in an air fryer? Thinking of making this tonight, looks amazing!

      1. Alex
        January 13, 2020 AT 7:31 am

        Hi Nancy- I haven’t tried it in the air fryer yet but would love to hear how it works out! Let me know- my plan is to update this one in the Air Fryer sometime soon!

    4. Jamie
      January 4, 2020 AT 4:52 pm

      My first tofu experience! They looked Exactly like chick-Fil-a, no doubt! The coating was nice a crispy and good flavor. I wish the actual tofu had more- wondering if it marinates well and if that would help. But truly thankful for help in our new plant-based lifestyle.

      1. Alex
        January 5, 2020 AT 7:03 pm

        Thanks for the comment Jamie!

    5. Candy
      October 24, 2019 AT 11:58 am

      I have been looking for a really good vegan hot wing recipe. Would this recipe do well rolling in hot wing sauce after cooking?
      Thank you so much!

      1. Alex
        October 26, 2019 AT 12:58 pm

        Oh! I don’t know- sounds amazing though. If you try it, let me know!

    6. Jackie
      October 22, 2019 AT 9:46 am

      These are fantastic! I thawed a frozen block of tofu – this seemed to help make them extra crispy as frozen tofu wants to soak up whatever it is put in. Sauce, flour, or whatever. THANK YOU for this fantastic recipe, I will use it time & time again!

    7. Kristen
      October 10, 2019 AT 4:24 pm

      Loved these!! We used whole wheat flour cuz that is what we had in the house. I hD some of my tofu break up in the process and threw those pieces towards the end in a find mesh strainer and shook out the flour out of them. I think next time I will do that for all of the pieces. Thank you for the great recipe. Happy tummies tonight!

      1. Alex
        October 11, 2019 AT 8:16 am

        Oh! Great idea! Thanks Kristen.

    8. Alexis
      September 16, 2019 AT 2:20 pm

      How good does this reheat?

      1. Alex
        September 17, 2019 AT 6:38 am

        They will lose their “crispiness” when reheated in the microwave. You can reheat them in the oven, and they will taste similar.

    9. Anastasia
      September 13, 2019 AT 7:37 am

      This was SUPER good. This is the first recipe I tried by you and I cannot wait to try more. The sauce is delicious and I love that it’s baked instead of fried. Definitely a keeper!!

      1. Alex
        September 13, 2019 AT 3:57 pm

        So glad you liked it!

    10. Rachelle
      May 3, 2019 AT 5:29 am

      Can’t wait to try this recipe! Can you tell me what brand of tofu you use? In my experience, many brands titled “extra-firm” are not quite firm enough, even after I press out the excess liquid…

      1. Alex
        May 5, 2019 AT 11:18 am

        Of course! I typically use the Trader Joe’s tofu or Nasoya.