Meet Alex Caspero
Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.
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 tofu nuggets? Both my kids go nuts for nuggets, especially when served with plenty of ketchup and this copycat Chick-fil-A sauce for dipping. If you have toddlers, you know how much they love to dip their food!
These tofu nuggets are better than any chicken option out there. While many nugget recipes are triple coated and then deep fried, I wanted to keep these light enough that my kids could eat them on a regular basis. Lightly coated then baked (or air-fried! Directions below) makes for crispy tofu nuggets that the whole family can enjoy.
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 vegan nuggets tasted a lot like chicken nuggets.
Here’s what you’ll need for these nuggets:
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.
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.
Press the tofu first to get rid of excess moisture, then tear into nugget size pieces. This is key to the success of this recipe. Regular chicken nuggets are not square cubes, they have a craggy edge to them for texture. Tearing the tofu gives it the same appearance.
Toss with the olive oil and some of the onion powder, garlic powder and salt. This ensures that your entire nugget is coated with flavor before you add the flour.
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 into the mixture then shake off any excess flour. You’ll need to shake off as much as possible before placing on the baking sheet. Too much flour or cornstarch on these nuggets will not work.
Spray generously with a cooking spray or drizzle with olive oil. This helps to give them a crispy, golden texture. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes so it cooks evenly.
For extra crispy tofu nuggets, you can pan fry them or air-fry them.
Yes! These nuggets are great in the air fryer, especially if you prefer extra crispy tofu nuggets. I highly recommend spraying the coated nuggets with olive oil before cooking to achieve the typical golden exterior of fried foods.
To air-fry, cook at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, checking halfway through until hot and golden brown.
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.
If you really want a similar texture to chicken, then you’ll want to use frozen tofu. You need advance prep for this, which is why I don’t call for this in the recipe (who has time to anticipate tofu nuggets two days in advance with kids!?) but it really does make for “I can’t believe this isn’t chicken” taste.
To freeze tofu, remove from the container, rinse then place in the freezer. Remove, let thaw and press. Then refreeze, thaw and press again. Then tear the tofu and continue with the rest of the recipe directions.
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.
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.
I don’t recommend freezing these nuggets after making them. The batter can fall off with freezing.
You can make them ahead of time and keep in the fridge, but they will loose their crisp after making them. I suggest reheating in the oven or airfryer instead of the microwave for best results.
Promise you’ll make these soon, then come back and tell me what you think! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts. This recipe was first posted in 2018 and updated in 2022.Print
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! With Air Fryer instructions.
For the tofu nuggets:
Copycat Chick-Fil-A Nugget Sauce:
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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