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Chickfila Tofu Nuggets. Vegan and judgment-free, these little bites taste so close to the "real thing"!

I have a confession to make….

I love(d) Chick-fil-A. I know, I know! It’s not healthy, it’s not good for the environment, and it’s definitely not good for our social climate. But there’s something about it I crave–often intensely–until I sate what could’ve been a brisk but shameful dip into, let’s face it, some hateful junk food.

Chickfila Tofu Nuggets. Vegan and judgment-free, these little bites taste so close to the "real thing"!

Except when I say brisk, I actually mean we’d be sitting in line, out in the middle of one our city’s busiest streets, behind 40 other cars doing the same thing. O and I at one time, pre-gay-hatred-exposure, considered franchising one of those places and putting it downtown (packed full of 9-to-5ers rushing to work, no other Chick-fil-A around for miles), sheer dreams of  diving into a sea of coins, Scrooge McDuck-style.

But these days, we’re pretty conscious of where and what we eat, trying to avoid a lot of meat–especially highly processed, factory farmed meat with more injections than Heidi Montag–and spend our money only with companies whose values don’t.. totally clash with what we think is right and acceptable in this life. Sometimes we falter, but most of the time we stay pretty true to that. So what to do when the Chick-fil-A craving strikes?

Chick-fil-A tofu nuggets, people. Chick-fil-A tofu nuggets. With vegan “honey” mustard dipping sauce.

Chickfila Tofu Nuggets. Vegan and judgment-free, these little bites taste so close to the "real thing"!
Chickfila Tofu Nuggets. Vegan and judgment-free, these little bites taste so close to the "real thing"!

I took a few Chick-fil-A nugget copycat recipes and essentially converted it into a fried tofu recipe, complete with a powered sugary breading and pickle juice marinade. We were both amazed at how well these turned out, how similar to the addictive little nuggets we so guiltily crave! The breading is crunchy and flavorful without being too heavy, the torn tofu is equally flavorful and packed with seasoning thanks to the pickle brine, and the tearing leaves little nuggets that are not so perfectly cubed that they seem immediately “chickenless”.

The honey mustard sauce is just like I remember honey mustard sauce, subbing really only vegan mayo for the mayonnaise and agave nectar for the honey. Because really, what’s a chicken nugget without a sauce in which to dunk your little bites?

Chickfila Tofu Nuggets. Vegan and judgment-free, these little bites taste so close to the "real thing"!
Chickfila Tofu Nuggets. Vegan and judgment-free, these little bites taste so close to the "real thing"!
I even made a from-scratch lemonade to go with these Chick-fil-A Tofu Nuggets!

Even better, these come together quickly and without much oil, making them much healthier than the originals. And guess what, none of your money is going towards the “questionable giving” that made Chick-fil-A known for more than its unfortunately delicious bites. About that, you can feel even better about swapping chicken for tofu and a quick jaunt to that infamous locale for a delicious fast-food-inspired spread at home.

Recipe By: Cheryl Malik
4.96 from 24 votes

Chick-fil-A Tofu Nuggets


Prep 45 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 1 hour
Flavorful tofu nuggets that taste oh-so-close to the Chick-fil-A original nuggets, complete with a vegan "honey" mustard sauce! Way healthier and a lot less.. judgy.
4 servings

Equipment

  • medium bowl with lid or plastic wrap to cover
  • 2 small bowls
  • Large skillet
  • Large plate or wire cooling rack
  • Paper towels

Ingredients

  • oil for frying; vegetable, canola, or peanut oil preferred

For the Tofu Nuggets

  • 1 pound tofu firm or extra-firm
  • ¾ – 1 cup dill pickle juice (you want the old-school, bright green juice; not the deli-pickle kind)

For the Tofu Nugget Breading

  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 ½ tablespoons powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon powdered mustard
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

For the Honey Mustard

  • ¼ cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • ¾ teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric

Instructions

  • Tear tofu block into nugget-sized pieces and place pieces in medium bowl. Pour pickle juice over tofu and cover bowl. Let tofu marinate in pickle juice 25 minutes.
  • While tofu marinates, whisk together breading ingredients in small bowl until mixture is fully combined. Set aside.
  • In third small bowl, mix together all honey mustard ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, then refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • After tofu has marinated 25 minutes, drain all liquid and transfer tofu to breading mixture. Toss or stir well to thoroughly coat tofu pieces in breading.
  • Pour thin layer of oil (approximately 1 tablespoon) in skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot and shimmering, add breaded tofu to skillet in one even layer, working in batches as needed to avoid overcrowding. Turn pieces over regularly to brown on all sides.
  • Transfer browned tofu pieces to plate lined with paper towels or wire cooling rack over paper towels. Let excess oil drain and repeat process with any remaining breaded tofu, until all tofu has been fried. Serve warm with chilled honey mustard sauce.
  • For crispier breading, drain the tofu on a wire cooling rack rather than a plate lined with paper towels.

Approximate Information for One Serving

Serving Size: 1servingCalories: 335calProtein: 9gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1672mgPotassium: 204mgTotal Carbs: 47gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gNet Carbs: 46gVitamin A: 128IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 44mgIron: 2mg
Nutrition Disclaimers
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.

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80 Comments

  1. Are the paprika , garlic, and powdered mustard to be mixed in with the cornstarch or are those for the honey mustard?
    It’s not clear what ingredients are for what parts.

    This looks delicious- can’t wait to make this!

    1. Megan | 40 Aprons Team Megan | 40 Aprons Team says:

      So sorry, that was laid out kind of confusingly! We’ve added headings to make everything more clear. Let us know how you like the recipe!

  2. These are amazing!! Taste very similar to Chick-fil-A !!!5 stars

    1. Anna Claire | 40 Aprons Team Anna Claire | 40 Aprons Team says:

      So glad you enjoyed it!5 stars

  3. Do you think you could bake the tofu instead of frying? This looks delicious!

    1. Avatar Savannah | 40 Aprons Team says:

      You can try!5 stars

  4. These are so good! I froze the tofu first (first time freezing and first time marinating tofu in pickle juice). I will definitely be making this again!5 stars

  5. I cannot say enough good about this recipe… It blew me out of the water! Each time I find a new, showstopping way to prepare tofu (this certainly fits the bill!), I fall in love with this ingredient all over again. Marinade in pickle brine and use a breading with powdered sugar…! I never would have thought to try this, but it works so well!
    Where did you get the idea for these ingredient combos, if you don’t mind me asking?

    First, I froze my tofu and drained it thoroughly (for texture). Then marinated it in pickle brine for 5 hrs (I didn’t have enough so made some to bulk it up: 2 cups apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 Tbsp kosher salt). Then I increased all of the spices in the breading about 1.5x and did 3 Tbsp powdered sugar, for increased flavor. I tried air-frying in addition to pan-frying, and definitely prefer the pan-fried texture (much more fluffy interior). And the honey-mustard vegan mayo is perfect.

    Thank you for your wonderful recipe!5 stars

  6. I used to love Chic~Fil~A! But love humans more and am now a vegan so… Was just telling my wife that I bet I could marinate jackfruit in pickle juice and come up with something close, was worried tofu would end up tasting like fried pickles. But I haven’t found un-marinated jackfruit and I have tofu in the fridge, this is going down tonight! (immediately opens new tab to search for homemade vegan Polynesian sauce)

    Thank you!!

  7. Think arrowroot powder would work as well, instead of the cornstarch? Corn and chicken allergy have put chick-fil-a off the menu for my husband and it has always been a favorite of his. Hoping I can adapt this.

  8. I decided on a whim to make this recipe, based on the reviews. I didn’t realzie how many reviewers had not actually made the recipe.

    It is not complete.

    How much liquid for the batter?

    I went through this, assembling ingredients and now have to figure out how much liquid to add, and hope for the best. This may be the tastiest thing on the planet, but for the love of our grocery budgets please make sure when you post a recipe, that it is complete.

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