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These crispy seitan fried “chicken” tenders are the perfect vegan alternative to traditional chicken strips. Featuring a tender “meat” made from homemade seitan and a crispy vegan buttermilk breading that fries up beautifully.

A pile of vegan seitan fried "chicken" tenders in a white bowl next to a small ramekin of ranch dressing with a small ramekin of ketchup in the background.

What Makes This Recipe So Good

  • “It tastes just like chicken” is cliché, I know, but in this case it’s really true! Our seitan fried “chicken” tenders taste every bit as delicious as traditional chicken strips. Serve them with fries and your favorite dipping sauces and you’ve got a perfect meat-free comfort food.
  • The breading on these seitan tenders fries up beautifully – perfectly crispy and golden brown. It’s seasoned well, too; no boring, bland food here!
  • We used a homemade seitan, but you can use a store-bought version instead if you’d rather. Sometimes you just need something that’s quick and easy, and eliminating that process speeds things up considerably.

Chef’s Tips

  • For the juiciest, most tender “chicken” strips possible, you’ll want to simmer the seitan, rather than steaming it. It’ll absorb some of the boiling broth, giving it an extra boost of moisture and flavor.
  • I really recommend using a deep fry thermometer to make sure the oil is at the right temperature. If the oil is too cool, the breading will just soak it up. If it’s too hot, the breading will burn.
  • Every time you add seitan to the oil (or replenish the oil that cooks down), the temperature will drop. Be sure to wait for it to heat up again before frying more tenders.
  • For the crispiest seitan fried “chicken”, let the fried pieces drain on a wire cooling rack rather than a plate lined with paper towels. With paper towels, the tenders will sit in the hot oil, which can make the breading soft on one side. A wire cooling rack allows the oil to drip off and away from the fried “chicken”, making the breading as crispy as possible.
Seitan fried "chicken" tender being dipped into a small ramekin of vegan ranch dressing.

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Recipe By: Jasmine Comer
5 from 1 vote

Seitan Fried “Chicken” Tenders


Prep 15 minutes
Cook 1 hour
Total 1 hour 15 minutes
Homemade seitan, a vegan buttermilk, and a breading that friess up beautifully come together for the most delicious seitan fried "chicken" tenders you've ever had.
6 servings

Equipment

  • Large bowl
  • whisk or rubber spatula
  • flat surface, plastic wrap optional
  • Large pot with lid
  • large bowl or plate
  • 2 shallow bowls for dredging "chicken"
  • 2 whisks
  • medium pot for frying "chicken"
  • deep frying thermometer, optional but recommended
  • Large plate or wire cooling rack
  • Paper towels

Ingredients

  • neutral oil as needed for frying

For the Seitan

For the Vegan Buttermilk

For the Breading

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon cajun seasoning

Instructions

  • Add vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper to large bowl. Mix well to thoroughly distribute ingredients.
    Overhead view of dry ingredients for seitan fried "chicken" tenders in a large glass mixing bowl.
  • Slowly add 2 cups vegetable broth and 2 tablespoons olive oil to bowl, stirring constantly until all ingredients are fully combined to create dough.
    Overhead view of seitan fried "chicken" dough in large glass mixing bowl on white surface.
  • Transfer dough from bowl to flat surface covered in plastic wrap. Knead dough to form ball, then divide ball of dough into two equal pieces.
    Kneaded ball of seitan dough for seitan fried "chicken" in a large glass mixing bowl.
  • Add 5 cups vegetable broth to large pot over medium-high heat. Bring broth to boil, then reduce heat to low and let broth simmer. Once broth is no longer boiling, add seitan to pot and cover with lid. Simmer covered 25 minutes, then transfer cooked seitan to large bowl or plate to cool.
  • In one shallow bowl, whisk together all vegan buttermilk ingredients until mixture is fully incorporated. Set aside.
  • In other shallow bowl, whisk together all ingredients for breading until ingredients are fully incorporated. Set aside.
  • Add enough oil to submerge seitan tenders in medium pot. Heat uncovered over medium-high heat until oil temperature reads 350° Fahrenheit.
  • Once seitan is completely cooled, break seitan into pieces resembling chicken tenders. Dip seitan tenders first in vegan buttermilk, coating both sides well. Let excess buttermilk drip back into bowl, then dredge seitan through flour mixture. Shake excess flour mixture back into bowl.
  • Drop breaded seitan tenders in hot oil. Fry seitan until golden brown, then transfer to plate lined with paper towels or wire cooling rack. Repeat process until all seitan tenders have been breaded and fried. Serve fried tenders warm with desired dipping sauces and sides.
    Overhead view of seitan fried "chicken" tenders on a paper towel lined plate.
  • Make sure the vegetable broth is simmering, not boiling, when you add the seitan.
  • You may need to press the breading into the seitan a little to get it to really stick.
  • Let the “chicken” tenders rest on a wire cooling rack (not a plate lined with paper towels) for the crispiest breading possible.
  • The longer you knead the seitan, the chewier and more meat-like it will be! The less you knead it, the spongier it’ll be.

Approximate Information for One Serving

Serving Size: 1servingCalories: 367calProtein: 35gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1708mgPotassium: 185mgTotal Carbs: 42gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gNet Carbs: 40gVitamin A: 757IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 122mgIron: 4mg
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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4 Comments

  1. Avatar Barb Adams says:

    Best vegan chicken yet!!!5 stars

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

      Yay! So glad you enjoyed, Barb! Thanks for the review!

  2. Thank you for this great looking recipe! I was wondering if it could be done in an air fryer rather than a deep fryer? Thank you in advance.

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

      I’m sure it could! We didn’t test that method so unfortunately I can’t offer any advice here. Please let us know if you try it!

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