Crispy vegan fried “chicken” is a perfect plant-based recipe. The easy double breading is seasoned perfectly, and marinated tofu creates a juicy, flavorful “meat” that really does taste just like chicken.
What Makes This Vegan Fried Chicken So Good
- This vegan fried “chicken” is an incredible meatless version of classic fried chicken that I just know you’re going to love. It tastes convincingly like the real thing – tender, juicy “meat” encased in a crunchy, golden, seasoned breading. Pair it with mashed potatoes and green beans for a totally vegan comfort meal.
- A double-dip in the batter gives you a delicious breading that crisps up beautifully. It’s not too thick, and it doesn’t flake off. Perfect!
- It’s a little time consuming because of the freezing & thawing process, but I promise you it’s 100% worth it. Freezing and thawing the tofu twice gives you the perfect chicken texture!
Key Ingredients for Vegan Fried Chicken
Firm Tofu – After freezing and thawing the tofu twice, you’ll want to press the tofu between two cutting boards to remove as much liquid as possible. After that, press on it with a kitchen towel to remove a little more. Be careful not to use too much pressure.
All-Purpose Flour – All-purpose flour and cornstarch give you the crispy breading you want with fried chicken. If you’re gluten free, you can sub this with a gluten-free all-purpose flour at a 1:1 ratio.
Seasonings – You can customize the seasoning blend for your vegan fried “chicken” breading however you like. Swap out the Italian seasoning for a Cajun blend, add red pepper flakes, skip the cayenne. Whatever your ideal fried chicken flavors are!
- It’s super important that you press all of the liquid out of the tofu. I mean, literally as much as you possibly can. If you don’t, your vegan fried “chicken” won’t have the right texture and won’t fry up like it should.
- For really crispy fried “chicken”, drain it on a wire cooling rack over a layer of paper towels. If you lay them on a paper-towel-lined plate, the tofu will sit in the oil that drains off, which will keep it from getting as crispy as possible.
- Use a deep-frying thermometer so you know exactly when your oil is hot enough to start frying! If it’s too hot, the breading will burn. Too cool, it’ll just soak up oil. If you don’t have a thermometer you can use, test the oil before dropping the battered tofu in it. Dip a the handle of a wooden spoon in the oil – if it bubbles immediately, it’s ready. If the bubbles are violent, though, it’s too hot.
- You can fully prepare this recipe ahead of time, then let it cool completely and freeze it for later! Trust me, you’ll be so glad you did. Reheat the fried “chicken” in the oven at 400° Fahrenheit until warmed through. If you’ve got leftover vegan fried “chicken” you just want to refrigerate overnight, that works, too. Just let it cool completely then store it in an airtight container. Reheat it in the oven for the best texture.
Check Out These Vegan Recipes, Too!
- Vegan Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping
- Vegan Zucchini Bread
- The BEST Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Vegan Chili
- The Best Vegan Alfredo Sauce (Made in 3 Minutes!)
- 45 Incredible Vegan Instant Pot Recipes
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Vegan Fried “Chicken” (Made with Tofu)
- Large bowl
- Medium bowls (2)
- Cast iron skillet
- Wire cooling rack or large plate
- Paper towels
- 1 16-ounce package firm tofu
- 1 ½ cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- 1 ½ cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- ½ tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- neutral oil for frying
- Place package of tofu in freezer. Once frozen, remove from freezer and defrost fully. Repeat process.
- When tofu is fully thawed a second time, open package and drain all liquid. Press tofu to remove any remaining liquid, then break tofu into bite-sized pieces.
- Place tofu pieces in large bowl and pour vegetable broth over them. Set aside.
- In one medium bowl, mix together milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside.
- In separate medium bowl, mix together flour, cornstarch, onion powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt. Set aside.
- In cast-iron skillet, heat ½" of oil to 350°-360° Fahrenheit. Set up wire cooling rack over thick layer of paper towels to catch excess oil. Alternately, line large plate with paper towels.
- Dip tofu pieces into milk mixture, then dredge in flour blend. Tap pieces on side of bowl to shake off excess flour, then dip in milk and dredge in flour a second time. Shake off any excess flour.
- Place battered tofu in oil and fry until golden brown, approximately 6 to 7 minutes, turning every 2 minutes or so.
- Transfer fried tofu to wire cooling rack. Repeat until all tofu has been fried. Let cool and serve warm.
- Make it Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free all-purpose flour.
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Jasmine Comer is a food photographer and recipe developer from North Carolina. She grew up in the kitchen watching her mom cook all types of delicious meals. In 2016 she established Lively Meals, a food blog where she creates healthy recipes. This led to creating recipes for other blogs as well. In her free time she enjoys exploring new places and spending time in nature. Ultimately she’s grateful to be doing work she loves—cooking good food and sharing it with people.