Kid-Friendly Vegan Chicken Nuggets

September 12, 2018

Back To School

By: Jasmine Briones 

Vegan chicken nuggets of your dreams! Seriously, these are too good to be true. Vegans, nonvegans and even kids will love these, trust us. They are crispy on the outside, moist on the inside, taste just like the real thing AND are cruelty-free. #vegan #crueltyfree #chickennuggets #snack #lunch #lunchbox #backtoschool #kidfriendly

Vegan chicken nuggets of your dreams! Seriously, these are too good to be true.

image of vegan chicken nuggets being held over platter with ketchup.

Vegans, nonvegans and even kids will love these, trust us. They are crispy on the outside, moist on the inside, taste just like the real thing AND are cruelty-free.

overhead image of ingredients for kid-friendly nuggets on a brown board.

Making seitan at home may sound intimidating, but it is actually pretty easy! It is time-consuming if you take into account the boiling time, but it’s the perfect weekend project/a recipe to make when you have free time on your hands. When we make this recipe, we actually only make half into chicken nuggets and save the other half for “chicken strips” that are great for salads, pastas, etc!

overhead image of vegan chicken nuggets on platter with ketchup.

We wanted to put these nuggets up to the ultimate test, so we served them to a bunch of nonvegans. Well, they were gone in the blink of an eye and we got compliments left and right. We can say these are a winner then, right?

A huge shout out goes out to our boy Brian Patton. His vegan fried chicken is (and will always be) the best ever, and it was because of his recipe that we were able to bring this one to life. We adapted ours from his recipe and it was the best homemade vegan chicken nuggets that we have tried and made to date.

vegan chicken nugget being dipped in ketchup.

Sooooo what are you waiting for?! Let’s get cookin’!

bitten nugget with platter and ketchup below.

If you make this recipe, let us know what you think in the comments below! + If you post any photos on Instagram or want to share a snap of what you made with us, our accounts are @sweetsimplevegan and @consciouschris. We love seeing your recreations of our recipes!

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Vegan chicken nuggets of your dreams! Seriously, these are too good to be true. Vegans, nonvegans and even kids will love these, trust us. They are crispy on the outside, moist on the inside, taste just like the real thing AND are cruelty-free. #vegan #crueltyfree #chickennuggets #snack #lunch #lunchbox #backtoschool #kidfriendly

Kid-Friendly Vegan Chicken Nuggets


  • Author: Jasmine @ Sweet Simple Vegan
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 40 nuggets or 8 servings

Description

Vegan chicken nuggets of your dreams! Seriously, these are too good to be true. Vegans, nonvegans and even kids will love these, trust us. They are crispy on the outside, moist on the inside, taste just like the real thing AND are cruelty-free.


Ingredients

Seitan Chicken

  • 1/2 cup cooked white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 8 cups vegan chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups vital wheat gluten
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Vegan Buttermilk

Coating

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

For Frying

  • Canola oil (or oil of choice)
  • Wire rack over a baking sheet or a few paper towel-lined plates

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, add the white beans. Mash the beans with a fork or a potato masher until broken down. Make sure that all of the beans are broken down but also that the mixture is not too smooth as the beans will help add texture to the nuggets. Add in 1 cup vegan chicken broth along with 1/2 cup water and 1 tablespoon dijon mustard. Mix together until uniform and set aside.
  2. In a large pot, add the remaining 7 cups of vegan chicken broth along with the chopped onion, garlic cloves, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil.
  3. While the broth mixture comes to a boil, continue preparing the nuggets. In a large bowl, add the vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, garbanzo bean flour, garlic powder, onion powder, poultry seasoning, salt, and black pepper. Whisk together until uniform, and then pour in the bean mixture. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, combine until a dough-like consistency is reached. Switch to using your hands to knead the dough until it becomes soft and stretchy.
  4. Separate the dough into 40 chicken nugget pieces. You can weigh out the pieces to be sure they are even, but we just eyeballed it. Flatten each piece and stretch them out a bit (refer to video) until each piece is about 2″ x 1.5 ” x 1/2 “.
  5. Once the broth has come to a boil, drop in the nugget pieces and mix through with a spoon to evenly disperse the onions and garlic. Low the heat to a simmer and allow the seitan pieces to simmer for 45 minutes. Mix occasionally to be sure the top does not dry out.
  6. As that cooks, grab two small mixing bowls. In the first, add in the almond milk and vinegar for the vegan buttermilk and whisk together until uniform. Allow for this to set for 15 minutes to allow the almond milk to curdle into “buttermilk”. In the second bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, panko breadcrumbs, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Whisk together until uniform and set both aside.
  7. Once the seitan has finished boiling, strain the broth and discard of the onion, garlic, and bay leaf. Allow the seitan to cool until easy to handle.
  8. In a large pot, add canola oil (or oil of choice) until it is 2 inches deep. Heat over medium heat. You will know that the oil is ready when a pinch of flour dropped into the oil foams instantly.
  9. It is time to batter the chicken! These are going to be double battered, which means that you will dip the seitan into the “buttermilk” and shake off any excess, and then mix it around in the dry mixture, then dunk it back into the milk, and lastly back into the dry.*
  10. Add as many nuggets that fit without overcrowding the pan and fry until golden brown, flipping halfway through. This should take about 4 minutes on each side.
  11. Use a strainer to remove the nuggets and place them on a wire rack or a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil and cool down. Continue until you have fried all of the nuggets.
  12. Allow the nuggets to cool and then add a sprinkle of salt over them if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Original recipe from Brian Patton of The Sexy Vegan.
  • If you do not want to deep fry, you can pan fry the nuggets as well. Just note that you may need to add more oil overtime.
  • You can bake these chicken nuggets as well! Lay them on an oiled baking sheet after breading and bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes, or until nice and crispy.
  • You can make these ahead of time and freeze them in an airtight freezer-safe container until serving. After cooking the nuggets, cool them completely. Warm them through in an oven at 400F for 10-15 minutes, or until crispy.
  • To make the breading as seamless as possible, we like to wipe our hands with a wet towel/rinse our hands clean between each nugget. This prevents batter build up on our fingers and will help you get a more even coat on the nuggets!
  • Try to fry your nuggets soon after breading to prevent them from getting gummy.
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Category: Kids, Snack
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Keywords: Vegan, Chicken, Nuggets, Kids, School, Lunch, Entree, Snack, Seitan, Chikn

Disclaimer: This page may contain affiliate links, which simply means that we earn a commission if you purchase through those links, but your price remains the same. Thank you for supporting Sweet Simple Vegan!

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Recipe rating

  1. Wow they look awesome and so juicy. I am sure they are delish. Yum Yum… Kids would love them.

  2. Tara says:

    could you bake these? would they turn out just as good?

  3. Oh wow, this is great! I used to love McNuggets as a kid, and I still love chicken nuggets despite the infrequency of my enjoyment of them. That being said, I satisfy that craving by digging into Gardein’s Mandarin Chick’n without the sauce and just have them with ketchup instead! Still tastes phenomenal. Now with this recipe, i can replicate that delicacy at home for a much cheaper price AND for a slightly healthier alternative!

  4. Gemma says:

    These will make a great weekend treat!

  5. This is awesome! love that you made your own nuggest! i need to try this!

  6. I love that you can make chik-n nuggets using beans instead of meat!

  7. Such a smart recipe! Pinning this right away so I don’t forget to make for my hungry kids 🙂

  8. C says:

    This was delicious! I I did a shallow pan fry and it turned out so close to the real thing. Holy moly.
    I used 1 tsp of Trader Joe’s 21 salute seasoning and a half teaspoon of sage instead of the poultry seasoning.
    I’ll definitely need to try the baking method again bc it wasn’t nearly as savory as the fried version.
    Totally putting this on repeat. Thanks for the recipe!

  9. […] How to make vegan “chicken” nuggets […]

  10. […] Kid-Friendly Vegan Chicken Nuggets / Photo: Sweet Simple Vegan […]

  11. […] Kid-Friendly Vegan Chicken Nuggets / Photo: Sweet Simple Vegan […]

  12. Jessica says:

    I want to use dinosaur shaped cookie cutters to make these into dino nuggets for my kids, they miss the dinosaur chicken nuggets.

    If I cut the dough will it retain the size and shape? When would be best to try to shape them into the dinosaur with the cutter? I’ve never made seitan before.

    • Hi Jessica,

      I would suggest using the cutters AFTER boiling the seitan as they will expand and tend to lose their shape (and have a mind of their own) in the broth. Then you will bread them as directed. I think that it would yield the best result! 🙂

  13. […] For homemade veggie nuggets (which are even better), check out this recipe from Sweet Simple Vegan! […]

  14. Linda Frye says:

    Wheat gluten is a problem. What can b? substituted.?

  15. Tsants says:

    These were great. We have made this recipe time and time again. My kids love them and so do I (hehe).

  16. Robert says:

    Fast Food Restaurant dipping sauce veganized

    1/2 cup Just Mayo (Vegan)
    1/4 cup ketchup
    2 teaspoons Vegan Worcestershire sauce

    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    
1/8 teaspoon salt

    1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  17. Thomas says:

    At what point in this recipe do I stop for it to be ready to use for the adobo recipe? i was a little bit confused

  18. Tamar says:

    Obsessed with these nuggets! I’ve made this recipe quite a few times already and have impressed friends and family — vegetarian/vegan or not — with their deliciousness.

  19. Lauren says:

    I LOVE this recipe! My non-vegan boyfriend thinks these taste BETTER than fast food chicken nuggets. I will admit that these were a lot of work and pretty time consuming, but so worth it. I ended up having to double the amount vegan “buttermilk” and coating, so not sure what went wrong there, but luckily I had enough ingredients on hand, so it wasn’t a big deal. Will definitely be making these again! Thanks, Jasmine.

  20. Amanda says:

    These sound great. We’ve tried so many vegetarian nuggets and my daughter hasn’t enjoyed any of them (homemade or store bought). These may do the trick. Could you sub out the garbanzo flour for a different type?

    • Chris Petrellese says:

      We recommend using the garbanzo bean flour because of the texture! Totally worth getting. Your daughter will love them 🙂

  21. Maïna says:

    Omg I did them and they are incredible! It’s not my first time making this type of seitan nuggets and somehow this recipe is something else! Super juicy, texture is right on point… plus it makes a lot of it, which is really cool when you’re lazy and want to freeze some for later! It’s a new favorite of my family for sure!

  22. Alayna Zenner says:

    Instead of the garbanzo bean flour can I use all purpose flour? Instead of the white beans can I use garbanzo beans?

    • Chris Petrellese says:

      We haven’t tested this, so we aren’t entirely sure. Chickpeas aren’t as smooth as white beans, so it might be a bit chunky, but there is a possibility that it will work!

  23. Ronda says:

    I never would have thought you could make nuggets out of chickpeas. They really are an amazing ingredient!

  24. Samantha says:

    Oh girl!! You recipes are awesome. I am following your recipes from a month and my family loved every dish which i cooked.

  25. Becky says:

    These are AMAZINGGGG!! Great flavor and texture and was super simple to make. Love the addition of Chickpeas and oat flour genius!! Out in air fryer and the turned out great. This is my go to from now on

  26. Becky says:

    This looks delicious!!! Gotta try this at home. Thanks for sharing! ????

  27. These remind us so much of popcorn chicken! I make them once a week at the request of my kids. Wonderful recipe!

  28. Tyler says:

    In order to freeze these, at what point do you freeze them? When they come out of the pot? Or do you fully bread them and fry them, then cool them and freeze them? Do you think oatmilk will work as a replacement for almond milk?

    • Chris Petrellese says:

      Hey Tyler,

      You can freeze them once finished. Also yes, oat milk will definitely work instead of almond milk.

  29. Nancy says:

    My kid love the recipe..

  30. Ali says:

    Hi Jasmine! I think I might have a nutritional yeast allergy so do you know if these would taste the same or still taste good without it? Is there a substitute?

  31. Jessica G says:

    Great recipe! This is my 3rd time making it, and even my 3 and 7 year old love it. We have 4 kids, so once I knew it was going to be popular, I tripled the recipe to freeze (one can of beans is 1.5 cups, so it works out well). Freezes great, and it’s not too much extra work to make a big batch on the weekend and have frozen nuggets, strips, and patties ready for the week. I baked them, and they reheat well, without getting dry (but I cooked them a little less the first time, since I knew I would be reheating most of them). Yum, and so much healthier than store bought junk! Thank you for sharing.

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