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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

These Vegan Chicken Nuggets are seriously the best you’ll ever try. They’re packed with savory flavor, are made from simple ingredients, and are naturally high in protein. The whole family will love these.

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

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 vegan chicken nuggets recipe to life. Thanks to his inspiration, we were able to make the best homemade vegan chicken nuggets that we have tried and made to date.

There’s a time and place for the healthier, plant-based alternatives like tofu nuggets or chickpea nuggets, but sometimes you need something that tastes like the classic chicken nuggets you grew up with and these absolutely deliver in both flavor and texture.

Trust us when we say these taste like the real deal. We served them to a bunch of non vegans. Well, they passed the taste test! 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? Let’s get cookin’!

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

Key Ingredients You’ll Need 

  • White beans: Adds texture and additional plant-based protein. Any white beans will do so opt for your favorite or whatever you have on hand.
  • Broth: We like to use vegan chicken broth for the most realistic flavor, but vegetable broth will work well, too.
  • Onion + garlic: These aromatics add flavor to the broth and in turn make the nuggets more flavorful. If you’re in a pinch, you can substitute these ingredients with additional garlic powder and onion powder, but opt for fresh whenever possible.
  • Vital wheat gluten: The star of the show! Vital wheat gluten is responsible for creating the most meat-like chicken consistency.
  • Vegan buttermilk: This is made with unsweetened plant milk (preferably soy milk or almond milk) and a splash of vinegar. If you’ve made our vegan buttermilk pancakes or our vegan KFC fried chicken, you’re already familiar with this simple combo!
  • Flour + breadcrumbs: The base of the breading on these chicken nuggets. Since these nuggets are made with vital wheat gluten, we did not test this recipe using a gluten-free flour. We recommend classic all-purpose flour and panko breadcrumbs for the best crispy exterior.
  • Spices: You’ll need nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, poultry seasoning, salt and black pepper. These spices are used in both the seitan mixture and the breading.
  • Oil (for frying): We used canola oil because it is neutral in flavor and has a high smoke point. You can opt for your favorite frying oil – vegetable oil, soybean oil or sunflower oil are other good options.

Equipment Needed

overhead image of vegan chicken nuggets on platter with ketchup.

How to Make Vegan Chicken Nuggets

  1. Combine the beans, broth, water and dijon mustard. In a medium bowl, mash the white beans until broken down, but not completely smooth. Add in 1 cup of vegan chicken broth, 1/2 cup water, and dijon mustard. Mix until uniform then set aside.
  2. Boil the remaining broth, onion, garlic, and bay leaf. 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. Make the seitan mixture. While the broth mixture comes to a boil, add the vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, chickpea flour, and spices. Whisk until uniform, then pour in the white bean mixture. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, combine until a dough-like consistency forms. Switch to using your hands to knead the dough until it becomes soft and stretchy.
  4. Cut the seitan into 40 pieces. Separate the dough into 40 chicken nugget pieces then flatten each piece and stretch them out a bit until each piece is about 2-inches by 1.5-inches and about 1/2-inch high.
  5. Simmer the nuggets in the boiling broth. Drop in the nugget pieces and mix through with a spoon to evenly disperse the onions and garlic. Lower the heat to a simmer, and allow the vegan chicken nuggets to simmer for 45 minutes. Mix occasionally to be sure the top pieces do not dry out.
  6. Prepare the breading ingredients. In a small mixing bowl, combine the unsweetened almond milk and vinegar and whisk to combine. Set aside for 15 minutes to allow the milk to curdle. In a second mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, panko breadcrumbs, and spices.
  7. Strain the vegan chicken nuggets. After 45 minutes, strain the seitan and discard the onion, garlic, and bay leaf. Allow the seitan to cool until easy to handle.
  8. Heat frying oil. In a large pot, add canola oil. Heat over medium heat until about 350F. Once ready, a pinch of flour dropped into the oil will foam instantly.
  9. Batter the nuggets. One at a time, dip the vegan chicken nuggets into the vegan buttermilk, shake off the excess, then coat in the breading until coated. Dunk it in the buttermilk a second time, followed by a second layer of breading. Repeat until all chicken nuggets are battered.
  10. Deep fry. Add as many chicken nuggets as you can to the pot without overcrowding. Cook until golden brown, flipping halfway through.
  11. Set aside to cool. Use a strainer to remove the cooked nuggets and transfer them to a wire rack or paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil and cool down. Repeat until all nuggets are fried.
  12. Serve. Sprinkle the vegan nuggets with salt, then enjoy as desired!

Cooking Variations

  • Pan fry option: Place the vegan chicken nuggets in a single layer in a hot, oiled skillet and cook on each side until golden brown, about 4 minutes. You will most likely need to work in batches.
  • Oven-baked option: These chicken nuggets can be baked as well. Spread the nuggets on an oiled baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 400F, or until nice and crispy. If you like your nuggets extra crispy, spray them with a bit of cooking spray on both sides.
vegan chicken nugget being dipped in ketchup.

Serving Suggestions 

The only thing better than vegan chicken nuggets is vegan chicken nuggets paired with your favorite dipping sauce. Serve these nuggets for lunch, dinner, or the ultimate afternoon snack with ketchup, Vegan Ranch Dressing, Date-Sweetened Barbecue Sauce, Vegan Tartar Sauce, or the Best Vegan Chipotle Cheddar Cheese Sauce.

These nuggets also pair well with our Kid-Friendly Baked Vegetable Tots!

Storage Instructions

These nuggets will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To store, allow the veggie nuggets to cool completely to room temperature, then transfer them to an airtight container or bag.

Leftovers will reheat best in the oven at 400F for about 10 minutes or in the air fryer at 400F for about 5 minutes or until crispy.

If reheating frozen nuggets, you may need to add an additional 5 minutes to the baking time.

bitten nugget with platter and ketchup below.

More Seitan Recipes You May Enjoy:

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

The Best Vegan Chicken Nuggets Recipe


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

Description

These Vegan Chicken Nuggets are seriously the best you’ll ever try. They’re packed with savory flavor, are made from simple ingredients, and are naturally high in protein. The whole family will love these.


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!

Meet The Bloggers

hey there! we’re jasmine & chris.

Hi, we’re Jasmine and Chris! We share fresh and fun recipes to show you that vegan cooking is easy, approachable and delicious. When we’re not blogging, you will probably find us enjoying live music, tending to our backyard garden or playing with our dogs Berry and Louie

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48 Comments

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

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

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

    1. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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?

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

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