These easy crispy tofu vegan nuggets with sweet chilli mayo are a delicious and fun snack or lunch to enjoy on a weekend with the family. The kids will absolutely love these meat-free “chicken” nuggets and so will you.
Crispy Tofu Nuggets / Vegan Chicken Nuggets
I know I’m not the only vegan or vegetarian out there who craves a good vegan “chicken” nugget and I’m going to assume that you’re one of them if you’re reading this post. I have no doubt that this will be one of your new fave recipes for a quick-fix style lunch. Especially if you have little ones, you’ll know that nuggets are everything to them… and I don’t blame ’em!
These crispy tofu nuggets are juicy, crunchy and super tasty. Flavoured with garlic, onion and paprika; they pair deliciously with the vegan sweet chilli mayo that is incredibly easy to whip up!
How to make vegan nuggets
Step 1: Tofu
It’s important to make sure that you’re using an extra-firm or firm tofu for this recipe and for really good quality tofu choose organic. Some people suggest pressing your tofu before cooking it to make it crispier but I honestly never found that this made a difference, I never press my tofu and it always comes out crispy and not too moist. So I would say that part is up to you and probably the type of tofu you buy.
Once you’ve chosen your tofu and pressed it (if you’re including this step), slice it into your desired nugget shape and size.
Step 2: Batter
To make the batter, just whisk together some flour (I use chickpea flour) and some water or plant-based milk. If you’re not using chickpea flour, you can add a tablespoon of cornflour or tapioca starch to act as a thickener. Then whisk in a pinch of salt. We’ll dip our tofu nuggets into this batter to create a thick sticky coating for the breadcrumbs to stick to.
Step 3: Breadcrumbs
You can either purchase panko breadcrumbs or gluten-free breadcrumbs from your local supermarket or you can make your own. To make your own, simply rip apart a couple of pieces of bread (I prefer to use the end pieces for this) and quickly blend them in a blender. Pour your breadcrumbs, whichever you’re using, into a shallow bowl and mix them with some onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and sesame seeds.
Once you’ve coated a tofu nugget in the batter, you’ll then roll it around in the breadcrumbs and set it aside ready for cooking.
How to cook vegan nuggets
These vegan nuggets can be baked in the oven or cooked in an air fryer and remain crunchy and crispy using far less oil than traditional frying. That means that these vegan nuggets are much healthier for you and easier to make so you don’t need to babysit them in a pan of oil.
Baked in the oven:
To bake these vegan nuggets in the oven, simply lay them out on a baking tray with parchment paper under them and bake them at 200°C for 10-15 minutes. They should be lovely and juicy on the inside but still golden and crispy on the outside.
Cooked in the air fryer:
To fry these vegan nuggets in an air fryer, simply place them in a preheated air fryer and cook them at 180°C for 10 minutes until they’re golden and crispy. Using an air fryer will result in a slightly dryer tofu nugget but this is my preferred method as I love how easy it is!
More easy vegan recipes:
Crispy Tofu Vegan Nuggets with Sweet Chilli MayoPin Recipe Comment Print RecipeCrispy tofu "chicken" nuggets with sweet chilli mayo that is ideal for a quick and easy family lunch or snack for the kids. Air fryer and oven options for a healthy less-oil option.Yield: 2 serves
- 300 grams organic firm tofu
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- ¾ cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 3 teaspoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
- Couple of lemon wedges to serve
- Cut your tofu block into 4 equal slices, cut those into another 4 pieces each and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour and salt, then the water until it’s a thick batter.
- In a large shallow bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, garlic, onion, paprika and sesame seeds.
- At this stage, you can turn on your oven (200°C) or air fryer (180°C) to preheat and if you need to, line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Use your fingers or a spoon to place a tofu piece into the batter to coat it, then transfer it to the breadcrumbs and toss it to until coated. Place it gently onto your baking tray or a plate and continue until you’ve used up all the tofu.
- If you’re baking these in an oven, bake them for 10-15 minutes until they’re golden and crispy. If you’re using an air fryer, carefully (it will be hot) place the nuggets into the basket and cook for 10 minutes.
- Mix the vegan mayo and sweet chilli sauce to create the sweet chilli mayo and serve with your nuggets and a couple of lemon wedges to squeeze over them.