Tofu Chicken Nuggets

Yes, its really tofu “chicken” nuggets and yes they are also gluten-free.

If you’re new to one repeating theme you will see in our recipes and on the site is that we are Atliens better know as Atlanta natives. We live in Atlanta, Ga. home of Dr.King, Coca Cola, the Superbowl, the 96’ Olympic’s. And southern food classics like fried chicken and lemon pepper wet wings. We rep our city and southern classics hard. We’re happy to be re-creating childhood favorites with a plant-based and gluten-free lens.

In our ongoing series #southerntheveganway we are tackling southern classics one recipe at a time.

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How To Make Tofu Taste Like Chicken?

Two things go into making these tofu chicken nuggets better than the real thing – texture and favor. Its really that simple.

The flavor part is easy, good seasoning. We use pickles, onions and garlic plus the classic seasoning you use in a good fry chicken recipe.

Getting the right texture isn’t to hard. Its just knowing this simple trick. Freeze the tofu. Please keep reading. It sounds like this recipe just got complicated but it didn’t. A lot of our friends are not into weekend meal prepping and the thought of something having to freeze over night doesn’t work if you don’t know what you want for dinner until the day. Our solution, just always keep a block of tofu in the freezer. So when the mood hits you, all you have to do is thaw it out.

Why Freeze Tofu?

TL:DR Freezing tofu changes the texture for the better

The water in the tofu forms ice crystals. Tofu is more than 80% water. Creating small holes in the tofu. Which makes it spongier, firmer, and chewier than it was before. Draining, patting dry, or pressing tofu can’t create this texture, just freezing. The sponginess allows it to soak up more of your marinade or sauce. The chewy texture is a lot like what you experience in animal protein. The tofu also forms a nice crust with less water in it.


Freezing Tofu Preparation

Easiest thing to do is freeze a few blocks of tofu right after your back from the grocery store. We’ve read a lot of variations for freezing. We drained the tofu. Cut in cubes (this will help it thaw when you are ready to prepare). Place in freezer-safe ziplock bag. Squeeze as much of the air out as possible. Place in the freezer. When you’re ready to use, just take out and place in the refrigerator to thaw (about 4 hours). Use in recipe and enjoy.

In the words of the late great Julia Child “Bon Appétit”…y’all.

Tofu Chicken Nuggets
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How To Make Tofu Chicken Nuggets

Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings
Author: thevgnway


  • 1 package Firm Tofu
  • ½ cup Dill pickle juice
  • 1 cup Almond milk
  • cup All purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1 Vegan egg – we use Bob’s Red Mill replacer
  • ½ tablespoon Confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 cup neutral oil – such as EVOO or canola for frying


  • Open package of tofu. Place in freezer safe zip lock bag and freeze overnight.
  • In morning place in refrigerator to thaw completely.
  • Press tofu to remove water. Tear tofu into pieces about 15 – 20.
  • In a large bowl combine; pickle juice, 1 cup of milk and tofu chunks. Marinate tofu for 30 minutes
  • In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients; flour, vegan egg, sugar, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder.
  • Heat oil on medium heat
  • Set out a plate with paper towels for absorbing excess oil
  • One by one, drain excess liquid off and add tofu pieces to dry mix, coating all sides thoroughly, take out and add to heated oil
  • Let fry until golden brown on all sides, setting them on paper towel to dry. 

Recipe Modifications

We tried 3 different methods of cooking so you don’t have to.  The original recipe calls for deep frying.  Honestly this method produces the best taste, flavor, and texture.  But frying takes more hands-on time.  Secondly, we are all watching our health so frying isn’t the best option for meals we want to eat pretty regularly. So we bought out the air-fryer and baking sheets to see if we could get similar results in the oven and with the air fryer.

Air Fryer Chicken Tofu Cooking Method

  • Prepare Tofu nuggets per instructions above, through line 5
  • Make sure to shake off any excess flour. Place nuggets on air fryer tray without them touching each other. Give them a spray of your favorite canola spray.  Spraying with a little oil and not overcrowding the tray will ensure crispy golden nuggets. 
  • Depending on the size of your fryer you will need to do this a couple of times to get all the nuggets cooked. 
  • Air fry the tofu nuggets at 375”F for 15 minutes flipping them halfway through until golden brown and crispy.

Oven Baked Chicken Tofu Cooking Method

  • Preheat oven to 415 degrees
  • Prepare Tofu nuggets per instructions above, through line 5
  • Make sure to shake off any excess flour. Place tofu on a lightly greased baking sheet and give each nugget a good spray with canola oil to help browning and crispiness
  • Cook for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through

If you give these is gluten free plant based tofu chik’n nuggets a try, let us know! Leave a comment, or take a picture and tag and us on Instagram at #thevgnway

And be sure to check out more of our tofu recipes on

Live Love and Eat Good Food!

The Vgn Way


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