Vegan Fried Chicken

Vegan fried chicken that tastes way better than KFC! Made with tofu, it’s crispy, juicy and super flavorful!

Vegan fried chicken on plate with one piece cut in half

This vegan fried chicken recipe could be one of the best dinner meals you’ve ever had.

It features chunks of seasoned, meaty tofu, coated in flour and fried until crispy.

You won’t get enough of this recipe, whether you eat it alone or in a sandwich.

It’ll take a little bit of time, but it’s definitely worth the wait!

The recipe was inspired by Mary’s Test Kitchen, who shared the awesome technique for creating the best chicken-like texture in tofu.

Hand holding a piece of vegan fried chicken made from tofu

Ingredients you’ll need

(Detailed measurements in the recipe card)

  • Medium Firm Tofu – I used the brand Morinaga. Their Silken-Firm tofu (light blue box) is actually more like medium-firm and works perfectly in this recipe.
  • Vegetable Bouillon or Poultry Seasoning – I used Low Sodium Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base
  • All-purpose Flour
  • Cornstarch
  • All-purpose seasoning – Or more poultry seasoning
  • Soy milk
  • Salt and Black pepper
  • Allspice
  • Cayenne or chipotle – Adds a spicy kick but optional
  • Oil for frying

How to Make Vegan Fried Chicken

Prepare the Tofu

1. Freezing

Just stick it in the freezer unopened. You’ll have to do this twice.

Freeze for two hours, take it out to thaw, then freeze it again. It takes about 8 hours to thaw in the refrigerator. Use the microwave to get it done faster.

2. Pressing

Pressed tofu in a white bowl

Use a tofu press or two cutting boards with added weights or clamps. Be careful not to apply too much pressure and keep the tofu as intact as possible.

It should take about 15 minutes to press and drain. Press on it with a clean kitchen towel to get the last of the liquid.

Next, break the tofu up into large chunks.

You’ll be shocked at how chewy and flaky the tofu texture becomes. Just like chicken! The seasonings will soak in much better too.

Chunks of frozen and thawed tofu in a bowl showing flaky layers

Making it taste like chicken

Now the fun part!

1. Gently rub the bouillon seasoning over the tofu and season with black pepper.

I like using veggie bouillon as it gives tofu the most chicken-like flavor. But you can opt for your favorite poultry seasoning.

Seasoned tofu pieces in a bowl

Quick tip: Avoid over-seasoning as the bouillion paste is salty. More flavors will also be added later.

2. Combine cornstarch, flour and all-purpose seasoning in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, add the soy milk.

3. Evenly coat one piece of tofu in the flour with one hand. Shake off excess and add to the soy milk.

Tofu being coated in flour

4. Use the other hand to dip the tofu into the milk. Then remove and add it back to your dry flour mix.

Seasoned tofu in a bowl of soy milk
Seasoned tofu pieces in bowl of flour

5. Add another layer of coating, by dipping in the soy milk and flour once more. Then repeat all the steps with the other tofu pieces.

No Wasted Scraps!

Gather all the loose bits of seasoned flour and tofu. Form into one of two patties. Cook with the other pieces.

Forming patties from tofu and flour

Frying the Tofu

1. Heat the oil in a deep pan on medium heat. The pan should be half-filled with oil. The oil temperature needs to be 360-375°F (182-190°C).

To test it without a thermometer, drop a rolled up piece of dough in the pan. If it gets dark brown in less than 60 seconds, the oil is too hot. Allow it to cool down a little.

If you see steady bubbling, the oil’s hot enough for frying. If you see no bubbles, let it warm up some more.

2. Add the tofu and cook until it’s golden brown on all sides. It should only take about 4-5 minutes.

Tofu pieces deep frying in a pot of oil

3. Carefully remove the tofu pieces and place on a place lined with paper towels. This helps to make them non-greasy.

Pieces of vegan fried chicken on slotted spoon

Key tips to follow

1. Freeze tofu twice

This is key to creating those flaky layers in the tofu. It works best when using the medium-firm type.

Freezing firm or extra firm tofu would result in the texture being more porous than flaky.

I’ve shared how frozen and thawed firm tofu would look in my Vegan Buffalo Chicken Sandwich recipe. The results are still tasty but without the flaky, chicken-like texture.

Meal planning tip: Immediately place all your tofu in the freezer when you arrive home from the grocery store.

Set an alert a few hours later to move them to the fridge. That way you’ll never forget to freeze tofu and always have a block ready to go!

2. Tofu is delicate

Be gentle when pressing it to squeeze the liquid out. Keep it as intact as possible.

3. Avoid crowding the pieces when frying

Fry these in batches to keep the oil temperature from dropping too much.

How do I make this vegan chicken recipe gluten-free?

  • Use gluten-free flour. Just like my Fried Oyster Mushrooms recipe, a 1-to-1 or cup-for-cup blend works best. Avoid using a blend that contains nuts.
  • Be sure the seasoning blends are gluten-free as well.
Close up of the inside of vegan fried chicken
Vegan fried chicken on plate with one piece cut in half

Vegan Fried Chicken

4.91 from 10 votes
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 5
Calories: 230kcal
Print Pin Rate
Tofu fried chicken that tastes way better than KFC! It's crispy, juicy and super flavorful!

Baking Recipes: For more accuracy, use Metric measurements and measuring spoons.

Ingredients

Coating

  • 1 cup (120 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon (8 g) cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoon (6 g) all-purpose seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon (2 g) allspice
  • ½ teaspoon (2 g) cayenne or ground chipotle, (optional)
  • ¾ cup (177 ml) soy milk
  • Oil for Frying

Instructions

  • Break the tofu into large chunks and add to a bowl.
    24 ounce (680 g) Morinaga silken-firm tofu (blue box)
  • Gently rub the bouillon paste over the tofu and season with salt and black pepper.
    2 teaspoon (12 g) Low Sodium Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base ,Salt and black pepper
  • In a bowl, combine the cornstarch, flour and all-purpose seasoning, allspice and cayenne. In a separate bowl, add the soy milk.
    1 cup (120 g) all-purpose flour ,1 tablespoon (8 g) cornstarch ,2 teaspoon (6 g) all-purpose seasoning ,½ teaspoon (2 g) allspice ,¾ cup (177 ml) soy milk ,½ teaspoon (2 g) cayenne or ground chipotle
  • Evenly coat one piece of tofu in the flour with one hand. Shake off excess flour and add it to the soy milk.
  • Use the other hand to dip the tofu into the milk. Then remove and add it back to your dry flour mix.
  • Coating with soy milk and flour once more then set aside on a plate. Repeat the steps with the other tofu pieces.
  • Heat the oil in a deep pan on medium-heat. The pan should be half full. The oil temperature needs to be 360-375°F (182-190°C).
  • Drop in a piece of dough ball to test if you don't have a thermometer. If it’s too vigorous and gets dark brown in less than 60 seconds, the oil is too hot. Cool things down a little. If you see no bubbles, let it heat up some more.
  • Add the tofu pieces and cook it until they are golden brown on all sides. It should only take about 4-5 minutes.
  • Remove and place on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any extra oil.
  • Serve as is or with your favourite dipping sauce.

Notes

  • Prepare the tofu by freezing twice. Gently press to remove excess liquid.
  • The original Better than Bouillon seasoning is saltier compared to the low sodium. If you have that one, try not to use too much as the flour will also be seasoned.
  • The recipe was inspired by Mary’s Test Kitchen.
Tried this recipe? Upload a photo in the comments below!If you enjoyed it, please consider leaving a rating. It really helps the blog.

Nutrition

Calories: 230kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 326mg | Potassium: 346mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 256IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 127mg | Iron: 3mg
Nutrition Disclaimer
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian

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17 Comments

  1. Hi Jhanelle,
    Can this be made ahead of time, to be reheated a couple of hours later?
    I hope to make it for a dinner party but don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen.
    Thanks!

    1. Yes it can be made ahead of time. Reheat it in a 350F degree oven or air-fryer to maintain the crispiness.

  2. Roger Grace says:

    5 stars
    Success! I am really happy to be adding this to my repertoire. I used Better Than Bouillon No-chicken base which is not low sodium and despite your word of caution the “chicken” was saltier than I like–an easy fix next time. When I’m ready to play around with the recipe I’ll try the new Better Than Bouillon products, Adobo and Chipotle. Thanks for the recipe. Cant wait to do it again.

  3. Miriam Rudnick says:

    What exactly is in “all-purpose seasoning?” Thank you.

    1. All purpose seasoning could be any type of general purpose seasoning. One of my favorites is Montreal chicken seasoning which is made up of popular herbs and spices including onion powder, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, paprika, thyme, parsley and coriander seed. Feel free to use any general purpose seasoning you already have on hand. Dried vegetable stock cubes can also work.

  4. Do you think that this could be done in an air fryer?

    1. Hi Jen! Sorry, I haven’t tried this in an air-fryer since I don’t have one at the moment. But I’d give it a go if I could, based on other recipes I’ve read. I don’t think you’d need to coat the pieces twice though. So if you’ll be using an air fryer, use half the ingredients needed for the coating step. Please let me know how it turns out!

      1. Roger Grace says:

        I’m really enthused about this recipe. I’m curious about your use of Better Than Bouillon vegetable base rather than their No-Chicken product.

    2. Hi Jen! I was wondering if you had tried this in your air fryer yet??

      1. Hey Mandi! I haven’t as yet but I’ve had a few readers try it with success. They mentioned brushing or spraying the battered pieces with oil for extra crispiness. Let me know if you give it a go!

        1. Hi Jhanelle! So I tried it in my air fryer. It definitely did not cook the same as frying it. I had to use quite a bit of spray oil in order for it to not look floury. I’m not giving up though. I’m going to keep trying!

          1. Thanks for the feedback Mandi! Sorry it didn’t work out as intended. How about trying it with a light batter instead of the wet-dry method? Similar to this vegan wings recipe using cauliflower. The result was a really crispy shell that browned quickly (photo here or in the post). I hope this helps!

  5. Jessica Pitts says:

    Hello would love to try this as a transitioning alkaline vegan but I have a few questions.
    1.) Do you have to use cornstarch?
    2.) Can you use any plant based milk or does it have to be soy?
    3.) Is there an alternative for allspice?

    1. Hi Jessica. Great questions!
      1. No you don’t have to use cornstarch. It can help with making the crust crispy but it’s definitely optional.
      2. Any plant based milk could work.
      3. The allspice may be omitted as well and add a bit more all-purpose seasoning.

      Let me know how it goes!

  6. Hi Jill, thank you for this recipe. I am so going to try this for Thanksgiving 2 weeks from now. I will let you know how it taste.