Vegan Tofu Nuggets

Greenletes / Vegan / Vegan Tofu Nuggets

Last updated on September 14th, 2022 at 03:58 pm

These golden brown & crispy vegan nuggets are a healthier version of a comfort food classic.

If you’re missing comfort foods (like chicken nuggets) on your plant-based diet, these vegan golden brown tofu nuggets are a fantastic substitute. They have just a few simple ingredients, but resemble the taste and texture of a chicken nugget.

Even better, they are much healthier since they omit the meat and deep fryer. All you need is some tofu, flour, panko breadcrumbs, oil and a pan to whip up these delicious comfort food favorite.

Is tofu a good source of protein?

Before diving into the recipe, let’s chat a little bit about tofu. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you probably already know that tofu is an excellent source of protein.

Tofu comes in various forms– silken (soft), firm and extra firm. The firmer the tofu, the more calories, protein and fat in the block. Silken tofu has about 4 grams of protein per 3-ounces, while extra firm tofu has about 10 grams of protein per 3-ounces.

Three ounces has only about 90 calories, so many people eat around 6-8 ounces per serving. As far as plant-based proteins go, tofu is one of the best sources of protein. It’s a complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids that the body cannot make.

Plus, it’s incredibly cheap and versatile. Here are some of other recipes using tofu:

Ingredients to make vegan tofu nuggets

These tofu nuggets only require a few simple ingredients to make. You’ll wonder why you ever bought ready-made nuggets in the first place!

To make these nuggets, you’ll need:

  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 2/3 cup unsalted panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 2-3 tablespoons canola, vegetable or grapeseed oil

How to make vegan chicken nuggets

Whether you’re making these for yourself or your children, you’re going to love how closely they resemble chicken nuggets. Pan frying the panko-crusted tofu gives you a lovely golden brown color and a crisp nugget. Let me walk you through the simple steps to make these vegan nuggets.

Here’s how to make them:

  1. Press the tofu [read how to do that here] to get all the moisture out of the block. Slice the tofu into nugget-sized bites.
  2. Make a simple batter with flour and almond milk. You can also use any other type of non-dairy milk (or dairy, if that’s what you have on hand). Dredge the sliced tofu in the batter.

3. Next, mix together the panko bread crumbs, garlic powder, paprika and salt and lay out flat on a plate or cutting board. Dip the battered tofu in the panko mixture.

4. Now it’s time to cook! Pour some oil on a pan. Heat to medium high heat and make sure it’s hot before you put the tofu on the pan. You can drop a little bit of panko on the pan and see if it sizzles. If it does, you’re ready to fry!

5. Place the tofu on the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side (or until golden brown).

6. Then season with salt to taste enjoy these delicious vegan tofu nuggets with some dipping sauce or on their own!

Ingredient Swaps & Substitutions

Panko breadcrumbs can sometimes be hard to find, so if that is the case, you can swap with regular breadcrumbs. This may change the texture slightly as panko breadcrumbs are usually crispier compared to regular breadcrumbs.

Can I use an air fryer?

Although I haven’t tested this, I believe you can absolutely make these in the air fryer. Living in a tiny NYC apartment, I don’t have room for an air fryer. But some of my colleagues have recipes for air fryer tofu nuggets.

Check out this recipe from Real Mom Nutrition.

How do I make these gluten free?

Making these nuggets gluten free is simple! Just substitute in your favorite gluten free flour for the wheat flour.

For instance, you can use almond flour, chickpea flour or cassava flour.

What can I use instead of panko breadcrumbs? 

Feel free to sub in regular bread crumbs for panko. However, if you want to ditch the bread crumbs all together (looking for a gluten-free option?), try some of these options:

  • Almond flour
  • Almond meal 
  • Make crumbs using a gluten-free bread of your choice 
  • Coconut flour 

Of course, these options for a breadcrumb alternative may alter the texture & taste of the tofu nuggets slightly. If you do try an alternate breading, be sure to let me know in the comments below. 

Serving Suggestions

You could absolutely eat these vegan nuggets on their own, but if you are looking for some other ideas as to what you could serve them with, my top recommendations include:

Can I store and freeze tofu nuggets? 

These tofu nuggets are so easy to store as leftovers, making for the perfect snack or meal the next day. All you need to do is place them in an air-tight container and leave in the fridge. When you’re ready to eat, fry them on a pan for a few minutes until hot & golden in color. 

You may also be surprised to learn that you can fry tofu! Store them in an air-tight container and reheat them when you’re ready to eat. From the freezer, you may need to fry these nuggets for slightly longer to make sure they have heated and cooked all the way through. The freezing and defrosting process may also make the panko less crispy. 

vegan tofu nuggets made with panko breadcrumbs on a white plate
5 from 1 vote

Vegan Tofu (chicken) Nuggets

These golden brown & crispy vegan nuggets are a healthier version of a comfort food classic.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword tofu nuggets
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 3
Calories 298 kcal
Author Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD


  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 2/3 cup unsalted panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 2-3 tablespoons canola, vegetable or grapeseed oil (if the nuggets seem dry, add more oil to the pan)


  1. Press out the moisture from the tofu and slice into nugget sized bites.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the flour and almond milk. You may need to use a fork or whisk to get out the clumps.
  3. In another small bowl, mix together the panko breadcrumbs, salt, garlic powder and paprika. Lay the panko mixture out on a plate or cutting board.

  4. Dip the tofu slices in the flour batter and then the panko mixture. Make sure they are evenly coated with panko. Repeat until all the tofu pieces are covered.
  5. Heat a pan over medium high heat. Add the oil to the pan. (Drop a piece of breadcrumb on the pan and see if it sizzles. If so, the pan is hot enough.) Place the tofu nuggets on the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown. Flip each nugget and cook for 3-5 minutes on the other side.

Nutrition Facts
Vegan Tofu (chicken) Nuggets
Amount Per Serving (8 nuggets)
Calories 298 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Sodium 645mg28%
Potassium 375mg11%
Carbohydrates 22g7%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 20g40%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 110mg11%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  1. Cheyenne

    5 stars
    We loved it! We are going to make them popcorn style next time!


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I’m Natalie Rizzo, an NYC-based Registered Dietitian.

My mission is to help everyday athletes fuel their fitness with plants.

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