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Vegan Chicken Fingers

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Making some Vegan Chicken Fingers is as easy as whipping up some seasoned tofu in a delicious batter and deep frying!

Chicken Fingers were something I remember ordering as a kid and thinking that they were like Grown Up Nuggets! I felt so elegant and sophisticated!

And right now, there’s a few decent store-bought options for Vegan Chicken Fingers, however, I think that these are way better! And you can freeze these and then reheat in the air fryer to crisp them up again, so they are just as convenient too!

why you’ll dig Vegan Chicken Fingers

Unlike my Seitan Fried Chicken recipe, or using store-bought chicken like the Gardein Scallopinis that I use often, tofu is both easy and affordable.

Since we are marinating and grilling it before breading, we’ll be adding more flavor as well. And tofu is sturdy enough to bread and fry without it falling apart, but it’s also still succulent and juicy too! It’s really and ideal vessel for Vegan Fried Chicken!

What’s the best tofu for Vegan Chicken Fingers?

I highly recommend Super Firm Tofu as I found it had the best texture and was the easiest to work with.

Super Firm is vacuum sealed and doesn’t require any pressing so it’s really the easiest and quickest choice. I can find it at Whole Foods, Sprouts and Trader Joe’s and a 1 pound block is usually around $3 -$4. If you can only find Extra Firm, just make sure you press it for at least 30 minutes.

I also highly recommend scoring the tofu, which will accomplish two things. First it allows the marinade to get into the tofu and not just on the outside. And second, it creates a better texture when you bite into it as the tofu will “shred” better.

ingredients for Vegan Chicken Fingers

  • Marinade – To infuse more flavor, we’ll be marinating and grilling the tofu before dredging / breading. The marinade is a pretty basic concoction of soy sauce, nutritional yeast, and some pantry staple seasonings.
  • Seasoned Flour – This will be a pretty typical seasoned flour mixture. Season the flour how you like (though I provide a detailed recipe below). Don’t skip the baking powder as this is gonna help us get those big craggly bits!
  • Vegan Buttermilk – use unsweetened plant milk along with some apple cider vinegar, hot sauce and then a little flour to help get it nice and thick so it sticks to the tenders.

how to make Vegan Chicken Fingers

The process is quite simple! First we’ll slice our block of tofu into fillets.

Simply carve them up into tender / finger sized shapes. If you cut the block of tofu into 4 slices, and then cut each slice in half you’ll get 8 tenders with some scraps for a Tofu Scramble.

Then simply whip up the marinade, let them marinate for an hour to overnight. Grill them to further infuse the flavor, then dredge and fry them until golden brown!

storage

Most fried foods are best eaten fresh as the breading can go soggy the longer it rests, so I don’t really advise storing this if you can avoid it. You can totally freeze them for later for about 1 month. Then, air frying to reheat is your best bet! I would reheat at 375-400 F for about 4-5 minutes or until heated and crispy again.

You can also marinade and grill the tofu and prepare the dry and wet dredging mixtures and store them for later. Then just dredge the tofu tenders whenever you want vegan fried chicken and you should be golden!

can i air-fry or bake these?

For less oil, check out my Air Fry Vegan Chick’n Recipe!

shallow fry option

If you want to use less oil, you can shallow fry these as well. I recommend coating them in some Panko Breadcrumbs for extra crispy, but it’s optional!

TIPS FOR VEGAN FRIED CHICK’N

  • Use a heavy bottomed pot (Stainless SteelCast IronCarbon Steel etc)
  • I highly recommend a Deep Fry Thermometer to monitor the oil temp.
  • Use a neutral tasting, high smoke point oil (Canola, Vegetable, Peanut etc.)
  • Make sure to use UNSWEETENED plant milk. I like RIPPLE the best.
  • Add flour as needed to thicken the vegan buttermilk mixture.
  • Shake off the excess flour and batter when you dredge.
  • Fry a test nugget to test the seasoning and adjust as needed.
  • Let the chick’n rest on a Wire Rack after frying to prevent soggy chick’n.

SAFETY TIPS FOR DEEP FRYING

  • Don’t leave the pot unattended.
  • Keep children away from the pot.
  • Don’t fill the pot more than halfway with oil. Don’t overcrowd it as well.
  • Turn the handles of the pot away from you to avoid accidental spills.
  • Keep a lid nearby so you can cover the pot if it catches fire.
  • Never use water to put out an oil fire.
  • Get a Fire Extinguisher just to be extra safe. This isn’t just good for deep frying, but for having in the house in general!

DEEP FRY ALTERNATIVES

If you want to see about alternatives to deep frying, check out my BEST WAYS TO FRY VEGAN CHICKEN post!

other recipes you’ll dig!

handy dandy video here!

Recommendations for Kitchen Gear, Spices & Pantry Items, Photos and Videos, are on my AMAZON Storefront!

If you made and enjoyed this recipe, please leave a rating & review! It really helps out the blog and it makes my day, thank you!

Vegan Chicken Fingers

Thee Burger Dude
5 from 3 votes
Servings 8 – 10 Chicken Fingers

Ingredients
  

Tofu Tenders

  • 16 oz. Super Firm Tofu*

Marinade

  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp hot sauce
  • 2 Tbsp vegan mayo or neutral oil
  • 1 Tbsp water

Dry Dredge

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp salt
  • Few shakes of Cajun or Creole Seasoning like Tony Chachere’s

Wet Dredge (Vegan Buttermilk)

  • 1 cup unsweetened plant milk
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp hot sauce
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp flour

Instructions
 

  • Cut the block of tofu into 4 – 5 filets. Cut each filet in half lengthwise. Carve each filet into a chicken tender type shape. Use the scraps in a Tofu Scramble or other dish.
  • Make the marinade by combining all the ingredients in a bowl, then marinate the tenders in it for about 30 minutes or up to overnight.
  • In a pan over medium heat, grill the tenders for about 4 minutes per side. Remove from the heat and let them cool.
  • Prepare the dry and wet dredges by mixing all the ingredients respectively in separate bowls / containers.
  • Fill up a dutch oven or large skillet no more than half way with a neutral high smoke point oil (such as peanut, canola or vegetable). You just need enough oil to cover the tenders, so about 2- 3 inches worth. Heat to 375 F (I highly recommend using a thermometer).
  • Dredge each tender first in the dry mixture, then wet, and then back into the dry. Shake off the excess each time you dredge it and make sure you thoroughly coat it. If you want to double dredge for a thicker breading, start in the wet, then they dry, and then repeat. You may need to adjust and increase the wet mixture if you go this route but I haven't needed to.
  • Protip: Fry up a test tender to test out the seasoning of the breading and adjust if needed!
  • Once the tenders are coated and the oil is up to temperature, carefully add them to the pot. Don't overcrowd, I would say do 4 – 5 at a time maximum. The oil temperature will drop but as long as it stays above 350 F you should be fine.
  • Fry them for about 4-5 minutes or until golden brown and beautiful. Let them rest on a wire rack to cool for a couple minutes.
  • ENJOY with some dipping sauce!!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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