Easy Crispy Vegan Chicken Tenders Recipe
Making the best vegan chicken tenders has never been easier or more fun! Today we’re going to learn how to make these crunchy tofu chicken fingers. In addition, I’ll include my favorite dipping sauce to go with them.
These vegan chicken fingers are so much better than pre-packaged and processed bags of meatless tenders. Most importantly, there are only a few ingredients and you’ll know exactly what is in them!
The batter in this recipe can be used for a multitude of recipes. For instance, use them for vegan chicken nuggets, breaded veggies, and they even work for vegan mozzarella sticks!
Let’s get cooking!
Prep the Tofu First!
Drain & Press the Tofu
Most importantly, extra firm tofu is the only way to go. Anything softer, and these may fall apart while making the vegan chicken strips.
If you have a Tofu Press, like this one, that works great! If not, cut the tofu in half lengthwise, cover with paper towel, and press with a heavy pan or a few dishes until most of the liquid is out.
After that, cut the tofu into 8 “fingers,” set aside, and move onto the bread & batter!
Making the Breading & Batter
6 ingredient breading
2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp. Paprika
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
For this breading, add Panko Breadcrumbs, paprika, Bragg Nutritional Yeast, salt and pepper, & and olive oil to a bowl and mix up. However grapeseed oil also works great!
You can omit the salt if you’d like, or add other seasonings. For example, oregano, garlic powder, or onion powder.
Similarly, I have even made this with Old Bay Seasoning and it was delicious with a kick of spice.
Once you have mixed up the breading, set aside. After that, to another small bowl add 1/2 C. cornstarch.
Making the Vegan Buttermilk
After that, make the vegan buttermilk. Just mix together 1 Cup of non-dairy milk & 1 Tbsp of Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar in a 3rd small bowl.
Lately I’ve been using a can of lite unsweetened coconut milk, however, almond milk, soy milk, and oat milk are all great choices. However, Coconut milk tends to be a thicker viscosity in a can, and that seems to work well with this recipe.
This vegan buttermilk also works great in other recipes! For example, use this to make your own dairy-free buttermilk biscuits.
2 ingredient vegan “buttermilk”
Putting the Best Vegan Chicken Tenders Together!
You should now have 3 bowls filled with cornstarch, breading, and buttermilk. In addition, 8 strips of tofu.
To ensure these are the crispiest vegan chicken tenders, you must follow these steps! Firstly, take one piece of tofu and dip it into the cornstarch on every side, even the ends!
Secondly, you will dip that into the vegan buttermilk.
Repeat steps one and two. For instance, dip into the cornstarch again, and follow with the buttermilk. After that, you will gently dip and roll the tofu tender into the breadcrumb mixture.
Get each side!
To clarify, you will dip into cornstarch, buttermilk, cornstarch again, buttermilk again, and finally the breadcrumb mixture.
Set completed vegan chicken tender on a baking sheet with parchment paper. After that, repeat all the steps until you have all the vegan chicken fingers completed.
*hot tip* Rinse your fingers in between each tofu tender. This isn’t necessary but I find that the cleaner your fingers are, the easier to dip. If you don’t your fingers end up getting VERY battered and sticky, and the tofu tenders can end up clumpier.
pop these bad boys in the oven at 400°
Cook for 20 minutes
Carefully flip them, and cook another 20-22 minutes until golden brown.
While these are baking, make your sides & dipping sauce!
I personally recommend trying out this delicious 2 Ingredient Maple Dijon Dressing & Charred Garlic Asparagus.
Serve & Enjoy!
I guarantee these will become a new staple in your household. They make about 2-3 Servings. That is to say if you don’t eat them all yourself!
These are great to make with kids, a dinner date for two, or serve them as a finger food for a movie night. In addition, you can make them the night before, and reheat them in the oven for lunch the next day!
To sum up, these are really the best vegan chicken fingers I have ever made! I’ve gone through many recipes, but this one never fails.
Whip them up yourself and let me know how they turn out.
Crispy Vegan Tofu “Chicken” Tenders
- Baking Sheet
- Parchment paper
- 3 Bowls
- 1 15.5 oz. Tofu Extra Firm
- 1/2 C Cornstarch
- 1 C Panko Breadcrumbs
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp Bragg's Nutritional Yeast
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/4 tsp pink Himalayan salt
- 1 C Coconut Milk Unsweetened
- 1 Tbsp Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar
- Drain Tofu, cut the tofu in half lengthwise, wrap each tofu half in papertowel tightly. Press tofu under a few heavy plates, a large skillet, or use a tofu press
- Preheat the Oven to 400 degrees. Grab a large baking sheet and cover with parchment paper. Set aside.
Make Vegan Buttermilk
- Combine 1 C. unsweetened plain coconut milk + 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar. Let sit
Make Breadcrumb Mixture
- Combine panko breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, paprika, salt, pepper, and olive oil to one small bowl
- Put 1/2 C. cornstarch in 3rd bowl
Slice Tofu into Tenders
- Once you have the tofu nicely pressed, slice each block into 4 equal "fingers" lengthwise. When finished you should have 8 evenly sized tofu tenders
Battering the Tofu Tenders
- 1.) Take one tofu tender, dip FIRST into the cornstarch on all sides, making sure there is a nice even thin layer
- 2.) Take cornstarch dipped tofu and dip into the vegan buttermilk
- 3.) Repeat steps 1 & 2 – dip into cornstarch and then buttermilk. This makes the batter nice and crispy when you bake it!
- 4.) Once you have dipped the tofu tender into the buttermilk for the second time, gently press into the breadcrumb mixture on each side. Don't forget to get the ends! Place on baking sheet!
- *hot tip* I like to rinse my fingers after each finishing each tender. Otherwise your fingers end up getting SUPER battered and cross contaminating each of the 3 bowls. It will work still but it gets clumpy and messy.
- Repeat until all the tofu tenders are battered up
Bake Tofu Tenders
- Place baking sheet with tofu tenders in the over and bake for 20 minutes.
- Flip each tender and then bake for another 20-22 minutes
- Divide the tofu tenders between two dishes & serve with your favorite dressing! Enjoy
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