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I’m always hesitant around tofu as I haven’t found a way to make it in a way that I love. Yet I do love a good chicken nugget recipe. Hot, crispy nuggets are my jam, so if I can find a plant-based version I can’t help but try it! These tofu nuggets have been tested and perfected and I’m ready to share them with you. They remind me of vegan chicken nuggets and might just be what you need for vegan game day appetizers this weekend.

tofu nuggets recipe

I’m not the biggest football fan, yet I love a good food spread and will cheer for the underdog every time. Tofu nuggets make a great dish to share, and I dare you just to set them on the table with no caveat about them being vegan… just let friends + family try them and sit back while they rave.

Table of Contents
  1. How to Make Vegan Chicken Nuggets
  2. Ingredient Swaps
  3. Dipping Sauce Options
  4. Tofu Nugget FAQs
  5. Vegan Versions of Game Day Food
  6. Crispy Tofu Nuggets Recipe
vegan chicken nuggets

How to Make Vegan Chicken Nuggets

Tear (don’t cut) the pressed tofu into 1-inch cubes and put them in a bowl. These don’t have to be exact, yet they will cook more evenly if they are roughly the same size. Tearing the tofu creates a jagged edge which helps them crisp up better (think Chick-fil-a style nuggets instead of McDonalds).

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment.

Pour the pickle juice, water, garlic powder and onion powder over the tofu. Cover and let sit for 20 minutes. You can also marinate overnight.

marinate tofu

Drain the tofu. In a shallow dish combine the cashew milk and lemon juice.

In a second dish combine the flour and sea salt, and in a third dish combine breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper and salt.

ingredients for vegan chicken nuggets

Dip the tofu into the milk mixture then shake off the excess. Coat in the flour, dip into the milk again, then cover in the breadcrumb mixture. Transfer to the tray and repeat with all the tofu pieces.

 plant based nuggets recipe

Once all the tofu nuggets are covered and on the tray, make sure to spread them out so they aren’t touching. Spray or brush the pieces with cooking spray or olive oil and bake 25-30 minutes, flipping half way through.

tofu nuggets

Serve your plant based nuggets with your fav dip (I’ve got some options below) and enjoy!

Ingredient Swaps

I know these plant-based nuggets have a few more ingredients than some other recipes I’ve shared. Read on for quick swaps that will still give you a tasty result:

Swap cashew milk with any plant milk. I like cashew milk because it’s creamy and a little thicker than almond. Oat milk is a great option too though you can use any milk of your choice.

Use an all-purpose gluten-free flour in place of all-purpose flour. My fav option is King Arthur’s flour. To make your vegan chicken nuggets completely gluten-free, use gluten-free breadcrumbs in place of the panko breadcrumbs.

Pickles may not be your thing (though I can’t understand why; they’re delicious!). You don’t have to worry about your tofu nuggets tasting like pickles. If you really don’t want to use pickle juice then pick another brine for soaking.

Need any other swap suggestions? Just drop a comment below and I’ll help you out.

vegan chicken nuggets

Dipping Sauce Options

Let’s be honest, many good party recipes are truly all about the sauce. These tofu nuggets are basically a crunchy, blank canvas for the perfect creamy sauce. Hot sauce is always a winner, as well as coconut sriracha, a nutty hemp hearts sauce, vegan ranch dip, cashew cream, a fun pesto recipe or fresh avocado crema.

Feel free to try buffalo sauce, BBQ sauce, or even a vegan cheese sauce. Elevate this recipe with a whole sauce bar! You do you.

Tofu Nugget FAQs

How do you make tofu nuggets?

If you’ve ever made homemade chicken nuggets, the recipe steps are similar. You need a marinade or brine, breading mixture and batter for both recipes. My tofu nugget recipe is oven-baked so I don’t need as much oil, and there is much less mess than skillet-frying. Even the spices are similar in my vegan chicken nugget recipe compared to homemade chicken nuggets.

Can I freeze breaded tofu?

Yes! Once the baked tofu has cooled completely, spread out on a parchment lined baking sheet and flash freeze. Once the nuggets are frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe container. They should last up to 3 months in the freezer.

Does tofu need to be fried?

Nope! I bake my crispy tofu nuggets in the oven and honestly, they are super crispy. Oven baking uses less oil and creates less mess, yet still yields a crunchy result.

game day snacks

Vegan Versions of Game Day Food

While I do eat meat, I honestly don’t get that excited about meat based dishes. However, I do love good comfort foods and also love figuring out how to turn traditional recipes into delicious plant based creations. So here are a few of my fav vegan options to bust out for parties:

Toss in these crispy tofu nuggets and you’ve got a winning spread! Vegan recipes don’t have to be sub-par. I don’t want to eat food that’s sort of good… I want the real deal. So when I find a fav recipe that can be delicious with plant based ingredients you better believe I’m making it right away!

Give this recipe a try, then leave a rating + review to let me know how it turned out for you (and definitely include what dipping sauce you used; that’s as important as the nuggets!).

4.80 from 5 votes

Crispy Tofu Nuggets

These plant-based tofu nuggets are packed with protein and amazing crunch. The secret sauce is tearing pressed tofu to get craggily edges that help to make the crispiest nooks and crannies for your favorite dipping sauce to cling to. Try using your air fryer for an equally delicious nugget!
Prep: 35 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Author: Jen Hansard
Course: Appetizer, Entree, Side Dish
Cuisine: Plant-Based, Vegan
Serves: 4


  • oven


  • 1 block extra firm tofu pressed overnight

For Brine

  • ½ cup pickle juice
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder

For Batter

  • ¾ cup cashew milk unsweetened
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp sea salt

For Breading

  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • olive oil
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  • Tear the pressed tofu into 1-inch cubes (the smaller the better crunch!). Place in a large bowl.
  • Pour the pickle juice, water, garlic powder and onion powder overtop the tofu. Cover and let sit for 20 minutes up to overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a tray with parchment paper while the tofu is marinating.
  • Drain the tofu. In a shallow dish, combine cashew milk and lemon juice.
  • In a second dish, combine flour and sea salt. In a third dish, combine bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper and salt.
  • Dip the tofu into the milk, shaking off excess, then coat in flour, dip into the milk again, then cover with breadcrumb mixture. Transfer to the prepared tray. Repeat with all pieces of tofu. Once all the tofu is coated brush the tops with olive oil before baking.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through. Serve with your fav dip.


  • Swap all-purpose flour with gluten-free flour
  • You can use any plant based milk in place of the cashew milk. 
  • For the strongest flavor from the brine, soak the tofu + brine overnight. If you are pressed for time though, 20 minutes will be fine.
  • Swap the panko breadcrumbs with gluten free breadcrumbs of your choice.
  • Make sure to leave space between the tofu nuggets on the baking sheet so that they can crisp properly on all sides.


Calories: 283kcal, Carbohydrates: 46g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 942mg, Potassium: 428mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 865IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 75mg, Iron: 4mg
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    1. Aw! Thanks Brian! So glad you loved these crispy + delish nuggets as much as we do.

  1. 5 stars
    Yup! This is a terrific recipe that turns out delicious. Definitely will be making it again, immediately. I didn’t have panko so used stale French bread to make bread crumbs as a substitute and it was delicious. Thanks for such a wonderful recipe!!

    1. Day old bread from your grocery store or stale bread on hand is a great way to quickly have homemade bread crumbs. Pro move, Anne!

  2. This is a keeper. Will definitely make again, but not crazy about the Hemp Heart Sauce that I made to go with it. I ate as much of the sauce that I could so that I’d have some tofu cubes left to put in my salad with Follow Your Heart Caesar Dressing. It turns out that I really like it this way. It’s so fulfilling and tasty that way that it makes my salad the main meal instead of a side.

  3. 5 stars
    This was super delicious!! I loved the crunch and then the softness inside. And so delicious! My kids (big fans of chicken nuggets) devoured it!

  4. 4 stars
    We made these for dinner over the weekend! I am still not a tofu fan, but I was shocked at how the texture really mimicked a Chick Fil A nugget. The flavor was there… I just couldn’t get over the fact that it was tofu 😀

    1. We haven’t done too much with tofu in the past, so a tofu press would be a newer thing for us. Yet, if you try and like it def let us know!

    2. Not sure if the link will post here but this is the one I’ve used for years and love it. It’s called the EZ tofu press on Amazon.
      EZ Tofu Press – Removes Water…

    1. Oooh! Good question! We haven’t here, yet if anyone has then be sure to drop a comment!

  5. 5 stars
    I can’t believe how crispy these look! I’m not the biggest tofu fan but I’m definitely going to try these. How creative!