How to make tofu taste like chicken! Crispy Vegan Fried Chicken

Plate of tofu chicken with sriracha mayo on marble benchtop with linen napkin.

Written by Liz

I’m Liz, I share recipes and easy substitutes to make plant-based living simple!

July 9, 2022

The Ultimate Guide to Making Crispy Vegan Tofu Chicken: A Delightful Substitute for Fried Chicken

Have you ever craved the taste and texture of fried chicken, but wanted to stick to a plant-based diet? Look no further than this delicious recipe for Crispy Vegan Tofu Chicken. Made by freezing, thawing and pressing extra firm tofu, this recipe creates a meaty, crispy substitute for traditional fried chicken.

Plate with crumbed tofu chicken and small bowl of sriracha mayo.

Is Tofu Healthier than Chicken?

Tofu, also known as bean curd, is a food made from soybeans. It is a great source of protein and contains all of the essential amino acids our bodies need. Tofu is also low in calories and fat, and is a good source of iron and calcium. Chicken, on the other hand, is a lean source of protein, but it also contains cholesterol and saturated fat.

While both foods have their own nutritional benefits, tofu is a healthier option for those looking to reduce their cholesterol and saturated fat intake.

Does Tofu Taste Like Chicken?

Tofu on its own has a very subtle taste and texture, but it is known to absorb the flavors of the ingredients it is cooked with. With the right seasoning and preparation, tofu can be made to mimic the taste and texture of chicken. But normally, without seasoning, it does not taste like chicken.

Key Ingredients

The key ingredients that give this recipe its “chicken-like” taste and texture are the soy milk, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, and sriracha.

  • Soy milk is used as the base of the coating mixture and provides the creamy, tangy flavor similar to buttermilk. It also helps to provide a slight thickness to the coating that allows it to stick to the tofu.
  • Apple cider vinegar is added to the soy milk mixture and curdles it, this gives it the same tangy flavor and thickness as buttermilk. It also works to tenderize the tofu and help the coating to stick.
  • Soy sauce is added for a savory and umami flavor, it’s a great ingredient to add depth and richness to the coating, and also helps to season the tofu.
  • Sriracha or hot sauce is used to add a little bit of heat to the coating, it gives it a nice kick of spiciness, this ingredient is optional but it’s a great addition for those who like some heat on their meals.
  • Chicken coating mix is a mix of flour, salt, pepper, paprika, and any other seasonings of your choice. This mix is used to add a crispy texture to the tofu and mimic the fried chicken flavor. You can find these mixes in supermarkets or you can make your own.

Blue plate with chunks of crumbed uncooked tofu.

What You’ll Need to Make This Recipe:

  • Extra firm tofu
  • Soy milk
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Soy sauce
  • Sriracha or hot sauce
  • Chicken coating mix (make sure it’s vegan friendly)
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Salt and pepper

Substitutions

This recipe calls for a few simple ingredients that you may already have in your pantry, but if you don’t have some of the listed ingredients on hand, there are easy substitutions that you can make.

  • Soy milk can be replaced with any other unsweetened, plain plant-based milk, like almond milk or oat milk.
  • If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, you can use regular white vinegar or lemon juice as a substitution.
  • Sriracha can be replaced with your preferred hot sauce or even a bit of cayenne pepper as a substitution.
  • If you can’t find vegan-friendly chicken coating mix, you can make your own by mixing together flour, salt, pepper, paprika, thyme and any other seasonings of your choice.

Plate with crumbed tofu chicken and small bowl of sriracha mayo.

Storage Instructions

This recipe is best served fresh and hot, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, place the tofu on a baking sheet and reheat in the oven at 350F/175C for about 10 minutes, or until heated through and crispy again. You can also microwave them, however the crumb will not be crispy.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can tofu replace chicken in recipes?
    • Yes, tofu can be used as a replacement for chicken in many recipes. It can absorb the flavors of the ingredients it’s cooked with.
  • Is tofu healthy to eat daily?
    • Yes, tofu is healthy to eat daily. It is low in calories and fat, and high in protein, iron and calcium. However, as with all foods, moderation is key. Eating a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods is important for overall health.
  • Can I use another type of tofu other than extra firm?
    • Extra firm tofu is the best option for this recipe, it’s the most dense and firm type of tofu and the one that can hold its shape and texture the best when frozen and thawed. However, you could try with firm tofu and see the results, it could give a different texture and absorb less liquid but you can still make it work. Do not use silken, semi-firm or soft tofu as they are too soft and will not work.
  • How long does it take to freeze and thaw the tofu?
    • The freezing process for the tofu can take about 8-9 hours, depending on the size of your tofu block and your freezer. The thawing process can vary, you can use the microwave, on a low setting, or leave it at room temperature.
  • Can I use this recipe to make Tofu Nuggets?
    • Yes, you can use this recipe to make tofu nuggets. Just cut the tofu into small nugget-sized pieces before coating and frying.
  • How can I reheat the leftovers?
    • To reheat the leftovers, place the tofu in the oven or air fryer at 350F/175C for about 10 minutes, or until heated through and crispy again. You can also microwave them, however the crumb will not be crispy.