Stuff these crispy baked tofu nuggets in a sandwich, pile them on your favorite salad, or dip them in your favorite sauce. These versatile little bites are delicious any way you eat them, and super easy to whip up!
There’s just something about crispy breaded finger food. And okay, I’ll admit that I like it best fried, but it’s not about the grease because I love my crispy baked snacks too.
A couple of years ago I shared a recipe for vegan chicken nuggets, and you guys loved it. But I get two questions over and over: (1) “Can these be baked?” and (2) “What can I substitute for the artichoke hearts and/or chickpeas?”
I wasn’t happy with how those nuggets turned out baked. And as far as substitutions are concerned, I wasn’t sure because I hadn’t tried any. I finally decided to knock out both issues in one fell swoop, with these tofu nuggets!
I love my old nuggets, but these suckers have a couple of advantages over them. Obviously, there’s the no frying thing. A crispy panko crust does the trick in this recipe.
And then there’s the fact that you don’t need to stuff your food processor with artichoke hearts, chickpeas, and a bunch of other things. Tofu is virtually ready to go!
Less ingredients, and fewer steps. Sounds like a winner to me.
What You’ll Need
- Non-dairy milk. Just about any variety will work, as long as it’s unsweetened and unflavored.
- Whole wheat flour. All-purpose flour works too!
- Ground flaxseed. This will gel when combined with the milk to create a binder, much like egg might in a non-vegan recipe.
- Red wine vinegar.
- Panko breadcrumbs. Regular breadcrumbs should work too — panko is usually the only variety I can find that’s vegan, so it’s what I use.
- Spices. We’re using garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika, and black pepper.
- Tofu. Use firm, extra-firm, or super-firm tofu.
- Oil. You only need a little bit! Brush it on or spray it on to help your coating brown and crisp.
How to Make Tofu Nuggets
The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make baked tofu nuggets. Scroll down if you’d prefer to skip right to the recipe!
- Cut your tofu into small squares — you want nugget-sized pieces.
- Make a batter by mixing up non-dairy milk, flour, panko breadcrumbs, some red wine vinegar, and salt in a small bowl.
- Make a breading by mixing panko breadcrumbs, spices, and salt in another bowl.
- Now dip each piece of tofu in the batter, get it coated, then dredge it in the breading.
- Spray your tofu pieces lightly with oil, place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and bake to crispy deliciousness.
Crispy Baked Tofu Nugget Tips & FAQ
- Can these nuggets be made gluten-free? Probably, but I haven’t made a gluten-free version myself. Try using an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend in the batter, and gluten-free breadcrumbs in the breading.
- Can you skip the oil? Yes, but the nuggets won’t brown very much if you do. A little bit of fat is needed for that.
- For an extra flavorful twist, use your favorite marinated tofu instead of plain. No need to press it if you do this!
- Experiment by switching up the spices in the panko coating with your favorites.
- Leftover nuggets will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for about 4 days.
- Reheat any leftover tofu nuggets by placing them under a broiler for a few minutes on each side, until they crisp back up.
More Tofu Recipes
- Tofu Bacon
- Sesame Sriracha Tofu
- Crispy Tofu Steaks with Caramelized Onion Gravy
- Savory Lemon & Herb Baked Tofu
- Crispy Baked Teriyaki Tofu
Crispy Baked Tofu Nuggets
For the Batter
- 2/3 cup unflavored and unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Panko Coating
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs (I used whole wheat)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the Nuggets
- 1 (14 ounce or 400 gram) package extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
- Oil mister or cooking spray
- In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the batter. Allow the mixture to sit for at least 10 minutes.
- While the batter rests, stir together all ingredients for the panko coating.
- Cut the tofu block in half, lengthwise, then slice each half into 8 squares of equal thickness.
- Preheat the oven to 425° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place one of the tofu squares into the batter, and roll it around to coat.
- Transfer the tofu to the panko coating and roll it around to coat.
- Transfer the tofu square to the baking sheet.
- Repeat until all of the tofu squares are coating and arranged on the baking sheet.
- Spray the tofu squares with oil to coat the tops.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Carefully flip the squares, and spray again with oil to coat.
- Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake 10 minutes more, until browned and crispy.