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Ready to have your mind blown? This incredible vegan fried chicken recipe is the best you have ever had, guaranteed! Not only is the flavor right, but the texture and the overall look and feel are right too!
Now, before we go any further, we have to give credit where credit is due: Mary Lin of Mary’s Test Kitchen is the one who discovered this method of treating tofu, and from that came her recipe for vegan fried chicken. We have made some alterations to make it more to our liking, and also have simplified the directions, however Mary deserves all of the credit for discovering the alchemy that turns a block of tofu into a substance that mimics chicken. You can see Mary’s original recipe here.
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Before you make this recipe you will need to completely freeze an unopened package of tofu. Then you will need to let it thaw just until it is fully thawed but still cold, and then you will need to freeze it again. At that point you can keep it in the freezer until the day that you plan to make this recipe, when you will take it out of the freezer and let it thaw again. (For this reason, we always keep a couple of packages of frozen-thawed-and-refrozen tofu in our freezer.) You must use a tofu that is fairly firm, so not silken, and not soft, but also not extra firm. We use the tofu that is sold at Costco, and it is perfect for this. Note that, confusingly, the brand name of this tofu is ‘House Foods’, so that when people talk about the “house tofu” they don’t mean that it is made by Costco (or whatever store they get it at), it’s the actual brand name.
House brand tofu sold at Costco and elsewhere
Once you are ready to make the recipe, you will need to press your thawed tofu. If you don’t have a tofu press that’s fine, but they do come in handy! This is the one that we have (pictured set in a bowl, catching all the water you will press out of the tofu), which we got for under $8 on Amazon here.
Ok, ready? Here’s the recipe for this incredible vegan fried chicken!
“I Can’t Believe It’s Not Chicken” Vegan Fried Chicken Recipe
For the tofu
One block twice-frozen and twice-thawed tofu (not silken, and not soft, but also not extra firm)
Enough vegan ‘chicken’ bullion cubes or paste to make 2 cups reconstituted bullion, reconstituted in just one cup of hot water (so it is extra-strength bullion or, as we like to call it, chicken juice)
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1 cup Just Egg thinned with enough water to make it the consistency of a beaten egg or of heavy cream
1 cup reconstituted vegan powdered egg replacer made to the consistency of a beaten egg or of heavy cream
Do NOT use a flax egg or chia egg for this!
1 cup gluten-free flour (we use all-purpose, although rice or besan (chickpea flour) should also work. Do not use almond or other nut flour.)
1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
salt, pepper, and whatever spices you want to season your flour – 1/2 to 1 teaspoon each, depending on taste. We use a teaspoon each of paprika, celery salt, onion powder, and garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
To add to the 2nd dredging
1 cup crushed gluten-free saltine or table crackers or matzoh
1 cup crushed potato chips
1 cup crushed corn flakes
(we like it the best with crushed crackers)
Place the ‘chicken juice’ in a 2-to-3 cup bowl and set aside.
Place the coating liquid in a 2-to-3 cup bowl and set aside.
Put the dredging mixture (without the crushed crackers / potato chips / corn flakes) in a large, shallow bowl and set aside.
Press the twice-frozen twice-thawed tofu using either a tofu press or the ‘between two plates with a weight’ method (such as this one at Instructables). You want to have consistent pressure applied during the pressing, and moderate weight. To give you some idea, we fill a quart Mason jar with water and put that on top of our tofu press. After 15 minutes or so, press down on top of the tofu press with your hands to get even more moisture out.
Remove the tofu from the press and place it on a towel or some paper towels, cover it with another layer of towel or paper towels, and press down on it again, gently but firmly. (Who knew that a single block of tofu could retain so much water!?)
Now, you know how you rip a head of lettuce apart? Do that to the tofu – in other words, gently dig your fingertips and the tip of your thumb into the tofu and gently tease it into chunks. Set each chunk onto a paper towel to further wick away any moisture while you finish chunking the tofu.
Once you have the tofu all chunked, place the chunks of tofu in the ‘chicken juice’. Gently press the chunks into the juice and swish them around so that they get infused with the juice. The tofu may soak all of the juice up, but if there is any juice left at the bottom of the bowl pour it off.
Either one at a time or a few at a time, place the chunks into the dredging mixture and coat the chunks. Once a chunk is coated, pick it up, hold it above the dredging bowl and gently shake it, and then set it aside.
Once all of the chunks have been dredged and have been set aside, mix the cracker / potato chip / corn flake crumbs into the remaining dredging mixture.
Preheat your oven to 425°, and spray a baking pan with olive oil or a neutral oil spray (if you have baking parchment, put that down first and spray the parchment with the oil spray, but otherwise just spray the pan).
Now, one at a time, drop each chunk into the coating liquid, and then again into the dredging mixture, making sure that the chunk is coated with the dredging mixture on all sides. Remove the chunk from the dredging mixture, give it a gentle shake, and set it on the prepared baking pan.
Once all of the chunks have been prepared and are on the baking pan, spray the chunks with a light coating of the oil spray and put them in the oven and set a timer for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off remove the pan from the oven, flip all the chunks over, and then put them back in the oven for another 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven.
Now take a chunk and blow on it until it’s cool enough to taste, bite into it, and have your mind blown!
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