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Tofu Nuggets (Popcorn Chicken Style)

You’ve never had nuggets like these. These Tofu Nuggets taste more like popcorn chicken than popcorn chicken itself. They are super crispy and flavorful on the outside and squishy, soft on the inside. Insane!

Tofu Nuggets Popcorn Chicken Style

‘UGH, tofu.. it tastes like nothing’ and this is absolutely true… if you don’t season it.

And sometimes it can be hard to get the seasoning sticking to the tofu so that it will be a flavorful meal in the end. But you will never have this problem with these tofu nuggets because we are FREEZING the tofu and DEFROSTING it and therefore it is getting a completely different texture. You can see that all in the photos below in the step by step instructions.

By freezing and defrosting, the tofu is getting this porous texture which makes it spongy (you can even squeeze out excess water with your hands) and it will soak up any flavorful liquids (I used pickle brine – which I love). It’s really insane.

It’s one of the coolest dishes I’ve made and I’m really proud of it. I actually love this recipe so much, that I make sure that I always have frozen tofu in the freezer. And I hope you will love it too!

Tofu Nuggets Popcorn Chicken Style

How to make Tofu Nuggets

The Ingredients

You will need:

  • tofu – I am using a very fine (whereas some tofu brands are grainier) medium to firm natural (not smoked) tofu.
  • all-purpose flour
  • panko flakes (you can sub panko flakes for fine breadcrumbs and vice versa, but a combination of both is giving a better texture and is making sure they are nicely coated)
  • fine breadcrumbs
  • pickle juice/brine or alternatively caper juice/brine
  • salt
  • sesame seeds (optional)
  • sriracha sauce (optional)
  • frying oil

The basic steps

frozen tofu
Prepping – The day before, we are going to freeze the tofu. I am removing the tofu from the packaging, pack it in a freezer bag, and freeze it at least overnight. Tip: I always have tofu in the freezer for this recipe.
frozen tofu
Prepping – The next day, I remove the tofu from the freezer and let it defrost at room temperature for 4-5 hours over a slotted spatula and bowl so that the water that comes out of the tofu is collecting at the bottom of the bowl.
frozen tofu
Prepping – As you can see, the texture of the tofu changes COMPLETELY by freezing and defrosting. The tofu gets a porous consistency and it’s like a sponge. You can squeeze out excess liquid and it soaks up any liquid it will get, which makes it super easy to make flavorful tofu nuggets!
tofu chunks
Step 1: Break the defrosted tofu into chunks – you can make them smaller or larger – whatever you like. Pour 1/4 cup of pickle brine over the chunks, the tofu will soak it up very quickly.
tofu chunks in batter
Step 2: Toss the tofu chunks into the batter first.
breaded tofu chunks
Step 3: Then coat them in the breading.
frying tofu nuggets
Step 4: Carefully fry them until they are crispy and brown. If you feel unsure about frying, I have included all my tips & trick in this post: How to deep-fry in a pot
fried tofu nuggets
Step 5: Place them on a paper towel to remove excess oil.
Tofu Nuggets Popcorn Chicken Style
Enjoy your super crispy and crazy delicious tofu nuggets!
Tofu Nuggets Popcorn Chicken Style

These Tofu Nuggets are amazingly good on their own, dipped in ketchup, BBQ sauce, or mayo; or you can serve them with oven-baked potato slices – like I did.

More vegan tofu recipes

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I hope you enjoy these vegan Tofu Nuggets as much as I do! Let me know if you give them a try! 

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Cheers, Bianca

Tofu Nuggets Popcorn Chicken Style

Tofu Nuggets (Popcorn Chicken Style)

Elephantastic Vegan
You’ve never had nuggets like these. These Tofu Nuggets taste more like popcorn chicken than popcorn chicken itself. They are super crispy and flavorful on the outside and squishy, soft on the inside. Insane!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Main Course, Snacks
Cuisine Vegan
Servings 2 people
Calories 609 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1 block tofu (medium to firm)
  • frying oil
  • 1/4 cup pickle juice /brine

Ingredients for the batter

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup pickle juice /brine
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha sauce

Ingredients for the breading

  • 1/2 cup panko flakes *
  • 1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs *
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds

Instructions
 

  • Remove the tofu from the packaging, pack it in a freezer bag, and freeze it overnight. Then defrost the tofu at room temperature (4-5 hours) over a slotted spatula in a bowl so that the water can drip off and collect at the bottom of the bowl. Carefully squeeze out excess water.
  • Break the defrosted tofu into chunks – you can make them smaller or larger – whatever you like. Pour 1/4 cup of pickle brine over the chunks, the tofu will soak it up very quickly.
  • In a bowl, combine the ingredients for the batter.
  • In another bowl, combine the ingredients for the breading.
  • Toss the tofu chunks into the batter first.
  • Then coat them in the breading.
  • Heat a pot or small wok with frying oil. Carefully fry the breaded tofu nuggets in batches until they are crispy and brown. This took 10 minutes for me – per batch.
  • Place the fried tofu nuggets on a paper towel to remove excess oil.
  • And done! Let them cool off a bit and enjoy them like they are or with oven-baked potato slices!

Notes

*you can sub panko flakes for fine breadcrumbs and vice versa, but a combination of both is giving a better texture and is making sure they are nicely coated

Nutrition

Calories: 609kcalCarbohydrates: 66gProtein: 27gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 13gSodium: 2105mgPotassium: 116mgFiber: 5gSugar: 3gVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 344mgIron: 6mg
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