Who said vegans can’t have fried chicken? When I started this blog, I challenged myself to make foods that people typically think could never be vegan. This Vegan Buttermilk Air Fryer Chicken is one of those recipes! Rest assured, this recipe is 100% plant-based, vegetarian, and vegan-friendly!
the best air fryer seitan chicken
To make this crusted air-fried vegan chicken, we’ll be using my seitan chicken recipe. You can find this recipe in my post, Vegan Shredded Chicken. I chose to shape mine into a chick’n breast or fillet, but feel free to shape them into wings, tenders, nuggets, or another shape!
the vegan buttermilk batter
For this air-fried seitan, we’ll be using a ‘buttermilk’ batter. Traditionally, the acid in the buttermilk acts as a tenderizer for chicken. In our recipe, it adds extra flavor to the crust of our seitan. The batter for this recipe is made up of two components, the wet and the dry.
getting a good crust
The trick to getting a good crust on this vegan buttermilk air fryer chicken is coating the seitan in a wet mixture and a dry mixture. To get as much crispiness as possible, you’ll want to coat the seitan in the wet and dry mixture 3 times. The dunking order will look like this: wet, dry, wet, dry, wet, dry.
the dry ingredients
The dry ingredients are made up of flour, breadcrumbs, salt & pepper, paprika, garlic, and onion powder. The breadcrumbs add a nice crispy crunch to the crust and the spices add savory flavor.
the wet ingredients
The wet portion of this batter is just the vegan buttermilk! Vegan buttermilk is super easy to make, and you probably have all the ingredients you need on hand. First, combine room temperature unsweetened, plain almond milk with apple cider vinegar. Next, you’ll want to give the mixture a swirl and then set it aside for about 10 minutes. As it sits, you’ll see the mixture curdle a bit.
tips for air frying seitan
To get a really crispy crust, here are a few important tips:
- Make sure to preheat your air fryer.
- Line your air fryer basket with parchment paper specifically designed for air fryers. The parchment paper I use has holes in it which allows the air to circulate around all the sides of the seitan chicken.
- Use a pastry brush to spread vegetable oil on both sides of the battered vegan chicken.
- Spray cooking oil on both sides of the seitan to make sure every part of it is coated in at least a tiny bit of oil.
- Flip the seitan halfway through the cooking time.
ideas for serving the vegan air fryer chicken
These air fried vegan chicken breasts are so incredibly versatile. And, they’re perfect as the main star of so many different dishes. Below are just a few ideas about how you could serve them:
- with biscuits and gravy
- on top of waffles to make Vegan Chicken & Waffles
- with a side of collard greens
- on top of mashed potatoes and gravy
- with mac & cheese
- alongside potato salad
vegan air fried chicken faq:
This plant based chicken recipe is made of vital wheat gluten and tofu. These 2 ingredients create a chewy, ‘meaty’ texture that holds up well to baking. Vital wheat gluten is the main ingredient in seitan which is a high protein meat substitute that mimics chicken in this recipe. One serving of this faux chicken is about 25g of protein, which is amazing!
Seitan meat, similar to tofu, takes on the flavor of whatever you season it with. I’ve found that smoked paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder help give it a great flavor.
For this recipe, I’m using an air fry toaster oven. Because the cavity is larger, it allows me to fit all of the vegan chicken into one basket. If you’re using a stand-alone air fryer, you may need to cook the vegan chicken in multiple batches.
Looking for more unbelievable vegan dishes?
- Sesame ‘Beef’ Udon Noodles
- The Best Vegan Meatloaf (With Beyond Meat)
- How to Make Vegan Beef
- Blackened Vegan Seitan Chicken
- Vegan Cordon Bleu
Did you make this recipe? I’d love to know! Leave a rating and comment below!
- 1 recipe TYBM Vegan Shredded Chicken, see recipe card below or follow link for the full post
- 1 cup vegan buttermilk, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk with 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
- Cooking Spray
- Prep your vegan seitan chicken by following the instructions in this recipe. Instead of shaping the seitan into loaves, shape them into 4-5 fillets like in the process photos in the post above. Once the vegan chicken is steamed, set it aside and follow the steps below.
- Preheat your air fryer to 375 degrees F. Prep your air fryer basket by lining it with parchment paper
- In a large shallow bowl, mix together the almond milk and apple cider vinegar to make the vegan buttermilk. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- In a second large shallow bowl, mix together the flour, bread crumbs, salt, and spices listed above.
- Dip one piece of the seitan chicken into the vegan buttermilk. Then dip into the flour mixture, flipping it over so both sides are covered. Repeat with the same piece of chicken a total of 3 times. So the process should be wet > dry >wet > dry >wet > dry.
- Set the battered chicken onto the air fryer basket. Repeat with the remaining seitan chicken.
- With a pastry brush, brush the oil onto the front and back of the battered chicken. You could also spray with cooking oil for extra crispiness.
- Air fry for 16-20 minutes (SEE NOTES about cook time), flipping each piece halfway through. If needed, apply more oil or cooking spray when flipping the vegan chicken. The chicken should be golden and crispy when done cooking.
- A cook time of 20 minutes is based on shaping the vegan chicken into breast or fillet shapes like in the images. If shaping into smaller pieces, adjust the cook time accordingly. If shaped into smaller nuggets cook for 15-17 minutes, flipping halfway.
- See the recipe card below for how to make the seitan chicken, or follow this link to go to the full post!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 455Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 5gProtein: 35g
Nutritional info is an estimate.
- 1/4 cup texturized vegetable protein, 26 grams *
- 1 cup vital wheat gluten, 160 grams
- 1/2 tsp salt + pepper
- 2 tsp vegan poultry seasoning
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Pinch smoked paprika
- 6.5 oz canned jackfruit, this is about half a standard can
- 1/4 cup firm tofu, 2.25 oz, drained
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup +1 tbsp water
- Combine all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir together until well combined.
- In a food processor, pulse the jackfruit until it is shredded into very small pieces (but not into a paste).
- Pulse the tofu in the food processor until it becomes a paste.
- Add the shredded jackfruit, tofu, soy sauce, oil, and water (see notes) to the dry ingredients.
- With a dough hook, knead the mixture for about 3 minutes. *
- Transfer the dough ball to a cutting board floured with more vital wheat gluten and shape into 4 equally sized loaves.
- Wrap each loaf of dough tightly with aluminum foil.
- Steam in a steamer basket or bamboo steamer for 20 minutes. *
- Remove from the steamer and let cool while still wrapped in the foil.
- Let cool for about 10 minutes beforehand shredding or shaping the dough.
- This chicken is best if followed up with a secondary cooking process. Once the vegan chicken is steamed, I like to think of it as if it were 'raw chicken'. I recommend pan-frying with 1 tbsp of olive oil to brown the sides (about 10-15 minutes). You could also bake the shredded chicken at 375 degrees for 15 minutes until browned.
- Do not rehydrate the TVP. Doing so will result in a wetter dough, and the texture is less desirable.
- Make sure most of the liquid is pressed from the tofu
- The amount of water you add to the recipe will depend on how liquidy your tofu and jackfruit are. Start with 1/4 of a cup of water. If the dough isn't coming together, add another 1 tbsp at a time until you can shape it into a ball.
- If not using a stand mixer, hand knead the dough for 5 minutes until it comes together into a ball.
- I highly recommend steaming versus boiling or roasting. This will help keep the dough moist and pliable, but not too wet once it's done cooking.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 300Total Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gSodium: 277mgFiber: 3gSugar: 1gProtein: 20 g
Nutrition info is an estimate.
DISCLAIMER: Links included in this post might be affiliate links. If you purchase a product or service with the links that I provide I may receive a small commission. There is no additional charge to you! Thank you for supporting my blog so I can continue to provide you with free content each week!