This vegan air fryer buttermilk seitan chicken is coated in a crispy, spiced dairy free buttermilk breading and has a tender and chewy texture on the inside. The air fryer seitan has all the flavor and texture you could want, without any of the meat!
Why You’ll Love this Vegan Air Fryer Seitan Chicken Recipe
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.
- Vegan-friendly: This recipe is completely plant-based and perfect for anyone following a vegan diet.
- Crispy and flavorful: Cooking the “chicken” in the air fryer results in a crispy texture and delicious flavor.
- Less oil than deep fried vegan chicken: This recipe delivers amazing, crispy texture without extra added oil.
The key to making this delicious vegan buttermilk air fryer chicken is in the ingredients. Most of the ingredients are spices that you may already have in your pantry, but the one essential ingredient is vital wheat gluten, which is the base for the seitan. You may need to order it online.
We’ll be using my seitan chicken recipe as the base. You can find an in depth post and video here: Vegan Shredded Chicken. I chose to shape mine into a chick’n fillet or drumsticks, but feel free to shape them into wings, tenders, nuggets, or another shape!
Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients you’ll need.
- Vital wheat gluten
- Vegan poultry seasoning
- Garlic powder
- Smoked paprika
- Canned young green jackfruit
- Soft or firm tofu
- Soy sauce
- Neutral oil like canola
- Vegan buttermilk (unsweetened almond milk with apple cider vinegar)
- All-purpose flour
- Bread crumbs or crushed Ritz Crackers
- Jackfruit: If you’re unable to find canned young green jackfruit, you can use firm tofu instead.
- Vegan buttermilk: If you don’t have almond milk, you can use soy milk or oat milk instead.
- Breadcrumbs: the breadcrumbs can be subbed with crushed cornflakes or crushed crackers of choice!
- Air fryer
- Food processor
- Digital scale (recommended)
Make the Vegan Seitan Chicken
STEP 1: Combine the dry ingredients for the vegan chicken together (the vital wheat gluten and spices) in a large bowl. Make sure they are well mixed!
📌 TIP: Using a digital scale to measure your ingredients will give you the best results.
STEP 2: In a food processor, pulse the jackfruit until it is shredded into very small pieces (but not into a paste). Remove and set aside in a small bowl. Pulse the drained and pressed tofu in the food processor until it becomes a smooth paste.
📌 TIP: Be sure to finely shred the jackfruit or the pieces will be too large in the seitan.
STEP 3: Mix the wet and dry together until combined or until no more vital wheat gluten can be incorporated with the spatula. Gently knead the seitan dough for about 1 minute until it forms a moist and elastic dough.
STEP 4: Transfer the dough ball to a cutting board, divide into 5-6 pieces, and shape them into 5-6 fillets or drumsticks like in the process photos.
📌 TIP: Try not to over-knead or overwork the dough while shaping the vegan chicken (this results in seitan that is too chewy).
The ‘Buttermilk’ Breading & Air Frying
STEP 5: 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.
STEP 6: 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 2 times. So the process should be wet > dry >wet > dry.
📌 TIP: Use one hand for the wet mixture and one hand for the dry mixture to prevent clumping and make the process smoother.
STEP 7: 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.
STEP 8: Air fry for 16-20 minutes, 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.
Ideas for Serving the Vegan Air Fryer Seitan
These air fryer vegan seitan chicken wings 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
Store any leftover vegan air fryer chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the air fryer at 375F for 5 minutes or until heated through.
If you want to keep them longer, you can freeze them for up to 3 months.
When you’re ready to eat them, thaw and reheat in the air fryer for a few minutes until crispy again.
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.
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
- Unbelievable Sticky Vegan Ribs
Did you make This Vegan Buttermilk Air Fryer Seitan Chicken?
I’d love to know! Leave a star rating and comment below!
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