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A vegan crispy chicken sandwich with your favorite toppings is an easy vegan lunch or dinner! The crispy crunchy coating has an amazing flavor that’s perfect for all kinds of sandwiches.

close-up of a spicy vegan chicken sandwich
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The patty for this vegan chicken sandwich is a super crispy tofu katsu-like patty. I pan fry these, but you can also bake the tofu. 

The key to getting that excellent coating on the tofu is to double bread it!! If you do a single coating, it tends to fall off, because the tofu inside can sometimes be pretty moist. 

close-up of a vegan chicken sandwich with a bite taken out

To double bread, just dip the tofu cutlets in the batter, then coat it in the breadcrumb mixture. Then, put it back in the batter and then again in the breadcrumb mixture.

The top breadcrumb mixture gets nice and thick when you cook it, and the rest of it becomes like a thick coating underneath that stays on top of the tofu and doesn’t fall off when you’re pan frying it or handling it after cooking.

crispy vegan chicken patties on a plate with buns and toppings around them

These are best served when they’re just pan fried or baked and still super crispy.  Pair the crunchy patties with your usual burger toppings, like lettuce, tomato, onion, vegan mayo, and whatever else you like. I like to make a quick mayo-hot sauce mixture, which pairs really well with the heat in the patty. 

crispy vegan chicken sandwiches on a wooden cutting board

Why You’ll Love Vegan Crispy Chicken Sandwiches

  • crispy, crunchy, spicy vegan chicken patties
  • quick and easy spicy mayo with a less spicy option
  • fresh veggie toppings
  • nut-free with gluten-free and soy-free options
close-up of a crispy vegan chicken sandwich

More Vegan Sandwiches

Vegan Crispy Chicken Sandwich

5 from 3 votes
By: Vegan Richa
Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 3
Course: dinner, lunch, Main
Cuisine: American
A vegan crispy chicken sandwich with your favorite toppings is an easy vegan lunch or dinner! The crispy crunchy coating has an amazing flavor that’s perfect for all kinds of sandwiches. Also learn how to make the coating that doesn’t fall off! Double-bread the tofu.
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Ingredients 
 

For the Tofu

  • 14 oz extra firm tofu, pressed for at least 15 minutes

For the Batter

  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk, (oat, soy or almond)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, , use tamari for gluten-free
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning, or all purpose seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Breadcrumb Coating

  • 1 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs, or any other crispy breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

To Pan Fry

  • 3 teaspoons oil, divided, or more if needed

For the Dressing

  • 1/4 cup vegan mayo
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce

For the Sandwich

  • 3 hamburger buns, or vegan bread of choice, toasted if you like
  • lettuce, as needed,
  • sliced tomato, as needed
  • sliced onion as needed

Instructions 

Prep the tofu cutlets.

  • Press the tofu, if you haven't already, then slice into three slices 1/2” thick slices, and then shape the slices into the size and shape of the buns or bread that you're planning to use. I usually get just three slices out of the tofu brand that I use. And usually make it slightly less than 1/2” thick

Make the batter and breadcrumb coatings.

  • In a shallow bowl, add all of the batter ingredients and mix really well until it’s like a thin pancake-type batter.
  • In another shallow bowl, add the breadcrumbs and the rest of the breadcrumb coating ingredients, and mix really well.
  • Prep your breading station, and also preheat a large skillet over medium heat, and add 2 teaspoons or more oil to it so that the oil can heat up.

Batter and cook the tofu.

  • Take each tofu slice and put it in the bowl with the batter, tossing to coat all sides. Then, using a fork, transfer it to the breadcrumb bowl, and use a spoon to spoon the breadcrumbs to coat all of the sides of the tofu piece.
  • Move this tofu slice into the batter bowl again, and coat it again with the batter, then move it back into the breadcrumb bowl and cover with the breadcrumbs again, then transfer to the hot skillet.
  • Repeat for all of the tofu slices, transferring them to the hot skillet. Drizzle another 1 or 2 teaspoons of oil all over to help crisp up the tofu really well. You want to use a slightly smaller pan, so that the oil will pool slightly on the edges to crisp up the edges of the tofu pieces, as well. (See notes for baking)
  • Continue to cook the tofu on both sides for about 3 to 4 minutes per side until golden and crispy.
  • Remove the crispy tofu from the skillet, and transfer to a wire mesh cooling rack, so that it doesn’t soften and stays crispy.

Make the crispy chicken sandwich.

  • Prep the rest of your sandwich ingredients. If you’re using the spicy dressing, mix together the mayo and hot sauce. Otherwise, just use plain mayo. Layer the bun with the dressing, and with tomato and onion. Add the crispy chicken and lettuce, and then top it with your mayo or mayo-hot sauce mixture and the other bun and serve.

Notes

Storage: the crispy chicken can be refrigerated for upto 3 days. Crisp then up until just about golden and refrigerate, then reheat on the skillet for a few mins until nicely golden and crisp. 
Bake or air fry: place the coated tofu on parchment. drizzle or brush oil. Bake or air fry at 400 deg F for 15 mins or longer until golden. (Check at 10 min in air fryer) 

To make this gluten-free
, use gluten-free breadcrumbs, flour and tamari instead of soy sauce.
To make this soy-free, use a vegan chicken substitute or chickpea tofu or seitan chicken patties. Also omit the soy sauce and use coconut aminos instead.

Nutrition

Calories: 503kcal, Carbohydrates: 54g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Sodium: 689mg, Potassium: 372mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 30IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 217mg, Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this recipe? Rate and comment below!
tofu, panko, and other sandwich ingredients in bowls on a kitchen counter

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • tofu – This is the chicken patty. Use chickpea tofu, seitan or other vegan chicken subs for variation
  • non-dairy milk – Adds moisture to the batter.
  • soy sauce – Adds umami and salt to the batter. Use tamari for gluten-free.
  • all-purpose flour – To thicken the batter. Use gluten-free blend for if needed
  • spices – You’re seasoning the batter with black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and poultry seasoning. The breadcrumbs use black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.
  • panko – For the crunchy breading. Use gluten-free if needed
  • oil – To pan fry.
  • vegan mayo and hot sauce – For the quick spicy mayo.
  • buns – Use your favorite buns or bread! Gluten-free is fine, if needed.
  • lettuce, tomato, and onion – For topping.

Tips

  • Make sure that your tofu cutlets aren’t more than 1/2″ thick.
  • Make sure the oil is really hot before adding the patties.
  • When your patties finish cooking, don’t put them on a plate, because they can get mushy. Instead, put them on a wire rack while you prep your buns.

How to Make Spicy Vegan Chicken Sandwiches

First, prep the tofu cutlets. 

Press the tofu, if you haven’t already, then slice into three slices 1/2” thick slices, and then shape the slices into the size and shape of the buns or bread that you’re planning to use. I usually get just three slices out of the tofu brand that I use. You don’t want the slices to be more than 1/2” thick. I usually make it slightly less than 1/2” thick 

block of tofu cut with rounded corners
sliced tofu cutlets on a plate

Make the batter and breadcrumb coatings.

In a shallow bowl, add all of the batter ingredients and mix really well until it’s like a thin pancake-type batter.  

mixing the batter ingredients in a bowl
batter ingredients in a bowl after mixing

In another shallow bowl, add the breadcrumbs and the rest of the breadcrumb coating ingredients, and mix really well.

seasoned panko breadcrumbs in a bowl

Prep your breading station, and also preheat a large skillet over medium heat, and add 2 teaspoons or more oil to it so that the oil can heat up. 

Batter and cook the tofu.

Take each tofu slice and put it in the bowl with the batter, tossing to coat all sides. Then, using a fork, transfer it to the breadcrumb bowl, and use a spoon to spoon the breadcrumbs to coat all of the sides of the tofu piece. 

sliced tofu cutlets coated in the batter
sliced tofu cutlets coated in panko

Move this tofu slice into the batter bowl again, and coat it again with the batter, then move it back into the breadcrumb bowl and cover with the breadcrumbs again, then transfer to the hot skillet.

Repeat for all of the tofu slices, transferring them to the hot skillet. Drizzle another 1 or 2 teaspoons of oil all over to help crisp up the tofu really well. You want to use a slightly smaller pan, so that the oil will pool slightly on the edges to crisp up the edges of the tofu pieces, as well. 

placing the breaded tofu back into the batter
sliced tofu cutlets coated in a second layer of panko
crispy vegan chicken cutlet in the frying pan

Continue to cook the tofu on both sides for about 3 to 4 minutes per side until golden and crispy.

crispy vegan chicken cutlets on a wire rack

Remove the crispy tofu from the skillet, and transfer to a wire mesh cooling rack, so that it doesn’t soften and stays crispy.

Now, make the crispy chicken sandwiches.

Prep the rest of your sandwich ingredients. If you’re using the spicy dressing, mix together the mayo and hot sauce. Otherwise, just use plain mayo.

bowl of spicy mayo with a spoon in it

Spread the mayo on the bun. Layer the buns with tomato and onion. Add the crispy chicken and lettuce, and then top it with your mayo or mayo-hot sauce mixture and serve.

spicy mayo spread onto a toasted bun
crispy vegan chicken patty, lettuce, onion, and tomatoes on the bun
crispy vegan chicken sandwich on a wooden cutting board

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this recipe allergy friendly?

To make this gluten-free, use gluten-free breadcrumbs, gluten-free flour and tamari instead of soy sauce. 

To make this soy-free, you can use a vegan chicken substitute or seitan chicken patties. Also omit the soy sauce and use coconut aminos instead.

What is vegan chicken made from?

There are lots of ways that you can make vegan chicken! In this recipe, I’m using tofu, but you can also use seitan or soy curls in other vegan chicken recipes.

How do I store the crispy chicken?

These crispy tofu patties can be refrigerated for upto 3 days. Crisp then up until just about golden and refrigerate, then reheat on the skillet for a few mins until nicely golden and crisp.
Freezing might not work as the tofu texture will change, it will release moisture when reheating and that will make the coating soggy.

About Richa

Hi, I'm Richa! I create flavorful plant based recipes that are inspired by my Indian upbringing, including many gluten-free, soy-free, and oil-free options.

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5 from 3 votes

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8 Comments

  1. Melissa says:

    5 stars
    This is far an away best seasoning combo that I’ve ever had for crispy tofu. I like it so much that I make it 2x a week. Also, great tip for how to shallow pan fry. So appreciative of Vegan Richa’s delicious recipes and easy to follow directions. Thank you!

    1. Richa says:

      Yay

  2. GRT says:

    5 stars
    These are fabulous! Super easy and so delicious. Will make these over and over. Thanks for your recipes!

    1. Richa says:

      Yay!!

  3. LynD says:

    5 stars
    These sounds AMAZING! What do you think about freezing them (only tofu lover in the house) freeze before or after cooking?

    1. Richa says:

      Freezing might not work coz the tofu texture will change and it will release moisture when reheating messing up the coating. You can crisp up until just about golden and refrigerate, then reheat on the skillet for a few mins until nicely golden and crisp

  4. Lani says:

    If you wanted to bake these instead of pan fry them what temperature and what time would you use?

    1. Vegan Richa Support says:

      Bake or pan fry at 400f . 15 mins or until golden and crisp