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Baked Tofu Nuggets

These easy baked tofu nuggets are the perfect healthier alternative to frying your nuggets and a fun and delicious way to cook with tofu for all ages! These vegan-friendly bite-sized nuggets are ready in under 35 minutes and great as a main meal, a high-protein snack, or for adding some crunch to your favorite dish.

close up of baked tofu nuggets, with one showing the cross-section of the tofu inside coated in the spicy, crispy crumb coating

Fun fact, this baked tofu nugget recipe was amongst the first I ever published on By The Forkful, all the way back in 2019! Since then, the tofu obsession has only continued, with this gorgeous honey garlic tofu, my viral tofu marry me pasta recipe, these spicy gochujang tofu delights, and this epic tofu ground “beef” for tacos and burrito bowls.

These easy and healthier baked tofu nuggets are great as a snack with your favorite dipping sauce (I love them with this spicy jalapeno sauce or a smoky BBQ sauce!), but could also be a family-friendly main meal with cajun fries or even with these loaded fries as an extra cheat! It may also sound a bit out there, but I love a crispy tofu nugget on top of a creamy pasta – like this easy butternut squash pasta.

Ingredient Notes & Substitutions

Scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of this page for the exact ingredient quantities and instructions. Below I’ve added a few notes on the ingredients you’ll need along with some potential substitutions and variations.

baked tofu nugget ingredients: tofu, milk, cornflakes, seasonings, apple cider vinegar, corn flour
  • Tofu: Crucially, you need extra-firm tofu for this recipe! Definitely don’t use silken tofu, or your nuggets will simply fall apart. I strongly recommend patting the tofu dry and either pressing it or gently squeezing the tofu with a clean cloth to remove as much excess water as possible. This is what gets the nuggets crispy rather than soft and squashy.
  • Milk: To make this recipe vegan-friendly, use plant-based milk. Almond, oat, or soy milk will all work for this recipe.
  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch is a must for getting that thick, crispy coating on your tofu nuggets. It’s also known as corn flour. You could swap this ingredient for plain flour if you need to.
  • Seasonings: To really enhance the flavors in this tofu nugget recipe, I used a homemade blend of paprika, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, and salt. Of course, feel free to adjust the seasonings to suit your preferences!
  • Breadcrumbs or Cornflakes: You’ve got two great options for the coating for this recipe. You could use panko breadcrumbs, or you could use crushed cornflakes. Both give the tofu nuggets a delicious crispy batter, so it’s up to you. I prefer the cornflakes, personally!

Variations

  • Add some spice by coating your finished baked nuggets in a buffalo honey sauce (0.5 cup buffalo sauce, 2 tbsp honey, 2 tbsp butter cooked in a frying pan until combined!). Similar to in this buffalo tofu wrap recipe.
  • Add cayenne chili pepper for some spice!
  • Freeze the tofu and then defrost before cooking – some people say this gives the tofu a better “chicken” like texture
  • Cut the tofu into rectangle shapes for tofu tenders
crispy baked tofu nuggets with a bbq dip

Making These Baked Tofu Nuggets

I’ve included the full recipe and instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of the page. Below are some step-by-step instructions with some process shots so you can see how the recipe should look while cooking!

Step 1) Prepare The Tofu

First, prepare your tofu. Remove it from the packaging and pat dry with a cloth, gently squeezing the tofu in the fabric to remove as much moisture as possible. You can also press the tofu with a heavy item (like a few heavy books!) for 15 minutes.

Then, cut the tofu into nugget shapes. You could also tear the tofu into chunks for a less uniform shape.

Step 2) Make The Batters

Place your corn flour in a bowl. In another bowl, combined the milk and apple cider vinegar to make your buttermilk. Finally, add your panko breadcrumbs or crushed cornflakes and the seasonings in another bowl and combine.

All in, you’ll have three bowls!

the three batters: corn flour, buttermilk, cornflakes & spices

Step 3) Make The Nuggets

Dip each tofu nugget first in the wet batter, then in the dry (it can be helpful to have one hand for the wet ingredients and one hand for the dry to avoid making a mess!). Place the nugget on a lined baking tray while you repeat the process for the remaining nuggets.

Step 4) Spray with oil & bake

Spray the nuggets with cooking oil and bake them for 25 – 30 minutes, or until the coating is crispy and golden. 

Sprinkle the tofu nuggets with flaky salt, then serve with your favorite dip and enjoy!

Top Tips & Recipe Notes

Making these tofu nuggets is a quick and easy process but if you’ve not battered anything before or aren’t used to cooking with tofu, these tips will help make sure your recipe turns out exactly as it should.

Use The Right Tofu

Extra-firm tofu is a must for this recipe. It has the most “chicken” like texture (although let’s be real, tofu is tofu and chicken is chicken), and will also hold its shape best when battered and cooked. 

Dry Your Tofu

Take the time to dry your tofu and gently squeeze out any excess water with a clean cloth. I rarely go as far as to press my tofu, but you may want to. To press your tofu, wrap it in a clean cloth on a chopping board and lay a couple of heavy books on top, then leave it for 15 minutes.

You want your tofu to be dry to help it achieve that perfectly chewy texture, and to help the batter mixes stick!

Use One Hand Per Batter

It can be easy to get in a bit of a mess when transferring your tofu from the corn flour to the buttermilk to the crumb coating. Before long, your fingers will be battered all over! To help, I try to keep one hand for the wet batter, and the other hand for the dry batters.

close up shot of the baked tofu nuggets

Storing

If you have leftovers, store your tofu nuggets in an airtight container for up to 3-5 days in the refrigerator. I would recommend reheating them in the oven as reheating tofu nuggets in the microwave could make them go a little spongy!

You could also freeze leftover nuggets in an airtight container for up to three months, and bake the nuggets straight from frozen! Just be mindful of the cooking time as it will take a little longer.

FAQs

Can I Air Fry These Tofu Nuggets?

Yes, these tofu nuggets are suitable for cooking in the air fryer. Follow the same instructions but cook the nuggets in the air fryer at 200C for 10 – 15 minutes.

I actually prefer how the nuggets turn out when they’ve been cooked in the oven versus in the air fryer, but I tested the air fryer option for you, and it does work! See the picture below for how my nuggets turned out in the air fryer.

tofu nuggets cooked in air fryer
this is what the nuggets looked like when I tested them in the air fryer!

What Type Of Tofu Should I Use?

Use extra-firm tofu for this recipe – other types of tofu won’t give you the same delicious texture that’s perfect for nuggets.

Why Aren’t My Tofu Nuggets Crispy?

If the tofu nuggets aren’t crisping up in the oven, you may need to increase the cooking time or cook them for a little longer.

Baked Tofu Nuggets

Baked Tofu Nuggets

Yield: 20 nuggets
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

These crispy, delicious baked tofu nuggets are absolutely incredible as a side or a main meal the whole family will love!

Ingredients

  • 1 200g block extra firm tofu
  • 2.5 cups cornflakes, crushed into crumbs
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 0.5 cup milk
  • 1.5 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup cornflour
  • Spray oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375F | 190C and line a large baking sheet with baking paper.
  2. Prepare the tofu by removing it from the packaging, draining it, and patting it dry with a clean cloth. Use the cloth to gently squeeze as much moisture out of your tofu as possible - you could also press your tofu by placing some heavy books on top of it for 15 minutes.
  3. Break the tofu apart into rough “nugget” shapes. I use my fingers for this but you could also cut the tofu if you prefer.
  4. In a bowl, add the apple cider vinegar to the plant-based milk to create your “buttermilk”. The milk will curdle slightly - that’s OK!
  5. In another bowl or plate, add the cornflour.
  6. Finally, add your crushed cornflakes to another large bowl or plate and stir in the seasonings and nutritional yeast.
  7. Batter the tofu nuggets by dipping each one in the corn flour, then the buttermilk, and then finally the cornflake mixture.
  8. Line each nugget on a baking sheet and spray on both sides with oil, then bake for 25 - 30 minutes, flipping halfway.

Notes

Getting your tofu nice and dry is really important for helping the batter stick to your tofu nuggets and get them completely covered! Take the time to dry and gently squeeze out any excess tofu.

To Cook Your Nuggets In The Air Fryer: Follow all the instructions up until step 6, then spray the nuggets with oil and cook for 12 - 16 minutes in your air fryer at 200C, flipping them halfway through.

To Cook Your Nuggets On The Stove: heat 2-3 tbsp oil in a large frying pan, and add just enough tofu nuggets that you don’t crowd the pan. Fry for 3-4 minutes on each side then flip.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 193Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 271mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 10g

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