Vegan Spicy McNuggets
Updated: Oct 26
Let's make some Spicy McNuggets like McDonald's only VEGAN and actually SPICY!
I can't remember that last time I ate at a McDonald's, but I do remember eating my fair share of McNuggets, and I definitely remember what they were like, and I feel like these are spot on, only totally SPICY!
McDonald's released their new Spicy McNuggets about a month ago and people seem to love them, although I've been reading that a lot of folks are saying they aren't super spicy, and since I love hot stuff, I figured we might as well make these live up to their name. And if these aren't spicy enough for ya, we have the Mighty Hot Sauce copycat recipe as well! But you can totally eat these with whatever dipping sauce you like, vegan ranch would work great! Any dip will do!
That being said, if you are afraid of spice feel free to half the amount of cayenne and hot sauce, or leave it out all together and make regular nuggets!
You can also use these in non-traditional ways too! Like adding them to my VEGAN ALFREDO MAC n' CHEESE! Click HERE for my Alfredo recipe!
I'm using Gardein Scallopini filets in this recipe, but you could just as easily use a block of tofu. You'll need to freeze and thaw it twice, then press it for about 20 minutes, then cut into nugget type shapes. The freezing and thawing process imparts a meaty texture to the tofu!
You can freeze the Nuggets for later too. And to reheat, Air Fry for about 6 minutes at 380° F, then flip and and repeat the process until they are heated through!
And here's a handy dandy VIDEO to show you how I make these Nuggets too!
Tips for Fried Chick'n:
If using Gardein Chick'n products, thaw them overnight in the fridge or on the counter top for about an hour. DO NOT microwave or you'll end up cooking them and they won't be pliable.
Use an electric Deep Fryer like this FryDaddy.
If not using an electric deep fryer, get a deep fry thermometer. You can use a different one if you fry in a pan, but for my money, the deep fry thermometer has been a big help. I like to fry at 375° F.
Use a wire rack after frying to prevent the chick'n from steaming itself and getting soggy. You can also keep the Fried Chick'n warm in the oven on a wire rack. Just set the oven to lowest setting possible. Mine goes down to 170° F as an example.
Don't use olive oil to fry. You need to use something with a high smoke point, I usually fry with peanut or vegetable oil.
Shake off the excess flour and batter when you dredge.
You can freeze these for later, just Air Fry to reheat (I would do it at 380° in 5 - 6 minute increments and check until it's heated through). Or if using an oven, preheat to 400° F and let the Chick'n sit at room temperature while the oven heats up. Then cook on a wire rack for 10 - 15 minutes.
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Makes about 20 Nuggets
1 package Gardein Chick’n Scallopini filet (thawed) or 1 block firm tofu (frozen and thawed twice).
3/4 cup plant milk
1/4 cup hot sauce (I used Frank's)
2 Tbsp jalapeño brine (from a pickled jalapeño jar)
1/4 cup flour + 2 Tbsp (divided)
1/4 cup cornstarch + 2 Tbsp (divided)
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp Lawry's seasoned salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder (or garlic salt)
1/2 tsp Accent (MSG)
1 Tbsp Cayenne + 2 Tbsp (divided)
Mighty Hot Sauce
(this makes a lot so feel free to half it)
1 cup hot sauce (I used Frank's)
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp cornstarch + 4 tsp water (slurry)
Make the Mighty Hot Sauce first. Add your hot sauce of choice and apricot preserves to a saucepan over medium heat.
Stir to combine then add the rest of the ingredients. To make the slurry, simply combine the 2 tsp cornstarch with 4 tsp water in a small ramekin or bowl and stir with a fork. Add the slurry after the other ingredients and whisk in.
Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer and reduce for about 25 minutes. The sauce will thicken when cooled. Add to the fridge while we make our Nuggets!
Whether you are using the Gardein Scallopini or Tofu, slice them up into nugget shapes. I got 5 nuggets per Scallopini, so 20 in all. Add them to a plate and keep them in the fridge for now.
In a bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of flour, 1/4 cup of cornstarch, the white pepper, Lawry's, garlic powder or salt, Accent, and 1 Tbsp of the cayenne.
In another bowl, whisk together the unsweetened plant milk, 1/4 cup of hot sauce, the jalapeño brine, 2 Tbsp of flour, 2 Tbsp of cornstarch, and 2 Tbsp of cayenne.
Bring a pot of oil to 375° F.
Once oil is up to frying temperature, dredge your nuggets first in the flour mixture, then in the wet batter. Making sure to shake off the excess on both. Then carefully add them to the pot and fry until crispy, about 4-5 minutes (perhaps less, just keep an eye on them!)
Let them rest on a wire rack. Once they are cool enough to eat, go to town and dip them in whatever sauce you like!