Crispy Baked Tofu Nuggets

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Hand reaching in to pick up a cashew-crusted tofu nugget from a plate

Looking for a protein-packed, freezer-friendly main the whole family will enjoy? These cashew-crusted tofu nuggets are IT! They’re crispy, savory, kid (and adult) approved, and oh so dip-able! We can’t wait for you to try them.

Pair them with matchstick fries for a plant-based comfort meal, or freeze a batch and reheat a few any time you (or your kids) are craving a quick snack or protein-packed main. Let us show you how it’s done!

Salt, garlic powder, black pepper, smoked paprika, lemon, almond milk, tofu, cornstarch, nutritional yeast. and cashews

How to Make Tofu Nuggets

Inspired by our cashew-crusted cauliflower, the coating on these tofu nuggets includes raw cashews, salt, pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and nutritional yeast. After a quick blitz in the food processor, the combo becomes a savory, smoky coating that brings BIG flavor to the tofu.

Cheesy cashew mixture in a food processor

Next, we combine dairy-free milk and lemon juice to create a vegan “buttermilk.” This mixture helps the cashew coating stick to the cubed tofu. Once the assembly line starts, it’s quick and easy: Cornstarch, “buttermilk,” cashew coating, repeat!

Dipping cubed tofu into cornstarch next to bowls of vegan "buttermilk" and a cashew coating

Once the tofu cubes are cashew-coated, we add them to a lightly greased baking sheet and they’re ready for the oven. A quick flip halfway through the bake time ensures even baking and ultra-crispy results!

Cubed baked tofu breaded with a cashew coating

Now all that remains is to make your favorite sauce, plate up your nuggets, and get to dipping! You can also freeze the nuggets at this time and bake again later for anytime nuggety goodness.

Plate of vegan "chicken" nuggets with one dipped in a bowl of vegan tartar sauce

We hope you LOVE these tofu nuggets! They’re:

Crispy
Savory
Super snack-able
Quick & easy
Freezer-friendly
& Perfect for all ages!

We love dipping them in tartar sauce, ketchup, ranch, BBQ sauce, or no-honey mustard sauce. They’re also delicious served alongside salads, fries, or crudité!

More Flavorful Tofu Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Close up photo showing the inside of a crispy tofu nugget

Crispy Baked Tofu Nuggets

Crispy, savory, super snack-able tofu nuggets! Freezer-friendly, kid-approved, protein-packed, and perfect with your favorite dipping sauce. Plant-based, gluten-free, and just 10 ingredients required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Bowl of vegan tartar sauce surrounded by tofu nuggets
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8 (4-nugget servings)
Course Entree, Snack
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 2-3 Days

Ingredients

TOFU

  • 1 (14 oz.) package extra firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1-inch (2 ½ cm) cubes
  • Avocado oil spray* (or other neutral spray)

CASHEW COATING

  • 3/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 ½ Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3/4 tsp each sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

VEGAN BUTTERMILK

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dairy-free milk (we used almond)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

FOR COATING

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and prepare a baking sheet by spraying it with avocado oil (for the crispiest nuggets) or lining with parchment paper.
  • If you haven’t already pressed your tofu, do so at this time by using a tofu press, or wrap in a clean, absorbent towel and set something heavy — like a cast iron skillet or books — on top to press out the moisture. Press for about 15-20 minutes.
  • While your tofu drains, prepare the cashew coating. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the cashews, cornstarch, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper, smoked paprika, and garlic powder. Pulse a few times to break down the cashews slightly, then turn the processor on until you achieve a fine meal (see photo), about 30-45 seconds. Transfer the cashew coating to a shallow bowl or dish.
  • Next, make the vegan buttermilk in a separate shallow bowl or dish by combining the dairy-free milk and lemon juice. Mix and set aside to curdle. Then add 1/2 cup cornstarch (56 g) to another shallow bowl and set aside (adjust the amount of cornstarch if altering the default number of servings).
  • Cut your pressed tofu into 1-inch (2 ½ cm) cubes, and start the assembly line! Using clean hands, start by coating your tofu in cornstarch and gently tapping on the side of the bowl to shake off any excess. Next, dip in the vegan buttermilk and evenly coat, then place in the cashew coating and turn the tofu a few times to evenly coat all sides. Place your breaded nugget on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining tofu.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the tofu nuggets are slightly golden, dry, and bouncy to the touch. Let cool slightly before serving with your favorite sauce — we love them with tartar sauce, ketchup, "honey" mustard, ranch, or BBQ sauce. If serving to kids, it’s best to slice the nuggets in half to help the insides cool off.
  • Leftovers keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. For best texture, reheat in a 400 F (204 C) oven for 5-10 minutes or until warmed through.

Video

Notes

*We recommend avocado oil spray vs. greasing the baking sheet with avocado oil because it helps the nuggets crisp up without becoming too greasy (which causes the coating to crumble).
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without a dipping sauce.

Nutrition (1 of 8 servings)

Serving: 1 four-nugget serving Calories: 169 Carbohydrates: 14.2 g Protein: 10 g Fat: 9.1 g Saturated Fat: 1.6 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.8 g Monounsaturated Fat: 3.9 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 236 mg Potassium: 223 mg Fiber: 1.4 g Sugar: 1.3 g Vitamin A: 101 IU Vitamin C: 0 mg Calcium: 221 mg Iron: 2.3 mg

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  1. Cathy says

    I made this last night and didn’t change a thing from the original recipe. We loved the coating; flavorful and crispy. Another winner aiding us on our quest to eat WFPB!! Thank-you!!!

  2. Kate says

    I made these last night and this recipe’s a keeper for me! I used potato starch as it’s what I had on hand, worked fine. I also made them into bigger “tenders,” also worked. Delicious on a sandwich the next day as well! Thanks for this recipe!

  3. Brandie says

    I just made this tonight and it was very good! I added a little too much smoked paprika when I was adding the seasonings because I wasn’t using a measuring spoon but it actually turned out and I love it thank you.

  4. Dolly says

    Another solid recipe made with pantry staples- thank you! I made this recipe as written, using canned coconut milk for the milk and refined coconut oil on my baking sheet. I’ll try the avocado oil next time, as I think the oven was a bit hot for the coconut oil, but was using what I had. We ate them over a green salad with J. Kenji’s Soy Bals Vin dressing and finished up the last few on the pan with a little ketchup – yum. The process was a little messy (for me, at least) but totally worth it!

  5. Cindy says

    Just made these for dinner – easy and yummy!! Made as stated in recipe other than putting them in the air fryer for about 8 min at the end to crisp up more. I have enough “breading” left that I will make another batch tomorrow to freeze:) Served with some bbq sauce, corn on the cob and green beans.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Maryanne, if not gluten-free, you could try all purpose flour, but we haven’t tested with that modification and can’t guarantee it will work the same. Let us know if you try it!

  6. Lee says

    Question: will arrowroot work as well as cornstarch? Or another sub?
    Can’t wait to try this recipe … am going to soak tofu in vegan barbieQ sauce first. Best, Lee

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lee, we tested with arrowroot and tapioca and unfortunately they made it a bit gummy, but would work okay in a pinch. If not gluten-free, you could try all purpose flour, but we haven’t tested it. Soaking in BBQ sauce might change the texture, but the flavor could be awesome! Let us know how it goes!

  7. Mandy Gann says

    Hi there! Would almonds work in place of the cashews? We have an allergy in our house. Thank you for all your amazing recipes!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thank you for your kind words, Mandy! We haven’t tested with almonds, but it might work! Let us know if you give it a try!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Libby, almond flour might work okay, but we don’t think it will get quite as crispy since it will be more fine in texture and may soak into the tofu a bit. Let us know if you try it!

  8. Carla says

    I would LOVE to make these but I cannot have nuts or seeds. Do you have another recommendation to replace the cashews?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Carla, panko breadcrumbs (gluten-free as needed) might work, but we haven’t tested it that way so can’t guarantee the result. Let us know if you try it!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lisa, if not gluten-free, all purpose flour might work. In our experience, tapioca starch makes them a bit gummy, but can work okay in a pinch. We wouldn’t recommend chickpea, almond, or coconut. Hope that helps!

  9. Jodi says

    This looks fantastic. Two questions:

    1. Do you think I could do a hybrid of the oil spray and parchment paper, i.e., spray the partchment paper?

    2. Can I use a different kind of oil spray, such as coconut oil?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jodi, a hybrid should work great! Coconut oil might smoke a little bit at 400 F, but it would probably work otherwise. If you have olive oil spray, that should work well! Hope that helps!

  10. Linda says

    My nephew cannot eat cashews but is able to eat macadamia nuts. Do you think this recipe would work macadamia nuts? This recipe looks so good I can’t wait to try it.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Macadamia nuts might work! Or possibly almonds or panko breadcrumbs (gluten-free as needed)? We haven’t tested with these modifications though so can’t guarantee they will turn out the same. Let us know if you try it!

  11. Laura says

    Do you have any recommendation for a sub for the cashews? My son would love these but he’s allergic to cashews (and pistachios and peanuts). Maybe almonds?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Laura, almonds might work, or perhaps panko breadcrumbs (gluten-free as needed)? We haven’t tested with either though so can’t guarantee the result!

  12. Judy says

    Hi there,

    I loved using nutritional yeast. It is such a wonderful substitute for a cheesy flavor. However I stopped using it after I listen to a Medical Medium podcast recently. It’s not as healthy as I had thought…

    For this recipe, what spices would you suggest to replace the nutritional yeast and still give it a nice flavor?

    Thanks! Judy

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Judy, we’d suggest leaving it out vs. trying to sub something else. They won’t be quite as savory, but still tasty!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lindsay, panko breadcrumbs (gluten-free, if needed) might work, but we haven’t tested with that modification so can’t guarantee the result. Let us know if you try it!

      • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

        We’re so glad you enjoyed them, Lindsay. Thanks so much for the lovely review and for sharing your modification! xo

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Mary, almond flour might work okay, but we don’t think it will get quite as crispy since it will be more fine in texture and may soak into the tofu a bit. Let us know if you try it!

  13. Maryanne says

    I can’t wait to make these!

    question though….is there something else that can be substituted for
    the cornstarch?

    thx Maryanne

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Maryanne, if not gluten-free, you could try all purpose flour, but we haven’t tested with that modification and can’t guarantee it will work the same. Let us know if you try it!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Erin, we tested with those and unfortunately they made it a bit gummy! Cornstarch is best. You could try with all purpose flour if not gluten-free, but we haven’t tested with that modification so can’t guarantee the result!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Ha, we got a little playful with this video! If you’re talking about the end of the tofu nuggets video, it’s actually a woman saying “so good!” =)