Chicken is equally versatile as it is comforting. Transitioning to a vegan diet can feel intimidating if you’re used to incorporating meat into your weekly routine. However, there are clever ways to replace poultry with highly nutritious plant-based alternatives – without compromising too much on taste or texture.
Delicious vegan substitutes for chicken include seitan, a meat alternative made from vital wheat gluten, and soy products like soy curls, tofu, tempeh, TVP, and store-bought vegan chicken. Whole foods like cauliflower, jackfruit, mushrooms, and chickpeas are excellent vegan chicken alternatives.
We’ve whipped up a list of 10 vegan-friendly substitutes to help replace chicken. Whether you are a newcomer to a vegan lifestyle or simply craving new plant-based recipes, you will love each of them.
Delicious Vegan Chicken Substitutes to Try Today
Chicken is a tasty form of lean protein with a hearty, slightly chewy texture. Fortunately, several homemade and store-bought vegan chicken alternatives can also check these boxes.
Here are the top vegan-friendly chicken replacements.
Soy curls are our ultimate favorite product on the list! The soybeans undergo a unique cooking and drying process to produce these curly bites.
Soy curls boast a mild nutty, savory taste. They are super absorbent and perfect for soaking up the flavor of other ingredients and sauces. Their texture makes them an excellent substitute for replacing chicken strips in stir-fries, curries, hearty stews, wraps, and fajitas.
The curls also turn nice and crispy when popped in the air fryer or fried in the pan.
Seitan, or “wheat meat,” is a protein-rich meat alternative made from vital wheat gluten. It is available in various forms, including a loaf, pre-portioned strips, or chunks.
This plant-based substitute stands out from the crowd – it is highly versatile and boasts a similar appearance and “meaty” texture. Its mild, savory taste is often compared to bland chicken.
Seitan’s subtle flavor suits most chicken-based recipes. Our top two dishes are hot and spicy Seitan chicken wings or grilled outdoors with a BBQ sauce.
Tofu is an excellent (and affordable) protein source that people increasingly embrace as a nutritious chicken replacement. It is made from pressed soy milk and ranges in texture from silken, firm regular, and extra firm. Generally speaking, the latter two make the best chicken alternative.
Tofu has a dense and pleasantly chewy texture, and its mild flavor soaks up whatever additional flavors you add to the dish. It is a truly versatile ingredient.
Tofu is an excellent alternative for chicken strips or cubes added to stir-fries, curries, pies, and rice bowls. Note that you need to spice or marinate tofu before cooking to allow the flavors to fully absorb.
Tempeh is a soy food made from cooked, slightly fermented soybeans. The fermentation process helps to make the starches easily digestible.
Tempeh has a firm texture and mild savory flavors with nutty and earthy notes, often compared to mushrooms. However, the taste is mild enough to provide a neutral base to mimic chicken and to take on the flavors of seasoning and sauces.
Tempeh is the perfect plant-based source to bulk up meals with protein. Use tempeh to make noodles, quinoa bowls, smoky vegan chili, and chipotle salads.
Cauliflower is one of the go-to veggies in vegetarian and vegan cultures. While it falls slightly short of hitting the protein mark. The brassica is exceptionally versatile and chock full of healthy vitamins and minerals.
Cauliflower’s mild taste earns it a spot in the top vegan vegetables. It has a reputation for replacing many foods, including pizza crusts, rice, and of course, chicken.
Some fun and ultra-tasty ideas include a cauliflower wrap, ranch cauliflower taco, and buffalo cauliflower wings. The wings are perfect for game-day appetizers.
Jackfruit is a giant tropical fruit with a sweet flavor when ripe. However, when green, it has very little flavor and a unique, stringy texture that makes it a fantastic vegan chicken substitute.
The best way to use jackfruit when replacing chicken is to make “shredded chicken” for pulled chicken sandwiches, salads, or tacos. The fruit soaks up all the flavors of the additional dressings and marinades.
While many local grocery stores don’t have whole jackfruit readily available year-round, they typically offer canned jackfruit, which works equally well. However, ensure you get the “green” or “young” canned variety.
Mushrooms are an excellent meat substitute. While most people compare their umami flavor to a red meat replacement, the fungi are just as valuable as a poultry substitute.
Mushrooms are rich in texture, full of juicy, savory flavors, and exceptionally versatile in their cooking potential. The biggest trick to replacing chicken with mushroom is knowing what mushroom variety compliments your dish.
Our favorite mushroom chicken replacements are oyster and white button mushrooms. You can add them to your vegan pizza, skillet dishes, or skewers with a marinade, bell peppers, zucchini, and onions.
Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)
Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) is a highly processed vegan meat replacement developed in the 1960s by Archer Daniels Midland. TVP is made by removing the solvents in soy, resulting in a high-protein, low-fat product.
The soy flour can be extruded into various shapes and forms, like strips, chunks, flakes, and nuggets. It can also be purchased in dehydrated form.
On its own, TVP lacks flavor. You should either purchase already-seasoned TVP that resembles chicken or add spices and sauces to the unseasoned variety. Our favorite ways to use TVP include vegan tacos, casseroles, stews, and chili.
Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
Chickpeas are rich in nutrients, fiber, and protein. While you can’t fool anyone by using chickpeas as a chicken replacement, they are a wholesome and healthy alternative.
You can use dry or canned chickpeas – we like taking the convenient route and opting for canned chickpeas.
Chickpeas are excellent chicken replacements in salads, soups, curries, and tacos.
Store-Bought Vegan Chicken
Meatless meals have become a whole lot easier with plant-based meat. There are hundreds of vegan meat alternatives for almost any type of meat, from beefless burgers to vegan chicken and fishless fillets.
Plant-based vegan chicken is made from soy, pea protein, or wheat products and their derivatives. You can find vegan chicken options in the freezer aisle at the local supermarket, ranging from chicken breasts, crispy patties, golden nuggets, and chicken pieces.
Our favorite store-bought vegan chicken companies include Gardein, Beyond Meat, Tofurky, Lightlife, Yves Veggie Cuisine, Boca, Quorn, and MoriningStar Farms.
- MIX. SHAPE. COOK – Just add water and oil to create a plant based chicken substitute crumble that can be shaped into anything: strips, nuggets, tenders, cutlets, crumbles. Suitable for most cooking styles: pan fried, oven baked, air fried, grilled etc.
- 1LB OF CHICK’N PER BOX – One box can make about 4 patties, 12 meatballs, 8 tenders, 24 nuggets, or 1LB of ground vegan chicken. Cook what you need and refrigerate the rest in a closed lid container (up to 48hrs).
- SOY- FREE PROTEIN | CHOLESTEROL FREE | KOSHER– 20g of Protein per serving – Made from dried textured wheat and pea protein (contains gluten). Non-GMO, rich in Vitamin B12, Plant Based Chicken, Animal free, and no preservatives.
- SIMPLE INGREDIENTS – Meat substitutes are filled with chemicals. Our Chickenless Mix is one of the cleanest vegan chicken options in the market, so you can finally enjoy a healthy and delicious plant based chicken. NO REFRIGERATION required for dry mix.
- VEGAN CHICKEN – A simple vegan solution for meat free home cooked meals.
- ● PLANT-BASED HIGH PROTEIN STRIPS: Add a meatless protein-rich addition to your favorite meals. Rehydrate, flavor, and experience the delicious chewy texture of meat while supporting a healthy vegan lifestyle.
- ● PERFECT MEAT ALTERNATIVE: Our textured vegetable protein strips ensure you hit your protein goals while offering incredible value. Each 250g bag provides 145g of protein for multiple high-protein meals!
- ● INCREDIBLE MEATY TEXTURE: Forget about other crumbly vegan protein products; our juicy strips provide you with a unique soy meat substitute experience while maintaining a perfect texture.
- ● EASY TO PREPARE: Infuse these soya chunks with a variety of spices and sauces for a tasty lunch or dinner. Simply place in hot water for 15-20 minutes and start cooking with your favorite seasoning.
- ● VERSATILE MEAL PREP: Whether you’re looking for a vegetarian taco filling or delicious pulled pork alternative, these non-GMO organic soy protein strips effortlessly incorporate into your meal preps.
- Made with seasoned vegetables
- Contains no chicken base
- Certified Vegan
- Contains NO animal byproducts
- Delicious tasting bouillon base
- Rich and Delicious Flavor and Low Sodium: Our No-Chick Bouillon tastes just like chicken. Never too salty with only 400mg salt per cup of broth. This is the tastiest and best chicken substitute. It will become a staple in your pantry and kitchen.
- Healthy, High Quality and Nutritious Ingredients: Non GMO, No Maltodextrin, Fillers or Preservatives; Kosher, Vegan and Gluten Free. A healthy seasoning choice for all your soups, vegetables, rice, vegan and vegetarian foods.
- Multiple Uses without Hassle and Thirty Servings in Each Bottle: Makes 32 cups of broth. Add flavor to any meals. Dissolves instantly in warm water. Long Shelf Life. No need to refrigerate. Use in gravy, sauce, broths or any vegan foods.
- Ethical, Recyclable, Sustainable: 100% Vegan and good for you and the environment. Only Healthy ingredients. Long shelf life. Durable and Sustainable packaging. Bottle, label and lid are all recyclable!
- Our Promise to You: We are so confident that you will love our No-Chix Boullion, we offer a full money back guarantee no questions asked. If you are unhappy in any way just let us know and we will either replace your item or give you your money back.
- AN INSTANT, HEARTY BROTH GREAT FOR SOUPS, SEASONING AND MARINADES!
- A DELICIOUS SEASONING FOR VEGETABLES, PASTA, TOFU, YOGURT, GRAINS AND BEANS!
- Gluten Free, Low/much reduced level of Sodium, Organic Formula, Certified Vegetarian & Vegan;
- Low Carbohydrates, Versatile Powder, NON-GMO SOY, No Preservatives, No Additives, No HVP;
- Made in USA with more than 90% ingredients sourced in USA! 12oz jar = 75 Servings, 15 Calories per cup. (Sodium Content in 1 serving: 196mg)
- FRESH SPICES, CLEAN INGREDIENTS - US made, gluten & MSG free, non-GMO certified, no soy, no additives, paleo and keto friendly, vegan parve.
- ALL PURPOSE SEASONINGS - 5 flavors to choose from. As seen on Food Network - Valerie Bertinelli's "Valerie's Home Cooking" show. A unique blend of unrefined sea salt, turmeric, and spices.
- PERFECT FOR EVERYTHING - from BBQ rub, grilling, ranch bread, on bagels, egg, chips, fries, pizza, cauliflower, salad, steak, seafood, curry, soup, chili, or on a sandwich.
- HEALTHIER AND TASTY ALTERNATIVE: Perfect alternative to table salt, chicken bouillon, and other all purpose seasonings that contain an abundance of sodium, chemicals, and GMO ingredients.
- ADD PURE GOURMET FLAVOR - To any cuisine - Mediterranean, Indian, Greek, Cajun. Alternative to table salt and chicken bouillon.
- Vegan: Made without any animal products, including seafood, dairy, eggs or honey
- Better Than Bouillon Vegetarian No Chicken Base is made with seasoned vegetables & does not contain chicken
- Each jar makes 9.5 quarts of broth & contains 38 servings
- Better Than Bouillon Vegetarian No Chicken Base is Certified Vegan
- Blendable bases easily spoon right out of the jar and let you add as much, or as little, flavor as desired
- From marinades, glazes and vegetables to soups, sides and slow cooker dishes. Vegetarian Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base adds flavor to all your favorite dishes
- Healthy Puff Snack With Crunch: Hippeas Vegan Snacks are packed with 4g of Plant Protein and 3g of Fiber per 1oz serving. They’re USDA Organic, Certified Gluten-Free, Kosher, Non-GMO, with No Peanuts, Tree Nuts, or Soy. Better healthy snacking for all!
- Organic Chickpea Puff Snacks: Made from the humble but mighty legume baked into a crunchy, light puff. Just like your favorite chips, popcorn, veggie straws, and other snack foods, they’re guaranteed to satisfy your crunchy, salty snack cravings.
- Vegan White Cheddar “Cheese”: Our puffs have a righteously cheezy flavor, but they’re vegan, so there’s no real cheese in these entirely plant-based snacks.
- Classic Grocery Size: This 4oz bag is the perfect size for lunch, movie nights, and snacks for kids and adults
- Good For The Earth: Did you know Chickpea Plants naturally release nitrogen back into the earth as they grow? They’re good for the planet, simply by being themselves.
- Contains one 15-ounce can of Gardein Plant-Based chick'n & Rice Soup
- Enjoy a warm and delicious soup made with tender chunks of plant-based chick'n, white rice, wild rice, thick-cut carrots and celery, all simmered in a blend of classic spices
- Vegan and Non-GMO Certified plant-based soup
- 13 grams of protein per can
- Stock up on this Vegan soup for quick lunches and delicious anytime meals
Frequently Asked Questions
What Tastes Like Chicken But is Vegan?
Store-bought vegan chicken made from soy or wheat closely resembles the taste and texture of chicken. Many people claim that they can’t tell the difference.
Seitan has a similar appearance, “meaty” texture, and mild, savory taste to bland chicken.
What Can I Replace Chicken with for Protein?
An 85-gram (3 oz) chicken breast provides approximately 26 grams of protein. Plant-based protein-equivalents include:
- Seitan: 85-gram (3 oz) serving contains 21 grams of protein
- Tempeh: 85-gram (3 oz) serving contains 15 grams of protein
- Tofu: 85-gram (3 oz) serving contains 10 grams of protein
What Meat Can Replace Chicken?
Turkey is the best meat replacement for chicken. However, you can also use beef, lamb, pork, and processed meat.
What Vegan Food Has the Same Amount of Protein as Chicken?
Seitan matches the protein content of chicken. Both seitan and chicken breasts contain 21 grams of protein per 85-gram (3 oz) serving.
There is a vegan chicken substitute for everyone, irrespective of their dietary preference or recipe.
Give yourself and your guests some time to adapt to the taste and differences of the vegan-friendly alternative. The switch is worth it.