10+ Delicious Vegan Substitutes for Chicken to Try Today

Vegan chicken substitutes like seitan, soy curls, tofu, tempeh, and more offer nutritious alternatives without compromising taste or texture.

vegan substitutes for chicken

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.

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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

Butler Soy Curls, 8 oz. Bags (Pack of 3)

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

Companion - Braised Gluten Seitan Tidbits, 10 oz. Can (Pack of 6)

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

Mori-Nu Silken Tofu Extra Firm | Velvety Smooth and Creamy | Low Fat, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan, Made with Non-GMO soybeans, KSA Kosher Parve | Shelf-Stable | Plant protein | 12.3 oz x 12 Packs

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

Tempe Tempeh - Organic, Hand Made - Fresh Tempeh, High Protein - 6oz (Pack of 3)

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

Kitchen & Love Cauliflower Rice, Pre Cooked, Microwave Ready Pouch, Shelf Stable, Non Gmo, Gluten & Dairy Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, 8 Oz, 6-Pack

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

Native Forest Organic Young Jackfruit, 14 oz

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

Del Monte® Mushrooms Stems and Pieces 8 oz. Can, 12 Pack

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)

Anthony's Textured Vegetable Protein, TVP, 1.5 lb, Gluten Free, Vegan, Made in USA, Unflavored

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)

Amazon Brand - Happy Belly Garbanzo Beans, 15 Ounce

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.

Specialty Vegan Substitutes

The Internet has allowed an explosion in vegan substitute options. You no longer have to shop at your local grocery store. Here are a few unique options we love.

Add Flavored Supplements To Vegan Meals

Indulge in guilt-free gains with Naked Nutrition’s Double Chocolate Vegan Weight Gainer, a delicious and nutrient-packed alternative to traditional meat-based protein sources. Crafted with a blend of plant-based proteins, this weight gainer provides a comprehensive amino acid profile to support muscle growth and recovery. The rich double chocolate flavor not only satisfies the taste buds but also delivers a hefty dose of essential nutrients without the need for meat. Whether you’re a vegan athlete looking to meet your protein requirements or simply exploring plant-based alternatives, this weight gainer offers a delectable solution to fuel your fitness journey without compromising on taste or nutrition. Elevate your gains and embrace the power of plant-based protein with Naked Nutrition’s Double Chocolate Vegan Weight Gainer.

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.

Bestseller No. 1
unMEAT Plant Based Meat | Easy to Prepare Plant Based Protein | Vegan Meat with Less Calories, Chicken Style Chunks, 12 pack
  • HEALTHY MEAT ALTERNATIVE: unMEAT plant-based canned meats cook and taste like real meat, but this vegan food has non-GMO and clean plant protein ingredients, has zero cholesterol, and no added preservatives; our canned vegan food products are 100% plant based product and are low in sodium that help promote a well-balanced diet
  • DELICIOUS PLANT-BASED MEAT: unMeat offers a mouthwatering selection of meat substitutes that mimic the taste, texture, and aroma of traditional meat, perfect for those looking to reduce their meat consumption or adopt a plant-based diet; our unMEAT plant based chicken style chunks is a 100% plant based chicken style meat that is both egg-free and a good source of protein; perfect for chicken salads, sandwiches and quesadillas
  • CONVENIENT MEALS ON THE GO: With our quick and easy meal option, you can enjoy satisfying vegan meals in minutes, without the hassle of lengthy preparation or cooking times; simply pop open our canned meat, heat it up and you now have a nutritious meal ready to enjoy; whether you're pressed for time during a busy workday, or simply craving a tasty and effortless plant base dinner, unMeat in a can has got you covered
  • HIGH QUALITY INGREDIENTS: Our plant-based canned foods are meticulously crafted from non-GMO and natural ingredients, ensuring that each mouthful is a celebration of wholesome goodness; free from artificial flavors and preservatives, unMeat offers a nutritious alternative for conscious consumers seeking to elevate their culinary experience without compromising on health; with every bite of our plant based foods, you can taste the care and dedication that goes into selecting the ingredients
  • SUSTAINABLE AND ENVIRONMENT FRIENDLY PLANT BASED MEALS: Made from sustainably sourced ingredients and produced with environmentally friendly practices, unMeat minimizes its carbon footprint, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and conserving water resources; by opting for unMeat vegan foods, you're taking a proactive step towards mitigating the environmental impact of food production while enjoying delicious and wholesome vegan meat substitute
Bestseller No. 2
Gardein Ultimate Plant-Based Chick'n Filets, Vegan, Frozen, 15 oz.
  • One 15 oz. bag Gardein Ultimate Plant Based Chick'n Filets, Vegan, Frozen
  • Savor crispy, breaded, plant-based patties that look, cook, taste and satisfy like real chicken
  • Enjoy these non-GMO, vegan chick'n filets that contain no dairy ingredients and 23 g protein per serving
  • Add your favorite veggies for a delicious sandwich, or serve with pasta and your favorite sauce for a tasty dinner option
  • Ideal vegan choice for family dinners, picnics or tasty Meatless Monday meals
Bestseller No. 3
Plant Basics - Hearty Plant Protein - Unflavored Chunks, 1 lb, Non-GMO, Gluten Free, Low Fat, Low Sodium, Vegan, Meat Substitute
  • BRING VEGAN RECIPES TO LIFE - Make your mealtimes fun and deliciously delightful with our versatile and protein-packed Vegan Meat. Rustle up Tacos and Fajitas. Get a taste of the East with Chicken Stir Fry or Chicken Noodle Soup. Make a hearty Chili or stick some Shish Kebabs on the grill! Ideal for hundreds of vegan and vegetarian recipes, Hearty Plant Protein gives you easy meaty goodness the vegan way!
  • GIVE IT YOUR FAVORITE FLAVOR - These Hearty Plant Protein chunks come unflavored so you can season/marinate them to perfection. Simply boil your succulent hearty plant protein chunks in broth or water then infuse them with your favorite herbs, spices and sauces. The result? A quick and easy meat substitute you just won’t be able to resist!
  • SATISFYING MEATY TEXTURE - Enjoy a beautifully satisfying meat-like texture with every bite. Specially made to offer a superior texture, this delectable meat alternative can be used in recipes in place of chicken, beef, pork, and more. Enjoy a texture close to the real thing and never go back to tofu again!
  • CRAMMED FULL OF PROTEIN - Our vegan meat substitute contains a mighty 14g of plant protein with each serving, giving you a nutritious protein punch in every bite! Nourish and strengthen your body with optimal nutrition while enjoying the filling and satisfying sensation of a healthy protein-rich meal. Add protein to any dish at mealtimes!
  • NON-GMO & GLUTEN FREE - Eat clean. Eat healthy. Eat meat-free. Every bite of our vegetarian meat alternative is Non-GMO, Gluten-Free, Low Fat, Low Sodium, Cholesterol-Free and 100% Kosher. So buy today with total peace of mind - you’re covered by our 30 Day ‘Protein Promise’ Money Back Guarantee!
Bestseller No. 4
Amazon Fresh Brand, Plant-Based Chick'n Patties, Frozen, 10 Oz, 4 Count
  • Four 2.5-ounce plant-based chick'n patties
  • 11 grams of protein per serving
  • Non-GMO Project Verified and vegan
  • No cholesterol; Contains wheat and soy
  • These crispy patties are delicious on a bun with lettuce and tomato, or chopped up over a green salad.
Bestseller No. 5
High Time Foods Plant Based Chicken | Vegan | Meat Substitute | Soy Free | Yield 1 Lb | Cook it minced or shape it into burger, meatball, taco, kebab, dumpling, empanada
  • Delicious Taste: Our plant-based dehydrated chicken alternative is made from a blend of wholesome ingredients like wheat protein, pea protein, and spices, which gives it a taste that is similar to conventional minced chicken. It is perfect for use in a variety of dishes, including burger, meatball, kebab, tacos, stir fry or any other dish you love.
  • Versatile: This plant-based dehydrated chicken alternative is versatile and can be used in a variety of ways. You can mold it into burger patties, meatballs, or kebabs. It can be added to tacos, burritos, quesadillas, or used as a protein source in a sandwich. It is also great for use in recipes that call for minced chicken, such as stir-fries, curry dishes, dumplings, samosas or empanadas.
  • Healthy: Our plant-based dehydrated chicken alternative is a healthy alternative to conventional chicken. It is low in fat and calories, and is a good source of protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals. It is also free from cholesterol.
  • Easy to Use: This plant-based dehydrated chicken is easy to prepare. Begin by mixing the contents of a 5 oz. pouch in a bowl with 1 cup of cold water, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, and your desired flavors. The product yields 1 lb. of plant-based chicken that you can cook just like conventional minced chicken! It is also shelf-stable for 12 months, making it convenient to store and use.
  • Sustainable: Our plant-based dehydrated chicken alternative is sustainable and eco-friendly. It is made from plant-based ingredients, and does not require the use of any animal products. The product is shelf-stable, eliminating the need for styrofoam packaging and refrigeration.
Bestseller No. 6
Gardein Ultimate Plant-Based Chick'n Nuggets, Vegan, Frozen, 14.7 oz.
  • One 14.7 oz. bag Gardein Ultimate Plant Based Chick'n Nuggets, Vegan, Frozen
  • Savor crispy, breaded, plant-based nuggets that look, cook, taste and satisfy like real chicken
  • Enjoy these non-GMO, vegan chick'n nuggets that contain no dairy ingredients and 15 g protein per serving
  • Dunk them in your favorite sauces, or enjoy them all on their own
  • Ideal vegan choice for snacking or paired with sides for a tasty dinner
Bestseller No. 7
Vegan Ground Chicken Mix - MIX, SHAPE, COOK The Best Vegan Chicken Meals - Shape Into Vegan Nuggets, Patties, Tenders - Baked, Grilled or Fried Chicken (Original 2pack)
  • 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.
Bestseller No. 8
Amazon Fresh Brand, Plant Based Chicken Nuggets Frozen Pack, 10.5 Oz
  • One 10.5-ounce bag of plant-based chick'n nuggets
  • 12 grams of protein per serving
  • Non-GMO Project Verified and vegan
  • No cholesterol; Contains wheat and soy
  • These crispy, family-friendly nuggets are perfect for dipping in ranch dressing, ketchup, honey or barbeque sauce.
Bestseller No. 9
Edward & Sons Organic Vegan Meatless Alternative Young Jackfruit, Unseasoned, 4.4 Pounds
  • MEATLESS ALTERNATIVE: Our Organic Young Jackfruit is an excellent vegan, soy & gluten free meatless alternative to use in numerous recipes. A mild flavor makes it a great base for sauces & seasonings!
  • GREAT ALTERNATIVE FOR CHICKEN & PORK: Young jackfruit's fleshy interior has a meaty texture similar to chicken. As it cooks, it flakes & shreds making it ideal for vegan pulled pork and chicken recipes.
  • SUSTAINABLY FARMED: We support organic & sustainable farming that avoids GMOs & pesticides. We're proud participants in the Non-GMO Project & want our consumers to know where their food comes from.
  • SUPPORT FOR SPECIAL DIETS: Our vegetarian products are ethically sourced & suitable for many special diets including vegan, gluten free, paleo, keto, kosher, organic & low sodium.
  • OUR COMMITMENT TO HEALTHY OPTIONS: Our company was born out of a commitment to create delicious & healthy vegetarian foods with convenient preparation for those with busy, health-aware lifestyles.
Bestseller No. 10
MorningStar Farms Meatless Chicken Nuggets, Vegan Plant Based Protein, Frozen Meal, Original, 10.5oz Bag (1 Bag)
  • Plant based meat, MorningStar Farms Chik'n Nuggets are a delicious, chicken alternative to any balanced diet​
  • Lightly seasoned, veggie nuggets with a crisp, crunchy breading outside and juicy inside; An easy meal perfect for dipping, wraps, and a protein source for meals​
  • 100% vegan; Excellent source of protein (12g per serving; 17% of daily value); Kosher Dairy; Contains wheat and soy ingredients​
  • A quick lunch or dinner; Prepare this frozen entree in the oven (recommended) or microwave​
  • Includes one, 10.5oz resealable bag of frozen MorningStar Farms Chik'n Nuggets; Packaged for freshness and great taste​

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.

Conclusion

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.

Further Reading

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