Our Pros Found the Best Vegan Chicken Nuggets

Updated: Apr. 22, 2024

Get your nuggie fix right at home. Our Test Kitchen found the best vegan chicken nuggets from the grocery store.

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Tkp Vegan Chicken Nuggets Test Sq
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Searching for Plant-Based Nuggets

Just because you lead a plant-based lifestyle doesn’t mean you don’t crave guilty pleasure foods. While there are plenty of healthy vegetarian recipes out there, there’s also a time and place for tasty vegan fast food finds.

If you don’t want to hit the drive-thru, though, you can get your fix right at home with a good veggie burger or homemade vegan “chicken” nuggets. Need a shortcut? Head right to the frozen foods section. Our Test Kitchen browsed the aisles to find the very best vegan chicken nuggets.

How We Tested Nuggets

For this taste test, our Test Kitchen team rounded up all the frozen plant-based nuggets they could find at the store. The vast majority of these nuggets were not only vegetarian but vegan.

Our pros were kept in the dark while tasting to avoid any biases. Then each nugget was sampled and judged according to our standard three criteria:

  • Appearance: Our team wanted to find good plant-based nuggets with a familiar shape and golden brown coating.
  • Texture: While the inside of these plant-based nuggets can be soft and tender, a crisp exterior was a top priority in testing.
  • Flavor: The pros know that even a great dupe won’t taste like the real deal. However, a good veggie-based nugget should be savory and well-seasoned.

Check out which four brands got our Test Kitchen’s stamp of approval.

Impossible Chicken Nuggets
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Meatiest Vegan Chicken Nuggets

Impossible Chicken Nuggets

Impossible Foods started gaining our attention a few years back as the brand partnered with restaurants to make a variety of vegetarian fast food options like Burger King’s Impossible Whopper and White Castle’s Impossible sliders. Today you can find plenty of Impossible Foods products right at the store, including top-rated Impossible Chicken Nuggets.

These nuggets got high ratings for their deliciously savory flavor. Layered with flavors courtesy of potato flakes, garlic, onion, paprika and yeast extract, these nuggets were a standout.

According to Maggie Knoebel in the Test Kitchen, these vegan nuggies are pretty convincing: “I bet you could easily fool someone with these, especially kids,” she says. “They’re that well seasoned and juicy.”

That juicy texture paired with the golden crunchy exterior makes these nuggets feel like something you’d pick up at the McDonald’s drive-thru.

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Quorn Chicken Nuggets
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Crispiest Vegetarian Chicken Nuggets

Quorn Meatless Chiqin Nuggets

Undoubtedly, crunch is a major part of the appeal of a chicken nugget—vegetarian or not. For the crispiest, crunchiest nugget, try Quorn Meatless Chiqin Nuggets.

Every taste tester made notes of the deliciously crispy coating on these nuggets, including the Test Kitchen’s Josh Rink. “The breading on this one is very, very crisp,” he says. “Great crunch, good flavor and a nice amount of salt.”

Inside, the center is tender with hints of poultry seasoning. Overall the flavor is mild (but not bland!). Our team sampled these bites solo, but with the crispy outside and nice flavor, our team thinks these Quorn nuggets are ideal for dunking in condiments like barbecue sauce, sriracha or ranch.

Note: These Quorn meatless nuggets are vegetarian but not vegan; they contain eggs. However, our team loved them so much that they wanted to recommend them to folks looking for good vegetarian options in the frozen aisle.

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Morning Star Farms Chicken Nuggets
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Best Protein-Packed Vegan Chicken Nuggets

MorningStar Farms Original Meatless Chicken Nuggets

For vegans and vegetarians, getting enough protein is paramount. For a nugget that tastes great and gives you the protein you need to power through the day, try MorningStar Farms Original Meatless Chicken Nuggets.

Four of these nuggets give you 13 grams of protein—that’s 20% of what you need for the day. And while other brands also advertise 13 grams of protein per serving, those serving sizes are for five or more nuggets.

Besides being able to fill you up, these nuggets also taste great. “This one has a nice crisp breading and is filled with savory flavor,” says Shannon Norris in the Test Kitchen. You’ll get lots of flavor thanks to garlic, onion and nutritional yeast—an ingredient that helps boost savoriness in vegetarian foods.

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Great Value Vegan Chicken Nuggets
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Best Budget Vegan Chicken Nugget

Great Value Plant-Based Chick’ n Nuggets

Many packaged plant-based foods come with a spendy price tag. Some products in this test ran over $8 for a bag of quick-fix nuggets. However, if you head over to Walmart, you can get Great Value Plant-Based Chick’n Nuggets for about $3.50 a package.

But the price isn’t these nuggets’ only attractive feature. Great Value’s vegan chicken nuggets are covered in a panko-style crumb coating. This gives these nuggets a super crispy exterior that’s so satisfying to chomp. The interior is mildly spiced (great for kiddos), but our team did pick up notes of onion, celery salt and paprika—all welcome additions to the nugget party.

Shannon summarizes these store-brand nuggets nicely: “These are nice, brown, crispy and would be great for kids.” They’re a great addition to your list of kid-friendly vegan foods.

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