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Chicken seitan is breaded and pan-fried to create a delicious, meat-like vegan schnitzel. With a crispy coating and a tender patty, this recipe is packed with plant-based protein! Serve with vegan potato salad for a delicious meal.
While making a plant based schnitzel may seem like a daunting task, it’s actually quite simple! The key is a seasoned patty that’s tender and flavorful NOT bland and chewy. Schnitzel is any meat cutlet, pounded and breaded, then pan-fried until golden brown and crispy.
It’s a well-loved dish and for good reason! It’s hearty, easy, and perfectly crisp. It’s the perfect vehicle for a creamy mushroom sauce or a dollop of vegan sour cream! This easy vegan schnitzel recipe satisfies both vegans and meat-eaters alike.
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The chicken base is made with silken tofu, vital wheat gluten, and nutritional yeast. The combination mimics the taste and texture of a real chicken patty. While they do take some time to make, it’s well worth it and all the steps are easy to follow.
👩🍳 Why This Recipe Works
Here’s why you’ll love this vegetarian schnitzel!
- Great dinner for special occasions
- Healthy vegan meat cutlets
- Easy to make
- Vegan version of a classic wiener schnitzel
- Satisfying meat replacement
- Golden brown and crispy schnitzel
- One of the BEST vegan schnitzel recipes
Vegan chicken schnitzel is made with vegan-friendly, plant-based ingredients, all of which can be found at your local grocery store!
Silken Tofu: Silken tofu is the perfect base for these homemade vegan cutlets. Some seitan calls for chickpea flour or vegetable protein, but I find tofu creates a meat-like patty. Avoid extra firm tofu, the texture won’t be right.
Vegetable Broth or Vegan Chicken Broth: You can find vegan chicken broth at your local health food store, but vegetable broth works great too! Regular water technically works, but adds no flavor to the dish.
Worcestershire Sauce: This tasty condiment is a little bit sweet and a little bit sour. It adds BIG flavor with just one tablespoon. If you don’t have it, substitute half the amount of soy sauce. Just make sure you get a vegan friendly version.
Vital Wheat Gluten: Vital wheat gluten is a type of wheat flour that’s been processed to remove everything but the gluten. It’s a key ingredient that adds elasticity and chew, which transforms the silken tofu into a meaty texture.
Nutritional Yeast: Nutritional yeast is a deactivated version of baker’s yeast. It adds nutty and savory flavor to plant-based dishes.
Poultry Seasoning: Vegan-friendly chicken seasoning is a fragrant spice mix that smells just like a roasted chicken! Most spice mixes are vegan, but always check labels to be sure.
Flour: All-purpose flour creates an even coating for the meat-free schnitzel.
Seasoning: Don’t forget to season. Properly seasoned food is flavorful food! Feel free to add onion powder or garlic powder if you like.
Flax Egg: Works as an egg replacement to adhere the coating to the patty.
Almond Milk: I like the mild flavor of unsweetened almond milk, but any plant milk will do. Soy milk is a good option.
Panko Breadcrumbs: The mixture of flour and bread crumbs create an even and crispy breadcrumb coating! Panko have a lighter texture, but plain bread crumbs work too.
Oil: Any neutral oil with a high-smoke point works great for this. Vegetable oil, coconut oil, or sunflower oil are great options.
Here are a few simple variations of this healthy vegan schnitzel. Try breading cabbage or eggplant if you can’t have soy or wheat gluten.
- Eggplant Schnitzel: To make vegan eggplant schnitzel, replace the “chicken seitan” with sliced eggplant. Salt the sliced eggplant and let it drain on a paper towel first. Dry the slices and then bread & fry them as directed.
- Vegan Cabbage Schnitzel: Bread and bake cabbage steaks instead of seitan. Cut a head of cabbage into steaks and bread them as directed. Spray each breaded steak with extra virgin olive oil spray. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes then flip and bake 10 more minutes.
- Gluten-Free: There is no good substitute for vital wheat gluten in tofu seitan. If you want gluten-free schnitzels, try breading eggplant but use gluten-free all-purpose flour and gluten-free breadcrumbs.
Whisk Tofu: In a large mixing bowl, whisk the tofu, 1/4 cup of the chicken broth, and Worcestershire sauce until the tofu is in small pieces.
Whisk Dry Ingredients: In a separate large bowl, whisk together the remaining seitan ingredients.
Make Seitan Dough: Fold the wet ingredients into the flour mixture to form a dough.
Shape Dough: Use your hands to shape the dough into a ball. Don’t overwork the dough!
Cut The Dough: On a flat surface, cut the dough into 4 equal pieces and shape them into patties. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit / 176 degrees C.
Cook Patties: Place the patties into a large baking dish and cover with the remaining vegan chicken stock. Cover and cook for one hour, turning the patties over halfway through cooking.
Let Patties Cool: Carefully remove the patties from the broth and let them cool completely.
Set Up Breading Station: Mix the flour, salt, and black pepper in a bowl or dish. In a separate bowl, combine the flax egg and non-dairy milk. In the last dish, add the breadcrumbs.
Bread The Patties: First, coat the patties in the flour mixture.
Let the excess flour fall off and then dip into the milk mixture.
Finally, dip the patties into the breadcrumbs. Make sure the patties are evenly coated with breadcrumbs.
Pan-Fry Vegan Tofu Schnitzel: Heat a large frying pan or skillet over medium-high heat, then add enough oil to shallow fry the schnitzels. Once the pan is hot, add the patties and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side. The outside should be golden brown and crispy.
Drain: Transfer the patties to a paper towel to drain any excess oil.
Serve: Top with a slice of lemon and enjoy with your favorite sides!
❓ Recipe FAQs
These vegan schnitzels are made from “chicken” seitan, which is a meat-like patty made from silken tofu, vital wheat gluten, and nutritional yeast. The mixture creates a tender and savory patty that resembles chicken. It’s then breaded and pan-fried to create a crispy coating just like traditional schnitzel.
Vegan schnitzel is a versatile dish that pairs well with any form of potatoes, roasted vegetables, cabbage salad, tomato salad, or anything you wish! French fries, mashed potatoes, and potato salad are commonly served with it.
Any left over schnitzels can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until heated through. I don’t recommend reheating these patties in the microwave. It can make them greasy.
Yes! Freeze the patties before they’re coated or freeze them after they’re coated and fried. They will last up to 3 months in the freezer. Reheat cooked schnitzels in the oven at 400 degrees until reheated through, or thaw frozen patties in the refrigerator and then bread and fry as directed.
💭 Expert Tips
- If you can’t find vital wheat gluten at the grocery store, try a health food store or purchase it online.
- Don’t overwork the seitan dough. This creates a tough and chewy “chicken patty”.
- Alternatively, you can make the seitan dough in a food processor if you don’t want to use your hands.
- It’s important to cook the seitan completely before making vegan wiener schnitzels. Don’t skip this step!
- If the patties are browning too quickly or burning, reduce to medium heat.
🍲 More Healthy Vegan Recipes!
- Vegan Chicken Sandwich
- Vegan Philly Cheesesteak
- Portobello Mushroom Steaks
- The Best Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff Recipe
- Vegan Wellington with Lentils and Mushrooms
📋 Recipe Card
- 1½ cups flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 flax egg
- ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1½ cups panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp oil and olive oil spray
- Prepare the “chicken” seitan – In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the tofu, ¼ cup broth and Worcestershire sauce until well combined and the tofu is in small pieces.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the remaining seitan ingredients.
- Gently fold the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients to form a dough.
- Using your hands, bring the dough together into a ball. Do not overwork the dough otherwise it will result in chewy “chicken” patties.
- Cut the dough into 4 even pieces and shape into patties.
- Preheat the oven 350 degrees F / 176 C.
- Place the patties in a large baking dish and cover with 2 cups of vegan chicken stock. Cover and cook for 1 hour, turning the patties at the 30 minute mark, cover and continue cooking.
- Once cooked, remove from the broth and allow the patties to cool completely.
- Set up the breading station by mixing the flour, salt and pepper in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the flax eggs and milk.
- In another container add the panko crumbs.
- Start by coating the patties in the flour mixture, then dip into the milk mixture and finally into the panko crumbs, ensuring the patties are completely coated in crumbs.
- Heat a skillet with oil to shallow fry the schnitzels. When hot add the schnitzels and cook for 3-4 minutes on either side until crumbs are lightly golden.
- Remove and drain on kitchen paper towel.
- Serve with your favorite sides.
- Left over schnitzels can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- To add a little spice to your crumbs add ½ tsp chilli powder, ½ tsp paprika, ½ tsp dried oregano and ½ tsp onion powder.
- Patties can be prepared and cooked ahead of time and coated in crumbs when needed.
- Patties can be stored in the freezer, covered, for up to 3 months.