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The Best Vegan & Plant-Based Chicken Nuggets (18 Tested)

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We all remember the golden crust, the juicy meat inside and a bit of crunch in every bite. The nostalgic nugget is having a population boom, but this time without the chicken. Food makers and fast food joints have multitude of reasons to make more meatless meat ranging from a rise in allergies, ethical demands on corporations and just a general need to offer ‘healthier’ products to name a few. How is one to know which is truly the best plant-based nugget with so many nuggets to choose from?

We got our hands on 18 bags of all kinds of fake chicken to make a definitive ranking of the best vegan and plant-based nuggets. We munched and we dunked them all so you don’t have to waste money on nasty nuggets. Scroll down to see all the best and worst results of the taste test.

Quick Taste Test Results Summary

Note: Clicking will to bring you to the full taste test results for that nugget on this page.

Best Vegetarian Nuggets: Quorn Meatless Nuggets.

Best Vegan Nuggets: Impossible Chicken Nuggets.

Notable Vegan Nuggets: Gardein & Gardein Ultimate, Raised & Rooted, Lightlife and Jack & Annie’s.

Worst Vegan Nuggets: BOCA, Daring and Field Roast.

How We Taste Tested These Nuggets

  • Personally purchase as many vegan or plant-based “chicken” nuggets as reasonably available from stores and resort to tenders where there are stock issues
    • Important Note: Quorn contains egg whites and is the only non-vegan item tested.
    • We tested 16 nuggets and 2 tenders
    • We also had a “control” nugget which was Tyson brand chicken nuggets to compare against to determine meat likeness
  • From there we cooked all the nuggets according to the cooking instructions for an air fryer or an oven if they did not have air fryer instructions
  • The nuggets will be served plain, with a vegan mayo-like sauce, vegan ranch, vegan honey mustard, BBQ sauce and with ketchup to taste complimentary flavors as well as the raw flavor of the nugget itself
  • The nuggets are rated on a scale of 1-5 for the following:
    • How meat-like it is
    • The external texture
    • The internal texture
    • Flavor as plain and with complimentary sauces
  • This taste test was rated by 2 people total
  • The top plant-based nuggets had the highest total score from the test results out of that total 30 points
  • The nuggets were photographed in various states for readers to further investigate to their own liking
Some of the sauces we used to evaluate these nuggets, all highly recommended on their own

The Best Plant-Based Nuggets We Tested (Best to Worst)

Quorn Meatless Vegetarian-Friendly Nuggets

Important Note: Quorn products are only suitable for vegetarians due to the egg whites and milk in the ingredients. This was the only non-vegan product we tested.

The United Kingdom company Quorn makes their own unique protein called mycoprotein which uses less land and water than animal protein production. Quorn’s mycoprotein based nuggets are a delicious source of protein and fiber.

This was our top rated nugget, it’s hard to say if it’s the unique protein Quorn created or if it’s the non-vegan approach to breading with egg and milk. Regardless of the reason, this scored the highest total score solidifying Quorn as the best plant-based nugget of them all. For vegetarians at least.

Tasting Notes

  • Aggressively seasoned, in a good way
  • Might be a bit too spicy/peppery for some sensitive to spices
  • Looks like meat, maybe to egg/white breading
  • Tastes like meat, no plant after taste at all
  • Inside color is white and texture looks meat-like
  • Breading is light and not as appealing looking as other nuggets
  • Breading browns more evenly than other nuggets
  • Dense to touch, but not a brick
  • “Gravy like” inside juiciness and texture
  • Nice crunch in every bite

What’s Inside?

Calories Per Serving190 Calories
Total Servings3
Total Fat8 grams
Saturated Fat1 grams
Cholesterol5 milligrams
Sodium360 milligrams
Carbs21 grams
Fiber3 grams
Sugar0 grams
Protein9 grams

Ingredients: Mycoprotein (43%), Wheat Flour, Canola Oil, Rehydrated Egg White. Contains 2% Or Less Of Wheat Starch, Natural Flavor From Non-meat Sources (contains Yeast, Salt, Onion), Potato Dextrin, Salt, Wheat Gluten, Dextrose, Whole Egg & Egg White, Pea Fiber, Milk Proteins, Firming Agents: Calcium Chloride, Calcium Acetate: Turbinado Sugar, Spices, Yeast.

Warning: contains egg, milk & wheat

Photos

Final Rating – 85.8%

Tastes Like Real Meat
External Texture
Internal Texture
Taste Without Sauce
Taste With Sauce
General Flavor

Would order again? Yes, definitely. Beyond the mildly lacking appearance it is delicious, seasoned well, juicy inside and has a great crunch in every bite.

Purchase Options

Impossible Chicken Nuggets

The Impossible Chicken Nuggets are delicious, easy to make and have the potent seasoning of your favorite fast food chain. The golden brown crispy breading on the outside and a tender bite on the inside was made to satisfy your nostalgic nugget craving.

Impossible nuggets have no animal products making them our top rated vegan nugget. It’s extremely hard to tell the difference of the Impossible Nuggets against real fast food chicken nuggets. Savory isn’t just marketing speak, these are savory, rich and delicious. These are very meat-like. And if you wanted to trick your friend or family member with these, they may not believe you if you told them it was vegan.

Tasting Notes

  • Rich seasoning with a good balance of spicy and sweetness
  • Might be a bit too spicy/peppery for some sensitive to spices
  • Smells like fast food
  • Nice light and even browning on outside
  • No taste of soy or any other plants
  • Slightly dense to touch
  • Inside is juicy & chewy but not rubbery
  • Light crunch with every bite
  • Inside color and texture is meat-like
  • Tastes like real chicken nuggets in every way
  • “Comfort food achieved”

What’s Inside?

Calories Per Serving240 Calories
Total ServingsAbout 4
Total Fat12 grams
Saturated Fat1.5 grams
Cholesterol0 milligrams
Sodium480 milligrams
Carbs19 grams
Fiber2 grams
Sugar1 grams
Protein13 grams

Ingredients: Water, Wheat Flour, Soy Protein Concentrate, Soybean Oil, Sunflower Oil, 2% Or Less Of: Potato Starch, Methylcellulose, Natural Flavors, Salt, Cultured Dextrose, Wheat Gluten, Yeast Extract, Yellow Corn Flour, Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Spices, Leavening (cream Of Tartar, Sodium Bicarbonate), Dried Yeast, Paprika Extract (for Color), Mixed Tocopherols (antioxidant) Vitamins & Minerals: Zinc Gluconate, Niacin (vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (vitamin B5), Thiamine Hydrochloride (vitamin B1), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (vitamin B6), Riboflavin (vitamin B2), Vitamin B12

Warning: contains soy & wheat

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Final Rating – 79.1%

Tastes Like Real Meat
External Texture
Internal Texture
Taste Without Sauce
Taste With Sauce
General Flavor

Would order again? Yes, 100%. They taste like classic fast food nuggets and they are vegan. This is the only nugget besides Quorn that I will eat on it’s own happily.

Purchase Options

Gardein Ultimate Chicken Nuggets

Gardein Ultimate Chicken Nuggets come in savory little popcorn chicken sized bites. They’re vegan. They taste, look and cook like real chicken nuggets.

This is another top vegan nugget. It’s similar to the other Gardein version lower on this list but it comes with more aggressive seasoning and a few other improvements over the original Gardein vegan nuggets.

Tasting Notes

  • Aggressively spiced and salty
  • Spices might be overpowering for some
  • Crispy outside with nice browning
  • Softish to touch but still had some density
  • It had a mild crunch, not a great crunch
  • Smells like dough/bread with grease on it
  • Some grease or moisture on outside after cooking on some pieces
  • Tastes like fast food chicken but can still feel that it’s a block of plant
  • Has a good chew but isn’t rubbery
  • Tasted better than others with sauce

What’s Inside?

Calories Per Serving190 Calories
Total ServingsAbout 4
Total Fat8 grams
Saturated Fat0.5 grams
Cholesterol0 milligrams
Sodium580 milligrams
Carbs16 grams
Fiber0 grams
Sugar1 grams
Protein14 grams

Ingredients: Water, Enriched Wheat Flour (wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Vital Wheat Gluten, Canola Oil, Soy Protein Isolate, Pea Protein Concentrate, Tapioca Starch, 2% Or Less Of: Degerminated Yellow Corn Flour, Textured Wheat Protein (wheat Gluten, Wheat Starch), Methylcellulose, Salt, Yeast Extract, Natural Flavors, Garlic Powder, Spices, Onion Powder, Dried Onion, Fructose, Leavening (sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Paprika Extractives (color), Pea Protein, Citric Acid, Titanium Dioxide (color), Xanthan Gum, Lactic Acid, Sunflower Oil.

Warning: contains wheat & soy

Photos

Final Rating – 75.8%

Tastes Like Real Meat
External Texture
Internal Texture
Taste Without Sauce
Taste With Sauce
General Flavor

Would order again? Yes. A very good all around vegan nugget. I prefer mixing with salads or other dishes than eating out right though. If I eat it straight up, I need a sauce which should say something.

Purchase Options

Raised & Rooted Plant-Based Nuggets

These Raised & Rooted nuggets are a delicious alternative to traditional chicken nuggets. They are full of the crispiness and flavor. These are made with protein packed pea protein. And like many other vegan nuggets, they are easy to make fast at home. And interesting fact, these are from the chicken-focused Tyson, the company that we bought to test as our control chicken nuggets.

These nuggets were definitely among the top of the pack. They also have a unique crispy coating compared to other nuggets which was notable. Good marks all around on this one.

Tasting Notes

  • They go for a unique ‘fish and chips’ style battered style coating for the nuggets, giving it waves of extra breading depending on the bite, great for fans of breading
  • The nuggets are dense to the touch
  • The inside is thick and chunky giving it a good meaty bite
  • Color is white inside
  • Tasted convincingly meaty and there were no plant-like after tastes
  • The inside was mildly juicy, not as moist as other top nuggets
  • The seasoning was mild and not too aggressive. Not bland but also not punched in the tongue with flavor
  • Smells like chicken and fast food
  • Every bite has a very nice crunch

What’s Inside?

Calories Per Serving200 Calories
Total ServingsAbout 8
Total Fat10 grams
Saturated Fat1.5 grams
Cholesterol0 milligrams
Sodium560 milligrams
Carbs18 grams
Fiber4 grams
Sugar0 grams
Protein8 grams

Ingredients: Seasoned Plant Protein Portion: Vegan Fibers (water, Pea Protein, Canola Oil, Sodium Alginate, Citrus Fiber, Calcium Chloride), Water, Oat Fiber, Vital Wheat Gluten, Pea Protein, Seasoning (maltodextrin (from Corn), Salt, Natural Flavor, Yeast Extract, Palm Oil, Carrot Fiber, Citric Acid, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Onion Powder, Torula Yeast, Onion Juice Concentrate, Spice, Canola Oil), Flaxseed, Methylcellulose, Salt, Natural Flavoring (sunflower Oil, Rosemary Extract) Breaded With: Water, Wheat Flour, Yellow Corn Flour, Food Starch, Salt, Leavening (sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Spices, Natural Flavor, Breading Set In Vegetable Oil (including Soybean Oil).

Warning: contains wheat – some store reviews mentioned this contains egg, but we didn’t find any on the ingredients nor did it trigger any egg allergies which one tester had

Photos

Final Rating – 72.5%

Tastes Like Real Meat
External Texture
Internal Texture
Taste Without Sauce
Taste With Sauce
General Flavor

Would order again? Yes. The nuggets are all around good. The breading is unique and I could eat these on their own but the breading isn’t for everyone.

Purchase Options

jack & annie’s Crispy Jackfruit Nuggets

Jack & Annie’s Plant-Based Nuggets are a delicious, plant-based chicken nugget substitute have a craveable flavor. Like others, they are easy to cook quickly.

Jack & Annie’s nuggets are made with jackfruit plant unlike other nuggets on the list which also gives it a unique taste and texture. As a result of these, they are also notably higher in fiber than other nuggets. The ingredient list is also shorter than other nuggets which may or may not result in less stomach aches.

Tasting Notes

  • Breading was heavy looking and appeared to have some grease on outside
  • Excellent breading to meat ratio once you take a bite
  • Good balance of seasoning with a sweet / fruity after taste
  • Very juicy inside, but soft, not a lot of bite
  • Not a notable crunch in every bite
  • Soft to touch, not a lot of density
  • Meaty looking inside and white color
  • The fruity taste detracted from it tasting like meat
  • Didn’t feel heavy after eating it, very light nugget that is gentle on stomach

What’s Inside?

Calories Per Serving190 Calories
Total ServingsAbout 3.5
Total Fat7.5 grams
Saturated Fat1.5 grams
Cholesterol0 milligrams
Sodium400 milligrams
Carbs19 grams
Fiber5 grams
Sugar1 grams
Protein6 grams

Ingredients: Jackfruit, Water, Wheat Flour, Soy Flour, Canola And Soybean Oil, Less Than 2% Of: Methylcellulose (plant Fiber), Natural Flavor, Sugar, Salt, Spices, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Oleoresin (paprika, Turmeric), Baking Soda, Yeast Extract.

Warning: contains soy & wheat

Photos

Final Rating – 70.8%

Tastes Like Real Meat
External Texture
Internal Texture
Taste Without Sauce
Taste With Sauce
General Flavor

Would order again? Yes. A good flavor but I don’t think it’s not going to fool as many people into thinking these are real chicken nuggets compared to Impossible or Quorn. These felt lighter and healthier likely due to the jackfruit and shorter list of of ingredients. This healthy, light factor might just be what you want in a vegan nugget.

Purchase Options

Gardein Crispy Golden Chick’n Nuggets

The Gardein Golden Plant-Based Chick’n Nuggets are vegan. They look like classic nuggets that bring back memories from childhood.

My hunch is that one of these Gardien products won’t be on the market much longer. For example, if the Gardien Ultimate becomes more popular with the more aggressive flavors vs. the more mild taste of these nuggets. Both Gardien nuggets are very similar products, especially on the inside “meat” area and both ranked very closely.

Tasting Notes

  • Classic crispy breading and it really is golden brown and browned well while cooking
  • Smells like bread/dough
  • Very nice crunch in every bite
  • Sweet flavor, mild salt and seasoning
  • Meaty flavor but has a slight taste of veggies after each bite
  • Inside is white color and looks chunky
  • Texture inside is nice and it is also juicy/moist

What’s Inside?

Calories Per Serving200 Calories
Total ServingsAbout 3
Total Fat9 grams
Saturated Fat1 grams
Cholesterol0 milligrams
Sodium340 milligrams
Carbs15 grams
FiberLess than 1 gram
SugarLess than 1 gram
Protein14 grams

Ingredients: Water, Enriched Wheat Flour (wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Pea Protein Concentrate, Vital Wheat Gluten, Canola Oil, 2% Or Less Of: Methylcellulose, Salt, Ancient Grain Flour (khorasan Wheat), Sunflower Oil, Sugar, Potato Starch, Natural Flavor, Titanium Dioxide (color), Yeast, Color Extractives (turmeric, Paprika, Annatto), Ascorbic Acid, Yeast Extract, Leavening (sodium Bicarbonate, Cream Of Tartar), Soy Sauce (water, Soybeans, Wheat, Salt).

Warning: contains wheat & soy

Photos

Final Rating – 67.5%

Tastes Like Real Meat
External Texture
Internal Texture
Taste Without Sauce
Taste With Sauce
General Flavor

Would order again? Yes. These are very similar to the Gardien Ultimate but with a coating that is more like a classic fast food crispy coating.

Purchase Options

Lightlife Plant-Based Chicken Tenders

Lightlife Plant-Based Chicken Tenders are made with 100% pea-based protein for easy, hearty and satisfying plant-based meals. These tenders are mostly pea protein based. And what is notable about Lightlife is they are a carbon neutral company.

We tested the tenders because they don’t make nuggets for consumers that I could find. They are a staple in other vegan food categories so I figured it was worth trying the near-nugget equivalent. These crisp up nicely and have a decent spice mix. However, other vegan chicken stood out as superior.

Tasting Notes

  • A very nice external texture and high amount of breading
  • Smells like garlic bread
  • Good spice mix inside, a bit on the peppery/spicy side
  • White color and stringy like chicken inside
  • They dried out fairly fast making for some dry and chewy bites

What’s Inside?

Calories Per Serving250 Calories
Total Servings2.5
Total Fat15 grams
Saturated Fat5 grams
Cholesterol0 milligrams
Sodium620 milligrams
Carbs22 grams
Fiber2 grams
Sugar1 grams
Protein8 grams

Ingredients: Tender: Water, Coconut Oil, Wheat Gluten, Pea Protein, Sunflower Oil, Canola Oil, Methylcellulose, Tapioca Starch, Sodium Alginate, Salt, Calcium Chloride, Vinegar, Yeast Extract, Garlic, Torula Yeast, Spice, Natural Flavor, Dried Onions, in a Breading of: Enriched Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Modified Corn Starch, Corn Flour, Spice, Garlic, Cane Sugar, Salt, Vinegar, Flavor, Yeast, Onion Powder, Paprika (Color), Turmeric (Color), Guar Gum, Partially Fried in Canola Oil.

Warning: Contains pea protein

Photos

Final Rating – 67.5%

Tastes Like Real Meat
External Texture
Internal Texture
Taste Without Sauce
Taste With Sauce
General Flavor

Would order again? Maybe. If I couldn’t get other well rated nuggets, I’d grab these. They are good, but not great.

Purchase Options

SIMULATE Chicken NUGGS

These nuggets are popular on social media. They are vegan. They are started by a young entrepreneur. Are the worth the hype? These NUGGS come off as indistinguishable from McDonald’s chicken nuggets. But they are lacking where it counts.

Tasting Notes

  • Excellent breading outside with nice browning around edges
  • Smells and looks like McDonald’s on the outside
  • Leaves a fake / cardboard-like aftertaste
  • Very stiff and dense to the touch
  • It was hard to take a bite
  • The texture was chunky inside, and not in a good chunky way
  • It was extremely dry inside for every bite
  • The spice mix on the inside was meat-like, but the dryness detracted from that big time

What’s Inside?

Calories Per Serving200 Calories
Total ServingsAbout 3.5
Total Fat10 grams
Saturated Fat1.5 grams
Cholesterol0 milligrams
Sodium400 milligrams
Carbs16 grams
Fiber2 grams
Sugar1 grams
Protein13 grams

Ingredients: Water, Textured Wheat Protein, Soybean Oil, Breadcrumbs (Enriched Wheat Flour [Enriched with Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid], Sugar, Rice Flour, Yeast, Salt, Extractives of Paprika), Enriched Wheat Flour, Soy Protein Isolate, Corn Flour, Modified Food Starch, Wheat Protein Isolate

Warning: Contains soy & wheat

Photos

Final Rating – 66.6%

Tastes Like Real Meat
External Texture
Internal Texture
Taste Without Sauce
Taste With Sauce
General Flavor

Would order again? No. Overall, I think they are great on the outside, but there is much more to be desired on the inside and we couldn’t get over how stiff it was inside.

Purchase Options

Beyond Chicken Breaded Tenders

Beyond Chicken Tenders are a good source of protein, have less saturated fat than most real chicken nuggets, and they made with no GMOs – all while providing a delicious, plant-based alternative to chicken meat.

Beyond is one the better known brands. Overall it’s a good vegan chicken product but there is room to improve. These had a lot going on in each bite. Let’s break down the tasting notes to get an idea.

Tasting Notes

  • Smells like greasy fast food and cooked cat food
  • The breading easily separated from the insides
  • The inside was one of the best seasoned out of all of the nuggets we tested
  • The texture is a mix of real chicken, but it a bit too much on the chewy side
  • Nice and even browing on the outside
  • Soft breading, dense inside to touch
  • No after taste of plant, really tasted like chicken
  • It’s definitely got a lot of the fast food influences all around

What’s Inside?

Calories Per Serving210 Calories
Total ServingsAbout 3
Total Fat12 grams
Saturated Fat2 grams
Cholesterol0 milligrams
Sodium450 milligrams
Carbs15 grams
Fiber3 grams
Sugar2 grams
Protein11 grams

Ingredients: Water, Faba Bean Protein, Breading (Wheat Flour, Rice Flour, Salt, Corn Starch, Pea Proteinᵗ, Canola Oil, Wheat Gluten, Paprika, Spices, Dextrose, Leavening[Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Monocalcium Phosphate], Sugar, Sunflower Oil, Dried Onion, Dried Garlic, Yeast Extract, Natural Flavors), Breadcrumbs (Wheat Flour, Sugar, Sea Salt, Dried Yeast), Vital Wheat Gluten, Modified Corn Starch, Natural Flavors, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Pea starch, Methylcellulose, and 1% or less of Yeast Extract, Refined Coconut Oil, Salt, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Sodium Phosphates, Spices, Titanium dioxide (for color), Sunflower Lecithin. Contains: Wheat, May Contain Soy

Warning: Contains peas

Photos

Final Rating – 64.1%

Tastes Like Real Meat
External Texture
Internal Texture
Taste Without Sauce
Taste With Sauce
General Flavor

Would order again? Maybe. If I couldn’t get Impossible, I’d grab these to get my fast food fix in a heartbeat as my second choice. The seasoning is better than Impossible, but the inside texture was just too chewy to make it hit the top of the list.

Purchase Options

Alpha Foods Original Chik’n Nuggets

Alpha Foods nuggets are a delicious snack that make for an easy on-the-go snack, a quick fix for a game day spread, or a kid-approved dinner option – without any sacrifice on taste or texture.

These nuggets have a delicious crispy batter and are overall not a bad vegan nugget from a nice crunchy bite, a good spice mix and a good texture inside and out. The ratings were split on this which is why it is lower on the list. It also had a few downfalls but none that were really deal breakers.

Tasting Notes

  • Beautiful browned batter on the outside, a bit dry, thick
  • Doesn’t smell like chicken, has a mild plant smell to it
  • The overall seasoning is solid but a little bland at times
  • Inside looked like it had real fat bits in it
  • Great crunchy bites every time
  • A mild aftertaste of vegetable

What’s Inside?

Calories Per Serving180 Calories
Total ServingsAbout 3.5
Total Fat8 grams
Saturated Fat1 grams
Cholesterol0 milligrams
Sodium280 milligrams
Carbs17 grams
Fiber3 grams
Sugar1 grams
Protein10 grams

Ingredients: Chik’n (water, Soy Protein Concentrate, Textured Wheat Protein [wheat Gluten, Wheat Starch, Vitamin E (tocopherols)], Canola Oil, Vegan Chik’n Seasoning [maltodextrin, Yeast Extract, Salt, Gum Arabic, Natural Flavors, Citric Acid], Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Natural Vegan Flavor), Breading (wheat Flour, Wheat Gluten, Corn Starch, Canola Oil, Sugar, Yeast, Dextrose, Leavening [sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate], Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Salt, Sunflower Oil.

Warning: Contains soy & wheat

Photos

Final Rating – 64.1%

Tastes Like Real Meat
External Texture
Internal Texture
Taste Without Sauce
Taste With Sauce
General Flavor

Would order again? Yes. It is an all around solid nugget. Despite a few downsides, it’s a nugget I would grab if none of my other favorites were around.

Purchase Options

365 Plant-Based Chicken Style Nuggets

These Amazon Whole Foods plant-based chicken nuggets have a crispy golden-brown coating and are gluten-free, cholesterol-free, and high in protein, making them a great alternative to meat-based snacks, according to consumers who’ve had them for months.

Most store brands can be hit or miss. This one is not a miss but definitely not a bullseye. Let’s break down the taste notes.

Tasting Notes

  • Breading is light and has a yummy flavor
  • Good browning on the outside
  • Greasy on the outside
  • Inside faux meat was a little more on the brown/off white side
  • Greasy but also has a light feeling at the same time
  • Slightly sweet and a good all around spice mix
  • Can tell it’s not meat but it’s a close call
  • Somehow tasted worse with sauce, better on it’s own

What’s Inside?

Calories Per Serving140 Calories
Total ServingsAbout 3.5
Total Fat6 grams
Saturated Fat0.5 grams
Cholesterol0 milligrams
Sodium420 milligrams
Carbs13 grams
Fiber2 grams
Sugar1 grams
Protein12 grams

Ingredients: Water, Unbleached Enriched Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Reduced Iron, Ferrous Sulfate), Soy Protein Concentrate, Wheat Gluten, Expeller Pressed Sunflower Seed Oil, Potato Starch, Yeast Extract, Wheat Starch, Methylcellulose, Organic Cane Sugar, Sea Salt, Natural Flavors, Cane Sugar, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Yeast, Extractives of Turmeric and Paprika, Salt, Leavening (Cream of Tartar, Sodium Bicarbonate).

Warning: Contains soy & wheat

Photos

Final Rating – 63.3%

Tastes Like Real Meat
External Texture
Internal Texture
Taste Without Sauce
Taste With Sauce
General Flavor

Would order again? Maybe. These were savory yet still felt light. Overall these are certainly not a bad nugget at all. I’d say they are like if Impossible and Jack & Annie’s had a baby. However, if given better options I’d munch elsewhere.

Purchase Options

Fresh Brand Plant-Based Chick’n Nuggets

Amazon Fresh Brand nuggets are crispy, family-friendly nuggets are perfect for dipping in ranch dressing, ketchup, honey or barbeque sauce. And they are easy to make.

These are a solid nugget. But came off a little soggy and had room to improve. Let’s break down to the tasting notes.

Tasting Notes

  • Does not smell like meat, has a strong vegetable scent to it
  • It has a fairly potent vegetable/plant taste to it
  • Not a crunchy bite
  • Seems soggy and greasy
  • Light breading
  • Great with sauce
  • Decent spice mix
  • Stringy internal texture that was off-white/brownish color
  • The inside was pretty juicy and moist in every bite

What’s Inside?

Calories Per Serving140 Calories
Total ServingsAbout 3.5
Total Fat6 grams
Saturated Fat0.5 grams
Cholesterol0 milligrams
Sodium420 milligrams
Carbs13 grams
Fiber2 grams
Sugar1 grams
Protein12 grams

Ingredients: Water, Unbleached Enriched Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Reduced Iron, Ferrous Sulfate), Soy Protein Concentrate, Wheat Gluten, Expeller Pressed Sunflower Seed Oil And/Or Canola Oil, Potato Starch, Yeast Extract, Wheat Starch, Methylcellulose, Cane Sugar, Sea Salt, Natural Flavors, Cane Sugar, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Yeast, Extractives of Turmeric and Paprika, Salt, Leavening (Cream of Tartar, Sodium Bicarbonate).

Warning: Contains soy & wheat

Photos

Final Rating – 62.5%

Tastes Like Real Meat
External Texture
Internal Texture
Taste Without Sauce
Taste With Sauce
General Flavor

Would order again? No. They aren’t worth it with the better options out there. They had too strong after taste of vegetable, among other negatives.

Purchase Options

Morning Star Chik’n Veggie Nuggets

MorningStar Farms Chik’n Nuggets are a delicious meat-free addition to any balanced diet. Mouth-watering and meatless are perfect for dipping, wraps, and as a protein source for entrees and snacks. And they are easy to make in minutes.

These nuggets look great on the outside. However, the inside leaves more to be desired. Overall, a mediocre nugget that lacked a good flavor.

Tasting Notes

  • Internal “meat” color was off-white/brownish
  • Breading browned nicely
  • Crunchy outside and with each bite
  • Batter is on the heavy side
  • The batter is the star of this nugget in taste, texture and looks
  • Smells a little nutty
  • A slight heat to the seasoning
  • Internal “meat” flavor is poor/cabbage-like

What’s Inside?

Calories Per Serving190 Calories
Total ServingsAbout 3.5
Total Fat8 grams
Saturated Fat1 grams
Cholesterol0 milligrams
Sodium300 milligrams
Carbs18 grams
Fiber4 grams
Sugar2 grams
Protein13 grams

Ingredients: Water, Wheat Flour, Soy Protein Concentrate, Vegetable Oil (corn, Canola And/or Sunflower), Soy Protein Isolate. Contains 2% Or Less Of Wheat Gluten, Yellow Corn Flour, Methylcellulose, Potato Starch, Cornstarch, Yeast Extract, Sugar, Salt, Natural Flavors, Wheat Starch, Dextrose, Spices, Onion Powder, Potassium Chloride, Yeast, Glutamic Acid, Paprika (color), Leavening (sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Garlic Powder, Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum, Barley Malt Extract.

Warning: contains wheat & soy

Photos

Final Rating – 51.6%

Tastes Like Real Meat
External Texture
Internal Texture
Taste Without Sauce
Taste With Sauce
General Flavor

Would order again? No. This nugget is average and lacking flavor.

Purchase Options

Like Meat Plant-Based Like Nuggets

Like Meat nuggets are made with soy protein and they are only found in Sprouts at the time of this writing. What is also notable is that you can keep them in the fridge for a period of time.

These nuggets have a lot of downsides going on and some redeeming factors. Let’s break down the taste notes.

Tasting Notes

  • These nuggets have a curry, some would say, radioactive color to them on the outside
  • A white internal color that looked like chicken
  • Very light breading
  • Smells came in as a mix bag of: egg, boiled vegetables and gravy
  • Super, super dry inside and too dense
  • Good crunch in every bite
  • Bland flavor all around
  • Tasted like meat and no hint of vegetable flavors

What’s Inside?

Calories Per Serving180 Calories
Total Servings2.5
Total Fat8 grams
Saturated Fat1 grams
Cholesterol0 milligrams
Sodium350 milligrams
Carbs20 grams
Fiber5 grams
Sugar0 grams
Protein9 grams

Ingredients: Water, Breading (cornflakes (corn, Salt, Sugar), Water, Corn Flour, Corn Starch, Potato Starch, Xanthan Gum), Soy Protein Concentrate, Sunflower Oil, Oat Husk Fiber, Salt, Methyl Cellulose, Natural Flavors, Dextrose.

Warning: contains soy

Photos

Final Rating – 50.8%

Tastes Like Real Meat
External Texture
Internal Texture
Taste Without Sauce
Taste With Sauce
General Flavor

Would order again? No. The radioactive color will be burned into my memory forever.

Purchase Options

Dr. Praeger’s Chick’n Littles

Dr. Praeger’s is a multi-generational, family-owned food company, founded by two heart surgeons, who are committed to encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle. Values are always good in a company, but does it show up in their flavor?

Dr. Praeger’s has some solid products, but their nuggets were lacking on everything we rated it on.

Tasting Notes

  • Come in varying child friendly shapes
  • Smells like vegetables and has a hint of “fake smell”
  • Battery on outside was crunchy and nicely browned. But also too dry and crumbly
  • Tastes like vegetables and cardboard
  • One rater thought they hid extra vegetables inside because vegetables taste was strong
  • A little bit too chewy inside
  • Dense to the touch

What’s Inside?

Calories Per Serving530 Calories
Total ServingsAbout 2.5
Total Fat9 grams
Saturated Fat1.5 grams
Cholesterol0 milligrams
Sodium470 milligrams
Carbs18 grams
Fiber4 grams
Sugar0 grams
Protein12 grams

Ingredients: Hydrated Pea Protein Blend (water, Pea Protein), Rice Coating (rice Flour, Whole Grain Amaranth Flour, Corn Starch, Raisin Juice Concentrate, Salt, Dextrose, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Yeast Extract, Sunflower Oil (processing Aid), Spice), Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, Methyl Cellulose, Natural Flavor, Carrot Puree, Butternut Squash Puree, Sweet Potato Puree, Oat Fiber

Warning: Made in a facility that uses wheat, soy, milk, eggs and fish

Photos

Final Rating – 45.8%

Tastes Like Real Meat
External Texture
Internal Texture
Taste Without Sauce
Taste With Sauce
General Flavor

Would order again? No. Skip this one unless you are trying sneak extra vegetables to your kid and be sure to bring the kid a dip with this one.

Purchase Options

BOCA Chik’n Veggie Nuggets

BOCA has some good products on the market. Their take on this classic comfort food left a lot to be desired.

Tasting Notes

  • Smells like a meatball or Italian kitchen
  • Breading looks heavy and it seemed rather dry
  • Soft to touch
  • Tastes a bit like a spicy piece of cardboard
  • “Meh” all around
  • Internal texture is grainy
  • Chewy batter

What’s Inside?

Calories Per Serving160 Calories
Total ServingsAbout 3.5
Total Fat5 grams
Saturated Fat0.5 grams
Cholesterol0 milligrams
Sodium420 milligrams
Carbs16 grams
Fiber3 grams
Sugar2 grams
Protein14 grams

Ingredients: Water, Wheat Flour, Soy Protein Concentrate (Made with Soy Protein from Non-Genetically Engineered Soybeans), Soy Protein Isolate (Made with Soy Protein from Non-Genetically Engineered Soybeans), Corn Oil, Contains Less than 2% of Salt, Yeast Extract, Yellow Corn Flour, Wheat Gluten, Methylcellulose, Sugar, Yeast, Paprika Extract (Color), Spices and Herbs, Natural Flavor (Non-Meat), Dried Onion, Leavening (Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Dried Garlic, Succinic Acid.

Warning: contains soy & wheat

Photos

Final Rating – 43.3%

Tastes Like Real Meat
External Texture
Internal Texture
Taste Without Sauce
Taste With Sauce
General Flavor

Would order again? No. Just No.

Purchase Options

Daring Breaded Plant Chicken Pieces

The Daring breaded plant-based chicken pieces looked pretty crispy and tender at first. And they have a good reputation among reviewers where we bought them. However, we then took a bite and it went down hill from there. Read on for our tasting notes.

Tasting Notes

  • Spicy yet tasteless at the same time with a minor hint of fish
  • Almost a chewy dough like texture on the inside
  • Crumbly outside, exterior looks browned nicely around the edges too
  • Different shapes for each nugget which makes it seem real
  • Smells like flour / raw dough
  • One tester couldn’t finish his bite it was so chewy and other attempts were just as chewy

What’s Inside?

Calories Per Serving180 Calories
Total Servings2.5
Total Fat7 grams
Saturated Fat1 grams
Cholesterol0 milligrams
Sodium610 milligrams
Carbs19 grams
Fiber4 grams
Sugar2 grams
Protein10 grams

Ingredients: Water, SOY Protein- Concentrate, Sunflower Oil, Salt, Natural Flavor, WHEAT Flour, Canola Oil, Water, Yellow Corn Flour, Potato Starch, Rice Flour, Salt, Leavening (Cream of Tartar, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Monocalcium Phosphate), Sugar, Dextrose, Garlic, Onion, Yeast, Paprika

Warning: contains soy & wheat

Photos

Final Rating – 39.1%

Tastes Like Real Meat
External Texture
Internal Texture
Taste Without Sauce
Taste With Sauce
General Flavor

Would order again? No. Great looking on the outside, not so much on the inside.

Purchase Options

Field Roast Plant-Based Nuggets

Field Roast’s is great brand for many vegan products. Their plant-based nuggets were at the bottom of our list. Not great.

Tasting Notes

  • “Hard, crunchy and tasteless”
  • Really bland flavor
  • “The definition of cardboard”
  • Smells odd, like cardboard
  • Nice browning on the outside
  • Good crunch for each bite
  • Some bites had a minor juiciness to it
  • Interior color was white/off-white

What’s Inside?

Calories Per Serving320 Calories
Total ServingsAbout 2
Total Fat19 grams
Saturated Fat2.5 grams
Cholesterol0 milligrams
Sodium610 milligrams
Carbs21 grams
Fiber2 grams
Sugar2 grams
Protein15 grams

Ingredients: Nuggets (water, Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, Pea Protein, Wheat Gluten, Fava Bean Protein Isolate, Tapioca Starch, Methylcellulose, Salt, Yeast Extract, Citrus Fiber, Maltodextrin, Granulated Roasted Garlic, Dextrose, Cultured Sugar, Spices, Vinegar, Flavor). Batter Coating (enriched Wheat Flour [wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid], Water, Modified Corn Starch, Modified Wheat Starch, Rice Starch, Rice Flour, Dextrose, Cane Sugar, Salt, Guar Gum, Dried Roasted Barley Malt Extract, Extractives Of Paprika (color), Yeast, Spice Extractives). Partially Fried In Expeller Pressed Canola Oil.

Warning: contains wheat & pea protein

Photos

Final Rating – 35.8%

Tastes Like Real Meat
External Texture
Internal Texture
Taste Without Sauce
Taste With Sauce
General Flavor

Would order again? No. Skip this one, it’s the bottom of the list for a reason.

Purchase Options

Other Ones To Consider That We Couldn’t Test

  • Incogmeato – I had my hands on a free bag thanks to a coupon MorningStar Farms / Kellogg sent out a few years ago and it was pretty good. I imagine it would have ranked highly if we could have ranked it properly. Sadly, we couldn’t find it in stock after checking for almost 2 months at various stores.
  • Aldi’s and Trader Joe’s in-store brands – Both stores make pretty decent products for their stores but they were out of reach for this taste test.
  • Ozo – This seems like a small company so it wasn’t anywhere to be found but it looks like it has the Raised & Rooted style batter so it has potential.
  • Nowadays – This was a bit pricey but wanted to try it, seems to be only able to buy from them directly at the time of the writing.
  • VFC – The packaging on this just cool, so wanted to try it but it was out of stock everywhere we could order from.
  • Target’s Good & Gather – Order some of our nuggets from Target, but these were not available at the store.
  • Meatless Farm – Another more well known brand we wanted to try, they just didn’t have any in stock at the stores we shopped. Their other products are pretty decent.
  • Rebellyous – This is only in Seattle, Washington, so this was a no go.

About This Taste Test

I have been an avid reader of Consumer Reports, Cook’s Illustrated / America’s Test Kitchen and the newer Wirecutter when it comes to evaluating products to purchase. One thing that is that is clear among these publications is that they all optimize and taste foods or devices based on their own preferences. This is why they are great because it helps filter out the less than good products. However, sometimes they lack showing the “meat” of their test results that could really help those with a more specific want or need.

I decided to do this taste test in this format to show all the extra information possible from all the photos of inside the nuggets, nutrition and more. We tried to break down all the taste elements of a nugget from juicy insides to plant tastes and how they made you feel after in some cases. The extra information included in this post for each plant-based nugget will hopefully help those who are looking for something more specific to their tastes.

Final Thoughts & Lessons Learned

You always learn something new when tasting so many new products. The first is that anyone who does these taste tests like these are a bit of a masochist. 18 bags of plant-based nuggets is no small undertaking for any gastrointestinal system.

Secondly, it is easy to make the outside of a nugget look decent. Quorn is kind of ugly and uneven on the outside to some, but it tastes great. Many of the ones we tested look good on the outside and tasted nasty. I have learned that the elements of a perfect plant-based nugget are as follows:

  • It has to have a solid crunch in every bite
  • The exterior should have a good ratio with the ‘meat’ inside
  • The meat should be a well seasoned as the external batter
  • The inside should be juicy, almost gravy like in every bite
  • The inside should melt like butter but also have a little pushback without being chewy
  • The inside “meat” shouldn’t have the density of a brick
  • There should be absolutely no after taste of any sort of vegetable
  • The outside should brown somewhat using the given cooking instructions for extra flavor (like searing a steak or grilling a vegetable)
  • The nugget should taste better when dipped, not worse

Quorn and Impossible were close to the perfect plant-based nugget, but there is always room for improvement.

That’s it for this taste test. If you got this far, thank you kindly for reading all this and I hope you can find the best pick for your own nugget preferences.

Questions

Are all of these plant-based chicken nuggets vegan?

No. Plant-based does not mean it excludes diary, eggs or other animal products. The only non-vegan item tested on this list was the Quorn nuggets.

What are the most common ingredients in plant-based nuggets?

The most common main ingredients for the “meat” in plant-based nuggets are: soy, pea protein, jackfruit, and mycoprotein (which is a fungi).

We have a full breakdown of the ingredients in each nugget above on this page if you are interested in a specific nugget.

What are the best vegan nugget brands?

Impossible, Gardien, Raised & Rooted, jack & annie’s, Lightlife & Beyond. In our opinion anyways.

Are vegan nuggets healthy?

Well, no and yes. Vegan nuggets are still very processed food. They still have a lot of fat and a lot of salt. That being said, most have zero cholesterol which may seem like a healthy product. However, saturated fat is still rather high for most of these products which can be an issue if you are worried about cholesterol on your next blood test.

In comparison to white meat chicken nuggets, vegan nuggets are healthier across the board with lower fat, zero cholesterol and less calories. So, they are healthier in that sense. Ultimately, you may need to be careful with vegan nuggets depending on your personal health needs.

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