These crispy jackfruit nuggets are so delicious and make for the BEST meat-free alternative to chicken nuggets. They have a nice stringy middle consistency with a super crunchy spiced coating. Plus, they are baked in the oven and made without oil for a healthier recipe! 100% vegan, dairy-free, soy-free with an easy gluten-free option.
These baked jackfruit nuggets are such a tasty plant-based alternative to regular chicken nuggets! Great for kids, grown-ups, snacking or weeknight dinner. They are so easy!
They are totally meat-free, thanks to the canned jackfruit, but still so full of amazing texture. They actually mimic chicken pretty well, you would never know they are made with fruit!
The jackfruit middle is tender, juicy and has a fun shredded or stringy texture, then covered with a savory panko breading that turns perfectly crispy and golden brown in the oven. They have a similar breading compared to my panko tofu nuggets, but definitely different in their interior meaty texture. A must-try!
We love that those vegan jackfruit nuggets are baked in the oven, as opposed to deep-fried, which makes them a healthier and lower-in-fat recipe. They also are made without eggs or buttermilk to keep them fully vegan and dairy-free, plus completely soy-free if that is something you are looking for.
These meatless chicken nuggets are made simply with panko breadcrumbs, some flour and a few spices. You can also easily make them gluten-free by choosing GF breading ingredients and switch up the seasonings to your taste.
We loved these dipped with ketchup, obviously, but feel-free to serve them with your favorite dipping sauce. It's a perfect vegan kid-friendly recipe!
I hope you give them a try! ❤️
Highlights of this recipe
- Healthier oven-baked recipe compared to store-bought vegan chicken nuggets
- Easy to make with simple steps
- Meat-free, but filled with an interesting stringy texture
- Great finger food for kids
- Vegan, dairy-free, soy-free and nut-free. Can also be made gluten-free easily.
Ingredients you'll need
- Canned jackfruit: look for jackfruit in brine or water, NOT in syrup. You will need jackfruit in cans, this recipe does not work with fresh jackfruit.
- Panko breadcrumbs: will give all that amazing crunch to the nuggets, so try not to swap for regular breadcrumbs. Choose gluten-free panko breadcrumbs if necessary.
- Flour: I used regular all-purpose flour (unbleached), but feel free to use a gluten-free flour such as the 1:1 GF flour from King Arthur. The flour will dry out the jackfruit a bit and help the breading ingredients stick to them better.
- Spices: I used a mix of garlic and onion powder, paprika, dried Italian herbs and salt.
- Nutritional yeast: Great to add more depth in flavor to the breading.
You can play around with the spices depending on what you like or have. Here are other ideas to try: Cajun spices, cayenne pepper, chipotle pepper, Old bay seasoning, dried basil, dried dill, etc.
How to make jackfruit nuggets
Pre-heat the oven to 400º and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Prepare the jackfruit
If you have canned jackfruit that's stored in brine, then you will want to remove as much as you can of it before breading. To do so, drain the jackfruit and rinse very well in plenty of cold water (about 30 seconds).
Then, transfer over a clean towel and pat dry until there is not much moisture anymore. Be gentle enough to not break the jackfruit chunks as you will need them to be intact for breading.
Bread the jackfruit
Prepare 3 shallow bowls with the breading ingredients: 1. Flour, 2. Ground flax + water (rest for 10 minutes), 3. Panko + nutritional yeast + spices + salt.
Then, one jackfruit chunk at the time, cover in flour and then dip and cover well with the flax mixture. This will act like glue for the panko step, so be sure it is all well covered.
Once done, transfer to the bowl with the panko and completely cover. You want to make sure there are no empty spots left and you can gently press with your fingers on the piece to ensure there is a thick layer all around.
Transfer the breaded jackfruit piece on the prepared baking sheet and keep going until you covered all of the jackfruit. Space them out on the baking sheet and then bake for 20 minutes flipping halfway through. The nuggets are ready when golden brown and nicely crispy.
Serve right away while still hot with your favorite sauce!
Watch how to make them
- Make sure to use canned green jackfruit in brine OR water, and not in syrup (only for sweet dessert recipes). I think the flavor is best when using jackfruit in water, but if you do have them in brine, then be sure to thoroughly rinse them first.
- Panko breadcrumbs work best to ensure these oven-baked nuggets get nice and crispy even though they are not deep fried. You can also use regular breadcrumbs, although they won't have as much of a crunch.
Storage and reheating tips
These vegan nuggets definitely are at their best when just baked. They will lose their crispiness after resting for a while and also, the flavor is better when warm.
But, if you do have leftovers, then store the nuggets in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.
To reheat, try to revive their crispy texture by heating them in a hot oven (400º) for 10-15 minutes or even, fry them in a pan with a little oil. Avoid microwaving them as they will become soft and even a little soggy.
We love these jackfruit nuggets as finger food simply served with ketchup, but feel free to serve with your favorite sauce, such as vegan mayo, mustard, BBQ sauce, buffalo sauce or chipotle mayo. They go great with a side of french fries or roasted potatoes and broccoli or roasted zucchini and broccoli to get more healthy veggies in your meal.
You can also serve them in sandwiches, which would be a great way to use up the leftovers. Stuff some rolls with mayo, sliced cucumber, pickles or pickled onion, lettuce and shredded carrots. Add some hot sauce too for a little heat if you want.
You can use those nuggets to top off salads or rice and buddha bowls to add some crunch and more layers of texture. Would also make for a great finger food for game day or even a nice appetizer with a tasty sauce to serve at a gathering.
You can, although you will need to add some oil to make them crispy and have them turn golden brown. Simply fry for a few minutes in a hot pan on each side or until crispy.
No surprise there, it will not taste like chicken! Jackfruit flavor is mostly neutral, but there is a brine background flavor from canning that will definitely be noticeable (especially if stored in brine). You can also look for jackfruit in water for less briny flavor. The spices from the breading balance out that flavor and overall, these nuggets are unique and super flavorful!
Fresh jackfruit usually is fully ripe and sweet, which would not work well to make savory nuggets. You will need canned green jackfruit (unripe).
Related vegan recipes
- Vegan heart of palm fish tacos
- Baked tofu nuggets
- Chickpea patties
- Tofu buffalo "chicken" burgers
- Crusted tofu wraps
More vegan jackfruit recipes
I hope you like this crispy jackfruit nugget recipe as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
- 15 oz canned jackfruit - in brine or water (NOT syrup)
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour - use gluten-free if necessary
- ¼ cup ground flaxseeds
- 10 tbsp water (½ cup + 2 tablespoons)
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs - use gluten-free if necessary
- 1½ tbsp nutritional yeast
- ¾ tsp onion powder
- ¾ tsp garlic powder
- ¾ tsp paprika
- ¾ tsp Italian dried herbs mix
- ¾ tsp salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 400º and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the flour in a shallow bowl, then combine the ground flax with the water in a second shallow bowl and also, combine the panko with the nutritional yeast, spices and salt in a third shallow bowl. Set them aside (the flax mixture has to rest for 10 minutes).
- Drain and rinse very well the jackfruit under running water (you want to remove most of the brine). Be gentle not to break the pieces of jackfruit. Then, pat dry using a towel until there is not much moisture left.
- Then, one piece of jackfruit at the time, completely cover in flour, then dip and cover with the flax mixture and finally, transfer to the panko mixture. Use your hands and gently press as needed to create a thick layer of panko mixture all around the jackfruit without leaving any empty spot free of breading. Transfer over the prepared baking sheet and keep going with all the pieces of jackfruit.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until nicely crispy and golden brown, flipping halfway through. Enjoy right away while still hot with your favorite sauce such as ketchup and mustard.
- These vegan nuggets are best when enjoyed right away. They tend to soften after resting for a while and they taste better hot. If you do have some leftovers, then keep them in an air-tight container for up to 3 days and to reheat, warm them up in a hot oven (400º, for 10 minutes or so) or fry in a pan until hot and crispy again. Avoid the microwave.
- Other amazing serving sauces to consider are chipotle mayo, BBQ sauce, vegan cashew mayo, spicy buffalo sauce, etc.