Vegan Popeyes Bonafide Chicken (Vegetarian)


Junk food reverse engineering has become my “thing” hasn’t it? I spend a lot of time checking in with my carnivore pals and harassing them about the food they are into, trying, and craving. During one of these chats, the mention of good ol’ Southern fried chicken came up. It had dawned on me, I have not yet created any home-grown, deep southern, finger-lickin’ good, tried and true vegan/vegetarian fried chicken recipes!

I guess it’s time to add Popeyes Chicken to the list of vegan fast food menus I am going to tackle on this journey to vegan-deliciousness. I started with a modified version of my chicken seitan recipe, and the rest just blossomed from there. The finished product was actually super easy to re-create, and ended up being unbelievably moist, seitan covered in a thick, crunchy, spicy batter. I ate them next to a pile of buttery biscuits, hot sauce and gravy, making my afternoon experiment a delicious delight.

There is no reason to head out for fried chicken, when you can make this amazing recipe at home without harming any animals!! You’ll love this vegan copycat Popeye’s chicken recipe, I am sure of it.

4.2 from 27 reviews
Vegan Popeyes Fried Chicken (Vegetarian)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
There is no reason to head out for fried chicken, when you can make this amazing vegan recipe at home without harming any animals!! You'll love this vegan Popeye's fried chicken recipe, I am sure of it.
Recipe type: dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4-6 people
  • “Chicken”
  • 2 cups vital wheat gluten
  • 5 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1½ cup Franks hot sauce (for a less spicy version sub ¾ with vegetable broth instead)
  • 5 tbsp tahini
  • 6 cups of vegetable broth
  • Dredging
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • ¼ chipotle powder
  • Sauce
  • Frank’s Original Red Hot Pepper Sauce
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 3 eggs worth of prepared egg replacer (I like The Vegg)
  • Oil for frying
  1. In a mixing bowl, mix together wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, onion powder and poultry seasoning.
  2. In a larger bowl, combine Franks and tahini and whisk until smooth.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients with the wet and stir until well combined.
  4. Knead the dough until it is elastic but not dry. Sprinkle some additional gluten flour if you find you have made your dough too sticky.
  5. Divide the dough into chicken size pieces. Keep in mind they will grow to about twice their size, so make them a bit smaller than a normal chicken breast.
  6. Place the nuggets in a pot filled with boiling broth, ensure they are totally covered.
  7. Cook nuggets in broth for 1 hour at a low boil, stirring every 15 mins.
  8. Remove from broth and place on a wire baking rack to dry.
  1. Combine the hot sauce, egg replacer and mustard in a small bowl.
  2. Combine the flour and all spices in another shallow bowl, and whisk until well combined.
  3. Working with one piece of seitan at a time, coat each piece with the flour, then dredge it in the hot sauce mixture, and coat again in the flour mixture.
  4. Set aside until the rest of the seitan is breaded.
  5. Heat up plenty of oil in a skillet, or heat up your deep fryer. When hot (350 degrees) fry the filets for 8-12 minutes or until they are light brown and crispy.
  6. Remove the seitan and place on paper towels to drain

 vegetarian popeyes fried chicken

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  • Lindsay says:

    I’m wondering, can you use any type of egg replacement? I normally use a flax egg, but I’m normally baking so I’m not sure if it works for cooking as well.

    • EdgyVeg says:

      a flax egg may be enough to hold on the coating, I typically use something like a soymilk and cornstarch mixture cooked on the stove and whisked until thick

  • Susan Rosenberg says:

    I made this recipe!
    I devoured this recipe!!
    I’m in heaven with this recipe!!!
    You’re a Saint Edgy Veg!!!
    You’re my new best friend ❤
    Thank you !!!!

  • Farisha says:

    I’ve been trying to look for alternatives on vegan meat and this is so great. It was easy to follow.

  • SF says:

    Interesting cooking experience since it was my first time dealing with wheat gluten, but unfortunately it’s not something that worked out for me, for whatever reason. I did have to make a couple of modifications which may have impacted the outcome. The spiciness was definitely there. This recipe calls for an insane amount of hot sauce, so I did the half vegetable broth substitute. Not realizing that the sauce part would call for more hot sauce, my Frank’s bottle had long run out, so I put together a home-made substitute vinegar based hot sauce using other web recommendations. Once I got the “chicken” pieces in the frying pan, I was pleased with how the outside looked, but the spice level was a bit overwhelming, and the biggest issue was me was the gumminess of the inside. I should note that I didn’t have any Tahini sauce, so I subbed with a small amount of toasted sesame seed oil. Overall, glad I tried it out, interesting experience and outside taste, but for myself it’s not a keeper. I’m also concerned about the level of sodium in this.

  • Michelle says:

    This recipe was easy to follow and SO delicious! First time making a recipe with wheat gluten and it was a success. I used my air fryer too and it wasn’t as crispy but still amazing! Thanks for the recipe!!! (Even my meat eating fiancé couldn’t stop eating them!)

    • Elizabeth says:

      I love this recipe, I make it all the time for my husband. The only concern I have with it, is when I substitute the Frank’s for veggie broth, the dough seems a bit dry – before I simmer it – the end result is always delicious and juicy. I think next time I make it I may try more like a full cup of veggie broth and see how it turns out. Any suggestions?

      • EdgyVeg says:

        Veggie broth can be a little thin, maybe try adding more broth in case too much of it is cooking off, leaving with a dry texture

  • Ashley Cooper says:

    I didn’t have the same issues as some of the other Reviewers. I made the recipe as it was written and thought it tasted great with the hot sauce. My chicken nuggets also held up great in the simmering broth. I thought the recipe itself was well written and easy to follow and the outside of my chicken came out crispy and delicious. Now the inside that’s another story… it was my first time making seitan and I’ve got to say I was not a fan. Somehow my chicken was juicy AND the consistency of ground chickpeas. The consistency was like hummus mashed together-nothing at all like chicken. I’m not sure if that’s what seitan is supposed to be like or if perhaps I made an error somewhere either way, it was a sad dinner day at my house and much of it went uneaten.

  • Kristen Zimel says:

    Thank you for being a positive vegan role model. Yum recipe. Seitan is tricky for me but i’ll keep working on it 🙂

  • Alex M. says:

    All I can say is… WOW! This is the best thing I’ve had since I’ve been a vegetarian:) truly scrumptious, it’s crispy, juicy and yes popeyee if that’s even a word lol, any way this is the best recipe I’ve found for vegan fried chicken yet! You will not be disappointed!

  • Squirrel says:

    Too bad I don’t eat meat for taste pleasure. I eat it because my health deteriorates without it. If I ate this wheat gluten deep fried in vegetable oil I would end up with horrible indigestion.

    • Amelia says:

      Was there a point to you commenting on a piece about vegan fried chicken to talk about eating meat and discuss how unpalatable this recipe was to you? Not sure it added anything but negativity, with nothing particularly constructive for folks interested in trying it.

    • Angel says:

      Then don’t eat it but don’t diss it either. Is a good recipe for this who CAN eat this. I think is very good and replacing helps being vegetarian easier and opens one up to possibilities. I hope you get better from your stomach. Blessings

  • Tammy says:

    I loved this! Crispy like fried chicken and the crust was to die for. I uwe’d the veggie broth/hot sauce route. So good! Thank you!

  • Andrea says:

    The recipe wasn’t bad if you like hot sauce. I followed the recipe and it tasted like a “ball” of hot sauce. Not sure i’d make again, but if I did, I would use a lot less hot sauce and experiment with other spices.

  • Kim says:

    Do you drain and squeeze the seitan after it has been boiled for the 45 minutes or do we just keep all the liquid in it and then batter it?

  • Elina says:

    Hi! I’d just like to say as a seitan newbie I wish the veggie broth was listed elsewhere or specifically said “set to the side” or something as opposed to listed with the other wet ingredients.

  • Melissa says:

    I was just wondering why does the video say the dry mix has garlic powder but no poultry seasoning, but this recipe has poultry seasoning but no garlic powder? Is one more right?
    I love your channel!

    • EdgyVeg says:

      I’m constantly updating my recipes on my website. I can’t edit new clips into a youtube video unfortunately so I always recommend following my written recipe on my blog for all the updates!

  • Marie says:

    Hello thank you for this amazing recipe ! 🙂 I have a question : can you freeze the ”chicken” ? Thanks

  • Miranda says:

    Made this for dinner last night and it was AMAZING. I used 3/4 cup hot sauce and 3/4 cup veg broth. It was the perfect amount of spicy for my family. I made it with corn on the cob and potato wedges. Soooooooo good. I’ll definitely make it again!

  • Tara says:

    Made this with the suggestion to cut back to 3/4 cup broth and 3/4 cup Frank’s . It wasn’t overly spicy.
    The nuggets DID start to disintegrate a bit in the boiling part, but unlike the other poster, they retained most of their shape. Maybe I didn’t knead them long enough?
    Anyway, though these are a little messy to make, I would make them again in a heart beat since they are crisp, seasoned to perfection (I added extra garlic powder) and the closest thing I’ve had to fried chicken since going vegan six years ago! Thanks Candace!

  • robyn ladd says:

    Hey lovely, could you explain why there’s no need for soy or garbanzo flour in this version of seitan?

  • B says:

    I just followed this recipe how it is written exactly to the T. When they were boiling, all of the nuggets disintegrated into a big steaming pot of hot sauce gluten goop. I’m so freaking angry that I just wasted all of those ingredients and me and both my toddlers are starving and do not have enough ingredients to make more. I’m honestly so mad I could cry. Why the hell did this happen?

    • EdgyVeg says:

      I’m so sorry that this happened. Could you tell me a bit more about how you made the recipe? I’ve never had a negative review about this recipe. I’d love to help troubleshoot.

    • Sara says:

      Hey B, this is a year late, but if you get this and feel like you want to give it another shot, I think I can help. You cannot boil the water. It’s too hot and will break down the gluten into sloppy goop. It must be a light simmer,never boiling. Trust me, it makes all the difference! Good luck.

  • Barbora Trencianska says:

    Super excited to try this recipe! Do you think it would work baked instead of fried ? Thanks :):)

  • EdgyVeg says:

    Hi There- I always update the recipes on this site according to changes I make that I feel are better than the original. You can use both bouillon & water, OR you can use broth. They are interchangeable.

  • Claire says:

    Just google how to start a writer’s blog. There is a TON of advice out there to get you started. Just choose an advice source that you like the look of, focus on that one and maybe take some notes, then check out a second one and do the same. You will start to notice patterns of advice. Remember that your platform is just that – something (for your information) to stand on; the most important thing is the material that you are posting. This should be easy to read with decent grammar relative to your genre of writing, in a font that is easy on the eye. You do not need to pay for a platform in order for your work to be good. You just need to spend the time on the content (writing), and present it well. Marketing and promotion come after you have set the site up. There is also a lot of advice on these things out there. Good luck!

  • khushi says:

    Anyone tried this recipe without tahini. Wonder how much of a difference it would make.

  • Clair says:

    I left out ALL of the hot sauce and used booth made from notchicken cubes instead. It tastes exactly like fried chicken. Those of you who have Winco, in the bin section is a chicken gravy mix that is totally vegan (yet full of not-so-good stuff). Can be used in the dry mix or for the simmering sauce.

  • Jaquella says:

    Can the seitan be frozen and used later? Before you fry it? I would want to make a bunch then use it once a week for a month.

  • Jordan says:

    Truly amazing. As one of my favorite brands of vegan chicken started to no longer sell anymore, I was looking for a homemade substitute to one of my favorite dishes. This recipe for vegan pop eyes chicken is one of a kind, strong love for spicy food. Also, when shaping the chicken into size, try grabbing a little extra and mashing it into a burger size paddy, great for a tasty spicy burger.

    Do you happen to know what the nutrition facts would be?

  • James says:

    So 6 cups of broth, with the two cups of vital wheat gluten, I have a big bowl of goop.

  • Matt says:

    What are your thoughts on using cashew cream instead of vegan egg substitute? I’ve seen a few recipes that use the cashew cream and they say it gives a really good crispy coating when frying?

  • Joy says:

    I, personally, do not like spicy foods. A dash of hot sauce will probably be overwhelming for me. I am not vegan but I am what you may call “semi-vegetarian” (no meat but I still eat stuff like eggs, cheese, yogurt, etc.) but I have been looking for more vegan recipes. I can’t wait to try this! I plan on having a vegan soul food dinner with vegan fried chicken, vegan mac and cheese, and collards. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Brenda says:

    In watching the video beginning at 49, you add water and bullion, but nowhere on the recipe is that stated. Can you please clarify? Thanks!

    • EdgyVeg says:

      you can use water & bouillon to make broth, or simply use broth.

      • Brenda says:

        I’m not trying to pain a pain in the butt here, but if you actually watch the video beginning at 49, it clearly shows your adding water and bouillon when you are mixing your wet ingredients for the seitan, not for the broth to boil it in, hence the confusion…

        • EdgyVeg says:


          You can use bouillon cubes to make a broth, I prefer this than store bought broth and often don’t have homemade broth on hand. so You can use a broth you have made, or a store-bought, OR you can mix water and bouillon to make broth.

          We are constantly updating our recipes so the video may not reflect the most up to date version of this recipe. In the video I made the less spicy version by subbing 3/4 of the hot sauce with broth (bouillon & water) as outlined in the recipe on the blog.

          Does this clear things up? let me know if you still have questions.

  • Jessica I. says:

    Is it possible to use a flax egg instead of the Vegg?

  • Natasha Haukas says:

    Hi from vego dummie in norway. saw the video in youtube, there you put some water in the seitan but i cant se the water in the receipe. Just the hot sause and tahini. I guess the 6 cups of broth is for the cooking ? How much water did you mix in the seitan ? Would love to try this????????

    • EdgyVeg says:

      There is no water in the seitan, 1 1/2 cup hot sauce, or for a less spicy version, substitute 3/4 with vegetable broth instead. Let me know if that’s still unclear

  • Christina says:

    I have tried to but my seitan comes up very spongy once i cook in the broth.. any suggestions?

    • EdgyVeg says:

      It should be somewhat spongy, that’s what helps that batter stick to the seitan. Seitan does take a bit of practice. Don;t worry ! You’ll get it.

      • Nate says:

        I had the same problem. I was thinking it was because I need to kneed the dough some more. It was tasty! The texture was just a bit off.

        I also had a ton of extra egg substitute

  • Hoko Le says:

    I already made this 5 times and under several months. This is something I would share with the rest of my fsmily and friends saying it is the best vegan chicken I ever tried. I want to make more. This is way better than popeyes and healthier.

  • Dulce m says:

    I’m the video you used something called bouillon but I was black I think. It is at 0:53 but I don’t thrill that’s listed on the ingredients for this recipe on this blog. Please let me know what it was thanks xx

  • Jacq A says:

    What are these like to freeze? I’m on my own, and I doubt I’ll finish off a whole batch of this.
    Love the simple recipe – Thank you!

  • Palkan Sawnani says:

    What is the egg replacer thing in the video. Is there any other alternative ? It looked like mayo

  • Sunny says:

    Thank you for this delicious recipe. Our family are newly vegan and I made this dish this weekend, followed it to a T. Everyone LOVED it! Tastes just like chicken and we had no leftovers. Thank you!!!

  • Sarah H says:

    Candice, do you know any other brands of hot sauce that work really well? I live in Australia and i havent seen this anywhere! ive got the chicken boiling currently, i just temporarily subbed the hot sauce for stock, a little vinegar and some Tabasco sauce and chilli flakes. ive also noticed there is a verrrry strong tahini smell in the dough.

    • EdgyVeg says:

      Hi there! Any cayenne pepper style hot sauce will work. The tahini smell is normal, you need it to create nice and moist “chicken”

  • janet says:

    can you pre make the chicken and then cook the next day?

  • Joiya says:

    Try cauliflower as a substitute.

  • Sharon Yvonne Worrill says:

    Wow! I canot eat wheat. Substitution sugestion? Thanks for sharing!

  • Erik says:

    I thought the heat was just fine. You might want to get two bottles of the hot sauce as this recipe I think will use all of a single 12 oz bottle. Really great on day two as well!

  • Jameson says:

    These are the best, I love the heat so I added more hot sauce on the side. Yum.

  • Sam Austin says:

    I though my eyes were going to pop out of my head. If you like spicy, follow the recipe. Next time I make this I will definately be leaving out the Hot Sauce. Apart from that, they are quite yummy. Even the meat eater boyfriend liked them

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