Vegan KFC Nashville chicken tenders

How to Make KFC Nashville Chicken Tenders Vegan

KFC’s Nashville chicken tenders are all the rage nowadays! They’re crispy, crunchy chicken tenders coated in a spicy, slightly sweet oil. Sounds tasty, right!? RIGHT! This is why I decided to recreate the famous dish and also make them vegan (of course)! These vegan copycat KFC Nashville chicken tenders taste incredibly realistic, and they’re also easy to make!

A close up look at the crispy chicken tenders

Like fried chicken, but on crack!

That’s how I like to describe KFC’s Nashville chicken tenders, haha. They’re very addicting! They’re also pretty dang spicy, so if you’re a baby pants when it comes to spices, I’m going to suggest you steer clear of this recipe! These aren’t your average chicken tenders. I season them with tons of spices and hot sauce before deep-frying, and then I brush them heavily with very spicy oil after they’ve been deep-fried. This vegan Nashville chicken is incredibly delicious, but it is not for the faint of heart!

A sheet pan with KFC Nashville chicken tenders, french fries, and pickles

So this means vegan chicken is a thing. . . . ?

YES! Vegan chicken IS a thing, and it’s incredible! Whenever I want realistic-tasting vegan fried chicken, I use Gardein’s chick’n scallopini. They are basically lightly seasoned vegan chicken breasts. They work amazingly to create deep-fried chicken nuggets, tenders, and patties. The chick’n scallopini is very neutral in flavor, and so they are very customizable!

Showing a vegan KFC chicken tender up close

But does this REALLLLLLY taste like real fried chicken?

Well, I had my non-vegan PICKY af mom try this, and before I even asked her, she told me it tastes like real fried chicken! I also had my non-vegan, VERY honest brother try this, and he said he could tell it wasn’t real chicken, but that the flavor and the crunchy coating were SPOT ON and that it tasted delicious. I firmly believe my vegan recipe tastes as close as it can get to the real one. Do I think it could trick the biggest meat lover in all of the land into thinking it was the real chicken? No. BUT, do I think they would enjoy it? I think so!

HEY! If you don’t love heat, AKA hot sauce, and spicy spices, give this fried chicken recipe a try instead! It is my Vegan Fried Chicken and Waffles. It’s absolutely delicious, more neutral in flavor, easy to make, and super comforting!

If you make my vegan copycat KFC Nashville chicken tenders recipe, don’t forget to post a picture to Instagram, tag me @chefsummerstorm, and #gardengrub so I can see your recreation!

Vegan KFC Nashville chicken tenders

How to Make KFC Nashville Chicken Tenders Vegan

Author Chef Summer Storm – garden grub
These copycat vegan Nashville chicken tenders are flavorful, juicy, crispy, crunchy, saucy, and perfectly spicy. They're easy and relatively quick to make and absolutely delicious!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 tenders



Chick'n Dry Batter

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp celery salt
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Chick'n Wet Batter

  • 1/4 cup soy milk, plain, unsweetened (You can also use plain, unsweetened cashew or almond milk!)
  • 1 tbsp Frank's RedHot Sauce
  • 1 tbsp liquid Just Egg

Nashville Hot Sauce

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (Use the same oil you used to deep-fry your chick'n)
  • 1 tbsp organic brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cayenne pepper (If you want it less spicy, add only 1 tbsp!)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder


Fried Chick'n

  • Thaw the chick'n scallopini in the refrigerator. Once the chick'n is almost thawed, cut each piece in half the long way.
  • Season both sides of the chick'n with poultry seasoning. Set aside.
  • Preheat a deep fryer or a pot with at least 6 inches of vegetable oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. *Use a thermometer!!!
  • In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together all of the dry batter ingredients.
  • In another wide, shallow bowl, whisk together all of the wet batter ingredients.
  • Dip a piece of chick'n into the wet, then into the dry, then back into the wet, and then back into the dry. *I typically only bread and deep-fry two tenders at a time because I use a smaller pot. Do not bread all six of the tenders immediately unless you have space to deep fry them at the same time; otherwise, the batter on the tenders will get soggy before it has a chance to be deep fried.
  • Deep fry two tenders at a time for 5 minutes, flipping them over halfway through.
  • Carefully remove the fried chick'n from the oil and place them on a wire rack to drain off any excess oil.
  • Generously brush the entire chick'n tenders the Nashville hot sauce(recipe follows), and then use any leftover sauce as a dip for the tenders!

Nashville Hot Sauce

  • Carefully remove 1/2 cup of the vegetable oil from your pot or deep fryer and place it in a heat-safe bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients into the bowl and carefully stir until well combined.
Keyword kfc fried chicken, kfc plant based chicken, vegan fried chicken, vegan kfc nashville chicken tenders, vegan nashville chicken
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

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