Food·Posted on Mar 13, 2022We Tried 8 Of The Most Popular Vegan Chicken Nuggets — From Impossible, To Beyond Chicken, To Daring FoodsTough call — but the winner was SO good.by by Eboné DeniseBuzzFeed Contributor, by Whitney JeffersonBuzzFeed StaffFacebookPinterestTwitterMailLink If you haven't noticed, the nugget section at your grocery store has experienced a recent population boom. Eboné Denise / BuzzFeed And all the new kids on the block are cool, crispy, golden, and meatless. These chicken-less nuggets are nothing like the old-school vegan varieties of the '90s. They're full of flavor and meaty-ish texture-y goodness. To help you sift through the heaps of choices and stave off overwhelm, we (Whitney and Eboné) tested out nine vegan chicken nuggets. Whitney is a veteran vegan with over twelve consecutive years of plant-based eating. Eboné dipped her toes in the plant-based waters for a few months and while not strictly vegan, does enjoy a more plant-based diet. Here are our thoughts on the nuggets: 1. Gardein Ultimate Plant-Based Chick’n Nuggets Gardein, Eboné Denise / BuzzFeed Eboné's review: Gardein Chick'n Nuggets are what set me on a quest of trying all the plant-based nuggets out there. I was a skeptic, but these first convinced me they could be delicious after they blew me away at a YardHouse restaurant a few months ago. (Just be sure to double-check which flavor you get at YardHouse as not all the sauces they come with are vegan-friendly). Making them at home myself didn't disappoint. I baked them in the oven and they came out crispy like popcorn chicken. They are super savory and still very tasty even without being slathered in sauce.Rating: 🐔🐔🐔🐔🐔Whitney's review: Gardein has definitely stepped up their game in this latest chick'n nuggets release. I've tried many a Garden dish in my decade+ of veganism, but I don't think I ever tried any nuggets in their collection. I wasn't sure what to expect, to be honest, but when I opened the package and poured the nuggets onto the baking sheet, I was delighted in that they look almost like the popcorn chicken you can find at KFC or something. Upon baking, they crisped up perfectly and tasted great! They were fun to dip and are something I could see serving in a group setting while watching a sporting event and being a major hit. Rating: 🐔🐔🐔🐔🐔 2. Impossible Nuggets Eboné Denise / BuzzFeed Eboné's review: It should be no surprise that Impossible makes the bomb nuggets! I never doubted them for one moment. At first glance, you get a golden and bright classic chicken nugget shape. It's like childhood 2.0. The interior was juicy, chewy, and stringy, it felt and tasted most like a chicken nugget. I imagine kids would eat this right up without question. Rating: 🐔🐔🐔🐔Whitney's review: Impossible has done it again! Their latest product in their catalogue of plant-based meat replacements are plant-based nuggets, most of which can currently be found being served in restaurants across the USA and in grocery stores in Canada (how lucky!). Impossible's nuggets are almost perfectly engineered to mimic how real chicken nuggets are: the taste, the crispy-crunchy coating, the juicy and tender inside. The smell is great, too! These are a somewhat new option (just having launched last fall) but once they launch everywhere in stores, I know they'll be a huge hit in at-home cooking.Rating: 🐔🐔🐔🐔🐔 3. Daring Chicken Daring Foods / daring.com Eboné's review: Overall, I found the Daring line to be impressive. Their pieces come in lots of flavor options, and they had the most chicken-looking texture to me. They are also very easy to find in stores everywhere, from Walmart to WholeFoods. I cooked them in a pan with a bit of avocado oil and they got pretty crispy. I loved the well-seasoned flavor of the breaded coating, and I could see myself reaching for these if I really wanted some nuggets. Daring's other chicken pieces aren't breaded and would probably go well with salads or other meals that could use some grilled "chicken" pieces on top. Rating: 🐔🐔🐔🐔Whitney's review: Daring's line of plant-based chickens come in lemon and herb, cajun, original, and breaded pieces. For the sake of this list, I want to focus on the breaded variety because they're the most chicken nugget-like of the bunch. The back of the bag suggests cooking in the oven or in a skillet and we chose the latter — which I really don't think did the nuggets justice. They ended up almost wilted-like, a little mushy, and not at all crispy. So while I'm deducting a point for that, please note that it's mostly my fault in how they were cooked. Rating: 🐔🐔🐔🐔 4. Beyond Chicken Plant-Based Breaded Tenders Eboné Denise / BuzzFeed Eboné's Review: Okay, so I must admit I cheated a bit with this one. I had a bag in the freezer but after being out of town a few days, I came home to a broken fridge and a ton of food to throw out. Including my Beyond products. The Beyond tenders were out of stock throughout ALL of Los Angeles County. Which told me these were going to be very good. I finally got my hands on some at a KFC near my house. THEY ARE DELICIOUS. I'm not joking. I devoured them. Crunchy on the outside, juicy on the inside, flavorful AF throughout. If it weren't for the fact that the KFC Beyond nuggets are shaped too squarely and the inside "meat" looks more like a slice of tofu than chicken, you may have been able to fool me. I think I like these better than any "real" chicken nuggets I've ever had. Rating: 🐔🐔🐔🐔🐔Whitney's review: I wrote about these nuggets when they first launched this past July. And while then I was reviewing the nuggets prepared in advance, I'm happy to report that they're just as tasty when making them at home! They come in a frozen bag that I found crisped up perfectly in my air fryer. Absolutely delicious. For anyone looking to serve at a party, I recommend them to anyone looking to serve fake chicken to both vegan and non-vegan guests. Rating: 🐔🐔🐔🐔🐔 5. Like Meat's Like Nuggets Eboné Denise / BuzzFeed Eboné's review: I was really excited to try these because they were the first ones we found that were gluten-free. But I opened the box and then couldn't get over the weird smell. I thought they were off... like maybe they didn't transport well. But they cooked up with a crunchy exterior and the inside was a slightly harder than normal chewiness. Flavor-wise, it's wasn't bad, but I honestly just couldn't get over that scent. Rating: 🐔🐔Whitney's review: These are some of my favorite foods that I discovered last year — which I wrote about in-depth already — but I was happy to include and test these compared to the rest of the nuggets on this list. I'm happy to say that yes, these still reign supreme in my book. First, these are one of (maybe the only) gluten-free option on the list, which is great for people who are allergic or sensitive to gluten. Second, they crisp up just absolutely perfectly: crunchy on the outside, soft but tough in the middle. And third, the smell and taste can't be beat! Although, a note on the smell per Eboné's review above: there is a strong scent when you first open the box of nuggets. I'd never noticed it before she asked me about it, but once she said it I totally got what she meant. It almost smells, like, fermented? But in a good way. As you can tell, the scent never scared me away from completely loving these nuggets.Rating: 🐔🐔🐔🐔🐔 6. Alpha Foods' Chik'n Nuggets Eboné Denise / BuzzFeed Eboné's review: The Appha Nuggets were okay. I microwaved them, which probably wasn't the best idea because they didn't get very crispy all the way around. The breading was also kind of crumbly, and that could've been my own fault for microwaving. The flavor was good, though not as savory and mouth-watering as a couple of others on the list. Also, the meaty inside was darker than I was expecting. I would think these are much better in an air-fryer (but I'm the only person who refuses to buy one.)Rating: 🐔🐔🐔Whitney's review: I'd seen Alpha's nuggets in the grocery store for years and years but never had the chance to try them before this. The nugget shape and look was so familiar, it took me straight back to the cafeteria in elementary school. When cooked, they tasted just fine but not totally mind-blowing. If anything, the color of the meat was a little darker than I expected. They didn't really crisp up or crunch the way other nuggets have in this list. My main complaint about these nuggets is the trail of breading it left pretty much everywhere: the baking sheet, cutlery, plates, and table were filled with little nugget dust all over the place. Rating: 🐔🐔🐔🐔 7. Jack & Annie's Chicken Nuggets Whitney Jefferson / BuzzFeed Eboné's review: These jack nuggets were some of my faves! A lot of vegan restaurants use jackfruit for "meaty" items, so I was surprised when I realized this was the only brand using jackfruit for nuggets. The inside texture could certainly pass for being a chicken nugget. The breading on these are thicker than the others, and I cooked them a little longer to make them crispier but they still didn't crisp up that much, and the breading came off for some. Because of the breading, I'd say this is not a good one for a microwave. One thing to note may be that you don't get as many in the package as the other brands, so if you're feeding a few people, you will need extra boxes. Rating: 🐔🐔🐔🐔🐔Whitney's review: I have to give Jack and Annie's nuggets major props for being so different than all of the other nuggets we've tried on this list! For one, they're made from jackfruit — which at first I wasn't totally sure about. Jackfruit, for those who've tried it, can make a perfect veganized "pulled pork" replacement that's pretty much the same in consistency. So in my mind, these nuggets were going to look and have the consistency of that on the inside... but I was way, way off. Their consistency was incredibly nugget-like, and the "meat" was perfectly juicy. I wasn't expecting the nuggets to have a perfectly crispy outside, either, but they did! Between the taste and the extra points for very cute packaging, these are one of my favorites on the list. Rating: 🐔🐔🐔🐔🐔 8. Hungry Planet Chicken Chipotle Patties Eboné Denise / BuzzFeed Eboné's review: I had high hopes for the patty, but I didn't love it. I also didn't fix it up like a burger or sandwich, so maybe it was just a lot of patty to consume straight up. I pan-fried mine, so the patty was crunchy outside and juicier inside, but the flavor just wasn't there. I felt like I was eating fake meat. I will say I liked the original flavor better as I think it had a better taste and breading than the chipotle one. I also think that if I had made it an actual burger, I would've really enjoyed it more. Rating: 🐔🐔🐔Whitney's review: Hungry Planet's chicken patties aren't exactly nugget-shaped, but they are meant to be a chicken-like patty that you'd find at a restaurant or fast food joint. I baked mine in the oven per the instructions on the package and decided to eat it as a sandwich with all of the fixings: pickles, lettuce, special sauce, and a slice of melted provolone Violife cheese. And yet, despite the presentation and how great the patties smelled, they lacked a flavor and ended up being pretty mushy and not the most meat-like. Rating: 🐔🐔🐔 As you can see, we liked a lot of these. But the winner is... Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF NBC *drumroll* ...Beyond Chicken!! Beyond Meat It was a tough call because there are so many good options to pick from. But Beyond Chicken came through tasting and feeling like a real chicken nugget. Juicy and tender inside, crispy on the outside. Salty AF. We even liked that they're all shaped a little differently than one another. We think both plant-based eaters and meat eaters would enjoy these plant-based nuggets. We know we didn't get to try every nugget out there. Tell us your favorites in the comments!