Air Fryer Vegan Hot “Honey” Chicken

Meet your new favorite vegan air fryer recipe! This plant-based hot honey chicken recipe is a sweet and spicy take on vegan fried chicken.

Air Fryer Vegan Hot “Honey” Chicken

What’s better than vegan fried chicken? Only one thing: Vegan fried chicken coated in a sweet and spicy to-die-for hot honey sauce. My friends – today I give to you the ultimate vegan chicken recipe. Meet Vegan Hot Honey Chicken. It’s about to be your air fryer’s new bff.

Now I know what you’re thinking: honey and chicken are not vegan, so how can you make a vegan hot honey chicken? Let me tell you, not only is it possible, but it’s also delicious in its own right. We’re using agave and tofu as substitutes today to make a decadent take on vegan hot honey chicken that you’ll crave on repeat.

If deep frying scares you, don’t click away just yet! We’re frying our hot honey chicken in the air fryer for easier clean up and no fire hazards. You’re welcome 🙂

vegan hot honey chicken nuggets resting on a sheet tray covered in parchment paper

Ingredients for Vegan Hot Honey Chicken

You’d be surprised that you probably already have most of the ingredients you need already on hand to make this vegan fried chicken recipe!

Honey isn’t vegan, but you can still replicate a hot honey sauce by using agave or maple syrup. It’ll still give you that sweetness you’re looking for to balance out the heat of the cayenne in the sauce.

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this vegan hot honey chicken:

  • Non-dairy milk. Any unsweetened variety works, so use what you have on hand!
  • Apple cider vinegar. We’re using a splash of apple cider vinegar in the brine for our vegan fried chicken to help add a bit of a tang.
  • Seasonings. Salt, pepper garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cayenne all lend a ton of flavor to our vegan hot honey chicken. Feel free to scale the cayenne up or down depending on how much spice you like.
  • Tofu. You’ll want to make sure you use extra-firm tofu and that you take the time to drain and press it fully before making this recipe. This will ensure that your vegan fried chicken comes out as crispy as can be.
  • All-purpose flour. You can use a 1:1 gluten-free blend if necessary.
  • Cornstarch. A bit of cornstarch goes a long way to help make the breading for our vegan fried chicken super crispy.
  • Oil. You could use a pure oil spray or any other kind of neutral oil like canola, vegetable or grapeseed.
  • Vegan butter. We’re using a bit of vegan butter in the hot ‘honey’ recipe to ensure it’s rich and saucy, and to help balance out the heat.
  • Sweetener. Agave or maple syrup both make for good vegan substitutes for honey.

a piece of vegan fried chicken with a bite taken out of it

How to Make Vegan Fried Chicken and Hot “Honey” Recipe

This is not only one of my favorite ways to make vegan fried chicken, but it also might be my favorite vegan air fryer recipe.

I love to use the air fryer for this recipe because it’s a no-mess, no-fuss way to make delicious vegan fried chicken at home. The idea of dropping tofu into hot oil over the stove and having to closely monitor the oil temp sounds messy, stressful, and like a bit of a fire hazard to me. Not very weeknight friendly. This air fryer ‘chicken’ will still turn out super crunchy and crispy, but all you have to do is plug in an appliance!

Here’s how to make vegan fried chicken and a delicious homemade hot “honey” sauce:

  1. Make the brine by combining milk, vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.
  2. Tear up your tofu into nuggets or strips and toss in the brine. Then, let it marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat air fryer or oven to 400ºF and grease your air fryer basket or sheet tray.
  4. Make the dredge by mixing flour, cornstarch, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.
  5. Dredge tofu in the flour mixture and toss, then set each nugget on your baking pan. For extra crispy vegan fried chicken: let the tofu sit for 5 minutes, then re-dredge in the flour mixture. Once all tofu is dredged, lightly coat all the nuggets in oil.
  6. Air fry the vegan fried chicken nuggets for 10 minutes, then flip and bake for another 10 minutes, until crispy.
  7. Make the hot “honey” sauce by combining butter, sweetener, cayenne and garlic powder in a sauce pan and cooking for 2 minutes.
  8. Toss your vegan fried chicken in the hot honey sauce and serve!

a batch of vegan fried chicken nuggets

More Vegan Fried Chicken Recipes

There are lots of ways to make delicious vegan fried chicken and plenty of fun ways to serve it. Whether you’re eating it on a bun, on top of a waffle or dipping it into a delicious homemade dip, the options are endless. Here are my favorite takes on vegan fried chicken!


How to make:

Air Fried Vegan Hot “Honey” Chicken

Meet your new favorite vegan air fryer recipe! This plant-based hot honey chicken recipe is a sweet and spicy take on vegan fried chicken.

Prep Time:
20 minutes
Cook Time:
1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time:
1 hour 40 minutes
4 1x


For the “chicken”:

  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed*
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (gluten-free, if needed)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
  • Pure oil spray or neutral oil (canola, vegetable, grapeseed)

For the hot “honey”:

  • 1/4 cup vegan butter
  • 3 tablespoons agave syrup or maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more if you want it spicier
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


  1. In a medium bowl or a large zip bag, add milk, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Pull apart the tofu into nugget shapes (or larger strip shapes, if desired) and place into the bowl or bag. Toss; refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  2. Preheat air fryer or oven to 400ºF. Grease the air fryer basket or baking pan.
  3. In a small bowl, add flour, cornstarch, paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  4. Remove tofu from bowl or bag and shake off excess liquid. Dredge in the flour mixture; toss to coat. Set each nugget on the baking pan. For extra crispy nuggets: let tofu sit for 5 minutes, then re-dredge in the flour mixture. Once all tofu is done, spray nuggets with oil or lightly brush with oil.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip. Bake for another 10 minutes, until crispy.
  6. In a saucepan over medium heat, add all hot “honey” ingredients. Once butter is melted, reduce heat to low and let cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  7. To the saucepan, add nuggets. Toss to evenly coat in the hot “honey.”


*Use a tofu press, or wrap the tofu in paper towels and place in the sink with a heavy object on top. Press for 10-15 minutes.