Use this vegan fish recipe to make vegan fish and chips, vegan fish sticks, or a vegan filet-o-fish sandwich! This simple fish fry recipe uses tofu that is flavored with kelp flakes for a fishy taste and fried in an authentic fish fry batter. Dip the vegan fish in some tartar sauce and you will be amazed at how real this vegan fish tastes!
You will love this recipe because it’s…
- simple and easy to make!
- vegan and gluten-free.
- gives you that taste of a real fish fry, but without the animal products!
- a vegan version of Long John Silver’s fish fry.
What you will need to make vegan fish…
- Tofu – this will be the base of your “fish.” I find that a firm or extra firm tofu that has been pressed works the best. You can also use jackfruit or banana leaves if you want a soy-free alternative.
- Kelp Flakes – This is simply crushed up seaweed. You can also use nori and crush it up. This will give your marinade a fishy flavor.
- Water – for the base of the marinade and in the batter.
- Salt – to flavor the tofu marinade and in the batter.
- Flour – to make the base of the batter. You can use regular wheat flour or an all-purpose gluten-free flour mix.
- Cornstarch – This gives the batter a little crunch.
- Baking Soda and Baking Powder – this lightens up the batter and makes it slightly airy and crispy.
- Seasoning – (optional) a dash of onion powder, and paprika add a nice flavor to this batter too! You can also use some Old Bay Seasoning.
- Oil – for frying your “fish.” You will need enough for your fish to float in the oil or use a deep fryer. *To make this oil-free, you can bake the fish instead.
- Parchment Paper – and a cookie sheet if you want to bake it instead of frying.
How do I make a vegan fish fry?
Marinate the tofu:
- Drain and press a block of tofu.
- Cut the tofu into any shape that you wish your “fish” to be like sticks or patties.
- Add water, salt and kelp powder to a shallow dish to make a marinade.
- Place tofu in the marinade and turn it to get the kelp flakes stuck to all sides.
- Let it sit for at least 15 minutes, or cover and refrigerate up to 3 days. (The longer you let it sit, the fishier the flavor).
When you are ready to fry:
- Put oil in a pan deeper than the tofu is thick. (This will allow it to float). (Or use a deep fryer).
- Heat oil to 375° F and have it ready to add the “fish” once it has been battered.
Make the batter:
- Combine flour, cornstarch, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl.
- Add water and stir until it forms a pancake-like batter.
- Coat the marinated tofu in the batter.
- Place in the hot oil immediately, pulling your hand back quickly as to not get splashed with the oil.
- Fry for about 3-4 minutes until the bubbles have died down a little and it’s golden brown. Flip the “fish” if necessary.
- Serve hot!
Make up some vegan tartar sauce to dip your “fish” into or simply squeeze a slice of lemon over it!
How do I make vegan fish sticks?
To make fish sticks, cut the tofu into long thin strips about 1/2 inch thick, then batter and fry as you would the larger “fish” patties. Tip: Don’t cut the tofu too thin or it will fall apart when you try to coat it in the batter. Kids love these “fish” sticks dipped in some vegan tartar sauce!
To make vegan fish and chips…
If you want more of a traditional fish and chips meal, cut your tofu into triangle-shaped wedges and serve with chips aka vegan french fries.
Need a gluten-free vegan fish sandwich?
- To make the fillet-0-fish style sandwiches gluten-free, I used Schar brand ciabatta roles. (as seen in the picture).
- To make the fish fry batter gluten-free, I find that any all-purpose gluten-free flour mix works well. However, I add slightly less water to the gluten-free flour mix to get the same pancake batter-like consistency.
Can I bake the vegan “fish?”
Yes, if you want a healthier oil-free vegan fish, you can put the battered fish on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake it at 425° F for about 20 minutes. You simply won’t get the authentic “fish fry” flavor if you don’t actually fry it, yet it’s still delicious when it’s prepared this way!
Can I use an air fryer to make this vegan fish fry?
You can use an air fryer for this recipe if you wish, however, the batter is drippy and make a mess inside of your air fryer. If you chose to do so, you will only need to cook it at 400° F for about 15 minutes.
Be sure to check out my other vegan seafood recipes…
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A great way to make an easy vegan fish sandwich, fish and chips, or fish sticks.
- 1 block tofu firm or extra firm
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp kelp powder or nori strips broke up
- 3/4 cup flour (all-purpose gluten-free flour mix if desired)
- 2 tbsp corn starch or potato starch
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp onion powder (optional)
- 1/4 tsp paprika (optional)
- 3/4 cup water (2/3 cup for gluten-free)
- 3 cups oil for deep frying
- 1/2 cup vegan tartar sauce for dipping and putting on sandwiches
Drain and press a block of tofu.
Cut the tofu into any shape that you wish your "fish" to be, such as sticks or patties.
Add water, salt and kelp powder to a shallow dish to make a marinade.
Place tofu in the marinade and turn it to get the kelp flakes stuck to all sides.
Let it sit for at least 15 minutes, or cover and refrigerate up to 3 days. (The longer you let it sit, the fishier the flavor).
Put oil in a pan deeper than the tofu is thick. (This will allow it to float). (Or use a deep fryer).
Heat oil to 375°F (190°C) and have it prepared as the 'fish' will be added once it is battered.
Combine flour, cornstarch, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl.
Add water and stir until it forms a pancake-like batter.
Coat the marinated tofu in the batter.
Place in the hot oil immediately, pulling your hand back quickly as to not get splashed.°
Fry for about 3-4 minutes until the bubbles have died down a little and it's golden brown. Flip the "fish" if necessary.
Serve hot with tartar sauce!
To Bake the Vegan Fish:
- Pre-heat oven to 425°F (220°C).
- Batter the "fish" and place on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
For Gluten-Free "Fish:"
- Most all-purpose gluten-free flour mixes work well.
- I find that they need slightly less water than traditional flour, so add about 1/2 of water and then slowly add more until you get a pancake-like batter.
- If you want a gluten-free vegan sandwich bun, I find that the Schar brand works well.