You can use this vegan fish recipe to make a classic vegan fish fry, 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 tofu fish tastes!
This is the best vegan fish that you can make! It's made with simple ingredients yet tastes like an authentic fish fry.
❤️ You'll tofu fish because it's
- simple and easy to make!
- vegan and gluten-free.
- gives you that taste of a real fish fry, but without animal products!
- easy to turn into kid-friendly vegan fish sticks!
- a vegan version of Long John Silver's fish fry.
🧾 Ingredients and substitutions
- Tofu - this will be the base of your "fish." I find that firm or extra-firm tofu that has been pressed works the best. You can also use jackfruit, hearts of palm, or banana blossom if you want a soy-free alternative.
- Kelp Flakes - These are simply crushed-up seaweed flakes. You can also use nori sheets and crush them up. This will give your marinade a fishy flavor.
- Water - for the base of the marinade and in the batter. (You can swap this out for beer for a beer-battered fish.)
- Salt - to flavor the tofu marinade and in the batter.
- Flour - to make the base of the batter. You can use regular all-purpose flour, wheat flour, or an all-purpose gluten-free flour mix.
- Cornstarch - This gives the batter a little crunch. (You can swap this out with panko crumbs instead if you would like.
- Baking Soda and Baking Powder - this lightens up the batter and makes it slightly airy and crispy.
- Seasoning - (optional) a dash of onion powder, black pepper, and paprika add a nice flavor to this batter too! You can also use some Old Bay Seasoning.
- Oil - for deep 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.
- Lemon Wedges - squeeze a little fresh lemon juice on your faux fish.
🔪 Helpful tools
- A Deep Fryer - or a pot filled with enough oil to allow the tofu to float when frying.
- Tongs - to take your fish fry out of the oil.
- Paper Towels - to drain the excess oil off of the "fish" after frying.
- Parchment Paper - and a cookie sheet if you want to bake it instead of frying it.
🥄 How to make vegan fish
Marinate the tofu
Step 1 - Drain and press a block of tofu.
Step 2 - Cut the tofu into any shape that you wish your "fish" to be like sticks or patties.
Step 3 - Add water, salt, and kelp powder to a shallow dish to make a marinade.
Step 4 - Place tofu in the marinade and turn it to get the kelp flakes stuck to all sides.
Step 5 - Let it sit for at least 15 minutes, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. (The longer you let it sit, the fishier the flavor).
When you are ready to fry
Step 6 - Put oil in a pan deeper than the tofu is thick. (This will allow it to float). (Or use a deep fryer).
Step 7 - Heat oil to 375° F and have it ready to add the "fish" once it has been battered.
Make the batter and fry
Step 8 - Combine the dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, salt, baking soda, and baking powder) in a bowl.
Step 9 - Add water and stir until it forms a pancake-like batter.
Step 10 - Coat the marinated tofu in the batter.
Step 11 - Place in the hot oil immediately, pulling your hand back quickly so as to not get splashed with the oil. (You can also use tongs to place the breaded tofu in the oil.)
Step 12 - Fry the vegan fish fillet 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!
Serve your vegan fish with some vegan tartar sauce, vegan mayo, vegan Chick-Fil-A sauce, or some chipotle mayo, or simply squeeze a slice of lemon juice over it!
✨ 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.
👩🏻🍳 Pro Tips
- 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 or other vegan dipping sauces!
- These are also great for adding to vegan fish tacos.
🍟 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 french fries).
🍞 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 below).
- To make the fish fry mixture 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.
❓Frequently asked questions
For an extra flaky texture use firm tofu (not extra-firm tofu or super firm tofu) and freeze it completely before using it. Put it in the fridge the thaw it a day or two before you plan on cooking it. Drain off the excess water and press the thawed tofu, and you will have a flakier texture.
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!
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.
🌟 More vegan seafood recipes
I used to love seafood before I went vegan, so I make a lot of mock seafood recipes. Check out all of my vegan seafood recipes.
- Vegan Shrimp
- Vegan Linguine with Clam Sauce
- Easy Vegan Scallops with King Oyster Mushrooms
- Vegan Tuna Salad
- Vegan Clam Dip
- Deep Fried Vegan Shrimp in a Basket
📌 Be sure to follow me on Pinterest for new vegan recipes!
📋 Vegan fish recipe
- deep fryer (or a deep pan and metal tongs)
To marinate the tofu
- 1 block tofu firm or extra firm
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon kelp powder or nori strips broke up
For the batter
- 3/4 cup flour (all-purpose gluten-free flour mix if desired)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon 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
Marinate the tofu
- 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 3/4 cups water, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp 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 for up to 3 days. (The longer you let it sit, the fishier the flavor).
When you are ready to fry
- Add 3 cups of oil to 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.
Make the batter
- Combine 3/4 cups flour, 2 tbsp cornstarch, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp baking powder, and salt in a bowl (optional: 1/4 tsp onion powder and 1/4 tsp paprika).
- Add 3/4 cups 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!
- 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.
- 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.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Click the stars above or leave a comment! I'd love to hear from you!
Kim Marie Evans says
I was wondering if I could use Pumfu or Burmese Tofu instead and do you know if these would become flakey like tofu would?
You could use them and the flavor would be okay, but the texture would definitely not be as flaky.
Hello Pat! You can use oyster mushroom the fry up good and we use them for fish all the time.
I was wondering if you know of something I could use instead of tofu, since I am allergic to all things soy?
Sorry, Pat, I can't think of anything else that would give you a similar taste and texture.
Yogi Cindy says
You can experiment with Seitan and chickpeas or pinto beans. Try using banana blossom is another thing. There are several nonsoy options
Can the kelp powder be substituted with Nori Furikake?
Yes, you can use that instead. Enjoy! 🙂
Could I use corn meal instead of corn starch?
You can use cornmeal instead of corn starch, but you will get a different texture.
Jennifer Hanna says
Hi there! I was wondering if this recipe could be prepared in an air fryer? Thanks!
You can use an air fryer if you want, but the batter is drippy. You can also bake it on parchment paper. Enjoy! 🙂
Is there anyway I can use coconut or almond flour. I’m trying to lean towards the low carb side of this new plant based life,
Hi Amber, I'm not sure if they will work. I have never tested it with either of those flours. If you try it let me know if it works. If you want to make it with a lower carb coating, you can also use cornstarch like in my crispy fried tofu recipe. It's still crispy, but without the thicker coating. Here is the recipe... https://thehiddenveggies.com/how-to-make-crispy-tofu/
Made this tonight - it was very good, the batter was excellent. I had problems having the batter stick to the bottom of my deep fryer and so one half of the batter came off.I did try different ways to get ir into the hot grease - but I could not win on this!! But it is a delicious batter and we added a slice of nori to the filet, made it look so real!! thank you
You're welcome! So happy that you liked it! Make sure your oil is hot enough so it starts cooking as soon as it hits the oil. This will help it not stick to the basket or the bottom of the pan. 🙂
jenna urben says
How creative is this!! I love cooking with tofu and will be sure to try this next time my husband wants to make some fish for himself. Definitely going to try baking it as I don't have an air fryer yet. That vegan tartar sauce sounds dreamy too 🙂
Thanks, Jenna, I hope that you give it a try. Even if your husband eats fish, I think that he will be surprised by how good tofu fish tastes!
Wow! This vegan fish is amazing!
I love that you offer plenty of healthy recipes but also ones that satisfy my cravings!
So happy to hear that you liked it, Natasha! It's one of my favorite ways to eat tofu! 🙂