This vegan schnitzel recipe is perfect for a comforting dinner! The meatless schnitzel cutlets are made using seitan (vital wheat gluten) for an incredibly realistic result. Tender and soft, with a crispy breadcrumb coating, they are guaranteed to impress vegans and meat eaters alike!

Vegan schnitzel recipe

I used to eat schnitzel all the time before I started doing more plant based cooking. It seemed like a meal that was impossible to make vegan. But, a few years later, I finally gave it a go, and after a few tests, my perfect homemade vegan schnitzel recipe is finally here. And it’s not one to miss!

A schnitzel is an Austrian dish which features a thin slice of meat coated in breadcrumbs. I decided to use seitan (vital wheat gluten) to achieve the most realistic result. It certainly doesn’t fall short.

The vegan schnitzel meat is tender, soft and juicy, with a savory flavor that’s reminiscent of chicken. I had several non-vegans try this recipe, and all of them gave unanimous approval in terms of the realism factor. And my favorite part is the breadcrumb coating! This is the most distinctive feature of the schnitzel, adding a delightful crunch which contrasts perfectly with the seitan cutlets.

Vegan schnitzel with mashed potatoes

Serve vegan schnitzel for a weeknight dinner, or bring along to special occasions. The good news is that unlike other vegan meat recipes, this one doesn’t require that much time. Plus, even as a beginner in the kitchen, you won’t have any trouble perfecting it.

Ingredients for vegan schnitzel

Ingredients for vegan schnitzel

Extra firm tofu. This is often added to vegan ‘meat recipes’ to achieve a softer, lighter texture and ensure that the seitan isn’t too tough.

Olive oil. A small amount in the dough will help to add richness and a more realistic texture.

Garlic powder, cumin and salt to flavor the seitan. I kept these seasonings pretty simple, but you can add any other ones of your choice.

Vegetable stock. This helps to add moisture to the seitan, as well as extra flavor from the saltiness.

Meatless schnitzel with mayonnaise

Vital wheat gluten. This is a key ingredient in this recipe which is used in many vegan meat alternatives to replicate the texture of meat. It’s made by hydrating wheat flour, which removes everything except for the gluten.

Golden breadcrumbs. You can use any breadcrumbs of your choice for this recipe, or even make your own if you have any leftover stale bread.

Paprika and chicken seasoning. These are used for flavoring the breadcrumbs, and will make your kitchen smell amazing when you fry the schitzel!

Flour and plant based milk to make the batter in order to help the breadcrumbs stick without using eggs. You can use any unsweetened plant based milk variety of your choice.

How to make vegan schnitzel

Make the seitan

Start by adding the tofu, olive oil, garlic powder, cumin, salt and vegetable stock to a blender or food processor. Blend until very smooth and no tofu lumps remain.

When done, transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the vital wheat gluten. Combine it thoroughly into the wet ingredients using a rubber spatula, then knead for 5-7 minutes using your hands. The texture should be stretchy and firm, but not so tough that it becomes impossible to work with.

Shape and boil the ‘cutlets’

Transfer the seitan dough to a large, flat work surface. Divide it into 4 equal sections, or 6 if you want smaller schnitzel cutlets. Use a rolling pin to roll out each section into a rough oval shape around 1/2 inch in thickness.

Bring a large saucepan of water to a simmer over a medium heat and place the seitan cutlets inside. Cover, and allow to simmer for around 30 minutes, before removing them with a pair of kitchen tongs and transferring to a flat surface. Use a kitchen towel to remove any excess moisture.

Bread and fry the schnitzel

Set up your breading station. On a large, flat plate mix together the breadcrumbs, paprika and chicken seasoning. In a bowl, whisk together the plant based milk and flour until no lumps remain.

Cover the surface of a large non-stick skillet with olive oil and allow it to heat up for a few minutes over a medium-high heat. Submerge each schnitzel ‘fillet’ in the batter and drip off any excess. Next, coat evenly on both sides with breadcrumbs.

Now it’s time to fry the schnitzel. Make sure not to overcrowd the pan – I like to cook them 1-2 at a time. Fry the cutlets for around 3-4 minutes on each side, until crispy and golden brown, then transfer to a flat surface covered with a kitchen towel to allow any excess oil to drip off.

Serve immediately, or store in the fridge in an airtight container, or wrapped with cling film, for up to 4 days.

Recipe tips and substitutions

  • You can add any other spices or herbs to the seitan batter to adjust the flavor to your preferences. You can also add nutritional yeast if you want more of a cheesy flavor.
  • Unfortunately, the vital wheat gluten is a key ingredient in this recipe to achieve a realistic ‘meaty’ texture, so this recipe can’t be made gluten-free.
  • If you are having a hard time rolling out the dough, allow it to rest for around 10 minutes, which will make it easer to work with.
  • If you have extra time, you can marinade the cutlets in any marinade of your choice for around 30 minutes after boiling them.
  • When frying the vegan schnitzel, make sure not to overdo it as this will cause the texture to become too tough and chewy. It’s best to err on the side of caution and stick to a lower cooking time.

Can you bake vegan schnitzel?

Yes, absolutely! In order to do so, simply preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/350 F. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper and then bake the schnitzel for around 25 minutes, flipping half way through.

Vegan schnitzel on a wooden board

Can vegan schnitzel be frozen?

Yes, absolutely. Wait until the cooked schnitzel is fully cooled down, then transfer the cutlets to a large baking tray lined with parchment paper. Place in the freezer for 3-4 hours, then transfer to a freezer-friendly container or bags.

To reheat, allow the schnitzel to thaw fully in the fridge, then pan fry as instructed above. You can also bake them from frozen at 180 degrees C/350 for around 45 minutes, and then also pan fry afterwards if desired.

Vegan breaded chicken with potatoes

Serving suggestions

The great thing about vegan schnitzel is how versatile it is! You can serve it for a simple dinner with a potato side dish such as mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes or crispy roast potatoes. For a comforting lunch, I love making schnitzel sandwiches.

Breaded vegan chicken with mashed potatoes

As for sauces and dressings, you can keep it very simple with ketchup or dairy-free mayonnaise. My vegan sour cream and horseradish sauce also make an exceptional pairing for a crispy, flavorful schnitzel!

Other vegan ‘meat’ recipes

Vegan schnitzel

If you give this vegan schitzel recipe a go, be sure to leave your feedback in the comments together with a star rating, and tag me on Instagram (@earthofmariaa). I always love hearing from you!

Vegan schnitzel recipe

Get the Recipe: Vegan Schnitzel Recipe

This vegan schnitzel recipe is perfect for a comforting dinner! The meatless schnitzel cutlets are made using seitan (vital wheat gluten) for an incredibly realistic result. Tender and soft, with a crispy breadcrumb coating, they are guaranteed to impress vegans and meat eaters alike!

Ingredients

For the schnitzel 'cutlets'

  • 10 oz extra firm tofu
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more to try
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten

For the breading

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chicken seasoning

For the batter

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup plant based milk

Equipment

  • Blender or food processor
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Rolling pin
  • Saucepan
  • Plate
  • Small mixing bowl
  • Skillet

Instructions 

Make the seitan

  • Add the tofu, olive oil, garlic powder, cumin, salt and vegetable stock to a blender or food processor. Blend until very smooth and no tofu lumps remain.
    10 oz extra firm tofu, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp salt, 3/4 cup vegetable stock
  • Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the vital wheat gluten. Combine it thoroughly into the wet ingredients using a rubber spatula, then knead for 5-7 minutes using your hands. The texture should be stretchy and firm, but not so tough that it becomes impossible to work with.
    1/2 cup vital wheat gluten

Shape and cook the 'cutlets'

  • Transfer the seitan dough to a large, flat work surface. Divide it into 4 equal sections, or 6 if you want smaller schnitzel cutlets. Use a rolling pin to roll out each section into a rough oval shape around 1/2 inch in thickness.
  • Bring a large saucepan of water to a simmer over a medium heat and place the seitan cutlets inside. Cover, and allow to simmer for around 30 minutes, before removing them with a pair of kitchen tongs and transferring to a flat surface. Use a kitchen towel to remove any excess moisture.

Bread and fry

  • Set up your breading station. On a large, flat plate mix together the breadcrumbs, paprika and chicken seasoning. In a bowl, whisk together the plant based milk and flour until no lumps remain.
    1 cup breadcrumbs, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp chicken seasoning, 1 cup flour, 1 cup plant based milk
  • Cover the surface of a large non-stick skillet with olive oil and allow it to heat up for a few minutes over a medium-high heat.
    2 tbsp olive oil
  • Submerge each schnitzel 'fillet' in the batter and drip off any excess. Next, coat evenly on both sides with breadcrumbs.
  • Fry the cutlets for around 3-4 minutes on each side, until crispy and golden brown, then transfer to a flat surface covered with a kitchen towel to allow any excess oil to drip off.
  • Serve immediately, or store in the fridge in an airtight container, or wrapped with cling film, for up to 4 days.

Video

Notes

Flavoring the seitan: You can add any other spices or herbs to the seitan batter to adjust the flavor to your preferences. You can also add nutritional yeast if you want more of a cheesy flavor.
Gluten-free: Unfortunately, the vital wheat gluten is a key ingredient in this recipe to achieve a realistic ‘meaty’ texture, so this recipe can’t be made gluten-free.
Frying time: When frying the vegan schnitzel, make sure not to overdo it as this will cause the texture to become too tough and chewy. It’s best to err on the side of caution and stick to a lower cooking time.
How to bake the schnitzel: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/350 F. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper and then bake the schnitzel for around 25 minutes, flipping half way through.
To freeze: Wait until the cooked schnitzel is fully cooled down, then transfer the cutlets to a large baking tray lined with parchment paper. Place in the freezer for 3-4 hours, then transfer to a freezer-friendly container or bags.
To reheat from frozen: Allow the schnitzel to thaw fully in the fridge, then pan fry as instructed above. You can also bake them from frozen at 180 degrees C/350 for around 45 minutes, and then also pan fry afterwards if desired.
Calories: 395kcal, Carbohydrates: 49g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Sodium: 1088mg, Potassium: 243mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 360IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 184mg, Iron: 5mg