Mock Chicken Legs Air Fryer Recipe: A Delightful Twist On A Classic Dish

mock chicken legs air fryer recipe

If you’ve been craving the comforting flavors of traditional chicken legs but are looking to explore a plant-based alternative or simply try something new, this mock chicken legs air fryer recipe is exactly what you need! This recipe not only provides a delicious and nutritious twist on a classic dish, but it also takes full advantage of the air fryer’s capabilities to deliver perfectly crisp and flavorful mock chicken legs. In this comprehensive article, we will dive into the food science behind this culinary masterpiece, cover the selection and cleaning process, detail the preparation steps, provide tips and variations, guide you on doneness checks, and ultimately offer you the recipe for these mouthwatering mock chicken legs.

Food Science: The Magic Behind It All

Creating mock chicken legs that closely mimic the taste, texture, and appearance of their meaty counterparts involves understanding the food science at play. Key ingredients such as vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, and spices help create a chewy and flavorful texture, while liquids like water and vegetable broth bind the mixture together. The vital wheat gluten acts as a protein source and forms the gluten network responsible for the "meat-like" texture. Nutritional yeast adds depth of flavor, reminiscent of poultry, due to its natural umami notes.

Selection and Cleaning: Choosing the Right Ingredients

Before embarking on this culinary adventure, you must choose high-quality ingredients to ensure the best possible outcome. Here are some key considerations:

Vital Wheat Gluten

Ensure you select vital wheat gluten that is fresh and free from any bugs or off odors. Choose a reputable brand that guarantees a high protein content, as this will be crucial in achieving the desired texture.

Nutritional Yeast

Opt for nutritional yeast flakes rather than powder, as the flakes provide a more nuanced flavor profile. Look out for brands that offer unfortified nutritional yeast, as they tend to have a cleaner taste. Check the expiration date to guarantee a fresh and flavorful batch.

Spices and Herbs

For the most aromatic and robust flavors, choose spices and herbs that are within their expiration date. Consider using a high-quality poultry seasoning blend or create your own using a combination of dried herbs like sage, thyme, rosemary, and marjoram.

Other Ingredients

Ensure the vegetable broth, water, and any additional flavor enhancers like soy sauce or liquid smoke are fresh and of good quality. Opt for low-sodium vegetable broth to have better control over the overall salt content of your mock chicken legs.

Once you have selected all your ingredients, it’s time to move on to cleaning, as maintaining proper hygiene while cooking is essential.

Cleaning: A Prerequisite for Deliciousness

mock chicken legs

Before starting any kitchen endeavor, it’s crucial to ensure that all your tools and cooking surfaces are clean and free from any contaminants. For this recipe, ensure your air fryer is clean and devoid of any lingering flavors from previous meals. You can use a mild detergent, warm water, and a soft cloth or sponge to clean the interior and exterior of the air fryer. Rinse and dry thoroughly before proceeding with the recipe.

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Preparation: Assembling the Perfect Mock Chicken Legs

mock chicken legs

Now that you understand the food science and have prepared your ingredients and kitchen, it’s time to dive into the exciting process of assembling the mock chicken legs. Follow these step-by-step instructions to create the ultimate flavorful and crispy vegetarian delight:

Step 1: Mixing the Dry Ingredients

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of vital wheat gluten, 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast flakes, 2 tablespoons of poultry seasoning, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Whisk the dry ingredients together until they are evenly distributed.

Step 2: Preparing the Wet Mixture

In a separate bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth, 1/4 cup of soy sauce, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. These liquids will bind the dry ingredients together and infuse them with extra flavor.

Step 3: Combining Dry and Wet Ingredients

Create a well in the center of the dry ingredient mixture and pour the wet mixture into it. Use a spatula or your hands to gradually combine the dry and wet ingredients until a sticky, cohesive dough forms. Be cautious not to overmix, as this can result in a tougher texture.

Step 4: Kneading the Dough

Transfer the dough onto a clean, dry surface and knead it for around 3-5 minutes until it becomes elastic and slightly bouncy. This process helps develop the gluten network, further enhancing the meat-like texture of the mock chicken legs.

Step 5: Shaping the Mock Chicken Legs

Divide the dough into equal portions and shape each portion into a leg-like form, resembling classic chicken legs. You can roll the dough into a log shape and pinch one end to give it a distinct "drumstick" appearance. Repeat this step until all the dough is shaped.

Step 6: Preheating the Air Fryer

Preheat your air fryer at 375°F (190°C) for approximately 5 minutes to ensure it reaches the desired temperature for optimal results.

Step 7: Air Frying the Mock Chicken Legs

Place the mock chicken legs into the air fryer basket, leaving some space between them to allow for proper air circulation. Cook for approximately 20 minutes, flipping them halfway through the cooking time to ensure even browning. Adjust the cooking time based on your preferred level of crispiness.

Tips and Variations: Personalize Your Culinary Masterpiece

close up view of air fried mock chicken legs

Now that you’ve mastered the basics of this mock chicken legs air fryer recipe, let’s explore some tips and variations to help you add your own unique twist:

Tip 1: Flavorful Marinades

Before assembling and air frying the mock chicken legs, consider marinating them in your favorite flavors. For instance, a soy sauce-based marinade with garlic, ginger, and a touch of maple syrup can infuse your mock chicken legs with Asian-inspired goodness.

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Tip 2: Adding Texture with Coatings

Experiment with adding a crunchy coating to your mock chicken legs by dipping them in a bread crumb mixture or pastry crust before air frying. This adds an irresistible textural contrast.

Variation 1: Spicy Kick

If you enjoy a fiery kick, try adding spices like cayenne pepper, paprika, or chili flakes to the dry ingredient mixture. The result will be delightful, spicy mock chicken legs that will satisfy your heat-seeking taste buds.

Variation 2: Herb Infusion

For a fresher and herbaceous twist, add finely chopped fresh herbs like parsley, basil, or cilantro to the dough mixture. This variation adds an aromatic element that pairs beautifully with the recognizable chicken-like texture.

Doneness Checks: Ensuring Perfect Results

close up view of air fried mock chicken legs

While cooking these mock chicken legs, it’s essential to gauge their doneness accurately to achieve the desired texture and taste. Follow these simple checks to ensure perfectly cooked mock chicken legs:

  1. Visual Inspection: The mock chicken legs should have a golden-brown color on the exterior, resembling the appearance of traditional chicken legs.

  2. Internal Temperature: Using an instant-read thermometer, check the internal temperature of the mock chicken legs. It should register between 160°F and 165°F (71°C and 74°C) to ensure they are thoroughly cooked and safe to eat.

  3. Texture Test: Gently press the mock chicken legs with your fingers; they should be firm to the touch, with a slight give. Avoid overcooking, as this can result in a dry texture.

Recipe: Bringing it All Together

Now that you have all the knowledge, let’s compile the complete recipe for mock chicken legs in an air fryer:


  • 2 cups vital wheat gluten
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast flakes, poultry seasoning, and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix vegetable broth, soy sauce, and olive oil.
  3. Combine the wet mixture with the dry ingredients, creating a sticky dough. Avoid overmixing.
  4. Transfer the dough to a clean surface and knead for 3-5 minutes until it becomes elastic.
  5. Divide and shape the dough into mock chicken legs.
  6. Preheat the air fryer at 375°F (190°C) for 5 minutes.
  7. Place the mock chicken legs in the air fryer basket, leaving space between them for proper air circulation.
  8. Air fry for approximately 20 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time.
  9. Use doneness checks to ensure the mock chicken legs are cooked to perfection.
  10. Serve hot and enjoy your delightful plant-based mock chicken legs!

Let your culinary creativity shine as you savor these delicious mock chicken legs prepared with passion and expertise.


Congratulations! You are now equipped with all the knowledge and guidance to create exceptional mock chicken legs using your air fryer. You’ve learned about the food science behind the recipe, the importance of ingredient selection and cleanliness, step-by-step instructions for preparation, and even tips, variations, and doneness checks. So go ahead, roll up your sleeves, and let your tastebuds rejoice in the delightful textures and flavors that these mock chicken legs offer. Bon appétit!

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  • FAQS On Mock Chicken Legs Air Fryer Recipe

    What Is A Mock Chicken Legs Air Fryer Recipe?

    A mock chicken legs air fryer recipe is a plant-based alternative to traditional chicken legs, made with ingredients such as seitan, tofu, or jackfruit and cooked in an air fryer for a crispy texture.

    How Do I Make Mock Chicken Legs For An Air Fryer Recipe?

    To make mock chicken legs for an air fryer recipe, you can use seitan, tofu or jackfruit as a base, marinate it with seasoning and spices, shape it into a leg-like form, then coat it with a crispy coating and air fry until golden and crispy.

    What Ingredients Do I Need For A Mock Chicken Legs Air Fryer Recipe?

    You will need the main ingredient such as seitan, tofu, or jackfruit, along with seasonings like garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and salt, a crispy coating such as panko breadcrumbs or cornflakes, and optional sauces or marinades for flavor.

    How Long Do I Air Fry Mock Chicken Legs For?

    The cooking time for mock chicken legs in an air fryer will vary depending on the thickness and type of ingredients used, but generally, they will need to be cooked for 15-20 minutes at 375°F, flipping halfway through for even cooking.

    Can I Add Different Flavors To My Mock Chicken Legs Air Fryer Recipe?

    Yes, you can customize your mock chicken legs air fryer recipe by adding different seasonings, sauces, and marinades to create various flavors such as BBQ, buffalo, teriyaki, or spicy.

    What Are Some Serving Suggestions For Mock Chicken Legs Air Fryer Recipe?

    You can serve mock chicken legs with your favorite dipping sauce, alongside a side of coleslaw, potato salad, or roasted vegetables, or use them in sandwiches, wraps, or salads for a complete meal.

    Are Mock Chicken Legs A Healthy Alternative To Traditional Chicken Legs?

    Mock chicken legs made with plant-based ingredients like seitan, tofu, or jackfruit can be a healthier alternative to traditional chicken legs, as they are lower in saturated fats and cholesterol, while still providing a good source of protein and fiber.