This recipe will show you how to make the best vegan drumsticks “meatless chicken legs” using pulled oyster mushrooms and jackfruit! They have a meat-like texture, a spicy umami flavor and a crispy skin, so they will definitely convince even non-vegans!
The Best Vegan Chicken Drumsticks Recipe
This recipe is proof that being vegan does not mean going without your classic favorites. You just have to be really creative and try plant-based alternatives. And this recipe certainly won’t disappoint! The flavors and textures of these vegan chicken drumsticks are spot on; tender and meaty on the inside with a crispy “skin” on the outside.
Since the vegan drumsticks are made from mushrooms and jackfruit and baked in the oven, they also have far fewer calories and fat than real chicken or goose drumsticks. And even though they’re so healthy, they’re impressively close to the original and taste so good that even meat eaters will be thrilled!
It might look like a lot of work, especially if you are new to plant-based cooking, but it is actually quite straightforward to make. Just marinate and sauté the mushroom and jackfruit mixture, form them into drumsticks using rice paper, coat with a delicious sweet and spicy basting sauce, and bake until golden and crisp.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Oyster mushrooms: Mushrooms are an excellent substitute for meat because of their meaty texture. They also absorb the flavor from the marinade really well, resulting in a delicious, spice-laden faux chicken filling. If you don’t like mushrooms, you can sub them with more jackfruit instead.
- Jackfruit: another widely used meat alternative due to its meaty and stringy texture, which is perfect for this drumstick recipe. Alternatively, you can just use mushrooms if you do not have this.
- Rice papers sheets: will be used as the “skin” of the drumsticks.
- Cinnamon sticks: will act as the faux chicken bone. If you do not have this, you can make do with wide bamboo sticks or oven-safe skewers.
For the Spice Marinade
- Tamari: this gluten-free sauce will give the marinate a savory and umami taste. You can also use soy sauce as an alternative.
- Canola oil: or other vegetable oil.
- Maple syrup: gives the marinate a touch of sweetness.
- Paprika powder: aside from imbuing a sweet and peppery flavor, will also give the drumstick filling a nice golden brown color.
- Chili powder: add just enough to give it a punch of heat. You can also opt for cayenne pepper if that is what you have.
- Garlic powder: there is nothing like garlic to make any dish taste instantly better, right?
- Cumin: Adds a warm and earthy taste.
- Ginger: provides a sharp and zesty taste that rounds all the flavors up nicely.
- Cornstarch: to thicken the marinade and bind the filling together.
- Red wine: Aside form giving the marinate a depth of flavor, it will also keep the drumsticks moist. A good substitute for this is vegetable broth.
- Peanut oil: or other vegetable oils.
- Tamari: or soy sauce
- Maple syrup
- Tomato paste: this will give the drumsticks another layer of umami goodness and an appealing color too.
- Mustard: I used medium hot for this recipe.
- Paprika powder
- Salt and pepper
To serve (optional)
- Oven-roasted vegetables: you can use anything you like! Potatoes, asparagus, onions, carrot, broccoli, and brussels sprouts are great options.
- Fresh herbs: like parsley, thyme, rosemary, etc.
How to make Vegan Chicken Drumsticks
As always, I recommend checking out these step-by-step instructions and the recipe video first. Then you’ll find the full recipe with exact measurements in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Shred, season and cook mushrooms and jackfruit
Start by shredding the oyster mushrooms and jackfruit into thin strips and add to a hot pan. Whisk together all ingredients for the spice marinade and pour over the mushroom and jackfruit strips. Sauté for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for another 5 minutes.
In a small cup, dissolve the cornstarch in the red wine, then stir it into the mushroom-jackfruit mixture. Continue to cook until the mixture thickens. Then remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Step 2: Form drumsticks
Moisten a rice paper sheet with water and place on a damp tea towel. Spoon ¼ of the mushroom-jackfruit filling in the center and insert a cinnamon stick into it. Wrap the rice paper tightly around the filling to form a drumstick. Then moisten a second rice paper with water and wrap it around the first layer. Repeat this process until all the drumsticks are shaped.
Tip: You can also form smaller vegan chicken drumsticks or larger ones like goose legs.
Step 3: Coat and bake
Now whisk together all ingredients for the coating and brush both sides of the drumsticks with the mixture. Arrange your vegan drumsticks on vegetables or on an empty baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven at 356 °F (180 °C) for about 40 minutes, until golden-brown and crispy on the outside. Garnish with fresh parsley, thyme and rosemary if desired and serve!
Tips when Making Vegan Chicken Drumsticks
- The mushroom and jackfruit filling should be thick enough to clump together, making it easier to wrap later on. In case it turns out too dry, add a bit more cornstarch slurry until you get the right consistency.
- When moistening the rice paper, make sure to do it one at a time, so they do not stick to one another. Moisten them with just enough water to soften and make them pliable. Too much will make the rice paper mushy and will rip easily.
- Some creases when wrapping the mushroom and jackfruit filling with the damp rice paper is all right. It would actually make your drumsticks look more natural.
- Shape them as equally as possible, so they bake evenly.
- You can add lather more marinade sauce or oil as you roast them in the oven; however, make sure not to overdo it or the “skin” may not turn out crispy.
- Serve your vegan chicken legs with this homemade vegan Gravy sauce with a side of Mashed potatoes for a festive lunch or dinner meal!
Make-Ahead and Storing Notes
You can make a big batch of these vegan chicken legs and keep them in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also make the filling ahead of time and keep it frozen for up to a month.
These Vegan Chicken Drumsticks are:
- Meaty and filling
- Loaded with flavors
- Easy to Make
- Roasted to Perfection
- Taste just like the Classic!
Side dishes for vegan chicken
- Oven-Roasted Vegetables
- Potato Dumplings
- German Bread Dumplings
- Potato Bake
- German Spaetzle
- Mashed Potatoes
- Hash Browns
- Braised Red Cabbage
- Creamy Mushroom Sauce
- Vegan Gravy
If you try this easy recipe for Vegan Chicken Drumsticks, feel free to leave me a comment and a star rating! And if you take a photo of your dish and share it on Instagram, please tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka because I love seeing your remakes! Happy cooking! 😊
Vegan Chicken DrumsticksAuthor:
- 7 oz oyster mushrooms or sub more jackfruit
- 1 can jackfruit 250 g drained (or sub more oyster mushrooms)
- 8 rice papers sheets
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
- 3 tbsp canola oil or other vegetable oil
- ½ tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp paprika powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 small piece of ginger grated
- 1 pinch of chili powder or cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- ¼ cup red wine or vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp peanut oil or other vegetable oil
- ½ tbsp tamari or soy sauce
- ½ tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp yellow mustard medium hot
- ½ tsp paprika powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
To serve (optional)
- oven-roasted vegetables
- fresh herbs e.g. parsley, thyme, rosemary
*Note: Check out the recipe video + step-by-step instructions and helpful tips above!
- Shred the oyster mushrooms into thin strips. Cut off the hard stems of the jackfruit and chop finely. Then break apart the tender part into thin strips.
- For the spice marinade, whisk together the tamari, canola oil, maple syrup, paprika powder, garlic powder, cumin, ginger and chili in a small container.
- Place the shredded oyster mushrooms and jackfruit in a hot pan. Pour the spice marinade over it, and sauté for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for another 5 minutes.
- In a small cup, dissolve the cornstarch in the red wine, then stir it into the mushroom and jackfruit mixture. Continue to cook until the mixture thickens. Then remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 356 °F (180 °C) and prepare a casserole dish with vegetables, if desired.
- Moisten a rice paper sheet with water so that it becomes soft and pliable. Then place on a damp tea towel and spoon 1/4 of the mushroom and jackfruit filling in the center. Insert a cinnamon stick into the filling from the bottom and cut a small slit in the bottom of the rice paper using scissors. Wrap the rice paper around the cinnamon stick. Then wrap the remaining rice paper around the filling to form a drumstick. To help the drumstick hold together, moisten a second rice paper sheet with water and wrap it around the first layer. Repeat this process until all the drumsticks are formed.
- In a small cup, whisk together peanut oil, tamari, maple syrup, tomato paste, mustard, paprika, salt and pepper.
- Generously brush both sides of the drumsticks with the mixture and arrange them on prepared oven vegetables or an empty baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes, until golden-brown and crispy on the outside.
- Garnish with fresh parsley, thyme and rosemary if desired and serve!
- More information on the recipe, including serving suggestions as well as storing and freezing notes, are mentioned in the blog post above.
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