Southern Fried Vegan Air Fryer Soy Curls Recipe (2024)

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I’ve got your new favorite quickie dinner – Vegan Southern StyleAir Fryer Soy Curls! This recipe is easy, convenient, full of flavor, crunch, and fun to eat as well.

They’re like vegan popcorn chicken, plus are oil-free, gluten-free, and you can change up the seasoning even add in some hot sauce, to suit your mood.

Southern Fried Vegan Air Fryer Soy Curls Recipe (1)

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This Is My New Favorite Dinner Recipe!

I hate to tell you this, but I’ve been holding out on you. I’ve been making these Vegan Air Fryer Southern Fried “Chicken” Soy Curls for months!

It’s taken me a while to get the time to take photos and write down this great recipe, but it’s worth the wait.

If you want to get all the details on soy curls, check out my Soy Curl Recipe page.

Looking for a perfect dessert for this dinner? Try my Plant-based London Fog Ice Cream!

Southern Fried Vegan Air Fryer Soy Curls Recipe (2)

What Are Soy Curls?

They are by a company called Butler Foods and are made of non-gmo soybeans, that are basically cooked, then smashed into a vegan chicken tender shape.

They look a lot like TVP and come dehydrated.But when they are reconstituted with water or broth they have a meaty texture like a vegan version of chicken strips.

You won’t find them in grocery stores or Whole Foods on the east coast, but you can order from Amazon no matter where you live.

Since I’m in North Carolina, I order my Butler Soy Curls on Amazon.

If you are in the Pacific Northwest, you may be able to find them in your local health food store. You can also get your bags of soy curls directly from Butler’s Foods.

What are Butler’s Soy Curls made of?

Soy curls are created by dehydrating whole soybeans that have been cooked and extruded. They are a great vegan meat substitute that’s super simple to prepare.

They are made from whole, non-GMO soybeans that have been grown without the use of chemical pesticides.

Are TVP and soy curls the same thing?

Unlike TVP (textured vegetable protein), which is created by pressing and drying defatted soybean flour, these curls are made from whole beans, retaining all of their fiber and protein.

Soy curls can be used as the basis for a stir-fry or, if finely chopped after soaking, in any recipe that calls for vegan ground.

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How Do Use Soy Curls?

For this recipe, I rehydrate them with boiling water, but when I use them in a slow cooker or Instant Pot recipes, I usually put them in dry with extra liquid to save time and effort.

Use them in any recipe that calls for meat or sub them for tofu or vegan crumbles.

Do soy curls go bad?

The dehydrated Curls are shelf-stable but using them within 6 months of purchase is recommended.

Rehydrated Soy Curls can be maintained covered in the fridge for up to 4 days before use.


You’ll need a 1/2 a bag of soy curls, finely ground cornmeal, nutritional yeast, and cajun seasoning.

How to make air fryer soy curls?

Place the soy curls in a heat-resistant pan or large bowl over high heat and pour the boiling water or vegetable broth over them.

Allow 5 to 10 minutes for them to soak, or until they become soft and plump.

Pour into a strainer in your sink to drain, then use a big spoon to press out any excess water.

In a small bowl, combine the breading ingredients thoroughly.

In a big mixing bowl, combine the drained soy culls and breading well. Each piece should be coated.

Cook the breaded soy curls in a single layer in your air fryer for 5 minutes at 380 degrees in your air fryer. Shake and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Cook until they are golden brown, have a crispy texture, but are still moist inside.

Southern Fried Vegan Air Fryer Soy Curls Recipe (4)

How Do You Make Vegan Southern Style Air Fryer Soy Curls?

First, pour hot water over the soy curls. In 5 to 10 minutes, they are plump, rehydrated, and ready to go.

Some people soak them in broth, but in this recipe, I add flavor through the delicious coating.

Next, you drain the excess water off. I use a strainer and press on it with a wooden spoon to get out more liquid.

Even after you drain the soy curls, there will be enough moisture to hold on to the coating.

Sometimes some of the coating soaks up some liquid and makes little crunchies separate from the soy curl. These are great on salads.

Do you have to refrigerate soy curls?

Soy Curls are a 100%natural product and do notconsist of any ingredients or preservatives.Keep them refrigerated or frozen to keep them fresh.

While they can be stored at room temp, they will last much longer in the fridge or freezer.

How long do you soak soy curls?

Allow 5 to 10 minutes for them to soak, or until soft and plump.

Southern Fried Vegan Air Fryer Soy Curls Recipe (5)

More Air Fryer Recipes to Try

  • Air Fried Vegan Beignets with an Oven Option
  • Air fryer potatoes
  • Air Fryer Cajun Pecan-Crusted Gardein Fishless Filets
  • Air Fryer Bow Tie Pasta Chip

More Soy Curl Recipes to Try

Southern Fried Vegan Air Fryer Soy Curls Recipe (6)

Vegan Air Fryer Southern Fried “Chicken” Soy Curls

Kathy Hester

The easiest “cheat” dinner that your family will go nuts over!

4.62 from 73 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep Time 15 minutes mins

Cook Time 10 minutes mins

Total Time 25 minutes mins

Course Main Course

Cuisine American, Cajun

Servings 2

Calories 303 kcal


  • 1/2 bag Butler Soy Curls 4 ounces
  • 3 cups boiling water


  • 1/4 cup fine ground cornmeal can sub flour
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Put the soy curls in a heat proof pan on the stove and pour the boiling water over them. Let them soak for 5 to 10 minutes, or until soft and plump.

  • Pour into a strainer in your sink to drain, then press the extra water out with a large spoon.

  • Mix the breading ingredients together well in a small bowl.

  • Add the drained soy culls to a large bowl and mix in breading well. You want to coat each piece.

  • Place the breaded soy curls into your air fryer and cook at 380 degrees for 5 minutes. Shake and cook for 5 more minutes.

  • Serve as is with fries or over mashed potatoes with a golden gravy.



Calories: 303kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 25gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 19mgPotassium: 204mgFiber: 10gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 519IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 24mgIron: 1mg

Keyword air fryer, air fryer soy curls, soy curls

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Southern Fried Vegan Air Fryer Soy Curls Recipe (2024)
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