protein substitutes for chicken

8 Best Protein Substitutes for Chicken for Your Next Meal

Chicken is the protein of choice for many. It’s easily accessible, affordable, and offers a lot of versatility in the kitchen, making it a staple component of many meal plans. However, there are times when you desire something else or have dietary limitations that prevent you from eating chicken.

The good news is that vegetarian options like seitan, tofu, and tempeh are widely available in groceries and supermarkets. So, whether you’re roasting, grilling, or stir-frying, you can always find good protein substitutes for chicken that will sate your appetite while also providing numerous health benefits.

1. Tofu


Tofu, which is manufactured from soybeans, may take the place of chicken in a number of different recipes. It’s frequently used in Asian cooking and is an excellent way to boost the protein in your diet without the extra saturated fat and cholesterol that comes with chicken.

Tofu works as an excellent protein replacement for chicken as it is also easy to cook with. You can marinate it in your favorite sauces and then pan-fry or grill it. Additionally, tofu tastes great in salads, soups, and stir-fries. Just use the same quantity of tofu in a dish as you would use chicken. You may also crumble it up to use in place of ground chicken when making spaghetti sauce or tacos.

Protein content: 8 g for every 100 g of tofu.

2. Tempeh


When shopping for a high-protein plant-based alternative to chicken, tempeh will be a terrific choice. Like tofu, tempeh is also made from fermented soybeans. But what sets tempeh apart from its soy-based cousin is its firmer texture and nutty flavor. It also has more protein than tofu and is a great source of fiber, calcium, and iron.

When using tempeh as a chicken substitute, it’s best to slice or crumble it before cooking. A popular technique is to marinate it first in a flavorful sauce or spice blend before grilling or pan-frying. It can also be used in place of chicken in curries or stews, where its hearty texture holds up well. Tempeh also works great in dishes like stir-fries, sandwiches, and even salads.

Protein content: 19 g for every 100 g of tempeh.

3. Seitan


Seitan is a plant-based food made from wheat gluten and is intended to mimic the look and taste of meat. It has a distinctly firm but chewy texture that may readily be substituted for chicken in a number of dishes. Its savory, meaty flavor also makes it an ideal plant-based option for those looking for a nutritious and appetizing protein substitute.

Try substituting seitan for chicken in salads, soups, stir-fries, as a vegan “chicken” patty, or even in a vegan version of chicken and waffles. For a more creative twist, combine seitan with other protein sources such as tofu and tempeh. Seitan is also excellent for marinating and grilling, allowing you to experience your favorite barbecue recipes without the use of chicken.

Protein content: 75 g for every 100 g of seitan.

4. Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter

It goes without saying that peanut butter is an excellent protein source. However, the fact that it is also packed with good fats, which may leave you feeling full and invigorated, makes it a much more attractive option. Additionally, it is far more adaptable than chicken as an ingredient, allowing you to utilize it in a number of dishes.

To employ it as a chicken protein substitute, simply include peanut butter in savory foods like stir-fries, curries, and sauces. If the peanut butter proves to be too thick for the recipe, you may thin it out with a little vegetable broth or olive oil. It’s also excellent for incorporating into desserts.

Protein content: 8 g for every 2 tbsp. of peanut butter (32 g).

5. Cottage Cheese

Cottage Cheese

Another excellent source of protein that doesn’t come from animals is cottage cheese. It’s made from curdled milk and has a creamy texture with a mild flavor. It offers an adequate amount of protein for its caloric value in addition to having less fat and cholesterol than chicken.

Cottage cheese has many applications, from morning scrambles to creamy smoothies to dips. It may be flavorfully enhanced by being blended with seasonings like herbs, garlic, or your preferred spices. Surprisingly, it may also be used as a base for sauces and in dishes that call for chicken, such as salads and casseroles.

Protein content: 23 g for every 1 cup of cottage cheese (210 g).

6. Quinoa


Quinoa is one of the best protein substitutes for chicken. It is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids — something that most plant-based proteins lack. It is also lower in calories and higher in fiber than chicken, making it an excellent choice for people wanting to reduce fat and cholesterol. Quinoa is also packed with vitamins and minerals, making it a superb source of nourishment.

You can use quinoa in a variety of ways, including as a side dish or as a substitute for rice. You can cook it with various spices and sauces and add it to salads and soups as a protein-rich alternative to chicken. Quinoa can also be used in stir-fries and casseroles, making it a versatile choice for all your meal-prep needs.

Protein content: 8-9 g for every cooked cup (185 g) of quinoa.

7. Fish


Fish is an excellent protein substitute for chicken since it is rich in essential nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. It’s also low in saturated fat and high in protein, making it a healthier alternative for individuals trying to reduce their chicken consumption. However, fish can have a peculiar flavor and smell that may not to be everyone’s liking.

You can cook with fish in a number of different ways and incorporate it into various cuisines and recipes, from fish tacos to fish curry. A fish fillet can also be used in place of chicken to make a scrumptious sandwich. Keep in mind that different varieties of fish have different flavors and textures, so feel free to experiment to find the one that suits your taste buds.

Protein content: 20-26 g for every 100 g of fish (depending on the cut and the type).

8. Eggs


The next time you’re looking for a tasty, easy-to-use protein substitute for chicken, don’t overlook the humble egg. They pack a powerful protein punch, with one large egg containing about 6 grams of protein. Furthermore, eggs are highly adaptable and may be used in a number of dishes ranging from scrambled eggs to quiches.

It’s easy to utilize eggs as a chicken substitute. You can use them to make dishes like omelets, frittatas, and quiches or add them to salads and sandwiches. If you want to amp up the flavor, add flavored mayo or aioli.

Protein content: 6 g protein for 1 egg.

AboutRibana Hategan

Ribana is a certified pastry chef and passionate home cook who curates and develops recipes that are high on nutrition. She develops and tests cost effective, nutritious meals using quality ingredients to help people better their everyday eating experiences.