You may have heard that Impossible Foods plant-based chicken nuggets are available today at select restaurants. To generate a little buzz for today’s launch, the company behind the Impossible Burger offered to send bags of the new plant-based nuggets to journalists around the country. Not being one to pass up free nuggets, I was happy to try them out.
To make things interesting, I decided to give Impossible a little competition with a side-by-side taste test against two chicken meat nuggets (Tyson and McDonald’s) and another plant-based nugget (Incogmeato).
My nugget taste test was a family affair. Participants included my son and daughter, the true experts in the family on chicken nuggets.
Both kids tasted them blind. There were two things I wanted to know with a blind taste test: First, could they tell the difference between the animal meat nuggets and plant-based nuggets? Second, what did they think of each nugget’s flavor? I also tried each nugget (non-blind, of course) to compare and contrast with the new Impossible nugget.
I cooked a batch of each frozen nugget in my oven for the time specified on each bag. While I generally prefer to cook nuggets and other prepackaged freezer food in an air fryer (see my note at the end), for the taste test, I wanted to use the method most consumers still use when they get the nuggets home. As for the McDonald’s nuggets, I had a friend run through a McDonald’s drive-thru while I was cooking the other nuggets so they would still be warm.
Soon the nuggets were all plated and ready to be dipped.
We started with the Incogmeato. Both kids knew right away it was a plant-based nugget. And while they thought it was passable, neither loved it.
“I like the spices,” shrugged my son.
I thought the Incogmeato nugget was fine, but I also could tell it was a plant-based nugget. I also thought the outside was a bit spicier than the other nuggets.
Next up was McDonald’s. Both kids guessed these nuggets were from Mickey D’s, in part because they’ve each eaten them a hundred times over their lifetimes, but also because they looked like McDonald’s nuggets.
The McNuggets have what looks like a fried batter coating, which sets them apart from the frozen home-cooked nuggets which all have breading on the outside. As it turns out, it was this outside coating that saved the McNugget in our taste test. Both kids like the batter-y coating.
“Good outside,” one of them said.
So what didn’t they like about McDonald’s chicken nuggets?
“The chicken is not that good,” my son said.
“That’s my thing,” agreed my daughter. “The chicken kinda ruins it for me.”
My thoughts on the king of fast food nuggets? Not that great. The chicken inside was dry and a bit spongy, and I didn’t really like the outside batter.
Now it was Tyson’s turn. Perhaps not surprisingly, it turns out the biggest maker of frozen chicken food products knows what they’re doing when it comes to nuggets:
Both kids liked these nuggets the best.
“My favorite is this one,” said my daughter.
Her brother nodded. “This is only one that is definitely chicken.”
I agreed with them that the Tyson nugget was good.
Finally, it was time for the Impossible. What did my kids think? Both liked them.
“The flavor is great,” said my daughter.
“It’s really good,” said her brother.
They both suspected the Impossible nuggets might be plant-based, but they weren’t completely sure. In the end, though, it really didn’t matter to them since they both said they’d definitely eat them again.
For my part, I thought the Impossible nuggets were delicious. The plant-based meat tasted like real chicken. The breaded outside was tasty, just like the Tyson nugget. A parent could serve these, and any nugget-loving kid would scarf them up.
After all was said and done, here’s how the nuggets ranked in our taste test:
- Tyson – the best tasting nugget. The chicken was moist and the breaded outside was crispy.
- Impossible – A close second with yummy plant-based meat that tasted like the real thing and a nicely breaded outside.
- McDonald’s – The kids liked them, I suspect out of childhood nostalgia and sheer muscle memory. These were my least favorite.
- Incogmeato – No one disliked them, but my kids just like them less than the other nuggets. I thought they were fine, but I thought the Impossible was definitely better.
Bottom line: This is a good performance for Impossible. The nugget, which uses soy as its main ingredient (as does Incogmeato), is nearly indistinguishable from a real chicken nugget and is both kid and parent-approved.
If you or your kids are chicken nugget fans, I would definitely recommend trying out the Impossible nuggets. And heck, why not even have your own taste test?
Finally, an updated serving suggestion. The next day I tried the Impossible nuggets in the air fryer (10 minutes). As suspected, the results were much better. The outside was crispier than my oven batch, and the inside was juicy. I’d definitely recommend using the air fryer for the Impossible (and any other nugget).