This recipe is sponsored by EZ Tofu Press. All opinions are 100% my own.
Crunchy Panko Tofu cooks up like magic in the air fryer! Here’s how to make your own.
Panko is my go-to when I want a nice, crunchy coating on something. It’s got a nice, firm crunch that’s tough to beat, but it’s not too bready. In this recipe, you marinate your tofu, then coat in vegan mayo and panko, and air fry. It’s flavorful, crunchy, and delicious!
Related: Air Fryer Avocado Fries
Instead of aquafaba, I used vegan mayo as the binder to get the panko to stick to the tofu. Not only is the mayo effective, but it adds another layer of flavor and richness to your finished product.
You can serve your Crunchy Panko Tofu with any dipping sauce you like. Ponzu sauce, soy sauce, or teriyaki sauce all make great dips for this recipe, though it’s also delicious without any sauce at all. If there’s enough left over, you can even use the marinade as the dip. Maybe whisk in a little bit of extra soy sauce to bulk it out. Easy peasy!
The real key to this recipe, besides the air fryer, is the EZ Tofu Press. Pressing tofu does more than give it a chewy texture. When you press, you release all of the excess water that the tofu is holding onto. When you do that, you’re basically turning your tofu into a flavor sponge. That’s ideal for a tofu recipe, like this one, that calls for a marinade.
Crunchy Panko Tofu in the Air Fryer
Crunchy Panko Tofu cooks up like magic in the air fryer! Here's how to make your own.
- 1 block extra firm tofu
For the Marinade
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
Make the Tofu
- 1/2 cup vegan mayo
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
Press your tofu to get out the excess liquid, then slice into 8 cutlets.
Make the marinade
In a small bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic powder, and ginger.
Arrange the tofu cutlets in a shallow dish, and pour the marinade over the tofu. Marinate for 30 minutes to an hour.
Make the Tofu
Measure the vegan mayo into a shallow bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the panko and salt.
Dredge each tofu piece first in the mayo, then in the panko mixture, making sure to get a nice, even coating. Arrange the pieces in a single layer in your air fryer basket. You're going to be frying these up in two batches.
Cook at 370F for 20 minutes, shaking gently after 10 minutes, just to dislodge any stuck-on tofu pieces. Repeat with the second batch, then serve.
Pressing the tofu is mission critical in this recipe. You need to get the water out, so you can get that good, good marinade in. Do not skip pressing!