This recipe is sponsored by EZ Tofu Press. All opinions are 100% my own.
Vegan chicken fried tofu is an oven recipe with the crunch and flavor you expect from a deep fried dish. It's kid-friendly and easy to make!
Y'all, this chicken fried tofu is one of those recipes that's super simple to make but took a lot of tests to develop. That's actually the case with a lot of my simplest recipes. I guess I'm doing the work, so you don't have to?
The thing about doing a lot of recipe testing is that someone has to eat all of those trials. Even the mediocre ones, because I hate wasting food. Usually, that means my family eats a lot of the same dish for days in a row when I'm trying to nail a recipe.
My kid was so sick of trying iterations of chicken fried tofu by the time I got this right, but the final dish was so good that he inhaled it! "I mean, it's basically a chickenless tender, mom, " he said, "so I love it!"
That's the highest praise you can get from a seven-year-old, y'all.
Why call it chicken fried?
I anticipated some questions about this recipe's name, and I get it! Why call this recipe "chicken fried" when it's not chicken and it's not fried?
Chicken fried just refers to food that's batter-coated and cooked until crispy. The batter style is similar in flavor and texture to what you'd expect from fried chicken, which is where the term comes from.
So! This recipe isn't fried, and no chickens were harmed during recipe development. But if you love the crispy, flavorful texture of fried chicken, you're going to love this baked version made with tofu instead.
Preparing your tofu
Speaking of texture! You must, must, must press your tofu for this recipe. You want your oven fried tofu to be super duper firm, so it has a nice, toothsome consistency!
I press my tofu using the EZ Tofu Press. The EZ Tofu Press gets ½ cup of water out of your tofu, on average.
The EZ Tofu Press is easy to use and easy to clean. It's dishwasher safe, though I rarely put mine in the dishwasher, because it's so easy to wipe clean by hand.
For my chicken fried tofu, you want to cut your tofu into miniature tofu "fingers". Sort of the size of a chicken tender.
Important recipe notes
The batter method for this recipe is based on my air fryer okra with many, many changes. It's a seasoned flour coating that uses vegan buttermilk as the binder.
Don't worry, though. You don't have to scour stores for vegan buttermilk. All you have to do is mix your favorite creamy, plant-based milk with apple cider vinegar.
The acidity from the vegan buttermilk helps the coating stick to the tofu in the oven and helps it turn that lovely, golden brown when you bake it.
Mix the tofu in the vegan buttermilk until it's well coated, and then toss it in the panko-flour mixture.
Arrange the tofu pieces in a single layer on a greased baking sheet, and spray the coated tofu with spray oil.
About halfway through baking, flip the tofu over, and spray it with oil again. Then, stick the pan back into the oven for the remaining baking time.
Do not skip that second oil spray. Your tofu will turn out fine, but it will be on the dry side. If you want that fried experience, you have to spray when you flip.
Make sure that you coat both side thoroughly, because you don't want any chalky, dry parts on this oven fried tofu!
How to serve and store
Serve this as an entree with your favorite sides. I love it with jalapeno slaw or a green veggie to go with it.
You can also include a dipping sauce for your tofu. Here are some ideas:
Or use your favorite dipping sauce instead.
If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will keep for three to four days.
To reheat, pop this tofu back into the oven or into the toaster oven (not a pop-up toaster!) at 350° F for eight to 10 minutes. I do not recommend microwaving leftovers, because they won't crisp up in the microwave.
You can also reheat in the air fryer at 350° F for five minutes.
Oven fried tofu recipe
- ¼ cup soy milk or oat milk - mixed with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 block extra firm tofu - pressed and cut into 32 "fingers"
- spray oil
- Preheat the oven to 425° F, and grease your baking sheet.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the milk and vinegar. In a large bowl, combine the flour, panko, cornstarch and seasonings. Toss the tofu pieces in the milk mixture and then the panko mixture, and transfer it to the greased baking sheet in a single layer. Spray the tofu with spray oil, making sure to coat it evenly.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Flip the tofu over, and bake for 15-20 minutes more. Your tofu is finished cooking when it's golden brown.
- cookie sheet