This recipe is sponsored by EZ Tofu Press. All opinions are 100% my own.
Crunchy panko tofu is an easy and flavorful weeknight meal. Marinated tofu breaded with crunchy, seasoned panko is totally addictive!
This recipe for panko tofu cutlets is based on my popular cornflake tofu. But instead of cornflakes, we're seasoning crunchy panko breadcrumbs, and we're tweaking the seasoning a bit to be more of a katsu-style situation.
Start by pressing your tofu. I press my tofu using my EZ Tofu Press.
This press is the real deal and gets an average of a half cup of water out of an extra firm block of tofu. That is a lot of water, so you know it's making a big difference in the texture department.
After pressing, you slice the tofu and then marinate it in a flavorful mix of soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, and garlic and onion powders.
While the tofu presses and marinates, mix up panko with cornstarch and lots of spices and mix together soy milk with a little apple cider vinegar.
The soy milk-vinegar mixture will start to curdle after a few minutes, which is what you want. Congratulations, you made vegan buttermilk!
Now, dredge the marinated tofu cutlets in the vegan buttermilk and then in the panko mixture. Make sure you pat the panko mixture onto the tofu to help it stick.
Then, you're ready to bake or air fry!
To bake, arrange the tofu in a single layer on a lined baking sheet, and bake until it's golden brown. You want to flip the tofu once during baking, so it browns on both sides.
If you're going to air fry, arrange to tofu in a single layer in your air fryer basket. If it won't all fit, then you'll need to air fry in two batches. Air fry, shaking gently halfway through cooking to prevent sticking.
After cooking, slice the tofu on the bias, and serve.
This recipe converts beautifully to be gluten-free! Just use gluten-free panko and gluten-free soy sauce, and you're in business.
For sides, go with veggies like steamed broccoli or air fryer baby bok choy.
This tofu is also a great topper for a kelp noodle salad!
If you do have leftovers, store them in an airtight container. They will keep for around three days in the refrigerator.
To reheat, I do not recommend using the microwave. The panko will be soggy if you do! Instead, arrange your leftovers on a lined baking sheet, and bake at 350° F for about 10 minutes.
You can also reheat your panko tofu in a toaster oven on a piece of tin foil at the same temperature.
In the air fryer, arrange the cutlets in a single layer, and cook at 350° F for five minutes to reheat. If they're still not heated through, flip and cook for two to three more minutes.
Panko Tofu Recipe
- 1 block extra firm tofu - pressed, then sliced into 8 cutlets
For the Marinade
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon seasoned rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- Preheat to 425° F, if baking. Start pressing your tofu.
Make the marinade
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- Arrange the tofu cutlets in a shallow dish, and pour the marinade over the tofu. Marinate for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Whisk together the panko, cornstarch, spices, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl. Pour the soy milk mixture into another shallow bowl.
- Dredge the tofu in the soy milk mixture and then coat in the panko mixture, patting the panko onto the tofu to help it adhere. Arrange in a single layer on a lined baking sheet.
Make the Tofu in the oven.
- Transfer the tofu to your baking sheet in a single layer, and spray with oil, if you're using it. Bake for 15 minutes, then flip the tofu over and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the panko is turning golden brown. Slice the tofu on the bias, and serve.
Make the Tofu in the air fryer
- Spray the coated tofu with oil, if you're using it. Arrange the tofu in a single layer in you air fryer basket. Air fry at 400° F for 15-20 minutes, until the tofu is golden brown, shaking the basket gently after 8 minutes of cooking, just to prevent sticking. You may need to do this in 2 batches, depending on the size of your air fryer. Remove, slice the tofu on the bias, and serve.
Frequently asked questions
It can be! Just use gluten-free panko, and you're golden.
Yes, this is essential. Pressing gets the excess water out, which will yield the best texture.
The dredging first in the soy milk-vinegar mixture and the cornstarch-panko mixture will make it stick perfectly. Think of liquid + cornstarch as creating food glue that makes the panko coating adhere.