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Close up of crispy panko crusted tofu topped with chili oil and scallions.

Crispy Panko Tofu

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  • Author: Catherine Perez
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Total Time: 37 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Air Fryer
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


Crispy Panko Tofu baked in the air fryer for a healthier, less messy way to enjoy breaded tofu. Easy to make in 30 minutes.


  • 1 block extra firm tofu, pressed for 15 minutes and drained or use super firm tofu to avoid pressing
  • 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast, divided
  • 1 tsp dry thyme
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch or all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup vegan yogurt or vegan mayo
  • 3 tbsp plant based milk
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • High heat spray oil, I use avocado oil


  1. Cut your tofu into 4 wide even pieces that are about 1 cm in thickness. Pat dry with a paper towel and set aside.
  2. Combine the panko bread crumbs, 3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, thyme, garlic powder, black pepper and salt in a large flat dish or mixing bowl and give it a good mix.
  3. Whisk together the cornstarch, 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast, yogurt, milk, and soy sauce in a separate large bowl.
  4. Take your tofu slice and submerge it in the wet batter, then place in the panko mixture. Flip to tofu and gently press it into the panko mixture to make sure the bread crumbs are sticking. For extra crispy crust, repeat the process to double coat the tofu. Dip the coated tofu in the batter again, shake off excess and coat again with the panko making sure it is fully crusted, pressing the tofu into the bread crumbs.
  5. Place the coated tofu in single layer in your air fryer basket and generously spray with a high heat oil. Place the tofu in the air fryer at 375F for 15 minutes, flip and spray again with oil and bake for an extra 7 minutes or until the tofu is golden around the edges before serving.


To bake in the oven, spray your tofu on both sides with high oil and place on a parchment lined baking tray. Place the tofu in a preheated oven set to 425F and bake for 20-25 minutes. Flip the tofu, spray again with oil and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

This tofu can also be pan fried. Heat up your oil in a pan with deep sides and cook your tofu 2-3 minutes on both sides until nice and golden. Remove and place on a paper towel until all tofu is cooked.