Crispy Sesame Crusted Tofu

Baked tofu breaded with crispy panko crumbs and sesame seeds. The perfect simple high-protein dinner or snack!

I have a sneaking suspicion that this dish will dethrone teriyaki tofu as my go-to tofu recipe this year. It checks all the boxes for an easy and satisfying weeknight dinner: it requires only a few ingredients, can be paired with any of your favorite dipping sauces, and it’s irresistibly crispy without being fried. Sesame seeds add a deep roasted flavor to the simple panko breading.

vegan baked crispy sesame tofu laid out on a nonstick baking mat

If you can get your hands on high-protein or super-firm tofu (the kind that comes vacuum-packed, rather than in water), I recommend using it! It has an extra chew to it that almost mimics chicken nuggets in this recipe. If you use firm or extra-firm tofu, I recommend wrapping it in a tea towel and pressing out the extra moisture; this will ensure that your breading crisps up beautifully.

My favorite way to cook these is in my air fryer – they’re done in about 15 minutes! If you happen to have one of these magical contraptions, I highly recommend this method; just spread your breaded tofu evenly along the bottom of the basket. Leave some space between them to allow the breading to crisp up on all sides.

If you’re making a larger batch, it’ll be more practical to bake them. I give them a quick spritz with cooking oil just to encourage them to brown (although this can be skipped) and bake them on a lined tray for easy cleanup.

Sweet chili sauce is my favorite companion to this tofu, but I also recommend a ginger-lime dressing, peanut sauce, or something lighter such as ponzu. If you want to go the extra step, you can even marinate your tofu for a few hours or overnight in your sauce of choice.

Ingredients for Crispy Sesame Crusted Tofu

  • Tofu. Firm or extra-firm tofu work best in this recipe. I highly recommend pressing your tofu ahead of time using your favorite method. (More tips in the next section.) Super-firm tofu — sometimes labeled “high-protein” tofu — will also work in this recipe. Since it doesn’t come packed in water, it doesn’t need to be pressed.
  • Salt & pepper. Since this recipe is quite simple, it’s important to season every layer to avoid blandness.
  • Plant milk. Most plain-unsweetened varieties will work just fine. In a pinch, you can even use plain water.
  • Flour or cornstarch. To make a simple batter. Many other flour alternatives will also work in this recipe, including chickpea flour or a 1:1 gluten-free all-purpose flour blend.
  • Nutritional yeast, onion & garlic powder. To boost the flavor of the batter and make it more savory.
  • Sesame seeds. Try to find raw sesame seeds if possible, since they will toast while baking. I use a combination of white and black sesame seeds, but this is just for aesthetic purposes.
  • Panko breadcrumbs. I like these better than regular breadcrumbs for this recipe; they have a superior crunch! In a pinch, regular breadcrumbs will work too — just make sure to double-check ingredients if you want the recipe to be vegan, since many breadcrumbs contain milk and/or eggs.

How to Make Crispy Sesame Crusted Tofu

  1. Start by pressing your tofu ahead of time to remove excess water. This is an important step to ensure that your tofu will be crispy. You can use your preferred method of pressing, such as using a tofu press, or wrapping it in a towel and placing something heavy on top for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat your oven to 450°F and line a baking tray with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
  3. Cut your tofu into your preferred shape. You can cut it into 1″ cubes, slice it into roughly 1/2″ tofu “steaks,” or into little triangles (this is my favorite way). Generously season the tofu with salt and pepper.
  4. Set up your breading station. In one shallow dish, whisk together flour (or cornstarch), onion powder, garlic powder, nutritional yeast (optional), plant milk, and a pinch of salt. Mix until you have a batter that’s slightly thinner than pancake batter. Add an extra splash of water if needed to thin it out, or an extra sprinkle of flour if it seems too thin.
  5. In another shallow dish, combine panko breadcrumbs and sesame seeds.
  6. Dip each seasoned tofu piece into the batter, allowing the excess to drip off, then press it into the panko/sesame mixture to coat generously.
  7. Place the coated tofu pieces on the lined baking tray. For an extra crispy result, lightly spray them with cooking oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the breading is deep golden brown. Alternatively, you can air fry the tofu at 390°F for 12-15 minutes.
  8. Serve your crispy sesame crusted tofu with your favorite dipping sauce or with our Cabbage Crunch Salad and enjoy!
vegan baked crispy sesame tofu

Crispy Sesame-Crusted Tofu

Baked tofu breaded with crispy panko crumbs and sesame seeds. The perfect simple high-protein dinner or snack!
4.8 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Author: Sarah Sullivan

Ingredients

  • 1 (14 oz) block firm or extra-firm tofu pressed
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour or cornstarch
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened plain plant milk
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast optional
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • sauce of choice for dipping

Instructions

  • Make sure you've pressed your tofu using your favorite method ahead of time. Pressing out the extra water is a necessary step to make sure it crisps up in the oven.
  • Preheat oven to 450°F and line a baking tray with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
  • Cut the tofu into your preferred shapes. You can cut it into 1" cubes, slice it into roughly 1/2" tofu "steaks," or into little triangles as depicted in the blog photos. Generously salt and pepper the tofu.
  • Set up your breading station. In one dish, whisk together flour (or cornstarch), onion & garlic powder, (optional) nutritional yeast, plant milk, and a generous pinch of salt. We're looking for a consistency slightly thinner than pancake batter. Add an extra splash of water if needed to thin it out, or an extra sprinkle of flour if it seems a little too thin.
  • In another shallow dish, combine panko breadcrumbs and sesame seeds.
  • Dip the seasoned tofu pieces in the batter. Allow excess to drip off, then press into the panko/sesame mixture to coat generously.
  • Arrange tofu on lined baking tray. (Optional: Spray lightly with cooking oil to help it crisp up and brown.) Bake for 20-25 minutes, until breading is deep golden brown. Alternatively, air fry at 390°F for 12-15 minutes.
  • Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Video

Notes

For extra flavor, feel free to marinate tofu in your favorite sauce for 30 minutes before breading it.
Did you make this recipe?We’d love for you to leave a review on the website! You can also share a photo on IG and tag @sarahsvegankitchen_ or #sarahsvegankitchen.


3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Baked Tofu with Peanut Sauce - Sarah's Vegan Kitchen

  2. nicole cobe

    do you by chance have the macros for these?

  3. If you’re only doing a small serving at a time, do you recommend baking and reheating as needed or stopping short of baking and air fry as needed each day?

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