Crispy Air Fryer Panko Tofu

Light, crispy, crunchy Air Fryer Panko Tofu. The 15-minute, Korean-inspired dish that’s sure to make dinnertime exciting!

If there’s one thing an Air Fryer can do, it can make food crispy. Like really, really crispy. Without a crazy amount of oil or using a deep fryer. And FAST!

Don’t get me wrong, I love deep fried food. But sometimes, a person craves light and crispy and crunchy.

That’s where Air Fryer Panko Tofu comes in!

Why Air Fryer Panko Tofu?

The inspiration for this recipe came from Hooni Kim’s New Korea. His amazing cookbook, which I highly recommend, has a recipe for Deep Fried Tofu with Pajeon Sauce.

Inspired by his recipe, I decided to make Air Fryer Panko Tofu. Korean flavor elements. Crispy, crunchy, panko-crusted tofu. Made conveniently in the Air Fryer!

Yeah, there’s tons of Air Fryer tofu recipes out there. But this Korean-inspired version is so, so good!

The crunch of panko. The drizzle of Yangneom Jang. The generous shower of green onion and red chili pepper. All together, this is a dish you don’t want to miss!

Ingredients:

  • Tofu. Firm or extra-firm tofu won’t fall apart when handled.
  • Potato Starch. The Korean secret to extra crispy food. Can be subbed with corn starch, if you don’t have it.
  • Panko Bread Crumbs. Japanese bread crumbs that fry up light, crispy, and crunchy!
  • Egg Wash. Makes panko stick better. Can be subbed with egg whites or plant-based egg substitute.
  • Green onion + Chili Pepper. The aromatic garnish. For chili pepper, I prefer red fresno chilies or Korean chilies. Can be subbed with jalapeno. Don’t skimp on either!
  • Oil spray. The finishing touch that ensures extra crispy tofu that’s not too oily and greasy.
  • Yangneom Jang. A classic Korean dipping sauce made from Korean pantry ingredients (soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, sesame seeds, sugar, green onion, gochukaru). Umami-rich and garlicky, don’t be tempted to eat this dish without it!

Special Equipment:

For this recipe, you’ll need an Air Fryer. I love my Cosori 5.8Qt Air Fryer and highly recommend it.

An Air Fryer works as a mini convection oven to cook food faster, quicker, and with less oil. The detachable basket ensures hot air moves all around the panko crusted tofu. Resulting in the crispiest, crunchiest tofu ever!

Instructions:

  1. Cut tofu. Slice into 1×2″ blocks. I cut a 4×4 grid (16 pieces) straight into a block of tofu.
  2. Dredge Tofu. Dip tofu blocks carefully into potato starch (or corn starch). Then dip into egg wash. Then coat with panko.
  3. Cook. Spray lightly with oil. Then cook in pre-heated Air Fryer at 400F for 10 minutes.
  4. Make sauce. Mix everything for the Yangneom Jang in a bowl.
  5. Garnish. Finely mince green onion and red chili pepper. Scatter all over.
  6. Serve. Eat immediately with sauce!

PRO Tips:

  • Tastes best HOT. Serve immediately. If the tofu get cold, reheat in the Air Fryer at 400F for 1-2 minutes.
  • Serve sauce on the side. Serve the sauce on the side, like a dipping sauce. If you drizzle the sauce on top, the crispy tofu coating can quickly become soggy.
  • Save leftover Yangneom Jang sauce. Store leftovers in the fridge, tightly covered. It should keep fro 1-2 weeks, as long as there’s no cross contamination. Yangneom Jang can be used for mandu, pot stickers, dumplings, savory pancakes, etc. It’s also drizzled over Kongnamul Bap and other rice dishes.

FAQ:

Will Air Fryer Panko Tofu taste the same as deep fried tofu?

No, this recipe does not taste the same as deep fried tofu. Although many Air Fryer recipes claim to taste the same, I’ll be honest and say it doesn’t.

I love deep fried tofu. Air Fryer Panko Tofu is not the same but still delicious. It’s more light, crispy, crunchy, airy. Not as oily or heavy. Honestly, this dish tastes healthy. But healthy can taste good, too. YUM!

Do I need to press the tofu first?

Many Air Fryer Tofu recipes call for pressing the excess liquid out of the tofu. But I found that to be an unnecessary step.

Instead, my recipe calls for a light dusting of potato starch (or corn starch), followed by a dip in egg wash, then a light coating of panko. A quick spray of oil and you’ll get the crispiest, crunchiest tofu ever!

How do I store leftovers?

Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge. Reheat in an Air Fryer at 400F for 5 minutes until hot, crispy, and crunchy again.

Leftover sauce can also be stored in the fridge, tightly sealed. Should be good for 1-2 weeks, as long as there’s no cross contamination.

Other healthy recipes you may enjoy:

PIN FOR LATER:

close up of air fryer panko tofu with green onions and red chili pepper

Crispy Air Fryer Panko Tofu

The Subversive Table | Lis Lam
Light, crispy, and crunchy Air Fryer Panko Tofu. The 15-minute, Korean-inspired dish that's sure to make dinnertime exciting!
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Side
Cuisine Fusion Food
Servings 4 as side
Calories

Equipment

  • Air Fryer (I use the Cosori 5.8L)
  • Oil Spray

Ingredients
  

Panko Tofu

  • 1 block firm or extra-firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup potato starch (corn starch also works) (plus a little more if you run short at the end)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs (plus a little more if you run short at the end)
  • 1 large egg, beaten well

Yangneom Jang

  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar (white vinegar also works)
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Gochukaru (Korean chili flakes)
  • 1 green onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

Garnish:

  • 2 green onions, finely diced
  • 1 red fresno chili pepper, finely diced(jalapeno also works)

Instructions
 

  • Pre-heat Air Fryer. My air fryer preheats at 400F for 5 minutes.
    firm tofu block cut into squares
  • Cut Tofu. Drain tofu and slice into 1×2 inch cubes. I make a 4×4 grid (16 pieces) directly into the tofu block. The tofu should be 2 inches deep.
  • Dredge Tofu. Set up a dredging station with 3 bowls. Fill each bowl with 1) potato starch + salt (whisked together), 2) panko, and 3) beaten egg. Start dredging: Dip tofu blocks carefully into the potato starch. Then dip into the egg wash. Then coat with the panko. Make sure all sides are evenly coated.
    dredging bowls for air fryer panko tofu
  • Spray oil. Spray all over with vegetable oil. I use an aerosol oil spray. There's no need to spray the bottom of the tofu.
    plate of dredged tofu blocks
  • Cook in Air Fryer. Carefully place tofu in the Air Fryer. Make sure there's a little space between each tofu block; they should not touch each other! Cook at 400F for 10 minutes.
  • Make the dipping sauce (Yangneom Jang). While the tofu cooks, make the sauce. Add all ingredients in a small bowl and mix.
  • Garnish. Finely slice green onions and red Fresno chili pepper. When the tofu has finished cooking, remove from the Air Fryer and arrange on a plate. Garnish with green onion and red chili pepper.
  • Serve. Serve with dipping sauce. Enjoy!
    plate of air fryer tofu with yangneom jeon, Korean dipping sauce

Notes

*Air Fryer Panko Tofu tastes best hot. If the tofu get cold, reheat in the Air Fryer at 400F for 1-2 minutes.
**Amazingly, Air Fryer Panko Tofu stays crispy and crunchy for several days. But don’t drizzle the sauce over the tofu until you’re ready to eat! Leftovers, drizzled in sauce, get soggy. Instead, serve the sauce on the side and the tofu should keep their texture.
Keyword Air Fryer, Tofu
15 minutes, Air Fryer, All Recipes, Korean, Side, Snacks, Weeknight Meals

4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is the third air fryer panko recipe I have tried and it’s the best! And that sauce is delicious. So glad I doubled it as I now have leftovers for potstickers.The only change I made was to use red pepper flakes instead of Gochukaru as I didn’t have any on hand…plus I added a finely minced little purple cayenne from the garden. Yum, yum, YUM! Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    So crispy and good. And Easy. Will make again. Thanks for posting this.

  3. 5 stars
    I loved it!! I ended up using more bread crumbs and potato starch but it was crispy, light, and so delicious! I’ll definitely make this again!

  4. Cathy Suh Kerns

    5 stars
    So, so easy and my kids loved it!! Many thumbs up from this family of five.

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