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Vegan tofu katsu is the perfect accessory to stir-fry noodles, on top of a fluffy bed of rice, or shared with a light soup. It can be air-fried, baked in the oven, or seared on a skillet - whatever way you choose, this may become your favorite way of enjoying tofu.

Crispy Tofu Katsu [Vegan]

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Ingredients You Need for Crispy Tofu Katsu [Vegan]

  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos (soy sauce subsitute)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 clove garlic, minced


  • 1 block extra-firm organic tofu
  • 1 cup gluten-free panko breadcrumbs (I use Cauli Crunch, found at Whole Foods)
  • 1 cup cassava flour (or any other flour like almond or all-purpose)
  • 1 cup + filter water or plant milk
  • Pinch of salt

How to Prepare Crispy Tofu Katsu [Vegan]

  1. First, make the marinating sauce by combining all ingredients and whisking. Set aside.
  2. Remove the extra-firm tofu from the package, drain and set onto a towel. Wrap the tofu in the towel and place a heavy pan on top. If you're fancy, use a tofu press. Press the liquid out over 10-15 minutes and then transfer it to a cutting board.
  3. Using a large knife, take the tofu block on its side the slice downward, making three even tofu slabs.
  4. Marinate the slabs in the sauce for 10 minutes (minimally), reserving some for dipping later on.
  5. Using two separate bowls; create a crunch station. Start by adding one cup flour and one cup water; while mixing, slowly add enough water until it's at a consistency that will coat the tofu slab without sliding off and throw in a pinch of salt. In a separate shallow bowl, add the breadcrumbs.
  6. Remove one tofu slab and dunk it in the batter, covering all sides. Next, transfer to the breadcrumb bowl and cover with an even layer; set onto a parchment-lined baking tray. Add excess breadcrumbs to any bare areas during transfer. Repeat this for the other tofu slabs.
  7. Choose which method you plan to cook the tofu katsu: Air-fry: set the air fryer temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 15 minutes, flipping halfway. Bake: set the temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 20 minutes, flipping halfway. Pan-fry: in a nonstick large frying pan, add oil on medium heat and cook each side for 6 minutes or until golden brown on both sides.
  8. Remove from heat and slice the long way creating ½-inch-wide strips (see photo below). I prefer thinner over thick slices; cut to your preference!
  9. Use the reserved marinade as a dipping sauce or drizzle it over the top! Garnish with spring onions and sesame seeds for added flare.
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  • Store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to three days.
  • I recommend the air fryer baking method or pan frying as it ends in a really crispy crunch, perfect for vegan katsu!
  • You can serve it on top of a noodle stir-fry, a fluffy bed of brown rice, sushi rice, or as a side to a light soup like ramen. Keep it gluten-free using cauliflower rice.

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