Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (2023)

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This Air-fryer Tofu Katsu is a great healthier spin on the traditional Japanese dish. Crispy outside and so soft on the inside. Get ready for a fantastic vegan dish! Serving idea: Enjoy breaded and air-fried tofu with sautéed bok choy, and a homemade curry style sauce on a bed of fluffy grains.

Jump to:
  • 💡 The recipe in a nutshell
  • 🤔 What is Katsu?
  • 📋Variations
  • 👩🏽‍🍳 How to make
  • 🥢 Serving idea
  • 🥣 Storage
  • 📖 Recipe
  • 💬 Reviews
Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (1)

💡 The recipe in a nutshell

  • Vegan (eggless and dairy free)
  • Japanese styled cooking
  • Easy to make
  • Traditional meal made plant-based
  • Fry in air-fryer, in a skillet, or bake

🤔 What is Katsu?

The dish comes from Japan. Its name Katsu (カツ), is a shortened form of the Japanese word katsuretsu (カツレツ), meaning "cutlet”. And I think that explains a lot about the dish already. Generally described, Katsu is a breaded, fried cutlet, traditionally made out of chicken or pork.

The breading is made with Japanese panko bread crumbs. Once breaded the cutlet is then fried until crispy and golden brown. It is traditionally served with shredded (and often sautéed) cabbage or other vegetables, rice, and miso soup. Usually, it is part of a two or three-item meal combo for lunch. Even though its origin lies in Japan, it is eaten and loved in many areas of the world nowadays.

📋Variations

It is a very versatile dish, with many variation options. One variation popular in Japan is Katsudon (カツ丼). A bowl with rice topped with a Katsu cutlet (mainly pork), egg, vegetables, and condiments. Another liked variation is a combination of Katsu and curry, called Katsu Curry (カツカレー). Overall, you can serve it with several different kinds of sauces and condiments. Try tofu katsu with this Japanese curry recipe instead of the suggested vegan beef strips.

👩🏽‍🍳 How to make

Using tofu is a great alternative to meat. The tofu needs to be drained and pressed beforehand for the best results in texture. I like to use a tofu press for this. With which I drain and press it overnight in the fridge. Using a press makes this step mess-free and super simple. Once the tofu is pressed, divide it into 3 rectangles and season.

Bread tofu, then fry it in a pan with oil, air fry it, or bake it in the oven. For this recipe, we will focus on air frying it: To air-fry tofu katsu make sure to spray the air fryer basket generously with oil. This helps receiving better browning and a more 'fried' texture. Air fry for about 6-8 minutes, then flip and air-fry for another 5 minutes until golden brown.

Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (2)

🥢 Serving idea

As a serving idea, this recipe suggests rice. However serve it with your preferred grain: such as quinoa, pasta, cauliflower rice, couscous, or none at all. As a side, this recipe suggests sautéed bok choy, but again: feel free to substitute with your preferred vegetables! A traditional popular side is Japanese-style pickled vegetables.

🥣 Storage

Place your leftovertofu katsuin an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator. You should consume your leftovers within 1 to 2 days. This recipe is not freezer-friendly.

📖 Recipe

Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (3)

Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan)

Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (4)Jacqui

This Air-fryer Tofu Katsu is a great healthier spin on the traditional Japanese dish. Crispy outside and so soft on the inside. Get ready for a fantastic vegan dish! Serving idea: Enjoy breaded and air-fried tofu with sautéed bok choy, and a homemade curry style sauce on a bed of fluffy grains.

5 from 14 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep Time 30 mins

Cook Time 15 mins

Total Time 45 mins

Course Main Course

Cuisine Asian, Japanese, Vegan

(Video) Air Fryer Crispy Tofu Recipe

Servings 3 cutlets

Ingredients

  • 1 block of firm tofu (400g / 14 oz)
  • 50 g unbleached all purpose flour (¼ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder optional
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder optional
  • 120 ml aquafaba, brine of a can of chickpeas (½ cup)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 120 g panko bread crumbs (1 cup)

Serving idea

  • 3 servings of preferred grain, such as rice or quinoa
  • 1 small white onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 medium sized carrots
  • ½ teaspoon ground giner
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (Japanese preferably)
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce, or tamari
  • 500 ml vegetable broth (2 cups)
  • 250 g bok choy

Instructions

  • Remove tofu from its packaging and drain to discard liquid. Place in your tofu press and drain overnight in the fridge. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Once Tofu is pressed, cut into 3 large rectangles. Season with some salt and pepper.

  • Preheat air-fryer at 190°C / 370°F.

  • Place panko in a shallow plate or flat bowl. In a separate flat bowl whisk together flour and, if using, garlic and onion powder. In a third dish add aquafaba. Start by placing tofu into the flour mix, rotating until all sides are coated. Then flip it through the aquafaba and finally turn in breadcrumbs. Gently shake off any excess and place it onto a plate. Continue until all cutlets are breaded. Then fry it in a pan with oil, air fry it, or bake it in the oven.

  • To air-fry spray the air fryer basket generously with oil. This helps receive better browning and a more 'fried' texture. Air-fry for around 6 to 8 minutes. Then flip over and air fry again for another 5 minutes.

Serving idea

  • Cook rice or other grain of choice following recipe or package instructions.

  • To make curry sauce finely dice the onion. Peel and slice carrots. Mince Garlic. Once everything is prepared, heat oil in a large frying pan on medium heat. Fry onion for 3 minutes. Add ground ginger and carrot. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add garlic, curry powder, garam masala, and turmeric. Stir and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the miso, soy sauce, and vegetable broth. Leave to simmer for 15 minutes. Transfer to a high-speed blender, or food processor and blend until smooth. Place back in the pan on low heat and keep warm until ready to serve. If you want the sauce thinner, add some water or broth.

  • Bring a pot of water to boil. Once the water is boiling, drizzle some oil into the pot andblanchthebok choyfor 1 min. Remove and drain.

  • To serve fill a bowl with rice, followed by bok choy and tofu katsu. Drizzle with curry sauce.

Notes

*I don't have a tofu press! If you don’t have a press lay it in between paper towels and gently lay something flat and heavy, such as books, on top of the tofu.

Keyword Air Fryer Tofu Katsu, Tofu Katsu, Vegan

PS: Don't forget to rate this recipe and leave a comment on your experience - this helps improve my recipes and serves you with the best instructions, tips, and substitution ideas. Plus, I love hearing about your takes on my recipes! Tag me on Instagram @thesimplesprinkle to show me your pictures.

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  1. Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (9)Tavo says

    Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (10)
    Yumm! The recipe was delicious! The tofu was super crunchy, just the way we like it! A keeper!

    Reply

  2. Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (13)Anna - Vegnfit says

    Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (14)
    Great air fried tofu recipe. It turned out so crispy and the seasoning was just perfect. Definitely a keeper ☺️

    Reply

  3. Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (15)Natalie says

    Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (16)
    Yum, looks delicious. I'm going to cook this tomorrow for lunch. Can't wait.

    Reply

    (Video) Crispy BBQ Tofu Bites Air Fryer Vegan Recipe
  4. Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (17)Tina says

    Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (18)
    Made this vegan tofu katsu for dinner tonight and it was amazing. So easy to make. I fried it in a pan this time but will try the air fryer method next time.

    Reply

  5. Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (19)katrina says

    Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (20)
    this recipe is one of my new go-tos, so easy and delicious and you can use it for so many things!! thanks for sharing <3

    Reply

  6. Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (21)Jean says

    Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (22)
    glad I just bought tofu to make this, I have japanese rice and they are a combo. Thanks for the easy tofu katsu recipe.

    Reply

  7. Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (25)nancy says

    Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (26)
    the tofu is super crispy!! i make this recipe all time

    Reply

  8. Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (27)Rosanna says

    (Video) VEGAN AIR FRYER RECIPES for Fall/Autumn! | Tofu Katsu Pumpkin Curry & Pumpkin Spice Donut Balls

    Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (28)
    This was so tasty! Will definitely make again for meat free days, I loved it

    Reply

  9. Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (29)Keti says

    Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (30)
    I love Katsu, and this recipe didn't disappoint!

    Reply

  10. Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (31)Amy Roskelley says

    Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (32)
    Delicious way to make tofu!

    Reply

  11. Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (33)Andrea White says

    Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (34)
    love the texture of this tofu so much! so crunchy and satisfying!

    Reply

  12. Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (35)Lee says

    Crunchy Air-Fryer Tofu Katsu (vegan) – The Simple Sprinkle (36)
    Very good! Love the crunchy tofu while using very little oil, just sprayed some cooking spray on each side.
    However there is something missing from the recipe. The curry sauce, which was also very good, has instructions on when to add the curry powder yet there is no Curry Powder listed in the ingredients, I just had to guess at how much I should add.

    Reply

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