This vegan buttermilk battered and crispy fried tofu sandwich is crispy on the outside. Served with a creamy sauce, it’s perfect for lunch or dinner.
What about fried tofu? It may not hit you but give it a chance.
Imagine a buttermilk batter breaded, crispy fillet on a sandwich with a creamy mayo sauce. Sounds amazing, right?
If you’re skeptical, I get you. It does sound unrealistic.
But skeptics rejoice, because this crispy fried tofu sandwich is all that and more! Transform a block of tofu into the crispiest sandwich with all the right flavors!
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
- Lemon — We’ll use both the zest and the juice of the lemon.
- Oats — I used rolled oats for this recipe, but you can substitute instant oats.
- Chia — We’ll add some ground chia seeds to create a thicker texture. You can use whole chia seeds; I just prefer ground because it creates a smoother finished texture.
- Syrup — I used maple syrup, but you can substitute agave nectar.
- Milk — We’ll use almond milk for the best overnight oats! Substitute your favorite plant-based milk.
- Yogurt — I love adding some plant-based yogurt (plain, unsweetened) for an even more tangy flavor.
- Protein Powder — I add some vanilla protein powder for increased flavor and nutrients. If your protein powder is not sweetened, you may want to add an extra teaspoon or two of sweetener.
- Cornstarch — We’ll use cornstarch to thicken the lemon curd topping.
- Turmeric — A pinch of turmeric makes that lemon curd sunny yellow.
- Sauce – You’ll need vegan mayo, BBQ sauce (substitute ketchup), green onion, maple syrup, yellow mustard, and lemon juice for the sauce.
- Tofu — Be sure to get extra-firm tofu to get the best texture for your sandwich.
- Plant-based milk — I prefer to use plain (not vanilla-flavored), but I will resort to vanilla in a pinch and it still works.
- Dill pickle juice — Got a jar of dill pickles? You can use the juice straight from the jar or substitute lemon juice.
- Nutritional yeast flakes — These flakes are optional but they do add a cheesy flavor. Here’s more on cooking with nutritional yeast flakes.
- Vegetable oil — Any neutral oil will work.
- Flour — You can use all-purpose or gluten-free flour.
- Baking powder — You’ll need just a bit of baking powder.
- Seasoning — Add some poultry seasoning to the flour mixture.
Why This Recipe is a Winner
- CRISPY — Cornstarch helps prevent the formation of gluten in the flour, creating a crispier crust
- LIGHT BREADING — Baking powder creates little bubbles in the batter as it fries, creating a light crust with more crispiness in every bite
- FLAVORFUL — Adding poultry seasoning infuses the tofu with flavor!
How to Make Fried Tofu Sandwich
It’s easy to make pan-fried tofu sandwiches. See the recipe card below for full instructions, but here is a synopsis of the steps involved:
- Stir together the sauce ingredients, cover, and refrigerate.
- Cut pressed tofu into four slices and cut the edges to create patties.
- Stir the soy milk, pickle juice, and yeast flakes in one bowl.
- In a separate bowl or plate, stir together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and seasoning.
- Dredge the tofu slices in the milk mixture first, then in the flour.
- Use tongs to place battered tofu in a skillet with hot oil.
- Cook the tofu patties until lightly browned on both sides.
- Place fried tofu on a bun, drizzle with sauce, and add your favorite toppings.
Store fried tofu in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days. I don’t usually recommend tofu for freezing.
Air Fryer Fried Tofu
Trying to reduce oil in your diet? You can make these patties in an air fryer. Here are the ways to do it:
- Follow the recipe to prepare the tofu
- Spray the air fryer basket with vegetable cooking spray to prevent sticking
- Place breaded tofu patties in your air fryer basket (leaving room between each, depending on the size of your air fryer).
- Heat the air fryer to 375°F/190°C
- Cook the patties for 5 to 10 minutes on each side, until the patties are golden brown.
- Use tongs to turn the patties and cook again for another 3 to 5 minutes.
Make it Gluten-Free
You can make this fried tofu chicken sandwich gluten-free by using the following tips:
- Substitute gluten-free flour in the flour mix.
- Use gluten-free bread or buns for the sandwiches.
Yummy Vegan Sandwiches
If you love this fried tofu sandwich recipe, be sure to try these tasty vegan sandwich recipes, too:
For something a little different, try this Air Fried Tofu. It’s a go-to favorite!
Here are even more vegan sandwiches to enjoy!
Crispy Tofu Sandwich
- ½ cup vegan mayo
- 2 tablespoons BBQ Sauce (substitute ketchup)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 4 ounces extra firm tofu
- ⅓ cup plant-based milk (plain, not vanilla)
- 3 tablespoons dill pickle juice (substitute lemon juice)
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup flour (use all-purpose or gluten-free)
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
- Topping ideas: pickles, sliced onions, vegan cheese slices, etc.
For the Fried Tofu
- Press the tofu using a tofu press. If you don't have a press, wrap the tofu in a kitchen towel and place on a plate with something heavy over the top (like a pan or can) and let that sit for 30 minutes or so to press out some of the liquid. Slice tofu into 1/2 inch slices.
- Cut the tofu horizontally into four slices. Feel free to cut off the corners to create "rounded" patties. Save the corners to batter, fry, and serve on the side.
- Heat oil in the skillet over medium heat.
- While the oil is heating, create two dipping stations. 1) In a bowl stir together the milk, pickle juice, and yeast flakes. 2) In a separate bowl or plate, stir together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and seasoning.
- Dredge the tofu in the milk mixture first, then in the flour. Repeat this process to create a thick batter. Gently press the batter onto the tofu to help it stick.
- Pan Frying: Use tongs to place battered tofu in the hot oil. Cook the tofu patties until lightly browned on the bottom, 5 to 7 minutes. Carefully flip slices and cook on the other side until lightly browned. Add more oil to the skillet if necessary. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.
- Air Frying: Cook patties in an air fryer heated to 375°F/190°C. Cook until browned on both sides, around 3 to 5 minutes. Use tongs to turn the patties.
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The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
This post was originally published in 2012 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2022.