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Buttermilk-Battered and Air Fried Tofu

Air-Fried Buttermilk Tofu

  • Author: erin wysocarski
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings
  • Diet: Vegan


This buttermilk-battered tofu recipe is inspired by Bon Appétit’s Best Fried Chicken Sandwich recipe. This version replaces the chicken with tofu and the deep frying with air frying.


for the tofu

  • 8 oz. block of firm or medium-firm tofu, cut lengthwise into 4 slices (no need to press it)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

for the dry ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 TB garlic powder
  • 1 TB onion powder
  • 1 TB salt
  • 1 TB paprika
  • 2 tsp cayenne

for the wet ingredients

  • 1 cup soymilk, with 2 tsp apple cider vinegar whisked in
  • 2 TB Follow Your Heart VeganEgg powder, blended with 1/2 cup ice cold water
  • 2 TB bourbon
  • 1 TB hot sauce

Spray oil

for the sambal-mayo

  • 1/2 cup vegan mayo (I like Vegenaise or Just Mayo)
  • 1 TB to 1/4 cup sambal, depending on how spicy you like it

to assemble and serve

  • 1/4 red onion, sliced thinly or mandolined (soak in a little hot water if you don’t like raw onion. Pat dry.)
  • 2 cups of red and/or green cabbage
  • 1 jalepeno, sliced thinly
  • bread and butter pickles
  • hamburger buns
  • Earth Balance, for toasting the buns


to prepare the tofu

  1. Place the tofu slabs on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Season both sides with the salt and pepper and allow to sit out or chill for an hour.
  2. Combine all of the dry ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
  3. Combine all of the wet ingredients together in a separate medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
  4. Working one piece at a time, coat the tofu evenly in the dry mixture, tapping off any extra and placing it back onto the wire rack.
  5. Pour 3 tablespoons of the wet mixture into the dry mixture and combine with your hands.
  6. Working one piece at a time, dunk the tofu into the wet mixture, then pack the moistened flour mixture firmly around it.
  7. Return the battered tofu back onto the wire rack and place into the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.
  8. To fry, spray the tofu slabs evenly with cooking spray. Place into the air fryer at 400 degrees and cook for 10 minutes, flipping the slabs over halfway through the cooking time. Apply a little more spray over any areas that look dry and cook for an additional minute or two if needed to achieve a deeply golden color all over.

to serve

  1. Spread a little vegan butter over both sides of the buns and toast in a cast iron pan over medium heat until nice and crispy.  You can also toast the buns in the air fryer at 350 for a few minutes … just keep an eye on them to prevent them from getting too crispy.
  2. Serve immediately, piled with the red onion, cabbage, jalepeno, pickles  and sambal mayo.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Chill Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Lunch, Dinner
  • Method: Battered, Chilled, Air Fried
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: battered tofu, air-fried tofu, buttermilk-battered tofu, fried tofu, fried tofu sandwich