Easy Recipe For Fried Tofu – Crispy Fried Tofu Cutlet

by VegnFit
4 servings
13 min

Quick and easy recipe for crispy fried tofu cutlet that is full of flavors. Crunchy on the outside and delicate inside. Crispy Fried Tofu Cutlet is one of the easiest ways to prepare tofu for quick dinner.

Why you need to try Crispy Fried Tofu Cutlet?

  • soft and delicate inside with a nice crispy surface
  • quick to prepare
  • budget friendly
  • 100% plant based
  • tastes good hot and after cooling down
  • easily adapted to other flavor versions

Ingredients for Crispy Fried Tofu Cutlet

The ingredients in this fried tofu recipe are pretty basic. Good thing about marinade is, you can adjust it to your liking very easily.


We need firm or extra firm tofu for this recipe. Silken tofu or any other soft variety will not work here, as it can fall apart easily.

You can use natural flavored tofu or smoked tofu. I actually like to use smoked tofu in this recipe, as it already has interesting flavor that we will further improve with our awesome marinade.


Any oil with high smoke point can be used for frying tofu cutlets. Sunflower, grapeseed, peanut, colza oils will all do fine.

Marinade for Crispy Fried Tofu Cutlet

There are so many types of marinade you can use for making tofu more flavorsome. Let’s look at some of the ingredients that are perfect for marinating tofu.

Ingredients for marinated crispy fried tofu.


Most important part of the marinade, soy sauce adds saltiness to otherwise neutral tofu. It is of course the source of this magical umami taste that we all crave so much.


Good quality balsamic vinegar combines strong tangy flavor with a bit of grape sweetness.


Lemon juice adds freshness and acidity to the marinade. It is also natural preservative (just like vinegar), so that you can safely marinate your tofu even for few days.

SRIRACHA (optional)

I love everything hot. Sriracha (or other hot sauce) gives this marinate a bit of a kick. It is of course optional. If you prefer mild flavors decrease the amount or omit this ingredient altogether.


I like to use some powdered garlic (or onion) together with smoked paprika, that again add the umami flavor. I don’t use any salt in this recipe, as soy sauce provides enough saltiness.

How to make Crispy Fried Tofu Cutlets


Now here’s a little secret of marinating tofu.

Tofu that was frozen for some time has nice spongy texture that soaks up any marinade that you place it in.

My suggestion is to buy tofu in bulk and keep it in the freezer. One day before you want to use your tofu unfreeze it and squeeze all the liquid out of it.

I don’t bother pressing it under heavy objects. When tofu reaches room temperature I just put it between palms of my hands and squeeze it until all the liquid is gone. You will see that it really behaves like a sponge.

Now the tofu is ready to absorb all those amazing flavors you will include in the marinade.

Spongy structure of tofu that was frozen makes it ideal for marinating.


Easiest way is to put all the ingredients in a jar, close it and shake it well. Just make sure that the lid sits tight on the jar, so you don’t have to re-paint your kitchen.

If you don’t have such jar, just use a big bowl and a wire whisk. Make sure all the ingredients, including spices combine nicely.


First cut your tofu into 1.5cm / 0.6 inch cutlets. Depending on your tofu dimensions it may mean just cutting it in half (like on the picture below).

Make shallow diagonal cuts on the surface of each cutlet (both sides), so that the marinate could sink into tofu easier. Be careful not to cut too deep and cut your cutlet in half. It’s best if your diagonal cuts go in different directions on each side.

Now your cutlets are ready to take all those beautiful flavors of the marinade in.


You can marinate tofu cutlets from 15 minutes to even few days. The longer they sit in the marinade the more flavor they absorb.

It doesn’t mean though, that if you only have 15 minutes the tofu will be tasteless. On the contrary, the marinade consists of ingredients with strong aromas, that your tofu should soak up easily. Just make sure that some liquid gets inside the cuts you made on the surface of the cutlets.


Heat the oil up on a frying pan and fry tofu cutlets until crispy and golden brown. It should take around 4 minutes on each side. Be careful as you flip them not to break them up.


I get it. You are not fun of frying (neither am I) or you are watching your weight (so am I, more or less..).

I mostly eat very healthy and try to reduce frying as much as I can, but sometimes I just give in and have a guilty pleasure.

If you want a healthier version, you can prepare this crispy tofu cutlet in air fryer in 180°C / 350°F. 6-8 minutes should be enough. On the picture below I put some breading on and baked in in the air fryer.

You can also use oven, same temperature as above. Keep it in for 15 minutes. You can flip it to the other side after 7 minutes, smearing rest of the marinade on the surface.

Marinated in breadcrumbs and fried in air fryer.

What about leftovers?

If you prepared too much and have some leftovers that’s not a problem. This tofu cutlet tastes good cold as well.

You can put it in a sandwich with a slice of tomato and some lettuce and take for a quick lunch at work. Another option, cut it in large cubes and sprinkle on a salad.

Let me know how did you like Crispy Fried Tofu Cutlet! Did you make any other version of marinade? Please share the recipe on Pinterest and Yummly!

Easy Recipe For Fried Tofu – Crispy Fried Tofu Cutlet
Recipe details
  • 4  servings
  • Prep time: 5 Minutes Cook time: 8 Minutes Total time: 13 min
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  • 2 pieces of 200g (7 oz) firm tofu (total of 400g – 14 oz)
  • 2 tbsp frying oil
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp sriracha or other hot sauce (optional)
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika (optional)1/2 tbsp garlic powder (optional)

Prepare your marinade by mixing all ingredients well. You can either whisk them together in a bowl or just put everything in a jar, close it and give it a good shake.
Cut block of tofu in half to form 1.5cm / 0.6 inch cutlets.
Make few shallow diagonal cuts on each slice (both sides), so the marinade penetrates tofu even easier.
Put your tofu in the marinade making sure it covers whole cutlets and gets inside little cuts on the surface.
Marinade tofu for as much time as you have. If you’re in a rush, 15 minutes will do. If you are prepping for the next day, leave it overnight in a fridge.
Pan fry tofu cutlets 4 minutes on each side, flipping them gently, until golden brown and crispy.
  • You can glaze remaining marinade on tofu slices while frying to boost the flavor.
  • If you have a lot of marinade left you can use it again for next batch of tofu. There is nothing in this marinade that spoils quickly, especially when kept in the fridge.
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  • Hillary Jo Hillary Jo on Jun 16, 2023

    I am new to tofu and love the sound of this. Thank you for sharing! I will give this a try and use as a base for any idea that pop in my head!