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plate of pan-fried panko tofu schnitzel

Crispy Tofu Schnitzel

  • Author: Jenny Meier | Kitchen Skip blog
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 16 schnitzels 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Tofu schnitzel has a creamy tofu middle with a crispy, crunchy panko crust. It's a versatile vegetarian schnitzel that can be served with just about anything.



Units Scale
  • 2 12-to-15 ounce blocks firm or extra-firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
  • 4 eggs, whisked
  • 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs, plus more as needed
  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/3 cup sunflower, canola or avocado oil, plus more as needed for frying



Step 1: Press Moisture out of the Tofu (see instructional photos in blog post above)

  1. Slice each block of tofu widthwise into rectangles that are about 1/2-inch thick.
  2. Line one sheet pan with two layers of paper towels or a dish towel. 
  3. Set the slices of tofu on the covered sheet pan in even rows.
  4. Cover the tofu with another double layer of paper towels or a dish towel.
  5. Put a second sheet pan on top to press down on the tofu. Put something heavy on the top sheet pan (like several cans of beans or tomatoes) to press the tofu down even more.
  6. Set the tofu aside to release moisture for at least 15 minutes.

Step 2: Dredge the Tofu 

  1. Prepare your dredging station with 3 wide shallow bowls
    Bowl #1: Flour
    Bowl #2: Whisked eggs
    Bowl #3: Panko, smoked paprika, garlic powder
  2. Lightly salt the tofu before dredging it, without about 1/4 teaspoon of salt for the whole batch of tofu.
  3. Dredge each slice of tofu first in flour, then egg, then the panko mixture. Make sure each time to completely cover both sides of the tofu. Do this gently, so the slices of tofu don’t break in half  (but don’t worry if a piece breaks apart, you can still use it!) After you dredge a slice of tofu, set it back on a sheet pan (remove towels first)
  4. Helpful Tip: Occasionally mix the panko as you work, because the paprika and garlic powder will settle on the bottom of the bowl. If the panko doesn't seem to be sticking, lightly press it onto the tofu slices. 
  5. Season with salt. When the dredged tofu slices are all on the sheet pan, use the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to season the entire pan of tofu.

Fry the Tofu 

  1.  Heat the oil in a wide (12-inch) non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. 
  2. Set half of the tofu slices in the hot skillet. Make sure the oil is hot before adding the tofu. 
  3. Fry the tofu for about 3 minutes, until the bottom of the tofu is nicely browned and crispy. Use a wide spatula to flip the tofu over.
  4. Cook for about 2 minutes more, until the other side is brown and crispy. 
  5. Take the tofu out of the pan and set it aside. 
  6. Add the remaining slices of tofu to the skillet. Add more oil if needed to keep a thin layer of oil in the pan. Fry the tofu on both sides just as before, until nicely browned. Turn the heat down a little if necessary to make sure the tofu doesn’t burn as it cooks.


Tofu schnitzel will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. However, it doesn’t stay crispy and will have a softer texture after being refrigerated. It's really at its best the first night when it's hot and crispy, and every bite is a combination of soft tofu and crunchy, salty breadcrumbs.  However, you can re-heat the tofu for 10 to 12 minutes set on a rack over a sheet-pan in a 350 F oven, and it will get crispier again. 

I like to cut up pieces of leftover tofu schnitzel and eat it in a lettuce salad, or cold noodle salad, or grain bowl. Sometimes I re-heat the leftover schnitzel, and sometimes I eat it cold. 

If you're using 12-ounce blocks of tofu, you'll probably only need to use 3 eggs.

If you'd like to bake the tofu instead of frying it, read the instructions in the blog post above. 

  • Category: vegetarian
  • Method: lightly fry
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: tofu, schnitnzel, tofu schnitzel, pan-fried tofu, crispy tofu