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Bite-sized, crunchy, and made for dipping, this crispy popcorn tofu is perfect for snacking, appetizers, or your next Meatless Monday dinner!
I like tofu any way I can get it: Teriyaki Tofu Meatballs, Tofu Street Tacos, and especially Drunken Noodles with Tofu. But crispy tofu is definitely tofu in its finest form—and it doesn’t get much crispier than this popcorn tofu. It has so much crunch thanks to its potato chip coating.
Yes, potato chips!
Now, tofu is awesome when it’s coated with breadcrumbs or panko, but the potato chips really amp up the crispy factor here, even without frying. The key is to get the right size of crumb from your potato chips—too fine and the tofu won’t be crunchy, but too large and the crumbs won’t stick.
What You’ll Need
Most of the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe are pantry staples, so it shouldn’t add much to your shopping list!
- Plain almond milk – Another plant-based milk can be substituted, but make sure it’s unflavored.
- All-purpose gluten-free flour – Or regular all-purpose flour if you’re not on a gluten-free diet.
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Extra-firm tofu – Press it first to get the excess moisture out. Learn more here: Tofu Guide: How to Cook It and Love It
- Plain potato chips
- Cooking spray
What Firmness of Tofu Is Best?
For a recipe like popcorn tofu, where you’re going to be picking up the tofu with your fingers, extra-firm tofu is best. Generally speaking, firm and extra-firm tofus are best for frying, sautéing, and baking, while softer varieties are better in soups or in recipes where they need to be pureed, like smoothies and puddings.
What Can I Use Instead of Cornstarch for Crispy Tofu?
Cornstarch yields the crispiest tofu, but if you don’t have it on hand, you can use extra all-purpose flour or potato starch instead.
How to Make Crispy Popcorn Tofu
Here’s what you’ll need to do to make crispy popcorn tofu at home:
Prepare. Preheat your oven to 425°F and coat a sheet pan with cooking spray.
Set up your dredging station. In a large bowl, whisk the almond milk, flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, sea salt, and black pepper until a slurry forms. Pulse the potato chips in your food processor—the crumb should be fine, but not powdery—and pour them into a shallow bowl next to the slurry.
Dredge the tofu. Tear the tofu into bite-sized pieces and dip them into the slurry, followed by the potato chip crumbs. Place the tofu in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake. Spray the tofu with cooking spray and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the coating is golden brown and crisp.
What Sauces Are Good with Popcorn Tofu?
Popcorn tofu is kind of like chicken nuggets in that you can pair it with just about any sauce you like:
- Copycat Chick-Fil-A Sauce
- Sweet chili sauce
- Homemade Tartar Sauce
- Satay Dipping Sauce
- Barbecue sauce
- Honey mustard sauce
- Ranch dressing
Tips for Success
Here are some tips and tricks I’ve picked up while making this crispy tofu recipe:
- Shake off any excess slurry. If your tofu has too much liquid on it, it’ll make the potato chip crumbs goopy and they won’t stick.
- Press the tofu into the crumbs. Use a firm touch to make sure the crumbs really stick and get into all the nooks and crannies of the torn tofu pieces.
- Spray the tofu generously. The cooking spray is key to getting your popcorn tofu crispy in the oven without frying it.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. While you can reheat popcorn tofu in the microwave, it’s best reheated in a 400ºF oven for about 10 minutes to revive some of its original crispiness.
Can This Recipe Be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze popcorn tofu for up to 3 months in an airtight container. Reheat it from frozen in a 400ºF oven for about 15 minutes, or until warmed through and crispy on the outside.
Crispy Popcorn Tofu
- ⅓ cup (79 ml) unsweetened plain almond milk
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose gluten-free flour, you can use regular AP flour if you're not gluten-sensitive
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound (454 g) extra-firm tofu, pressed
- 8 ounces (227 g) plain potato chips
- Cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 425 °F (218 °C) and spray a sheet pan with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, mix together the almond milk, flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, sea salt, and black pepper until a slurry forms. Set aside.
- Place the potato chips in a food processor and process until a coarse crumb is formed, transfer to a shallow bowl and set aside.
- Tear the tofu into bite-sized pieces. Dip the tofu pieces into the slurry then dredge through the crushed potato chips pressing firmly to coat. Place in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Spray the tops of the tofu with cooking spray and transfer to the oven.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the coating is golden brown and crunchy. Serve immediately.
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