These crispy panko coated tofu sticks will be devoured by kids and adults alike! Honey mustard sauce doubles as a coating to stick to the panko AND as a yummy dip for serving. Recipe includes air fryer and oven instructions. (Vegan and Gluten Free options)
Cut tofu: Cut tofu into ¼-inch (0.5 cm) thick slices.
12 oz extra-firm tofu
Bake tofu in air fryer [see note 2 for oven]: Arrange tofu in an air fryer basket and bake at 400°F (200°C) for 10 minutes (no need to preheat), until pale golden and dry on the outside.
Prepare sauce: Make Honey Mustard Sauce. Transfer 3 tablespoons of sauce into a shallow bowl, along with cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Whisk until smooth.
6 tablespoons Best Honey Mustard Sauce, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper
Coat tofu: Put panko in a shallow dish. Working with one piece at a time, use a fork to dip tofu into sauce to coat all sides. Shake off excess sauce. Then, place tofu in panko and use your (clean) fingertips to coat all sides in panko (note 3). Arrange coated tofu in a single layer in the air fryer basket (see note 4).
¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
Bake tofu in air fryer [see note 2 for oven]: Spray tofu with oil. Bake for 10 minutes. Give the tofu another light coat of oil, and bake for 1 to 3 more minutes, or until deeply golden brown. Sprinkle the hot tofu with more salt, to taste. Serve hot with the remaining honey mustard sauce for dipping.
6 tablespoons Best Honey Mustard Sauce, Oil spray, ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
Best Honey Mustard Sauce: This recipe uses our homemade Honey Mustard Sauce. It is not the same as store-bought honey mustard sauce, so we do not recommend substituting. You can make it in step 3 (the timing to do this is already accounted for in the recipe). If vegan, follow the easy vegan modification in that recipe.
Alternate baking instructions (oven method): For best results use an air fryer. But, see below for the steps that require modifications to the time and method, if using an oven instead of an air fryer. As always, use the visual cues as your primary indicator (timing estimates vary based on oven). For all other steps, follow the recipe as written.
Step 2: Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet in a preheated oven at 425°F (220°C) for about 20 minutes or until the tofu is pale golden and dry on the outside.
Step 5: Spray the panko coated tofu with oil. Bake for 20 minutes or until the panko is golden brown. Flip the tofu, spray with more oil, and bake until deeply golden brown, about 5 to 10 minutes. Immediately sprinkle with more salt to taste and serve with honey mustard for dipping.
Coating the tofu: If you are shaking off excess sauce using the fork method, there should be enough to coat all the slices. But if for some reason you run a bit short on sauce or panko to coat the tofu, just add a bit more to the respective bowls and continue. The Best Honey Mustard recipe yields more sauce than you need for this recipe, so no need to worry if this happens!
Don't overcrowd the air fryer basket: Arrange the tofu so it isn't overlapping (this allows the air to circulate and crisp up the tofu). If doubling the recipe, or if you're using a small capacity air fryer, you'll likely need to bake the tofu in two batches.