Sesame Crusted Tofu

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This delicious sesame crusted tofu is a great dish to impress your guests. It is full of flavour, crunchy on the outside, and goes great in many combinations with different vegetables and dips. This recipe is gluten-free and oil-free, and the result is incredibly tasty.

sesame crusted tofu

Ingredients for this sesame crusted tofu recipe

To make this flavourful and crunchy sesame crusted tofu, you will need:

  • semi-firm tofu
  • sesame seeds
  • flax seeds
  • naturally fermented soy sauce (I usually go with tamari or shoyu; less salty if possible)
  • miso paste (I like shiro miso, but other types will work too)
  • fine defatted coconut flour (can be substituted rice flour or starch)
  • Himalayan salt
  • nutritional yeast
  • water
  • optional: spices for the marinade (fresh garlic, ginger, chilli and black pepper).
sesame crusted tofu

How to make sesame crusted tofu

Making these gluten-free sesame crusted tofu slices is easy; you will need to follow these simple steps (with a couple of additional tips):

  • marinate the tofu slices
  • tap them with kitchen towel to dry a bit, or just shake off the excess liquid
  • coat them in coconut flour
  • dip in the flaxseed and water mixture
  • carefully coat with ground sesame seeds
  • leave to dry for a bit
  • bake in the oven (or fry if you prefer it).
sesame crusted tofu

1. Marinating the tofu

Plain tofu is quite neutral in flavour, so it is always a good idea to marinate it in recipes that include baking, frying or grilling.

To make tofu more flavourful, I like to make a simple marinade with naturally fermented soy sauce (usually tamari or shoyu) and water. If you like it more spicy, you can add some fresh garlic, chilli, black pepper and/or fresh ginger to this marinade.

Tofu slices will need to stay in this marinade for at least an hour to soak up the flavour. You can save the leftover marinade and use it for some other recipe, for example this braised yuba with vegetables.

If you would like to skip this step and still get some more flavour, you can purchase a cube of tofu that was already marinated, or go for a smoked tofu.

Extra tip: freezing the tofu

Frozen and defrosted tofu has a bit different texture than the fresh one – it is a bit more chewy (not too much though!) and less smooth. It also has a really cool feature – more air pockets in its texture.

This is great for recipes that include marinating, because it will act like a sponge and absorb more flavour. Also, this kind of spongy texture is more appealing to some people, especially those who are not used to eating tofu.

Having said that, I actually love the soft and smooth texture of fresh semi-firm tofu; it will still be my first choice. I love how the tender consistency of fresh tofu contrasts the crunchy sesame crust in this recipe.

2. Coating the tofu slices

To make the crust, you will need to make these three layers in three separate bowls:

  • coconut flour – it will need to be a fine, defatted one, because coconut flakes won’t work in this case. If you cannot find coconut flour where you live, you can substitute it with rice flour or corn starch.
  • ground flax seeds and water mixture – this is a gelatinous mixture that binds the whole crust well; it replaces the egg that is normally used in traditional breading recipes.
  • ground sesame seeds mixed with some salt and nutritional yeast for more flavour – this will be our gluten-free crust instead of the usual bread crumbs. Honestly, I prefer the pure sesame seeds for the crust; they give it so much more flavour than the classic breading has.

To make your tofu slices perfectly breaded, you will first need to dry them just a bit from the marinade. You can let them dry a bit on a dry plate, tap them with a kitchen towel or cloth, or simply shake off the excess liquid.

They will still need to be damp in order to get well coated with coconut flour. After you have coated the tofu slice in coconut flour, transfer it into the bowl with flax mixture and cover it well in this mixture.

Carefully transfer it into the bowl with ground sesame seeds and coat it well. Since the flax mixture is quite slippery, I like to put the dipped tofu piece into the bowl with sesame and

3. Baking sesame crusted tofu

My favourite way to make these sesame crusted tofu slices is baking them on 200 °C until the crust gets golden brown. This temperature is high enough to make it crunchy even without using any oil.

If you don’t mind oil, these tofu slices can be pan-fried as well (or even deep-fried if needed), with a super tasty result. Air-frying is also a great option. Naturally, any kind of frying will give you a crunchier result than baking in the oven.

sesame crusted tofu

Serving ideas

  • My favourite way to enjoy sesame crusted tofu slices is to eat them with fresh salad, or steam-cooked seasonal greens like kale, swiss chard or pak choi.
  • Make a delicious tofu sandwich with some homemade bread, this parsley and chives pesto and homemade sauerkraut or kimchi.
  • Dip it in a spicy sauce: just mix 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp rice vinegar and 1 tbsp maple syrup, add some chopped fresh or fermented chilli peppers and mix to combine.

Storing the sesame crusted tofu

These sesame crusted tofu slices will be the best if you eat them freshly baked. However, I don’t mind eating them on the day after either. They will keep good in the fridge for a couple of days for sure. They can be reheated in the oven, or on a dry pan over a low heat.

In case you didn’t bake all the coated tofu slices, they can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days and baked whenever you decide.

They can also be crusted and then frozen. In my experience, it is then good to let them fully defrost before baking if you want them to turn out nice and crispy on the outside.

sesame crusted tofu
These tofu slices were breaded, stored in the fridge and baked the next day. They turned out delicious, just like the ones that were baked the day before.
Yield: 10 slices

Sesame Crusted Tofu

Sesame Crusted Tofu

Delicious and crispy sesame-crusted tofu recipe; it is gluten-free, vegan, and can be oven-roasted without any oil.

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes


  • 300 g (10 oz) semi-firm tofu
  • 4 tbsp naturally fermented soy sauce + ⅓ cup water (for the marinade)
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 pinch Himalayan salt
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • 3 tbsp fine defatted coconut flour


  1. Cut tofu into approximately 7 mm thick slices (I got around ten slices from a 300 g tofu cube).
  2. Mix around four tablespoons of soy sauce with ⅓ cup water to make the marinade for tofu slices (this step is optional, depending on your preference; I do recommend it though, because it will give your tofu extra flavour).*
  3. Pour this mixture over tofu slices and leave them for an hour or two at room temperature to soak up the flavour.
  4. Grind the flax seeds in a coffee grinder. 
  5. Dissolve a tablespoon of miso paste in half a cup of warm water. 
  6. Mix the ground flax seeds with this water and let it sit for five to ten minutes to thicken (you can whisk a couple of times to speed up the process). 
  7. Grind the sesame seeds and mix them with Himalayan salt and nutritional yeast. 
  8. Take the tofu slices out of the marinade and let them dry a bit on a plate or on a kitchen towel/cloth.
  9. Prepare three bowls - one with coconut flour, one with flax mixture and one with ground sesame mixture. 
  10. Coat each slice of tofu with coconut flour, cover with flax mixture and then carefully bread with ground sesame. Flax mixture is a bit slippery, so I like to transfer the piece of tofu into the bowl with sesame and dust it with a generous amount of sesame from the sides of the bowl, instead of too much flipping and shaking. 
  11. Transfer the fully coated tofu slices on a dry plate and let them dry for an hour. 
  12. Bake them in an oven on 200 °C for 15-20 minutes, or until they get a nice golden colour. 


Frozen and defrosted tofu is a cool option for this recipe because it will be a bit chewier than fresh tofu. It will also have more tiny pockets in its texture, that will be great to soak up the marinade.

(Having mentioned that, I have to say that my personal preference is still fresh tofu - exactly because of its tender and smooth consistency).

If you prefer plain tofu that you’ll dip into a really salty sauce, you can skip the marinating and just make crusted cutlets from plain tofu.

If you like the marinated flavour, but don’t have time for this extra step, you can purchase a cube of tofu that has already been marinated, or a cube of smoked tofu.

Coconut flour has to be really fine and defatted (coconut flakes won’t work). If you can’t find it in any store, you can use fine rice flour or cornstarch instead.

Instead of oven-roasting, you can also fry the sesame-crusted tofu on a pan with coconut oil over a medium heat, for about a minute on each side. 

I like to combine this sesame-crusted tofu with lots of fresh greens, some fresh coriander leaves and vietnamese-style dip with soy sauce and fermented chilli peppers.

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