Miso Dengaku Tofu Katsu (vegan, GF option)

Crispy, chewy air-fried tofu coated in a savory, umami miso sauce. The perfect snack, appetizer, or plant-based main dish to keep your tastebuds happy and your tummy full.

Miso dengaku is a very concentrated sweet miso sauce. You don’t need much of it since it has a very strong salty profile. But you’ll also want to eat more of it because the umami flavor is addicting. Be careful though, the sodium adds up fast lol. The most common way I usually see miso dengaku used is on grilled or broiled eggplant — a great way to convert eggplant haters! Nami of Just One Cookbook has a great post on miso dengaku here and is where I got the inspiration for miso dengaku from. (She’s also where I get the inspiration for a lot of my Japanese recipes.) And by happy coincidence, miso dengaku is vegan!

The star of this post really is the miso dengaku, and it’s not even completely an original recipe, but I love miso dengaku so much I just had to share! You can really just keep it simple and bake/grill/pan fry your tofu till it gets a little browned and crispy on the outside, but I decided to be extra and make little tofu katsu strips. I just love the crunch breadcrumbs give.


This Miso Dengaku Tofu Katsu requires just 7 plant-based ingredients:

I used frozen tofu so it would be less watery and more firm and chewy. You could also marinate your tofu in a little soy sauce before cooking if you want it to be more flavorful, but I opted to leave it plain since I knew the miso sauce would be very powerful.

So Easy to Make!

Just cut your tofu into strips, marinate in a little (about 1/2 tbsp) soy sauce if desired, dip into a mixture of water + corn starch, coat in breadcrumbs and then air-fry! While your tofu is air-frying you can make the miso sauce, which comes together in about 5 minutes. Just mix everything together and heat briefly over the stove to cook off the alcohol.

Still hungry?

Check out these other tasty tofu dishes!

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Don’t forget to tag me in your photos on instagram @ellielikes.cooking and/or leave a comment down below and let me know what you think! I absolutely love seeing you recreate my recipes 🙂 Happy cooking!

*Miso Dengaku Sauce slightly adapted from this recipe from Just One Cookbook.

Miso Dengaku Tofu Katsu

Crispy, chewy air-fried tofu coated in a savory, umami miso sauce. The perfect snack, appetizer, or plant-based main dish to keep your tastebuds happy and your tummy full.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese


Miso Dengaku Sauce

  • 1 tbsp sake
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tsp maple syrup add more if not sweet enough
  • 2 tbsp red miso
  • 1 tbsp water, if needed to thin

Tofu Katsu

  • 1 block firm tofu, frozen & thawed
  • 1/2 cup panko or breadcrumbs use gluten-free if needed
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/3 cup water


  • Cut tofu into strips, about 1 – 1 1/2″ thick. Mix together corn starch and water. Place breadcrumbs in a bowl.
  • Dip each tofu strip into corn starch/water mixture, then coat in breadcrumbs. Place in an air-fryer, spray the tops of tofu with oil, and cook at 350°F for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through. Make sure the tofu strips are not touching each other. 
  • While the tofu is cooking, prepare the miso sauce. Mix together all sauce ingredients, except for water. Heat on low 2-3 minutes, constantly stirring until the sake has cooked off and the mixture has thickened. Add water if you want your sauce thinner. Taste and add more maple syrup if not sweet enough. 
  • Spread sauce over tofu katsu strips and serve while still warm. 

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Thoughts? Questions? Let me know!