These crispy coconut tofu bites are SO delicious! Made with a quick marinade, a sweet coconut-panko breading and then cooked in the oven until golden brown. They are crunchy on the outside and savory + tender on the inside. Great as finger food or to top salads, buddha or poke bowls.
This is one of my favorite tofu recipes ever!
If you are on the edge about liking tofu or not and feel like tofu is a little bit too 'blah' for you, then this coconut crusted tofu recipe will make you flip to the tofu-lover-team side!
It is slightly sweet, nicely crispy and has a fun delicious tropical vibe.
They might even remind you of coconut shrimps! Not that they taste like fish at all, but they have that similar coconut-y crunchy shell that hides a soft and savory middle. Really delicious, especially with a dipping sauce such as this Asian orange sauce.
I actually made these mini tofu bites a while back when just starting the blog. The post is now updated with more information on how to succeed, but the recipe remained pretty much the same.
Serve as appetizer, party food, over buddha or poke bowls or simply as finger food, kids love them!
What's to love about this recipe
- Great flavor, perfect if you are a tofu beginner!
- Requires easy simple pantry ingredients.
- Kid friendly and fun finger food.
- A tasty source of plant-based protein.
- Healthy and oven-baked.
- Dairy-free, egg-free and can easily be made gluten-free.
- Deliciously crispy.
What you'll need to make it
- Extra firm tofu: You will need a block of extra firm tofu to make this recipe. If the tofu is too soft, the bites will be harder to bread.
- Soy sauce: choose low-in-sodium if desired or swap for tamari if looking for gluten-free.
- Rice vinegar: adds a subtle tanginess to the marinade. Could swap for freshly squeezed lime juice too.
- Maple syrup: or any other sweetener.
- Ground flax seeds: I like to grind my own flax seeds using a high-speed blender, but you can buy already ground flax too.
- Flour: all purpose, whole wheat or gluten-free flours work.
- Panko breadcrumbs: gives the bites the best crispy texture compared to regular breadcrumbs. Choose gluten-free panko if necessary.
- Shredded coconut: I recommend a finely shredded or desiccated kind of coconut. Coconut flakes are a little large for this recipe. Also, be sure to choose unsweetened.
How to make it
Prep the tofu and marinate
Pat dry the block of tofu to remove the excess water. You can do a quick press by wrapping the block of tofu with a clean towel and add something heavy over (such as a few books). Let it press for 10-15 minutes (optional).
Then, slice the block of tofu in bite sizes of about 2 inches each.
In a medium-large bowl, combine the marinade ingredients together and whisk. Then, add the cubes of tofu and toss them in to completely cover each piece. Let them marinade until ready to use, about 10 min.
Also, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pre-heat the oven to 400º.
Bread the tofu bites
Prepare the flax egg by combining the ground flax with the water in a shallow bowl. Set aside.
Transfer the flour in a second shallow bowl.
And combine the breadcrumbs and shredded coconut in a third shallow bowl.
Then, taking 1-3 cubes at the time, toss them in the flour, then in the flax egg and finally cover them with the coconut mixture. Press gently so it sticks well all around the pieces leaving no empty spots. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and keep going with all the tofu pieces.
Once all the tofu bites are breaded, then bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Flip each piece and bake for another 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Watch how to make them
- Be sure to pat dry the block of tofu nicely. This will help the cubes absorb on the marinade, which will give the bites more flavor.
- You can pat dry, slice the tofu and marinate the pieces overnight or during the day (in the fridge) so it is ready to bread when it's time to eat.
- While breading, keep one hand for the wet and the other hand for the dry or the breading will stick to your fingers. I will usually rinse my fingers after every few pieces too.
- To make the breading quicker, bread a few cubes at the time, depending on how wide your bowl is.
- Space out the bites on the baking sheet so they can crisp better (they might steam if they are too close to each other).
- For ultra crispy bites, spray oil over before baking.
- Add sriracha to the marinade for spicy coconut bites.
- You can slice the tofu in triangles as long as they are about 1-2 inches thick.
We often serve them simply as finger food with a side of veggies. Our kids adore them and they disappear quickly, especially when served with a dipping sauce. Place a few skewers on the side to help the dipping process.
They are the ideal topping for rice bowls such as buddha or poke bowls. I usually serve them combined with this coconut pineapple rice with a good drizzle of this sweet and spicy orange sauce. Other sauce ideas include store-bought sweet chili sauce, spicy mayo, Thai peanut sauce or even with a fruity peach salsa.
Add these crispy coconut tofu bites over a noodle bowl to boost the protein content. The tofu can be combined with so many sauces and will add lots of texture to your dish.
Also, instead of cutting the tofu in cubes, cut it in sticks and keep going with the recipe as is. Then, stuff a roll with the sticks after cooked and add this orange sauce with cilantro and shredded carrots for a delicious asian style sandwich similar to a tofu banh mi.
Add them to a vegetable stir-fry to add more protein and texture.
How to store the leftovers
I bet you won't have any leftovers!
But if you do, keep in an air-tight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. They will lose their crispiness over time, but the taste will stay delicious!
Reheat in the oven or in a pan to revive some of their crispy texture.
Yes you can, but you will need to use oil so they roast nicely. Baking them in the oven makes it easier to make this recipe oil-free.
Use a gluten-free flour, swap the soy sauce for tamari and use a gluten-free panko breadcrumbs.
Other tofu recipes you might like
I hope you will love these tofu bites as much as we do! If you try them, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how they were.
Oven-Baked Crispy Coconut Crusted Tofu Bites
For the marinade
- 3 tbsp soy sauce - or tamari for gluten-free
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
To make the tofu
- 454 g extra firm tofu (or one block) - patted dry and cut in 1-2 inches cubes
- ¼ cup ground flax seeds
- ¾ cup water
- ⅓ cup flour - all-purpose, whole wheat or gluten-free
- ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs - choose gluten-free ifg necessary
- ¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
To make the orange sauce, click here.
Marinade the tofu
- Combine together all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Then, add the cubes of tofu and toss them gently so they all are covered with the marinade. Let sit until ready to use or about 120 minutes.
Bread the tofu
- Pre-heat the oven at 400°. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Make the flax eggs: in a medium size shallow bowl, combine the ground flax seeds with the water and let it sit until ready to use, about 5-10 minutes or so.
- Then, add the flour in a second medium size shallow bowl.
- Finally, in a third medium size shallow bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs with the shredded coconut.
- Start by tossing each marinated cubes of tofu in the flour. Then, cover them with the flax egg and finally, coat them with the panko-coconut mixture. You will have to press gently to make sure that the cubes are completely covered by the coconut. Transfer the covered cubes on the parchment paper and keep going until you breaded all the tofu bites.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Then flipped the cubes and cook for 15 more minutes or until golden browned.
- We love them serve as finger food with a side of orange sauce, but also serve with rice or noodles and vegetables.
- Keep leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for a few days and reheat using the oven. They will lose on their crispiness after storage, but will still remain delicious.
- You can also pan-fry them, although you will need to add oil to your pan. Baking them in the oven helps make this recipe healthier as you don't need any oil.
- Be sure to fully cover the pieces at each step of the breading.
- While breading, you can keep one hand for the dry ingredients and the other hand for the wet to help the breading process.
- You can marinate the tofu in the fridge overnight before breading it.