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Nashville Hot Tofu



  • 350–400 g extra firm tofu
  • 1 cup (250 ml) buttermilk
  • 3–4 tablespoons cayenne pepper hot sauce
  • 3 tablespoons pickle brine or apple cider vinegar
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs


  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon pickle brine or apple cider vinegar
  • 2–3 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2–3 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 thick slices white bread
  • Dill pickle slices



  1. Cut the tofu in half crosswise into four flat squares that resemble patties, then split each piece horizontally. Combine the buttermilk, hot sauce, and pickle brine or vinegar in a medium bowl or zip-top freezer bag. Add in the tofu and gently toss to coat. Transfer to the fridge to marinate for at least two hours or up to one day. If using a bowl, occasionally flip the tofu to ensure even contact with the marinade.
  2. When ready to fry, heat a generous centimetre (about half to a three-quarter-inch) of canola oil in a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Heat your oven to 200°F and set out a sheet pan.
  3. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt in a shallow bowl. Remove the tofu from the marinade, letting any excess buttermilk drip back into the bowl, drop into the flour mixture, and toss to coat. Transfer the flour-coated tofu onto the sheet pan and set aside. Add the flour mixture to the buttermilk marinade mixture and stir to combine. Add the panko into the shallow bowl.
  4. Working one piece at a time, dunk the flour-coated tofu into the batter, coat in the panko, and return to the sheet pan. Fry the tofu just until golden brown on both sides, flipping once. Transfer to the sheet pan and keep warm in the oven while you prepare the sauce.


  1. Mix the butter, pickle brine or vinegar, cayenne pepper and brown sugar to taste paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Add the tofu and gently flip to ensure it is fully coated in the sauce.


  1. Serve the spicy, crispy tofu between two slices of bread topped with a bit more sauce, if desired, dressed with lots of pickles. Enjoy!

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