Baked Tofu – Tasty marinated tofu baked until crispy on the outside and creamy and soft in the inside. This Crispy Tofu Recipe is simple, quick and a great vegan protein addition to any meal. Serve it with mouthwatering creamy Peanut Dipping Sauce for the perfect vegetarian party appetizer!
I must admit, at home we usually only eat tofu cooked in soups or as part of a stir fry. I decided to try this recipe because it reminds me of crispy chicken bites but without any animal protein. As I have mentioned many times, my little one is vegetarian and as we all know, kids love crispy (fried) things. This tasty treat is baked – not fried, yet it is crispy, tasty and a great way to add healthy protein to our diet.
What is Tofu?
Tofu is made from soybeans, water and a coagulating agent. The making process is similar to the way cheese is made. Soy milk is curdle, press into solid blocks and then cooled. Tofu (bean curd) is a great source of plant protein, amino acids, calcium and iron.
Tofu can be bland so marinating the tofu is a must! Coating the tofu with cornmeal, arrowroot or any other starch, guarantees a crispy beautiful golden exterior.
Why is tofu tasteless?
Tofu has a very mild flavor, no doubt! Think of it as a blank canvas. Tofu will absorb the flavor of whatever it is cooked in (think soups and stir fries) or marinated /dressed with.
Crispy Baked Tofu Ingredients
- Firm or Extra Firm Tofu – Silken, soft or medium tofu are not good options for this recipe.
- Corn Starch or Arrowroot – Cornstarch is gluten free but if you are following a grain-free diet, use arrowroot. Arrowroot is also paleo friendly.
- Sesame Oil – Use roasted/toasted sesame oil also known as Asian sesame oil. This oil has a distinctive toasted nutty flavor and it’s darker in color.
- Oil – Vegetable, canola and avocado oil (shown on picture below) are good options.
- Ground Ginger – Ground/dried ginger sticks better to the tofu however, grated fresh ginger can be used.
- Garlic Powder – You can use grated fresh garlic instead.
- Soy Sauce – If following a gluten-free diet, use tamari instead.
Should I buy organic tofu?
I highly recommend buying organic tofu. Soybean grown in the US is mostly genetically modified (GMO) unless is organic. This post list 3 important reasons why you should stay away from GMO foods. (I love a quick “info-packed” read!).
DID YOU KNOW? The difference between silken tofu, soft tofu, medium tofu, firm, extra firm and super firm tofu is simply the amount of water that has been pressed out of the tofu. The firmer the tofu the less water content it has.
Silken tofu is completely unpressed and undrained. His creamy, custard like consistency is great for smoothies, sauces, dips, salad dressings and desserts.
Regular firmer tofu can be used for different preparations. It can be cubed, sliced, chopped, etc.
How to make Crispy Tofu
- Press the tofu to squeeze as much moisture as possible. I use a cutting board topped with a couple of cans and let it sit for no longer than 10 minutes. Tofu is delicate so be gentle.
- Pat the tofu dry with paper towels or a kitchen towel and cut into strips and then cubes.
- Season the tofu and marinate for at least 10 minutes.
- Remove the tofu from the marinate and place the cubes on a plate or platter. This will help get rid of any excess marinade (liquid).
- Place the cornstarch or arrowroot in a zip top bag and toss the tofu to coat. Tofu is delicate so it is best to do this gently and in small batches.
- Place the coated tofu cubes onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and crispy, flipping once halfway.
- Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
Easy Peanut Dipping Sauce
This tasty peanut dipping sauce is easy to make and goes well with so many dishes. Besides tofu, you can serve it with grilled or baked chicken, pork and beef.
The ingredients to make this dipping sauce are peanut butter (creamy or crunchy is up to you!), sesame oil, fresh lime juice, soy sauce (or tamari), grated fresh garlic and grated fresh ginger. Garnish it with sesame seeds and/or chopped peanuts.
To make this delicious peanut dipping sauce, simply mix all the ingredients in a bowl and you are done. If time permits, let the sauce sit for 15 minutes to an hour so the flavors have time to meld together.
Crispy Tofu FAQs
You have questions? We have answers!
How do I store unused tofu from an opened package?
Tofu is perishable. After opening a package make sure you store the tofu properly. It is best to store it completely submerge in cool water in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The water should be replace daily. Keep the tofu only for 5 to 7 days. If you notice a sour smell or any change in color, toss it out!
Is it better to pan fry or bake tofu?
You can pan-fry this tofu recipe. Keep in mind that you will need plenty oil for pan-frying otherwise the coating comes off and gets stuck on the pan.
How to Serve or Use Crispy Baked Tofu
You can serve baked crispy tofu with any dipping sauce or to top salads and soups. It is also a great crispy addition to rice bowls, quinoa bowls and Buddha bowls.
Baked Tofu Recipe Tips
- Baked Tofu is best served hot off the oven!
- Season the tofu with other seasonings. A mixture of chili powder, cumin, dried oregano, lemon juice and oil makes for a tasty Tex-Mex style baked goodness. Add some cayenne pepper for some heat!
- Leftover baked tofu can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week. Keep in mind that they will lose some of their crispy texture when refrigerated.
Take A Look At These Other Recipes:
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Crispy Baked Tofu
- 1 block (12-15 ounces) Organic Firm or Extra Firm Tofu
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (use tamari if following a gluten free diet)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable, canola or avocado oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
- 1/4 cup cornstarch or arrowroot powder
To Make the Peanut Dipping Sauce
- In a small bowl mix all the dipping sauce ingredients until well combined. Garnish with sesame seeds and/or chopped peanuts (optional).
To Make the Baked Tofu
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Drain the tofu and gently press it to squeeze out as much moisture as possible. I use a small cutting board topped with a couple of cans and let it sit for no longer than 10 minutes. Tofu is delicate so be gentle. You can also press it with the palms of your hands if you prefer or if you are short in time.
- Pat the tofu dry with paper towels or a kitchen towel and cut it into thirds lengthwise. You will have 3 even slabs. Cut the slabs into cubes. You will get 5 cubes per slab.
- Transfer the tofu to a medium size bowl and season it with the garlic powder, dried ginger, soy sauce (or tamari), vegetable oil and sesame oil. Gently mix to combine. Marinate the tofu for 10 minutes or up to 30 minutes.
- Remove the tofu from the marinade and place the tofu cubes on a plate or platter. This will help get rid of any excess marinade (liquid). The tofu doesn't need to be completely dry.
- Place the cornstarch (or arrowroot) in a zip top bag. Working in batches, transfer the tofu to the bag and toss to coat.
- Arrange the coated tofu in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the tofu is golden brown, flipping once halfway through the baking process. Remove from the oven and serve immediately with the Peanut Dipping Sauce or use as desired.
- Nutrition information provided is just an estimation and will vary depending on the brands of ingredients used.
- Nutrition information includes the baked tofu and the dipping sauce.
- If short on time, press the tofu with the palms of your hands to squeeze as much moisture as possible.
- Use mirin instead of soy sauce if you are following a gluten free diet.
- Arrowroot is gluten free and grain free.
- Use creamy or crunchy peanut butter for the dipping sauce.
- Asian sesame oil is also known as toasted/roasted sesame oil. It is darker in color and has a toasty nutty smell.
- Check the post above for step by step photos on how to make this recipe.