Hands down, this pan fried tofu recipe will be your new favorite way to enjoy tofu! Crispy and crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, the Asian inspired marinade takes it to another level!
Pan Fried Tofu
Tofu gets a bad wrap for being tasteless and bland, but we need to save this plant based protein some slack- It all comes down to its preparation!
This pan fried tofu is incredibly delicious. It’s the recipe I make for all my friends to prove to them that tofu can and is delicious, and a fantastic low carb and high protein option! The texture is crispy on the outside, and soft and fluffy on the inside. It has a delicious soy and sesame flavor, and a secret ingredient gives it an even more umami flavor!
How to fry tofu
This pan fried tofu is easily the best way to enjoy tofu, and one which will convert all the tofu haters! The simple marinade takes it to another level, and it is so easy to make!
There are four important factors to create the best fried tofu recipe-
- DO NOT OVER-SEASON. The firm tofu acts as a sponge, so even though the marinade may be thin, it will still be very flavorful.
- USE FIRM OR EXTRA FIRM TOFU. Do not even bother using soft or semi-firm tofu, as it will simply fall apart and not become crispy.
- USE AN OIL WITH A HIGH SMOKE POINT. When pan frying the oil, use avocado or vegetable oil, which has a high smoke point (the sesame oil in the marinade doesn’t count!).
- ADD CORNSTARCH. You might be wondering why we add cornstarch to tofu, but this is the key ingredient to ensure the tofu is extra crispy on the outside!
- Firm tofu– Firm or extra firm tofu. You can easily find this in the refrigerated aisles of grocery stores, or any Asian supermarket.
- Sesame oil– A flavorful and robust oil. A little goes a very long way, as the flavor is very evident.
- Soy sauce– Light or dark soy sauce. The dark variety is preferred, as it has a more intense and umami flavor.
- Garlic– Garlic powder or garlic granules, NOT garlic salt. You can also use freshly minced garlic (one clove).
- Salt and pepper– To taste.
- Vegan teriyaki sauce– Optional, but a secret ingredient to take the tofu to another level.
- Cornstarch– To lightly coat the tofu, and gives them an extra crispy exterior.
Start by whisking together all the marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Add the cornstarch into a shallow bowl. Moving quickly, dip each slice of tofu in the cornstarch, then dip it in the marinade. Repeat the process until all the tofu has been seasoned.
Now, add some oil to a non-stick pan and place it over medium heat. Once hot, add the tofu to it and cook for 2-3 minutes, before flipping and cooking for a further 2 minutes. Transfer the pan fried tofu onto a plate and drizzle remaining sauces over it, before serving immediately.
What to serve sauteed tofu with
- Rice- Simply steamed rice, cauliflower rice, or some peanut butter fried rice.
- Salad– Vegan chicken salad, Cobb salad, coleslaw, or a broccoli salad.
- Wrap- Add slices of the refrigerated tofu in a roll (Banh Mi, style!) or a wholewheat wrap. We also love a tofu sandwich.
- Vegetables- Baked potato wedges, carrot fries, or hash browns.
Storing and freezing tips
- To store: Pan fried tofu can be stored in the refrigerator, in a sealed container, for up to one week.
- To freeze: Place leftover tofu in a shallow container and store it in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- Reheating: Either microwave for one minute or reheat in a non-stick pan until hot and sizzling.
Recommended tools to make this recipe
- Non-stick pan. A good non-stick pan makes all the difference.
- Tofu press. Good to have in your kitchen in case your firm tofu has a little extra moisture in it. Bonus? This one is environmentally friendly too!
- Tongs. This doesn’t stick to the pan or scratch it.
Pan Fried Tofu
- 1 block firm tofu 400 grams
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce dark or light
- 1 tbsp vegan teriyaki sauce optional
- 1 tsp garlic powder or minced garlic
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp salt to taste
- Slice your tofu into thin strips and set aside. In a shallow bowl or plate, add the cornstarch and set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, add the marinade ingredients and whisk until combined. Moving quickly, dip the tofu slices in the cornstarch, before dipping it in the marinade.
- Place a greased non-stick pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the marinated tofu slices and pan fry for 2-3 minutes, before flipping and cooking for a further 2 minutes.
- Remove the tofu from the pan and drizzle any remaining pan juices on top. Sprinkle with green onions and chili and serve immediately.