Crispy cubes of baked tofu are a tasty addition to salads, your favorite stir fry, or just to snack on. So easy to make!
Why you’ll love it: It’s a fool-proof way to make crispy tofu cubes.
How long it takes: about an hour, including time to press the tofu
Equipment you’ll need: knife, rimmed baking sheet, clean towels or paper towels, mixing bowl, oven
Bye-bye, mushy white bland tofu! Hello, brown crispy cubes of creamy tofu! Baked tofu will make you rethink this healthy plant protein. Baking tofu is easy and delicious, with very little added oil.
And how do you eat baked tofu? Add it to salads, like this roasted cauliflower salad with arugula & sweet potato, for a protein boost. Stir it into your favorite stir-fry, or any vegetable sauté. Sprinkle baked tofu cubes with a little extra salt and enjoy a protein-packed healthy snack.
Looking for more ideas? Chop baked tofu finely and use it to replace tuna or chicken in your favorite sandwich spreads. Or replace the chicken with tofu in this curried chicken salad or this chicken salad with tangy avocado dressing.
Add it to your favorite wrap combination. It’s so good on this roasted vegetable wrap with feta and pesto or a vegetarian wrap with provolone and roasted red pepper hummus.
Substitute baked tofu for meat in pasta dishes or add it to pasta salads. Make a tofu fajita, stuffing it into a tortilla with sautéed onions and peppers. Add it to tacos with your favorite toppings. Top your pizza with baked tofu.
The possibilities are almost endless! And why eat tofu, anyways? Tofu, which is made from condensed soy milk, can be a little controversial. I like to focus on the fact that it’s a plant-based protein which is low in calories, contains many valuable nutrients, and has proven health benefits (Healthline).
About this baked tofu
This is a pretty simple recipe with only four ingredients. It’s really more of a technique than a recipe but it’s a good thing to learn how to do if you like tofu or if you’re looking for more ways to incorporate this plant-based protein into your diet. It’s like learning how to cook grains or how to scramble eggs. Once you learn how, baking tofu will become routine.
I’ll give you a quick overview of the technique here but scroll down to the end of the post for the complete printable recipe.
What you need
- Extra-Firm Tofu: Block tofu comes in a variety of types: soft, medium, firm, extra-firm. The firmness depends on how much whey has been pressed out in the manufacturing process. Serious Eats has a good guide if you want to get to know your tofu.
- Olive Oil or Avocado Oil: Any cooking oil will do but we recommend choosing one that tastes good, because tofu really is rather flavorless. The type of oil you choose will enhance the final product.
- Soy Sauce: We prefer low-sodium soy sauce or tamari. Coconut aminos will also work here!
- Cornstarch: A light coating of cornstarch helps crisp up the tofu. If you prefer to make it without cornstarch, arrowroot powder can be substituted. It can also be left out completely, but your tofu won’t be as crispy.
How to make it
First of all, the excess whey (moisture) has to be removed from the tofu. Too much moisture means the tofu won’t be crispy. You may have heard of “pressing tofu”. There’s even a special device you can buy to remove excess liquid from the block of tofu, a tofu press.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a tofu press (I don’t either!). Everything you need is already in your kitchen: paper towels (or clean dish towels), a couple of flat pans, and something heavy, like canned goods or a cast iron skillet.
After you’ve removed the tofu from the package, pat it dry and cut it. It’s a soft block so it’s pretty easy (actually, kind of fun) to cut into even squares, about 1/2 inch. Or you can cut it into sticks, planks, or slices. Totally up to you.
Line a sheet pan with paper towel or a lint free cloth towel. Arrange the tofu in a single layer on the towel.
Put another towel on top of the tofu and gently place another sheet pan or cookie sheet on top. Set something heavy (a pan, books, canned goods) on the very top. The weight will press the moisture out of the tofu. Give it about thirty minutes, or up to an hour.
After the pressing is finished, carefully transfer the tofu to a bowl. It may break up a little bit but that doesn’t matter. Those little pieces make nice crispy bits. Pour the olive oil and soy sauce over the tofu and gently toss it around so the little squares are coated.
Sprinkle the cubes with cornstarch and again, toss gently. It will look kind of sticky and messy but that’s okay. It will turn out.
Dry one of the pans that you used to press the tofu. Line it with parchment paper and arrange the squares in a single layer on the parchment.
Bake for about 25 minutes, stirring once. Enjoy your tofu, crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside!
There are so many ways to cook tofu! The healthiest way would be a cooking method that doesn’t add lots of oil, i.e. steaming. Alas, there’s not much flavor to steamed tofu. Baked tofu has very little oil and a lot more excitement. Air fryer tofu is another great option.
Pretty much all block tofu is pressed before you buy it. Pressing extra firm tofu ensures that your final product will be extra crispy. Dry = crispy. If that’s not your goal, then there’s no need to press it.
Tofu isn’t very porous so marinating may not change the flavor all that much. Most marinades simply coat the tofu but that’s okay too. Marinating certainly isn’t required but it may help season the tofu.
Anything goes with seasoning. Tofu is a blank palette ready for your creative touch.
Make It Your Own
Because tofu is pretty bland on its own, pretty much any type of seasoning is fine. Be creative!
- Use your favorite blend or match up the seasoning to go with the dish you’re preparing. Add taco seasoning if you’re adding it to tacos or fajitas, or curry powder if it’s going in a stir fry.
- Marinate the tofu if you like, drain well, then toss it with cornstarch and bake.
- Looking for a saucy tofu? Try Baked Sesame Tofu. It has a sassy sauce that can’t be beat.
To get a head start on this recipe, dice the tofu and press it in the fridge overnight or all day. Or press it on the counter for thirty minutes to an hour, and then refrigerate the pressed tofu until you’re ready to bake it.
Store baked tofu in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to seven days. You’ll find that tofu that’s been frozen has a slightly chewier texture. If freezing tofu is something that interests you, try freezing a small amount the first time and see if you like it.
Since baked tofu can be used in such a variety of ways, any leftovers will quickly disappear. I’d hesitate to even call it “leftover.” It’s more or less a staple in my kitchen.
More food prep ideas
Baked tofu is a food prepping dream. Make a batch or two and it keeps well in the fridge all week, ready for action. Use it to whip up a quick dinner. Here’s a few more food prepping ideas for you:
- Instant Pot Pinto Beans
- How to Roast Chicken Breasts (to use later)
- Instant Pot Shredded Chicken – 2 Ingredients, 4 Variations
- Healthy Taco Meat (in 30 minutes!)
- Can You Freeze Cooked Quinoa? [How to Freeze Quinoa]
- Instant Pot Quinoa | Plain and Cilantro Lime Recipes
- Slow Cooker Refried Beans – Fat-Free and Low-Sodium
- Pickled Red Onions or other quick pickles, such as Refrigerator Dill Pickles, Pickled Vegetables, Pickled Asparagus, or Pickled Green Beans.
- 1 block (14 ounces) extra-firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Remove the tofu from the package, discarding the water. Pat the block of tofu dry with paper towels. Cut the tofu into squares about 1/2-inch large (this doesn’t have to be perfect, but make sure they’re somewhat similar in size so they cook evenly).
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towel or lint-free towel, and place tofu in an even layer on top of towel. Place another towel layer on top, and then place something flat on top (like a cutting board or another baking sheet, with a cast iron pan or cans). Let tofu drain for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place tofu in a large mixing bowl and wipe the bottom baking sheet dry, line with parchment paper, and set aside.
- Pour olive oil and soy sauce over tofu and toss to combine. Sprinkle with cornstarch, gently stirring to coat all the pieces of tofu with cornstarch.
- Pour onto prepared baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. Bake for 25 minutes or until tofu is golden brown and crispy, stirring once.
- Storage: Store baked tofu in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for six to seven days. You’ll find that tofu that’s been frozen has a slightly chewier texture. If freezing tofu is something that interests you, try freezing a small amount the first time and see if you like it.
- Make Ahead Idea: To get a head start on this recipe, dice the tofu and press it in the fridge overnight or all day. Or press it on the counter for thirty minutes to an hour, and then refrigerate the pressed tofu until you’re ready to bake it.
- How to Use Baked Tofu: Add it to salads, bowls, stir fries, sandwiches, or soups. Make a vegetarian taco or burrito.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.