You wouldn’t think that baked tofu could rock your world, but this crispy baked tofu recipe was a revelation. The recipe I was making for dinner called for a block of smoked tofu, and I couldn’t find that in the supermarket. So I decided to see what would would happen if I baked tofu instead of frying it.
I am not one to wax poetic over tofu. But that is exactly what I’m going to do.
Baking tofu on parchment paper results in tofu that is crisp on the outside while maintaining its soft, creamy interior. The exterior of the tofu soaks up the flavors of your spices or marinade. And baked tofu means skipping the oil and mess of frying.
I was a vegetarian for over a decade when I was younger, and I like tofu. I promise you that I had never loved tofu the way I love this crispy baked tofu.
Tips and tricks
How to drain tofu
Tofu contains a lot of water. In fact, water content is the thing that distinguishes the different categories of tofu. Read more about different types and uses of tofu here from the folks at Serious Eats.
The same is true when making fried or baked tofu. Buy an extra-firm tofu, one that has the least water content already, and press or drain it to get rid of as much of the remaining water as you can.
Tip from the wisequacker: there are lots of strategies for pressing and draining tofu, and it doesn’t matter which you choose, as long as you do one of them! I put the whole block in a strainer with a flat bottom, top it with paper towels, and weigh it down with a heavy object for an hour or so. You can also buy a tofu press.
Marinating the tofu
Once you have drained your tofu, cut it up into cubes no larger than a half inch.
Gently toss it with your marinade. You shouldn’t have much extra liquid.
How to bake tofu
Gently toss the cubes with your spices and cornstarch, and then put them in a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Don’t skip the parchment, or the tofu will stick to the pan.
(I say this from a sad experience.)
Shake or stir the tofu cubes once or twice during baking. I recommend tasting them as they’re baking until you get them to your desired crispness.
How to serve crispy baked tofu
This crispy baked tofu recipe is used in my Swimming Rama tofu bowl. You could also use it in:
- this rainbow poke bowl in place of the seared tuna
- another noodle or rice bowl
- in a vegetarian wrap with peanut or teriyaki sauce
You can adapt tofu for literally any flavor profile. Skip the soy sauce, use a neutral flavored oil, and try either of these spice combinations. Pumpkin spice tofu? Yes, please.
The tofu will lose its crispness with time. You can keep any leftovers in the refrigerator and then reheat them in the oven or in a dry frying pan to gain back a little crispness. Try to store them separately from sauces or other liquids if you plan to do this.
Looking for more vegetarian recipes? Here are some of my favorites from the archives:
- Quinoa balls with pine nuts and raisins
- Fawaffle (falafel waffles)
- Garbanzo bean soup
- Roasted cauliflower burgers
- Caramelized onion and apple waffles
Crispy Baked Tofu
- 1 block (14 ounces) extra firm tofu
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
- Drain the tofu for about an hour. Use a tofu press if you have one, or put the block of tofu in a strainer, top with paper towels, and a mortar or other weighty object (protect it from getting wet from the paper towels, if necessary)1 block (14 ounces) extra firm tofu
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Cut the tofu into ½ inch cubes.
- In a bowl, mix soy sauce and sesame oil. Gently toss tofu to coat, then add the five spice powder and cornstarch and again gently toss.2 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, ½ teaspoon Chinese five spice powder, 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Lay tofu out on parchment-lined baking sheet so pieces are not touching. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring once or twice, until toasty in color.
If you make this crispy baked tofu recipe and love it, please don’t forget to leave a comment and rating.
Looking to learn?
Sign up to get recipes full of kitchen tips and tricks.