Crispy Tofu is an easy tofu recipe that also happens to be vegan and gluten-free! I’ve been making tofu for years and always come back to this base recipe which can be used so many different ways. Only 10 minutes of hands on prep and 5 minutes to cook!
Crispy might be my favorite food word.
I would eat pretty much anything if you made it crispy. And while I love my best tofu recipe, it only gets better when crispy!
If you’re still afraid to make tofu, or you’ve had bad tofu (it happens) then hop on board because we’re getting on the tasty tofu train. It’s full of simple ingredients and an easy cooking method. Seriously, you can do this!
How to make tofu taste good
Are you totally new to tofu? Just sign up here and I’ll send you my 4 secrets to tofu success! If you’re also new to vegetarian and vegan cooking, I encourage you to read my post on how to transition to vegetarian.
Both of these resources will help you make great tasting tofu the very first time. It’s as easy as pressing, marinating, and pan frying.
What makes this the best crispy fried tofu recipe?
- This recipe uses my favorite tofu marinade, which is easy to put together with pantry staples and tastes amazing!
- The tofu gets crispy! Coating the tofu in cornstarch and then pan frying give the exterior a crisp texture really makes this dish.
- It’s so easy to take this base recipe and use it many different ways. You can customize the marinade to your tastes or use the finished product in other recipes.
- Soy sauce
- Lemon juice
- Maple syrup
- Garlic powder
- Coconut oil
How to make crispy tofu
1. Press it
You’re basically going to wrap the tofu in paper towel or a clean kitchen towel and put something heavy on top of the tofu. Let the water drain out for 15-30 minutes. The longer you press the firmer the tofu will be, and the crispier it will get!
I like an easy tofu marinade made from soy sauce (tamari if you want to keep it gluten-free), lemon juice, maple syrup, sriracha, and garlic powder. 15-20 minutes will do the trick!
3. Toss with cornstarch
Remove the tofu from the marinade and toss with enough cornstarch to coat it. This is what will create that crispy exterior! You could also use arrowroot starch, but it can create a slimy texture when adding the tofu to a sauce, so cornstarch is my favorite.
4. Pan fry
Pan frying the tofu cooks it quickly and lets you get it crispy on all sides. Baking and air frying are also options, but I like how quick and easy it is on the stovetop.
How to store fried tofu
Fried tofu is best enjoyed soon after cooking. However, you can keep it in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Reheat leftovers in the microwave, in a pan on the stove with a little oil, or try throwing it in the air fryer. Leftovers will lose some of their crispiness.
What kind of tofu to use
I recommend extra firm tofu when pan frying tofu. I like to buy organic, but it isn’t 100% necessary.
Extra firm tofu that you’ve pressed the water out of will give you the best texture possible. Anything softer might not hold together well when cooking.
Tips for customizing and serving crispy fried tofu
- If you’re not feeling the crispiness, omit the cornstarch for my best tofu recipe
- Serve with coconut rice, roasted broccoli, and a spoonful of sambal oelek
- Add more or less sriracha to the marinade to suit your taste
- Stir fry veggies and noodles to go alongside
- Use whatever other tofu marinade you prefer, then toss with cornstarch and cook according to the recipe
- Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds at the end
Cornstarch is the best way to make tofu crispy. After marinating, toss the tofu with cornstarch until a thin white powder covers it completely.
After that, we’re going to fry it in coconut oil. Then we’re going to try not to eat it all before sharing with others because it doesn’t get much better than this unless you’re enjoying it with the ones you love.
I do not recommend freezing fried tofu. The texture just wouldn’t be the same.
Your tofu may not get crispy if you didn’t press enough of the water out, used a softer tofu, or you didn’t coat it in enough cornstarch. Tofu also acts like a sponge, so make sure you aren’t using too much oil and you’re letting your oil get hot before adding your tofu. This allows it to cook rather than soak into the tofu.
What to serve with crispy tofu
More tofu recipes
- The Best Marinated Tofu
- Pan Fried Peanut Tofu
- Cajun Tofu
- Balsamic Tofu
- Kung Pao Tofu
- Scrambled Tofu
- Vegan Ham
- BBQ Tofu
- Pesto Tofu with Balsamic Veggies
- Crispy Roasted Potatoes with Thai Tofu Sauce
More vegan recipes
If you make this recipe be sure to rate it, leave a comment, or tag #theliveinkitchen on Instagram!
The Best Crispy Tofu
- In a shallow bowl, whisk together soy sauce, lemon juice, maple syrup, sriracha, and garlic powder. Add the tofu and toss gently to coat, arranging the tofu in a single layer in the bowl. Let marinate 15-20 minutes, flipping the tofu once.
- Transfer the tofu to a zip top freezer bag, discarding any leftover marinade. Add cornstarch to the bag one tablespoon at a time, zipping it up and shaking around to coat the tofu entirely. You have enough when there’s a thin white layer of cornstarch covering the tofu.
- Heat coconut oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the tofu and cook 2-3 minutes per side until golden and crispy.
Crispy tofu for the win!