BBQ Tofu

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5 from 3 votes
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This BBQ tofu needs just two simple ingredients and can be cooked in multiple ways. It’s super flavorful and filling.

barbecued tofu in a hot, black pan.

Tofu is a highly underrated ingredient that has a bad reputation for no reason, in my opinion. I choose tofu over many meat options because, when it’s done right, it’s absolutely delicious! And it can be cooked in so many ways, like air fryer tofu or baked tofu.

If there’s a way to convert any tofu hater into a tofu lover, all you need to do is slather it in BBQ sauce to act as a tasty marinade, and you are done! I

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Beginner-friendly. All you need is 2 ingredients! Tofu absorbs flavors very well, so all you need is a good BBQ sauce, and you have a stellar dish.
  • Multiple cooking options. Once prepared, the tofu can be grilled, baked, or seared. You can change up your technique depending on how much time you have and what you’re in the mood for.
  • Quick and easy. Although I’m dousing the tofu in sauce, there isn’t any time needed for marinating so you can cook it right away.
  • Perfectly cooked tofu. Thanks to the quick-cooking options and barbecue sauce, the tofu is super crispy and caramelized on the outside while still soft and fluffy in the middle.

Ingredients Needed

This recipe is so simple all you need is three essential ingredients, including your cooking oil.

  • Tofu. You must use firm or extra firm tofu because these are the only two kinds that don’t fall apart when seared or fried. You can easily find this at any mainstream grocery store or specialty Asian supermarket.
  • BBQ sauce. Because this is the star ingredient in this dish, you must use a good quality and delicious-tasting sauce. I like Stubb’s BBQ sauce because it’s got a fabulously rich flavor, and it caramelizes the tofu so well.
  • Cooking spray. Optional, but if you want to keep your pans clean, add a spritz of oil to prevent the tofu from sticking.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

How to Make BBQ Tofu

This recipe has the perfect balance of minimal hands-on prep with a super tasty final product. 

Step 1- Slice the tofu. Slice the tofu into slices around an inch thick; I find this is the perfect thickness for the marinade to penetrate all the way through.

Step 2– Add the sauce. Place the slices into a plastic container with a lid. Pour the BBQ sauce over the top and flip the slices so they’re fully covered.

Step 3- Grill. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Once hot, cook the tofu for 3 minutes before flipping and cooking the other side for another 3 minutes, or until golden.

BBQ tofu in skillet with green herbs.

Alternative cooking methods

As mentioned earlier, I’ve also tested this recipe in the oven and seared stovetop. Here is how you’d bake and sear it:

Baking instructions

Preheat your oven 180C/350F. Next, grease a baking sheet and lay the tofu on it in a single layer. Now, place the tofu in the oven and bake for 40 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Searing instructions

Place some oil or butter in a skillet or grill pan over high heat. Once hot, sear the tofu in small batches for 3-5 minutes, until the edges crisp up. Flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Use the right tofu for grilling. I know I already mentioned it in the ingredients section but you must use firm or extra firm tofu. Soft or semi-firm tofu will fall apart when flipped.
  • Marinate overnight. If you want to prep this tofu ahead of time, you can place the tofu and the sauce in a shallow container and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours. I find the flavor is so much better this way.
  • Get it super crispy. In my opinion, the best tofu is crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. Don’t be scared to cook it a little longer to get that satisfying crunch.
  • Add some chili. If you like things a little spicy, you can add some dried chili to the marinade to infuse some heat into your tofu. Hot sauce or sriracha also work.
  • Try different sauces. I sometimes swap out the BBQ sauce with either eel sauce or katsu sauce. These two Asian sauces are very similar but have slightly different flavor profiles, which is great if you want some variety. Of course, you can use my classic tofu marinade, too.

Storage Instructions

To store: Allow the tofu to cool completely before placing it in an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to three days.

To reheat: If you want to retain that crispy texture, reheat by frying in a pan with a bit of oil. My favorite way to heat them up is using my air fryer, so I recommend using it if you have one.

I do not recommend freezing cooked tofu because it becomes dry and brittle when thawed.

barbecue tofu in a skillet with chopped herbs.

More delicious ways to cook tofu

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my tofu comes in brine?

If your tofu is not extra firm and full of brine, you need to prepare it slightly before slicing. Place the tofu on a plate and place a small, clean cutting board on top. Weigh it down with some cans of food or rice and let it sit in the fridge for at least two hours. Drain off the excess liquid before using.

Is this recipe vegan?

Depending on which barbecue sauce you use, this recipe can be suitable for vegans. Just double-check the packaging to make sure it contains no animal products.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Yes! When made with a gluten-free BBQ sauce, this recipe is suitable for celiacs.

What to serve with barbecue tofu?

Simple salads and carbs are best to pair with this flavorful protein. Steamed rice, noodles, or even a baked potato are all fantastic ideas.

bbq tofu recipe.

Bbq Tofu

5 from 3 votes
This BBQ tofu needs just two simple ingredients and can be cooked in multiple ways. It's super flavorful and filling.
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 6 minutes
Total: 11 minutes

Ingredients  

  • 12 ounces extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup Barbecue sauce
  • 1 teaspoon oil to cook

Instructions 

  • Slice tofu into one-inch thick slices and place in a plastic container. Add the barbecue sauce and turn the container upside down to coat both sides.
  • Heat a grill over high heat. Once hot, lightly coat with oil and add the tofu. Cook for 3 minutes before flipping and cooking for another 3 minutes, or until golden and crispy.

To bake

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. While heating up, coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray and place the tofu in a single layer. Once hot, bake for 40 minutes, flipping halfway through.

To sear

  • Coat a large skillet with oil and place over high heat. Once hot, reduce to medium and place the tofu in it in a single layer. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until golden brown on the edges, before flipping and cooking for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

Notes

TO STORE. Allow the tofu to cool completely before placing it in an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to three days.
TO REHEAT. If you want to retain that crispy texture, reheat by frying in a pan with a bit of oil. My favorite way to heat them up is using my air fryer, so I recommend using it if you have one.
I do not recommend freezing cooked tofu because it becomes dry and brittle when thawed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 117kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 7gFat: 3gSodium: 422mgPotassium: 214mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 80IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 38mgIron: 1mgNET CARBS: 16g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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Comments

  1. For better absorption of flavour, after cutting up the tofu, place in a single layer on a baking sheet, then freeze solid. Defrost in fridge, pat dry with paper towel, then proceed step 2 in the Preparation section.

    The freeze/thaw process will create many tiny pockets when the water drains away and where the goodness can get into.

  2. Last week from Kroger’s, I picked up a free bottle of Stubbs Anytime Sauce, in the green chili flavor, so I’m stoked to try their BBQ flavor also. I love tofu and always get the extra firm type too. I’ve never used a tofu press but that may help with those hating the mushy tofu.

    1. YES!!! A tofu press is a good idea, or just extra firm tofu 🙂 The green chilli flavor is AMAZING over chicken! 🙂

  3. Wish I could have visited this booth! Anyways, my favorites for grilling have to be eggplants, zucchini, red bell peppers, Brussel sprouts, and tofu and tempeh, of course! I love this idea so much!

  4. I don’t know how you get me to drool over tofu. As you, I always considered it as a jello punishment. Although, I am a wimp when it comes to spicy food. I’d probably stick with Barbecue sauce.
    Where can I get unicorn horn for your Mom’s marinade?

    1. I promise….it will convert you! These sauces are like magic, I’d put it on a shoe and start eating shoes every day.

  5. I had the chance to try Stubb’s, thanks to a dear generous friend 😉 And now my whole family is a huge fan!! We bought two more from the store this week 😀
    One of my coworkers asked me the other day, “What is tofu?” What a lost world (granted, she just meant, what is tofu made of haha).

    1. YES!!! I made Niki potato wedges with the BBQ sauce basted in it and it was SO GOOD!!!!

      Haha, your co-worker is amazing. You should have said tofu was a band.

  6. Even though I am not the biggest tofu fan I must say that this looks absolutely appealing! BBQ and spicy are very high on my list of flavor preferences ?

  7. I love tofu and BBQ sauce, so I want to try this marinade. Easy stuff like this is really good for people like me who are lazy 🙂

    1. Please do, it’s vegan friendly and had a great response from several who’ve already made it 🙂

  8. I love spicy and I love BBQ. Sadly, I have yet to try tofu I liked. I’ve tried really hard to like it, I swear. It’s like lentils for me. It’s something that “healthy” people all seem to love, but I just can’t with the mush. I would totally douse some chicken in that spicy marinade though 😉

  9. Oh yes! We’re big fan’s of Stubbs around here. I love their BBQ sauces and also their rubs. But I’m not so sure I can jump on the tofu bandwagon. It just looks so…squishy. I’m big on textures in foods, and I dunno. I guess I might be able to nibble on a piece just because you asked nicely. And because everything Australians say is true. 🙂

    1. How GOOD are their sauces- I swear it could totally pass as a dip! This tofu would totally convert you, it’s crispy 😀