This crispy baked tofu comes together with 5 simple ingredients and makes perfectly cooked tofu that’s crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Oven and air fryer methods included!
I’m not going to lie, I was a bit of a tofu hater for years. I used to think it was boring and lackluster, but since I came around and started experimenting with new recipes, I’ve become a reborn tofu fanatic!
Lately, some of our favorite tofu recipes are BBQ tofu, salt and black pepper tofu, and crispy oven-baked tofu. For each of these, I’ve found the trick comes down to the seasonings. When done right, the tofu absorbs tons of flavor, and when baked in the oven, it develops the perfect crispy exterior while staying tender in the middle.
Table of Contents
- Oven, stovetop, and air fryer methods. The beauty of tofu is that it can easily be prepared using multiple cooking methods, which is why I included air fryer, skillet, and oven-baked instructions.
- Healthy. Tofu is a nutrition powerhouse, and we only use a dash of oil to add flavor, making it a high-protein, low-fat, and low-carb option. Plus, it’s vegan and gluten-free.
- Versatile. You can usually find me eating crispy tofu straight off the baking sheet, but if you can practice patience, it does wonders when added to salads, fried rice, burrito bowls, you name it.
This crispy baked tofu recipe is beyond simple and needs only 5 basic ingredients. Here’s what they are:
- Tofu. I recommend using firm tofu or extra firm tofu as it will absorb the most flavor and keep its texture as it’s baking.
- Sesame oil. For a delicate nutty flavor.
- Tamari and soy sauce. I’m using both tamari and soy sauce because tamari is naturally richer and less savory, while soy sauce will help thin out the sauce and add essential sodium. if you follow a gluten-free diet, use gluten-free soy sauce.
- Cornstarch. For dredging the tofu pieces and giving them a crisp exterior. Coconut flour can also be used.
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
How to bake tofu
Step 1- Prep work. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Chop the tofu into bite-sized pieces and place it in a shallow container.
Step 2- Season. In a small mixing bowl, whisk the tamari, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Pour over the cubed tofu and mix well to combine. Add the coconut flour (or corn starch) and toss to combine.
Step 3- Bake. Transfer the seasoned tofu cubes to the prepared baking tray and spread them into a thin layer. Bake for 30-35 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
Alternative cooking methods
As mentioned earlier, if you don’t want to bake the tofu, you can use the air fryer or stovetop.
Stovetop instructions: Similar to my pan fried tofu, once the tofu is seasoned, add it to a hot skillet over medium-high heat. Cook each side for 3-4 minutes, or until crispy.
Air fryer instructions: It’s almost identical to my air fryer tofu, minus a few ingredient tweaks. Air fry at 375F for 10-12 minutes, stopping halfway through to shake the basket. Keep in mind you may have to work in batches so as not to crowd the basket.
Recipe tips and variations
- Pat dry the tofu. I’ve noticed firm tofu tends to hold onto more moisture, which can prevent it from getting crispy. So, I suggest slicing the tofu, wrapping it between a clean kitchen towel, and pressing it between two heavy plates to soak up as much moisture as possible.
- Discard the extra liquid. If any of the marinade isn’t absorbed by the tofu, discard it before baking so it doesn’t make the tofu soggy.
- Bake in an even layer. Avoid crowding the baking sheet, which will prevent the tofu from getting crispy on all sides.
- Use a different sauce. Swap the Asian marinade for teriyaki sauce, barbecue sauce, or my 4-ingredient tofu marinade.
- Marinade overnight. Unlike other proteins, tofu does a fantastic job of soaking up the perfect amount of marinade. If you have time, let the tofu marinate overnight to turn out even more flavorful.
To store: Leftover baked tofu can be stored in an airtight container and kept in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
To freeze: Store leftover baked tofu in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 6 months. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
To reheat: Reheat baked tofu in the microwave in 30-second intervals, in an oven set to 325F for 8-10 minutes, or in the air fryer at 350F for 3-4 minutes.
Frequently asked questions
This simple baked crispy tofu is delicious all on its own, though you could easily incorporate it into all sorts of dishes, like spicy noodles, bok choy stir fry, on a bed of coconut milk rice, stuffed in summer rolls, or alongside Chinese eggplant.
Your tofu may not get crispy in the oven if there’s too much excess moisture. If there is too much moisture in the tofu, it’ll steam as it’s cooking and not become crispy. The best way to prevent this is to press out the excess moisture using paper towels and a heavy pan or cutting board.
More vegetarian recipes to try
- Sofritas– My favorite Chipotle protein swap that tastes even better than the original!
- Buffalo cauliflower bites– The perfect gameday appetizer, even for meat lovers.
- Eggplant meatballs– The meatballs turn out super juicy and succulent. I even fool my family with this recipe sometimes!
- Mediterranean bowl– Full of healthy veggies and so easy to customize.
Crispy Baked Tofu
- Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Chop your tofu into bite-sized pieces. Place in a shallow container.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine your tamari, soy sauce, and sesame oil and whisk together, until combined. Pour over the tofu and mix well, ensuring all the tofu is covered in the sauce. Add the cornstatch and mix until combined.
- Transfer your tofu onto the baking dish, ensuring they are evenly spaced apart. Bake for 30-35 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
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