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Inside: Get an easy crispy tofu recipe that wins over even tofu skeptics! It’s ready in under 30 minutes.
Tofu can be a tough sell for some kids and grown-ups.
It looks a little funny and feels a little squishy.
But tofu is also an excellent, plant-based source of protein. It soaks up flavors like a champ. And if you’re making more meatless meals (or are vegetarian and just never found your tofu groove), finding the best way to cook it is key.
I already bake cubes of tofu in the oven for my Tofu Bowls and make these crunchy Air Fryer Tofu Nuggets.
I first learned about this cooking method from this Pinch of Yum recipe. And I think this way makes the best crispy tofu. Dare I say, it’s a game-changer–especially for folks on the tofu-fence.
I’m not saying this method is magic, but when I made it recently for my Tofu Bowls, it was the first time my younger son actually added the tofu to his bowl and ate it.
Ingredients You Need for Crispy Tofu
- Tofu: Tofu comes in a few different varieties. Buy extra-firm tofu for this recipe.
- Soy sauce: You can use regular soy sauce. I buy low sodium soy sauce, which is still very flavorful.
- Corn starch: This ensures you get crispy results
- Oil: I use olive oil, but you can use another neutral oil
How to Make Crispy Tofu
Press the tofu
To reduce the squish-factor, you’ll want to press out extra moisture from the tofu. Some people have a tofu press. But I’m low-tech and simply use paper towels and a cast iron pan to press tofu.
Place the tofu block on a plate between folded paper towels (or clean kitchen towel) and place a heavy object on top, like a cast iron skillet. Let it sit for 30-45 minutes, occasionally draining away the excess liquid.
Break up the tofu
Instead of cutting it into tofu cubes, break it up into irregular bite-sized pieces. That way, you get more surface area for lightly frying it–which will make it crispy. Take the block of pressed tofu in your hands and crumble it into a mixing bowl.
Prep the tofu
Add 2 teaspoons of the oil, plus the soy sauce and corn starch to the tofu. The corn starch helps make the tofu crispy, so don’t skip that step.
Pan fry the tofu
Add the remaining oil to a non-stick pan set on medium heat. Place your tofu pieces in a single layer in the pan of hot oil. Let it sit, undisturbed, for about 10 minutes. You can peek to make sure it’s not getting too brown too quickly.
Flip the tofu with a spatula (it may flip in a few big pieces). It will be a deep golden brown (see photo above). Let it cook for another 10 minutes.
FAQ About Crispy Tofu
What should I serve with Crispy Tofu?
I suggest breaking up the pieces, and adding them to a bowl with rice and your favorite steamed or stir-fried veggies. Then drizzle everything with sauce such as teriyaki sauce, sweet soy sauce, or peanut sauce. I found that adding sauce to the pan and tossing the pieces in sauce resulted in a more soggy tofu. And that’s the opposite of what we’re going for here!
What should I do with leftover Crispy Tofu?
Put any leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate. Use within 3-5 days.
Can I use less oil?
Yes, but it may not turn out as crispy. This recipe uses just 4 teaspoons of oil, which works out to 1 teaspoon per serving.
Is tofu good for you?
Yes! Soy is rich in high-quality protein, which means that (like meat) it contains all of the amino acids we need to get from food to build proteins in the body. There’s also evidence that soy foods may help lower risk of heart disease.
Is soy safe?
Yes! You may have heard rumors that soy is unhealthy–especially for kids. Some people worry that the isoflavones, natural plant compounds found in soy that have a similar chemical structure to estrogen, could interfere with puberty and development.
But research hasn’t found this to be true. And girls who eat soy as a teen and young adult may have a lower risk of breast cancer later in life.
What is tofu?
Tofu is made from soybeans that have been boiled down and separated into soy milk and soy pulp. The soy milk is formed into curds (like cheese is) and pressed. “Extra firm tofu” is pressed more than the softer “silken tofu” variety.
Where can I find tofu in the store?
Tofu is refrigerated, so you may find it in places like the produce section, the dairy department, or a “natural foods” refrigerated case. The varieties of tofu you may find included extra firm, firm, and silken.
- 1 block extra firm tofu
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 4 teaspoons olive oil (divided)
- Press the tofu for 30-45 minutes to remove excess moisture. You can do this with either in a tofu press or by placing the block of tofu on a plate between paper towels or a clean kitchen cloth and putting something heavy on top (such as a cast iron pan). Drain away excess liquid.
- In a medium bowl, break up the tofu with your hands, crumbling it into bite-sized pieces.
- Add cornstarch, soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons olive oil to the tofu and toss well until pieces are covered.
- Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in a medium-large skillet set over medium heat. Add the tofu pieces in a single layer and let it cook undisturbed for 10 minutes. Flip carefully and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Break up into servings and add to bowls or other recipes.
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Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 152Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 224mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 12g
Other Tofu Recipes
This 5-ingredient Chocolate Tofu Pudding is kid-friendly, simple to blend together, and makes a great protein-rich dessert or snack.
Air Fryer Tofu Nuggets
These crispy breaded tofu nuggets are crunchy, dunkable, and kid-friendly. They cook in the air fryer in just 15 minutes.
Kid-Friendly Tofu Bowls
These Kid Friendly Tofu Bowls are full of plant-based protein and the veggies your kids like best.