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Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.
How to make crispy baked tofu! If you love baked tofu, then you’ll want this crispy baked tofu recipe. A step-by-step guide to perfect tofu every time.
I want you to love tofu. Sometimes I feel like my mission is to make tofu appealing. Why? Well, it may be one of the most perfect foods.
It’s naturally vegan and gluten-free, high in both calcium and plant-protein and study after study has found that 1-2 servings a day is beneficial in reducing the risk of heart disease, certain types of cancer, protecting bones and reducing the occurrence of hot flashes in menopausal women.
However tofu, like tempeh, can be gross if you don’t prepare it properly. I know, I’ve been there. I spent most of my first year as a vegetarian with soggy, bland tofu dishes. In fact, the first block of tofu I ever bought I ended up throwing away because I couldn’t force myself to actually cook with it.
Here is my fool-proof recipe for crispy baked tofu every time.
For crispy baked tofu, it needs to be pressed first. Squeezing out as much moisture as possible is a must to prevent soggy, water-logged tofu. To do this, wrap the tofu in a kitchen towel or paper towels and place a heavy object on top, like a pan or canned goods.
Alternatively, you can use a tofu press specifically designed for getting the excess water out of tofu. You’ll want to let the tofu drain for at least 15 minutes.
You can cut the tofu into any shape you’d like. I typically cut each tofu block into 2 or 3 slabs, about 3/4 to 1 inch thick, then cube. However, you can slice into triangles or keep the tofu in sticks or slabs depending on your needs.
If I’m making a bowl or noodle recipe where I really want to let the tofu shine, then I’ll cut it into triangles to top on the final dish.
Next, toss the tofu cubes with cornstarch, olive oil, soy sauce and seasoning.
The cornstarch gets the tofu texture extra crispy and the soy sauce and optional seasonings bring in flavor. For Asian-inspired recipes, I often add in a drizzle of toasted sesame oil with the soy sauce for more flavor. For a gluten-free version, make sure to use tamari.
If you don’t have corn starch, then arrowroot starch or powder will also work.
You’ll want to add some type of seasoning if you are going to enjoy this tofu on it’s own. If you plan on adding it to a dish with a sauce, like a stir-fry, buddha bowl or pad thai, you don’t have to add any additional seasonings as the tofu will absorb the sauce once it’s added.
My favorite dried spices to use are garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, Mushroom Umami seasoning from Trader Joe’s or the the pizza seasoning from Penzey’s spices.
Lastly, place the tofu cubes (or other shape) in a single layer on a baking tray. For non-stick tofu, I recommend using parchment paper or lightly spraying the baking sheet with cooking spray or olive oil.
Place the baking sheet into the oven and cook until crispy, about 25-30 minutes. You’ll want to bake in a single layer so that the tofu doesn’t steam when stacked on top of each other.
Yes, to cook this tofu on the stove heat a drizzle of olive oil a large skillet, (a cast iron skillets are my pick for the best tofu) over medium heat. Add the tofu in a single layer and cook until crispy and golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.
That’s it! Four simple steps to perfect crispy baked tofu without a deep fryer. Once you try this, you’ll be making this crispy baked tofu recipe over and over again.
I eat about 1/2 of the sheet pan of this tofu as soon as it comes out of the oven. It’s so addictive and it really is the best way to enjoy tofu.
For a simple bowl, I love these cubes with cooked beans, grain of choice, avocado, roasted veggies and my spicy harissa tahini sauce.
How to Make Crispy Baked Tofu without deep-frying! This crispy baked tofu recipe is a must-save. Vegan and easily gluten-free.