How to Make Crispy Baked Tofu

By Alexandra Caspero on January 30, 2018

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. 

Well, not anymore. Now I put tofu on just about everything: blackened caesar salad, veggie sandwiches, ginger tofu stir fry or simply to snack on during the day. 

Here is my fool-proof recipe for crispy baked tofu every time.

tofu wrapped in a paper towel

Ingredients You Will Need for Perfect Crispy Tofu Cubes

  • 1 (14 ounce) package firm or extra-firm tofu. Silken tofu won’t work. 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or other oil, like a toasted sesame oil for use in Asian inspired recipes) 
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free version)
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons seasoning of choice (optional, to fit in with the recipe you are using this for. Keep it plain to add to tofu stir-fry or try chili powder to add to grain bowls and salads)

cubes of tofu in a bowl

How to Make Crispy Baked Tofu

Start by Pressing the Tofu 

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.

Cube the Tofu 

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.

tofu tossed with seasonings in a bowl

Toss with cornstarch, soy sauce and seasoning

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.

Bake until crispy

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.

how to make crispy baked tofu recipe

Can you Pan Fry this tofu?

 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. 

How to use these crispy tofu cubes: 

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. 

Enjoy it in these favorite recipes: 

Peanut Tofu Buddha Bowls
Harissa Tahini Tofu Bowl
Thai Coconut Buddha Bowls
Butternut Squash Tahini Bowls

Print
crispy baked tofu recipe

How to Make Crispy Baked Tofu

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: protein, dinner, lunch
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: vegan, glutenfree, vegetarian

Description

How to Make Crispy Baked Tofu without deep-frying! This crispy baked tofu recipe is a must-save. Vegan and easily gluten-free.


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: protein, dinner, lunch
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: vegan, glutenfree, vegetarian
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: protein, dinner, lunch
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: vegan, glutenfree, vegetarian
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 (14 ounce) package organic, firm or extra-firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free version)
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch or cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons seasoning of choice (optional, to fit in with the recipe you are using this for. Keep it plain to add to stir-fries or try chili powder to add to grain bowls and salads)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. For crispy tofu, it needs to be pressed first. Wrap the tofu in a kitchen towel or paper towels and place a heavy object on top, like a pan or cans. Let drain for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Unwrap the tofu and cube, then place in a large bowl. Toss with olive oil, soy sauce, arrowroot starch and seasoning, if using, until the tofu is evenly coated.
  4. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and crispy.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4th recipe
  • Calories: 133
  • Sugar: 1 g
  • Sodium: 282 mg
  • Fat: 9 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 8 g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 5 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 10 g
  • Cholesterol: 0g

did you make this?

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how to make crispy baked tofu

Meet Alex Caspero

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.

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    1. Rozzi
      May 2, 2022 AT 11:17 pm

      Hands down the best tofu I’ve ever cooked. Soooo good. I flavoured with 1 tsp each of garlic powder and onion powder. Was crispy as advertised! Can’t believe I’ve never attempted baked tofu before – so easy and delicious!!

      1. Alex
        May 3, 2022 AT 9:53 am

        So happy to hear!

    2. Rachael
      September 3, 2021 AT 1:01 pm

      What sort of spices or spice mix do you recommend?

      1. Alex
        September 18, 2021 AT 7:11 am

        I usually use chili powder mixed with onion powder and garlic powder, “Pizza Seasoning” from Penzey’s spices and Mural of Flavor from Penzeys.

    3. Nicole
      April 6, 2021 AT 6:25 pm

      Can I make this in the air fryer? If so, what temp and time?

    4. Ashley
      January 2, 2021 AT 8:51 am

      What a tasty dish!!! I didn’t think I liked tofu, but this recipe convinced me.

    5. Nancy
      October 2, 2020 AT 12:44 am

      Loved this recipe! The tofu texture was great and it was delicious

    6. Em Doc
      February 23, 2020 AT 7:26 pm

      Yum!!! We used 1 tsp Aleppo and 1 tsp curry powder and served over acorn squash and sautéed chard and chickpeas. It was hard not to snack on all the tofu while waiting for everything else to cook!

    7. Thomas
      February 16, 2020 AT 8:47 pm

      Awesome! One of my favorite crispy baked tofu recipes. Thanks as well for your guide, it’s so easy to follow.

    8. Sophie Anderson
      October 30, 2019 AT 6:57 pm

      New to plant based way of eating and found this recipe. I used sesame seed oil instead of olive oil and seasoned mine with curry. Delicious!

    9. Dorrie Berkowitz
      May 26, 2019 AT 6:38 am

      About to try this, but my question is this: In the illustrated step 3 you don’t mention oil. However, in the actual recipe, you include 1 tbs oil with the soy sauce, starch, and optional seasonings. So…to oil or not to oil? That is my question. 😉

      1. Alex
        May 26, 2019 AT 6:10 pm

        Hi Dorrie- I recommend adding in the oil. I find that it really helps with the crispiness of it. However, some people don’t like oil and you can leave it out.

        Thanks,
        Alex

    10. habitat
      April 8, 2019 AT 7:35 pm

      This crispy baked tofu is great! Thanks for your recipe.

      1. Alex
        April 9, 2019 AT 9:15 am

        So glad you liked it!