Easy crispy baked tofu that’s perfect for snacking, dipping or adding to rice bowls, stir fries, noodles and more.

Close up of crispy tofu cubes sprinkled with green onion in a bowl.

About the Recipe

Crispy tofu is quick and easy to make in the oven and bakes up with a delicious puffy and crisp, golden crust. It’s also healthier than frying and uses just 1 tbsp of oil or you can even make it without oil.

Oven baked crispy tofu is endlessly customizable too. You can use any mix of spices or toss the baked tofu in peanut sauce, buffalo sauce or BBQ sauce.

Crispy tofu is perfect for dipping, snacking or adding to any recipe that uses tofu such as stir fries, noodles and curries.

A pair of chop sticks holding a small cube of crispy tofu over a bowl of baked tofu.

What You’ll Need

Please see the recipe card at the end of the post for the complete ingredient list with measurements. The following sections cover notes on ingredients and substitutions and step-by-step instructions with photos for a visual reference.

Scroll the page for tips and other helpful information before you start, then use the recipe card when you’re ready to make the recipe.

All the ingredients for making crispy oven baked tofu with garlic powder, onion powder, soy sauce and cornstarch.
  • Tofu: You can use firm or extra firm tofu. I actually prefer firm tofu because it’s as dry as extra firm tofu. Both work well though! Do not use soft tofu, medium tofu or silken tofu.
  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch (corn flour) creates a crispy layer on the tofu, somewhat like a breading. You can also use arrowroot starch (powder) but I do find cornstarch works best.
  • Pepper: Fresh cracked black pepper goes perfectly with tofu! Feel free to increase it to 1 tsp if you love garlic black pepper flavour.
  • Soy Sauce: You can use any soy sauce or substitute gluten-free tamari for a gluten-free recipe.
  • Garlic Powder: Garlic and pepper are key! Garlic powder is preferred to minced garlic to avoid little bites of burnt garlic on your tofu.
  • Onion Powder: Optional. If not using, add an extra 1/2 tsp of garlic powder or substitute other spices like smoked paprika, cumin or curry powder.
  • Olive Oil: The recipe calls for 1 tbsp of olive oil. You can substitute avocado oil, grape seed oil or even omit the oil. The tofu gets a little crispier when you use oil but works well without it too.

How to Make Crispy Tofu

Step 1: Press the tofu.

This involves pressing the tofu to squeeze out excess moisture. You can use a tofu press or simply wrap the block of tofu in a dish cloth and place a heavy object on it. It’s not absolutely necessary so don’t worry if you’re short on time, you can skip it.

If I do press before baking, I like to let it drain for 15 minutes but you can leave it as long as needed until you’re ready to make the recipe.

You can even purchase pressed tofu, which would also work for this recipe.

A block of firm tofu in a tofu press.

Step 2: Cube the tofu.

Cube the tofu block into approximately 3/4-inch cubes. Try to keep them all about the same size so they bake evenly. You could also do thin strips or triangles, just try to keep them all the same size.

A number of cubes of firm tofu on a cutting board with a knife.

Step 3: Coat tofu.

Add the tofu cubes to a mixing bowl with the oil, soy sauce garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper. Use a spatula to gently mix until all the pieces are coated.

Sprinkle the cornstarch over the tofu and mix again until all the cubes are coated.

Cubes of tofu mixed with marinade in a bowl with a spatula in it.

Step 4: Bake the tofu.

Place the tofu cubes on a baking sheet so each piece has room around. Bake the tofu for 15 minutes, flip, then bake another 10-15 minutes until the tofu is puffy, golden brown and crispy.

Cubes of crispy baked tofu on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of tofu should I use?

You can use firm or extra firm tofu for this recipe. I prefer firm tofu but both work well.

Can I make crispy tofu in an air fryer?

Yes. To air fry the tofu, cook for about 10 minutes at 380 F, flip or shake, then cook another 5-10 minutes until crisped to your preference.

Can I pan fry the tofu?

Yes. To make pan-fried crispy tofu, simply fry the tofu in a pan over medium heat, flipping occasionally, until it’s brown and crispy on all sides.

Can I make crispy tofu without oil?

Yes! The great thing about baked crispy tofu is you don’t need oil. I included 1 tbsp oil in the recipe because it does come out a little crispier that way but it also works without oil so feel free to omit it.

Is crispy tofu gluten-free?

As written the recipe is not gluten-free. To make it gluten-free, substitute gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos for the soy sauce.

Can I make crispy tofu without cornstarch?

Yes. You can omit the cornstarch and you’ll still get crispy tofu.

The cornstarch adds somewhat of a breading, or crisp layer around the tofu cubes. Both ways are good, so feel free to try both out and see which you prefer!

Do I have to press the tofu?

Not necessarily. The recipe will still work without pressing. I sometimes skip pressing or just press it a few minutes.

Because tofu has water in it, squeezing it out allows the tofu to absorb more flavour. If you have time, go ahead and press it but not an absolute must, especially for extra-firm tofu (more tofu and less water than soft, medium, etc).

Cubes of crispy tofu on a silicone spoon.

Variations

Try cutting the tofu into thin 2-inch long rectangles (thin strips). It comes out almost like jerky or bacon. It gets super crispy this way and makes a great snack!

You can also let it marinate in the soy-garlic-black pepper mixture for 30 minutes for a little extra flavour. I like to use this method if I’m making strips for a sandwich or wrap or just to eat as a crispy, high-protein snack.

Other seasonings that work well are:

  • Cajun seasoning
  • Italian seasoning
  • Curry powder
  • Taco seasoning
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Lemon or lime
  • Try adding paprika or smoked paprika
  • Add a pinch of cayenne pepper for spicy tofu
  • Add 1-2 tsp sriracha or sambal oelek for spicy tofu
Close up of a bowl of crispy cubes of baked tofu with green onion sprinkled on them.

Recipe Notes

  • Fully coat the tofu. I recommend using a spatula to gently mix everything until all the cubes are coated.
  • Give the tofu space. Make sure each cube has some space on the baking tray so all sides get crispy (you want air reaching all sides).

Serving Ideas

You can use crispy tofu to add protein to all kinds of dishes. It also makes a great side dish served with a dipping sauce or you can even enjoy it as a snack. Here are some ideas and recipes this tofu is perfect for:

For dipping sauce, use this teriyaki sauce, peanut sauce, almond satay sauce, coconut peanut sauce, sweet chili sauce or any store-bought sauce you enjoy.

You can also toss the baked tofu with sauce after baking, try buffalo sauce, BBQ sauce, teriyaki sauce, sweet and sour sauce or peanut sauce. This is perfect serving the tofu over rice for a simple but tasty meal.

A big bowl of crispy baked tofu cubes sprinkled with green onion.
Cubes of crispy tofu on a plate beside a small bowl of dipping sauce.

How to Store

  • Baked tofu is best served fresh. It won’t be as crispy after storing.
  • Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Enjoy cold or reheat in a pan, oven or in the microwave until hot. To make it crispy again, reheat it in the oven at 350 F for 5-10 minutes.

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A big bowl of crispy baked tofu cubes sprinkled with green onion.

Crispy Garlic Black Pepper Tofu

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan
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Description

This crispy oven baked tofu is quick and easy to make and perfect for adding protein to soups, salads, noodles, stir fries and more!


Ingredients

Scale

Instructions

  1. Remove the extra firm tofu from the package and drain the water. Place tofu in a tofu press. If you do not have a tofu press, wrap the tofu in a clean tea towel (or kitchen towel) and place on a cutting board. Place a heavy book or skillet on top. Press the tofu for at least 15 minutes and then pat dry.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Cut the tofu into small cubes about ¾-in size then add to a medium-sized bowl.
  4. Add the soy sauce, oil, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder to the tofu. Gently stir with a spatula to fully coat the tofu.
  5. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the tofu and continue mixing gently until all the cubes are coated.
  6. Evenly distribute the tofu cubes out on the prepared baking sheet, avoiding them touching one another.
  7. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes, flipping the tofu over and baking for another 10-15 minutes.
  8. Serve with a dipping sauce or over rice, or add to a stir fry, noodles, curry or anywhere else you’d use tofu. 

Notes

You can omit the oil for an oil-free recipe. It gets a little crispier when you use oil but still works well without it. You can also make it without cornstarch. The cornstarch adds somewhat of a breading, or crisp layer around the cubes but the recipe will still work without it.

You can increase the garlic powder and black pepper up to 1 tsp if you like. If you’re not using onion powder, add an extra 1/2 tsp of garlic powder.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 101
  • Sugar: 0.4 g
  • Sodium: 4.5 mg
  • Fat: 5.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 3.5 g
  • Fiber: 1.5 g
  • Protein: 10.2 g

Keywords: crispy baked tofu

What to Make Next

Ready to try more tofu recipes? Here are some great choices for what to make next: