Crispy Baked Tofu
Easy crispy baked tofu that’s perfect for snacking, dipping or adding to rice bowls, stir fries, noodles and more.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can use firm or extra firm tofu for this recipe. I prefer firm tofu but both work well.
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.
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.
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.
As written the recipe is not gluten-free. To make it gluten-free, substitute gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos for the soy sauce.
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!
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).
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
- 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).
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:
- Miso Noodles
- Ramen Noodle Stir Fry
- Udon Stir Fry
- Garlic Chili Oil Noodles
- Use as croutons in this Vegan Kale Caesar Salad
- Cabbage Fried Rice
- Red Curry Noodles
- Cold Asian Noodle Salad
- Kabocha Squash Curry
- Mushroom Fried Rice
- Sprinkle with green onion and sesame seeds and serve with dipping sauce.
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.
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.
Did you try this recipe?
I’d love to hear about it! Click here to leave a review and be sure to tag me @runningonrealfood if you post it on social media.
Crispy Garlic Black Pepper Tofu
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings
- Category: Side Dish
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
This crispy oven baked tofu is quick and easy to make and perfect for adding protein to soups, salads, noodles, stir fries and more!
- 1 16 oz. package extra firm tofu
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder, optional
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 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.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the tofu into small cubes about ¾-in size then add to a medium-sized bowl.
- Add the soy sauce, oil, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder to the tofu. Gently stir with a spatula to fully coat the tofu.
- Sprinkle the cornstarch over the tofu and continue mixing gently until all the cubes are coated.
- Evenly distribute the tofu cubes out on the prepared baking sheet, avoiding them touching one another.
- Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes, flipping the tofu over and baking for another 10-15 minutes.
- Serve with a dipping sauce or over rice, or add to a stir fry, noodles, curry or anywhere else you’d use tofu.
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.
- 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:
This recipe is quite easy to follow and prepare and the end result is delicious although mine did not look exactly like the photo.
As I’m not a big fan of garlic, I omitted the garlic powder and doubled the onion powder to 1 tsp.
Also, since I am gluten free and trying to keep to a lower sodium diet, I used 1 Tbsp. of Joyce Chen GF Less Sodium Soy Sauce instead of 2 Tbsp. of soy sauce listed in the recipe.
I do question the nutrition info. listed in the recipe of “sodium 4.5 mg.” Even using the lower sodium soy sauce the sodium would be 150 mg. per serving.
I served the cooked tofu over hot brown rice with Trader Joe’s Sweet Chili Sauce. Delicious!
Thank you for your recipes!
The taste was good but it was quite dry and not crispy ^^ I should have done something wrong … Thanks for all the recipes
This is one of my favourite ways to cook tofu. I usually have some in the fridge and eat it as a snack! A few pieces satisfy all my cravings, it is SO GOOD. Thanks for another great recipe!
Hello! How long can you store it in the fridge?
4-5 days in a sealed container. Thanks!
I just made this on a whim- and it is DELICIOUS! I can’t stop eating it!!
Best snack that I’ve had in a loooong time.
Thanks for the recipe !
You’re welcome! Glad you enjoyed the recipe!
Savory and satisfying! You have saved me from myself and my late night munchies addiction…at least this way I am contributing to a better metabolism…
Glad you enjoyed it, Brenda!
How should this be stored?
In the fridge in a container. 🙂
Yum, I loved baked tofu, will have to try this!
Hm, I’ve never pressed my tofu. Will give this a try next time, thanks! 🙂
This looks superb! I shall def be trying. Thank you
This looks amazing! I wanted to let you know that your new (?) social sharing sidebar is covering some of the content and disrupting the reading experience. See this screenshot: http://i.imgur.com/Jx8OC42.png
Thanks, I am excited to make the recipe.
Thanks, I’ll see what I can do about that.