This sweet and sour tofu recipe features crispy tofu with stir fried veggies in an addictive sweet and sour sauce.

A pair of chopsticks rests on a bowl of sweet and sour stir fry with vegetables served over rice and topped with sesame seeds and green onion.

Easy to make and packed with flavour, you’ll love this amazing sweet and sour tofu! This recipe is pure comfort food and easy enough to make any night of the week, even for tofu beginners.

After pressing the tofu, the dish comes together quickly and involves 3 main steps: frying the tofu, stir frying the veggies and adding the tofu and sauce. Serve your finished stir fry over rice for a delicious meal the whole family will enjoy.

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

  • Easy to make with simple ingredients.
  • Delicious way to try tofu for a meat-free meal.
  • Addictive, sticky, sweet and sour sauce
  • Amazing served over rice for a nutritious meal.
  • Great option for meal prep.

Ingredient Notes

List of ingredients for making a vegan sweet and sour tofu recipe.

A complete list of ingredients with amounts and full instructions is located in the printable recipe card below. This section covers ingredient and substitution considerations.

  • Tofu: Use extra-firm tofu.
  • Cornstarch: You’ll need this for coating the tofu and thickening the sauce. I find cornstarch works best here but you can use arrowroot starch, potato starch or tapioca starch, if needed.
  • Oil: You can use olive oil, avocado oil, sesame oil or coconut oil for frying the tofu and veggies. See the notes section for making the recipe oil-free.
  • Soy or Tamari: Use low-sodium soy sauce or for a gluten-free option, tamari. Coconut aminos would also work.
  • Rice Vinegar: You can use seasoned or unseasoned rice vinegar. Apple cider vinegar works if you don’t have rice vinegar on hand.
  • Sweetener: Brown sugar or coconut sugar works.
  • Veggies: The stir fry features red and green bell pepper, green onion and red onion. The veggies are flexible, so if you’re missing one of these, it’s no big deal and don’t worry if the amounts aren’t exact.
  • Serving: Best served over jasmine or basmati rice but brown rice works too!

Step-by-Step Instructions

Before You Start: Press the tofu. Either use a tofu press or slice the block of tofu in half lengthwise and wrap the slabs in a dish cloth. Place it on a plate and put a heavy object like a large pot or cast iron skillet for at least 20 minutes.

While you’re waiting, add all the sauce ingredients to container, mix well to combine and set aside for now.

Step 1: Cube the pressed tofu and add it to a large bowl with the cornstarch, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Toss well so all the pieces of tofu are coated in cornstarch.

When you’re ready to proceed, heat oil of choice over medium-high heat in a large skillet. When it’s hot, add the tofu cubes and cook, flipping occasionally, until the pieces are brown and crispy on all sides.

When the tofu is done, remove it from the pan.

Crispy cubed tofu cooking in a pan.

Step 2: Add the veggies to the same pan (no need to clean between uses).

You may need to add a little extra oil if there isn’t any left from cooking the tofu. Stir fry the veggies over medium-high heat until tender but still crisp.

Chopped bell peppers, red and green onion cooking in a skillet.

Step 3: Add the sauce.

Give the sauce a good stir before adding it to the pan, then pour it in and cook for a few minutes until it starts to thicken.

Finally, add the cubed tofu and cook for a few more minutes until the sauce has thickened and the tofu is well-coated.

Sweet and sour tofu stir fry with bell peppers and onion cooking in a skillet.

Serve your delicious stir fry over rice and topped with green onions and sesame seeds.

Overhead view of a bowl with sweet and sour vegetable stir fry and rice. A pair of chopsticks rests on the side of the bowl.

Notes & Tips

  • Oil-Free Option: Bake the tofu on a baking tray for 30-40 minutes at 425 F until brown and crispy. Use a bit of water to cook the vegetables.
  • Veggie Options: Mix and match from bell peppers, broccoli, zucchini, carrot, celery, mushroom and snow or snap peas.
  • Pineapple would also be a yummy addition to the stir fry.
  • Tofu Only: If you want to just make sweet and sour tofu and skip the veggies, I’d suggest doubling the amount of tofu used.
Close up of a bowl of sweet and sour tofu stir fry with rice and sesame seeds.

FAQs

Is sweet and sour tofu vegan?

This sweet and sour recipe is vegan but you may want to double check if you’re ordering sweet and sour tofu from a restaurant.

Is sweet and sour tofu gluten-free?

To make this recipe gluten-free, make sure you use gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.

Do I have to use cornstarch?

I would recommend it for best results. It’s the best for making crispy tofu. If you have a corn allergy, you can use potato starch, arrowroot powder or tapioca starch.

Close up overhead view of a bowl with sweet and sour stir fry served over rice. A pair of chopsticks rests on the side of the bowl.

Making-Ahead & Storage

  • Storing: Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 5 days.
  • Reheating: Reheat in a pan or in the microwave until heated through.
  • Freezing: Leftovers can be frozen for up to 3 months and thawed overnight in the fridge before reheating. Let cool completely before storing and use an airtight, freezer-safe container.

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Print
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Close up of a bowl of sweet and sour tofu stir fry with rice and sesame seeds.

Sweet and Sour Tofu

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 3-4 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: Asian
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This vegan sweet and sour tofu features crispy tofu with stir fried bell peppers and onions in a sticky, sweet and sour sauce.


Ingredients

Scale

For the Tofu:

  • 1 block extra-firm tofu, pressed and cubed
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch 
  • ½ tsp garlic powder 
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½  tbsp oil

For the Sweet and Sour Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp ketchup (30g)
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar (30g)
  • ¼ cup soy or tamari (75g/ 60ml)
  • ¼ cup  brown sugar (or coconut sugar or maple syrup) (35g)
  • ¼½ tsp chili flakes 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (12g)
  • 2 tsp cornstarch mixed with ½ cup cold water

For the Veggie Stir Fry:

  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped (155g/ 1.5 cups)
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped (150g)
  • 1 small red onion, chopped (130g/ 1 cup)
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced (reserve some for topping)
  • 2 tbsp toasted white or black sesame seeds, for topping
  • cooked rice of choice, for serving

Instructions

  1. Press Tofu: Cut tofu in half lengthwise, so you have two thinner rectangles, then wrap in clean kitchen towels. Place on a dinner plate or cutting board. Weigh tofu down with a heavy object like a cast iron skillet, or large pot for at least 20 minutes. Alternatively, use a tofu press.
  2. Make Sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, chili flakes, garlic and cornstarch-water mixture, until combined.
  3. Coat Tofu: When you’re ready, cube the tofu into 1/2-inch pieces and add to a large bowl with the cornstarch, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Toss to coat until all pieces are covered in cornstarch.
  4. Cook Tofu: In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 ½  tbsp oil over medium-high heat.  When the pan is hot, add the tofu (depending on the size of your pan, you may have to do this in batches).  Cook for 6-8 mins, flipping pieces occasionally, until golden-brown and crisp on all sides. Transfer tofu to a plate and set aside. 
  5. Cook Veggies: To the same pan, add 2 tsp oil. Add peppers and onions.  Cook for 5-7 min, stirring occasionally, until tender-crisp.
  6. Finish Stir Fry: Give the sauce another stir then pour over the veggies and cook for 1-2 minutes until it starts to thicken. Add tofu and bring to a simmer and cook for 1-2 min, stirring continuously, until sauce is thickened and the tofu is well coated. Remove from heat.
  7. Serve: Serve sweet and sour tofu over rice.  Sprinkle with green onions and toasted sesame seeds

Notes

Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in a pan or in the microwave until heated through.

Nutrition facts do not include rice for serving.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories: 260
  • Sugar: 18 g
  • Sodium: 655 mg
  • Fat: 11 g
  • Carbohydrates: 30 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 12 g

Keywords: sweet and sour tofu