by Olena

Crispy Pan Fried Tofu

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Olena Osipov
4.9 from 63 votes

Your kids will call this easy 20 minute Crispy Fried Tofu “chicken”. It’s that good!

Our other vegetarian family favorites include vegetarian quesadillagreen lentil curry and this crazy easy spaghetti recipe!

Crispy Pan Fried Tofu

Fried Tofu

I’m not vegan but we all love this crispy pan fried tofu for healthy dinner! Kids call it “chicken”. It’s that good!!!

And I’m convinced to convert you as well with this best fried tofu recipe in the world. You will never say “I hate tofu” again.

My tofu recipe is simple and requires no extra steps. Like to press the tofu or pat with paper towels – “Ain’t nobody got time for that”.

I make it often to reduce our meat consumption. If last night was shrimp tacos and tomorrow it’s lamb roast, I try to “squeeze in” this fried tofu in between. Balance and moderation.

Tofu Quick Facts

  • What is it? Tofu is made of condensed soy milk that is pressed into blocks. Raw tofu has zero flavor and spongy texture.
  • Protein: It is a great plant-based source of protein. We all should eat less meat and more salad for health reasons!
  • To avoid GMO soy: I recommend to buy organic tofu. Mine is from Costco.
  • No extra steps: You do not have to press tofu to remove extra liquid with my crispy pan fried tofu recipe. I don’t even own paper towels. You don’t need to use cast iron skillet either.
Crispy Pan Fried Tofu close-up

Pan Fried Tofu Ingredients

  • Firm or extra firm tofu: You cannot use soft or medium tofu as it will release more water and fall apart.
  • Soy sauce: I used liquid aminos.
  • Cornstarch: A must ingredient for crispy tofu.
  • Garlic powder: For flavour otherwise tofu is very plain.
  • Olive oil: For frying.
  • Green onion and sesame seeds: For garnish when serving. Adds another layer of flavour, so good!
ingredients for Crispy Pan Fried Tofu- cornstarch, garlic powder, sesame seeds, green onions, soy sauce, olive oil and tofu

Firm Tofu FAQs

Do I have to cook tofu?

Yes. Raw fresh tofu has no taste. Technically it is cooked. One of my kids likes to pop a cube or two in his mouth while I’m preparing tofu for frying. You have to cook tofu mostly to give it flavor. Otherwise, it tastes like “nothing”.

How long to cook firm tofu?

My easy crispy fried tofu requires only 2-3 minutes of cooking per side. It’s quick!

How do I know when tofu is cooked?

Tofu does not pose a risk of eating undercooked like meat does. You can tell that crispy fried tofu bites are ready when they are nicely golden and look crispy.

How to cook tofu in air fryer?

You can use this tofu recipe ingredients and prep instructions and cook in air fryer following this air fryer tofu recipe. Or use Jessica’s recipe all together, if you wish.

How to Cut Tofu into Cubes

tofu being cut into cubes on cutting board
  1. Unwrap: Remove tofu from plastic package.
  2. Drain: Dump the liquid it’s packaged in. Remember no need to pat dry or press.
  3. Two thinner slabs: Cut in half lengthwise.
  4. Cube: Then cut into 1 inch cubes.

That’s it!!!

How to Cook Crispy Tofu

How to Make Fried Tofu step by step

1. Quickly Marinate Tofu Cubes

  • Cubed tofu: In a medium bowl, add cubed tofu.
  • Soy sauce: Drizzle evenly with 2 tbsp soy sauce on top. Helps to stir less.
  • Stir and let sit: Stir gently with silicone or wooden spoon. Metal spoon will do more damage to tofu’s delicate texture. Set aside.

2. Make Tofu Breading

  • Cornstarch coating: In another medium bowl, add 3 tbsp cornstarch, 1 tsp garlic powder and ground black pepper to taste. Stir well with a fork.
  • Skillet has to be hot and non-stick: Preheat large ceramic non-stick skillet on medium high heat. Tofu has to sizzle and I highly recommend to use skillet you know food doesn’t stick to. No cast iron or old skillet that lost its non-stick qualities.

3. Combine Both

  • Combine wet tofu with cornstarch: Add tofu pieces to a bowl with cornstarch breading. Gently stir to coat.
  • Marinade leftovers: Tofu will be coated in sticky wet cornstarch mixture. Perfect! Don’t discard this “marinade” at the bottom of the bowl, we use it in frying tofu.

4. Pan Fry Until Crispy

  • Preheat oil: Swirl half the olive oil or toasted sesame oil onto preheated skillet. It should be hot enough to make tofu sizzle right away.
  • Cook in 2 batches: Add half the tofu to a pan in a single layer. Stir fry until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Don’t disturb to get that crispy coating on.
  • Flip once and add marinade: Flip each cube with a spatula and fry for a few more minutes or until crispy. You can add half of the soy sauce mixture now too. Transfer crispy pan fried tofu to a plate.
  • Repeat with remaining tofu.

5. Garnish and Enjoy!

  • Suggested garnishes: Garnish crispy garlic tofu with sesame seeds and green onion. Adds another layer of flavour.
  • Serving suggestion: Crispy tofu is best served immediately as it loses its crispiness after half an hour I would say. Or if you cover it. Still delish!!!
Crisy Fried Tofu on skillet garnished with green onions

What to Serve Pan Fried Tofu With?

Crispy Pan Fried Tofu

Crispy Pan Fried Tofu {The BEST!}

Your kids will call this easy 20 minute Crispy Pan Fried Tofu “chicken”. It’s that good! Tofu is cooked in a skillet on the stovetop with a simple marinade and no pressing required. You will fall for this delicious fried tofu recipe full of plant based protein.
4.94 from 63 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Asian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 123kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 2 x 12 oz packages firm or extra firm tofu cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • Green onion finely chopped
  • Sesame seeds for garnish

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, add cubed tofu and soy sauce on top. Stir gently with silicone or wooden spoon (metal will do more damage to tofu’s delicate texture). Set aside.
  • In another medium bowl, add cornstarch, garlic powder and pepper. Stir well with a fork and set aside.
  • In the meanwhile, preheat large ceramic non-stick skillet on medium heat. Add half of the olive oil. It should be hot enough to make tofu sizzle right away.
  • Add tofu cubes to a bowl with cornstarch mixture and gently stir to coat. Tofu will be coated in sticky wet cornstarch mixture. Perfect!
  • Add half of the tofu to a pan in a single layer. Cook until browned, about 2-3 minutes. Flip each cube with a spatula and pan fry for a few more minutes or until crispy (you can add half of the marinade now, from step 1 & 2 – it will collect at the bottom of the bowl, and the other half with next batch). Transfer to a plate and repeat this step with remaining tofu.
    Crispy Pan Fried Tofu
  • Garnish with sesame seeds and green onion. Crispy tofu is best served immediately as it loses its crispiness after half an hour I would say. Or if you cover it. Still delish!!!

Store: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

    Video

    Notes

    • Has to be firm or extra firm tofu: You cannot use soft or medium tofu as it will release more water and fall apart.
    • To avoid GMO soy: I recommend to buy organic tofu. Mine is from Costco.
    • Skillet has to be hot and non-stick: Tofu has to sizzle and I highly recommend to use skillet you know food doesn’t stick to. No cast iron or old skillet that lost its non-stick qualities. I recommend ceramic (no Teflon harmful chemicals) non-stick and wait until it’s hot and oil in it as well. All non-stick skillets lose their non-stickiness after about 6-8 months. It’s normal, unfortunately.
    • Type of oil: You can use toasted sesame oil in place of olive oil. So good and that’s what I usually do. I just ran out of it.
    • Utensils: It’s best to use wooden or silicone spatula or spoon to handle tofu. Metal would damage its delicate texture and the skillet.
    • Don’t throw away marinade: The marinade of soy sauce, cornstarch etc. doesn’t have to be thrown away. You can pour on top of cooking tofu for more flavour.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 123kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 250mg | Potassium: 190mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg
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    olena osipov in the studio

    Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

    My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys, a wife to Alex and we reside on magical Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. This is our healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I grew up on real food. As an adult, I struggled with diets for years because none worked long-term. Now for over 10 years, I cook easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

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