Crisp Baked Tofu


We’re always freaking out about what to eat for dinner. Not on the weekend, on the weekend we enjoy the question, but during the week it is another story. At some point during the workday one of us will text or e-mail the other something along the lines of: WTF dinner?


I like cooking, but like many of you I have a 9-5 (ish) job and a commute on either end of that day. I don’t have the energy to do too much for dinner. We tend to eat a combination of pieced together pantry/fridge meals, pick-up, and occasionally eat dinner out. You would not believe I had a food blog from my typical weeknight diet. It consists of a lot of improvised salads, fried rice, and the occasional pizza bagel. But once in a while, we’ll put in a little more effort. We might even plan ahead and make something on Sunday that will last us a few days into the week. This tofu is a good example.

I found the recipe on David Lebovitz’s blog a few months ago and tried it almost immediately. It is great, and an easy addition to a bowl of rice and roasted vegetables. It’s relatively simple to make, and keeps for a few days in the fridge. It doesn’t keep the crisp (which, to be honest, isn’t that crisp to begin with) but I like it just as much a couple of days later. It relies on a unique method of pressing the tofu to remove excess moisture and then marinating it a delicious blend of Asian flavors. You should reserve the marinade and use it as a dipping sauce, the tofu adds a nice creaminess to the marinade that I really enjoy.


Last week we roasted a pan full of vegetables and made a batch of this tofu and were set for dinners for a couple of days. Brown rice tossed with the leftover marinade rounded things out. It looked like this:


Crisp Baked Tofu (adapted from David Lebovitz, who adapted it from Joe Yonan)

  • 1 pound firm or extra-firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped/minced
  • 2 teaspoons peeled minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha or Asian chili paste
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons corn starch (original recipe calls for 1, but it never seems like enough to me)

Drain the tofu, wrap it in a double-thickness of paper towel, then place it on a plate. Put another plate on top of the tofu and place a heavy can of beans or tomatoes on top of it to weigh it down. Let stand 30 minutes.

Unwrap the tofu, wipe it dry, and cut it into 1-inch (3cm) cubes.

In a large, zip-top freezer bag, mix the sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, water, Sriracha, and salt, if using. (See Note at end of recipe.) Add the tofu and toss the cubes in the marinade. Lay the bag on a plate and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, or up to 8 hours, turning the bag a few times while marinating.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC.)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drain the tofu (the marinade can be reserved, refrigerated, and used for a dipping sauce), then put the tofu cubes in a large bowl. Using a mesh sieve or strainer, sift the corn starch over the tofu pieces, working in batches as you sprinkle them with the corn starch.

Transfer the tofu cubes to the prepared baking sheet and bake, turning the cubes several times during baking, until they are crisp and browned, about 45 minutes.

19 comments to “Crisp Baked Tofu”

  1. Uhm, tofu and sriracha, baked together? Count me in!

  2. Oh man – we are the same way! I think people would stop reading my blog if they had any idea what we eat on the week days. It’s so hard to get motivated when you are exhausted from a long day. I love that you posted this recipe though because we’ve been eating out a lot lately since I can only handle so many quesadilla in one week – this will be a great recipe to try for a change of pace!

  3. We have the same problem. Sometimes on Sundays, I try to make a rough plan of things we could have during the week, so that there is less pandemonium about deciding each night. But the plan has been falling through lately. I love having things like this around and ready to go.

  4. Making big batches of things – roasted veggies, braised meat, grains, etc and then combining it in different ways with fresh ingredients is the easiest way to do it for weekday meals. But like always, easier said than done :º

  5. Love making crispy tofu – it’s good with so many things! This recipe is lovely!

  6. I’ve been eating tofu weekly for the last 6 years – I have never once had it baked! This looks absolutely amazing and I can’t wait to try it. I’m kicking myself for not doing this sooner!

  7. good to know that you guys have the same issues and the same dinner menu! this tofu sounds delicious and a perfect addition!

  8. Although I’ve never been a fan of tofu, I have friends that cook it so so good…it takes like eggplant. This looks exceptional and inspiring. Perhaps I’ll try this.

  9. Where is the note at the end of the recipe!? Do you offer an alternative to the freezer bag??

  10. I just love tofu, especially when it has a crisp exterior and a soft middle. This would be such a tasty meal, with lots of extra Sriracha on the side!

  11. I made this. My wife rarely likes anything I cook, so “I really like the spicy tofu, you should keep that recipe” is pretty much a four star review.

  12. This tofu will do me a world of good. Cheers!

  13. Aloha Tim! I bake tofu every week and take it to work for my lunch break. A few of my favorite recipes for tofu are baked mock chicken tofu and grilled teriyaki tofu. I bought this tofu press a few years ago and use it all the time. It works so well to press out the water from the tofu and it’s very sturdy. I recommend it to anyone who prepares tofu dishes whether occasionally or as often as I do. Mahalo for the tofu post!
    Best, Kiyo

  14. Made this last night and *loved* it — SUPER delicious and simple! I served it with brown rice and grilled veggies… just perfect! The only thing I would do differently next time is double the marinade recipe — it’s so delicious! I just kept wishing I had more of it to use as a sauce…

  15. Looks great- plan to make it tonight. In the directions it mentions rice wine (in addition to rice vinegar), though rice wine is not listed in ingredients list. Could you clarify?

  16. I’ve been making a variety of this for years, and it’s very popular. Never used cornstarch before, and it does make it even better. 2 tips: peanut butter in the marinade is always welcome, and if you broil for a few minutes at the end it gets notably crispier.

  17. LOVE crispy baked tofu!! A great way to impart deliciousness into rather bland tofu :)

  18. schneiderluvsdoof says:

    November 11th, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    This does seem like a good quick weeknight fix. Thanks. We already burnt out on frozen Vito & Nicks pizza.

  19. I have to thank you for posting this recipe, it’s rather clever and delicious. I’ve been making batches of crisp baked tofu pretty much every week since I first spotted your recipe. Sometimes I make it exactly as per your recipe, at other times I use the central idea and just tweak around to use what I have in the kitchen. Anyway, it’s a great idea and really useful to have a batch in the freezer ready for low-fuss dinners.

    Thank you!

What do you think?