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Crispy Baked Tofu: The Best Tofu Marinade

Crispy baked tofu is one of the best vegan-friendly meat-substitutes that you can prepare at home. Easy to prepare, oven-roasted tofu gives you a crispy, crunchy finish that works well in countless dishes and recipes. 

You can use your baked crispy tofu for classic soups and stews, you can prepare extra crispy tofu for sandwiches and burgers, or you learn how to bake tofu for salads, stir-fries, and even tacos and burritos.

This great recipe can be easily customized to suit your tastes, as it’s all about the marinade. To get started, you’ll need a tofu pressan extra firm block of tofu, and our classic garlic, salt, and black pepper coating!

Keep reading, to learn the best way to make crispy baked tofu!

How to make crispy baked tofu

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 14 ounces of extra firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of cornstarch
  • 1 tsp of sea salt
  • ¼ tsp of black pepper
  • ½ tsp of garlic powder

Directions 

  1. Before preparing crispy baked tofu, you first need to press your block of tofu. This allows you to drain the excess liquid, which helps your tofu to absorb more of the marinade's flavors. You can use a tofu press for the best results, or cover your tofu block in paper towels and press firmly down using a heavy object (a chopping board works well).
  2. Once thoroughly pressed, you need to cut your block of tofu into 3 evenly sized pieces. Repeat the draining process again with each piece to ensure that the tofu has been drained of as much liquid as possible. Again, use a tofu press for the best results, or use a heavy object to put pressure on the tofu. You’ll need to let the tofu drain for at least 15 minutes. 
  3. While the tofu is being pressed, you can preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover a large baking tray in parchment paper and leave it on the side.
  4. Once you are happy with how your tofu has drained, it’s time to slice your blocks into even smaller pieces. Use a sharp knife and try to make small, evenly-sized cubes. The shape isn’t too important, so you can prepare thin or thick slices, or even triangles and circles if you prefer!
  5. Next, place your tofu cubes (or whatever other shapes you’ve created) into a large bowl. Coat the tofu with olive oil before covering in salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cornstarch. Gently toss and mix the tofu until it has an even coating. 
  6. Now it’s time to start baking the marinated tofu in the oven. Place your tofu pieces on parchment paper on a baking tray before placing the tray in the center of the oven. Leave the baking tofu for 15 minutes, but turn them regularly to give each piece a chance to cook evenly.
  7. If you prefer crispier, crunchier tofu, then leave your tofu pieces to bake for up to 20 minutes. 
  8. When you’re pleased with how crispy your tofu is, remove from the oven and serve piping hot, or store for later!

Tips on how to prep tofu for the best results!

Our recipe is simple enough, especially if you have your own tofu press to do all the hard work of pressing tofu for you, but here are a few of our top tips for prepping the best and crispiest tofu you can!

Make sure you use extra-firm tofu

For the best crispy tofu recipes, you need to make sure that you’ve got plenty of extra-firm tofu in the fridge. For the best results, you need the firmest tofu you can find in the store because the firmer the tofu is, the more flavor it can absorb. 

Silken and soft tofus don’t work nearly as well because of their high water content. The high water content means that the tofu doesn't absorb as many flavors or spices, leaving your baked tofu marinade rather bland!

Extra-firm tofu also holds its shape better than softer tofu and has a much chewier, meatier texture than soft tofu. 

The more you press, the tastier your crispy baked tofu will be

At the start of our recipe, we stress the importance of pressing your tofu before marinating it. We’re repeating it here because this could be the most critical step in the process!

All baked tofu recipes need tofu that has as little water content as possible. Even your extra-firm tofu has quite high water content, so you need to press the liquid out of the block. This gives the tofu the chance to absorb the marinade's flavors better, so the longer you can press the tofu for, the tastier your crispy baked tofu is going to be. 

Add more cornstarch for crispier baked tofu

While you can leave your tofu baking for longer, you can also add more cornstarch to the recipe for a crispier finish. 

Instead of 1 tablespoon, as we suggest in the recipe, try adding 2 or even 3 tablespoons of cornstarch. This helps the tofu to crisp up in the oven. 

You can also add extra oil to the recipe or give the tofu an extra coating of oil before placing the tray in the oven. It’s also essential to make sure that none of your tofu touches each other when it’s in the oven. If tofu pieces are overlapping, they won’t have the chance to become crispy. 

Try soy sauce instead of salt for some added seasoning!

We love how easy it is to customize this easy baked tofu, and the easiest way to add a little extra taste to the recipe is to substitute the salt for soy sauce. This is perfect if you’re looking for a more robust flavor, especially if you’re cooking up an eastern-inspired dish, such as a baked tofu stir fry, tofu miso soup, or baked teriyaki tofu.

In fact, you can substitute any of the ingredients for spices and seasoning of your choice. Add some chili powder if you’re making tacos, try some tamari instead of soy sauce, or add some Italian herbs and spices. This recipe is highly versatile and easy to change, so have fun experimenting in the kitchen. 

Let your crispy baked tofu marinade for longer

While we’re on the subject of seasoning, it never hurts to let your tofu marinate for longer in your chosen sauce or spices. In fact, if you’ve got the time to leave your tofu marinating overnight, we’d highly recommend it!

Press, then coat your tofu blocks and leave them coated in seasoning in the mixing bowl. Cover the bowl, and let the tofu soak up the flavor before you start cooking. 

Crispy baked tofu recipe FAQ

What is tofu, exactly?

Tofu is a popular type of food made from soybeans. The soybeans are first turned into soy milk before being curdled. Solid tofu blocks form, using a similar process that’s employed by cheesemakers.

Tofu is vegan but has a high protein content. It’s excellent at taking on different flavors, making it the perfect meat substitute. 

What does tofu taste like?

Tofu has a strangely neutral flavor if it’s eaten by itself, without any sauce or seasoning. For this reason, though, tofu makes an excellent meat substitute. The mild, neutral flavor quickly absorbs and takes on the flavors of the ingredients, marinades, sauces, or spices that are cooked with it. That’s why your tofu seasoning is so important!

Why bake tofu?

Baking tofu is a great way to bring out the flavors of your seasoning and marinades. It’s also a great way to give your tofu that crispy, golden coating while keeping the inside soft.

Baking tofu is also a lot healthier than frying tofu, as you can get away with using much less oil in comparison. 

How long does baked tofu last in the fridge?

Crispy baked tofu can last up to 5 days in the fridge. We recommend storing your tofu in a resealable container to keep it fresher. 

You can easily reheat your crispy tofu by placing it back into the oven for a few minutes or cooking it in a skillet with a little dash of oil. If you’re preparing a stew, soup, or sauce, then simply place your crispy baked tofu into the pan or pot with your other ingredients, and cook it in the sauce or broth!

Can you freeze baked tofu?

If you’ve got plenty of leftover baked tofu, then you can store it in the freezer for up to 6 months. We recommend placing the tofu into a resealable container or a Ziploc bag.

Let the tofu thaw naturally when you’re ready to cook it again. Defrosted tofu won’t be as soft as fresh tofu, but for many dishes, such as tofu chili, this can be the perfect, almost meat-like texture that you want. 

Why not try our crispy baked tofu recipe?

Now you know how to make tofu crispy, so why not give our recipe a try in the kitchen? Whether you're preparing a seasoned tofu appetizer or need a vegan meat-substitute for your next stir fry, baked tofu is the answer!

Crispy, crunchy, versatile, and healthy; why not try our crispy baked tofu recipe?

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