Tofu teriyaki is an Asian staple that’s surprisingly easy to prepare at home. In fact, all you need for this classic Japanese-inspired dish is a block of tofu, some teriyaki sauce, and a little bit of oil!
Incorporate this tasty tofu into a teriyaki tofu stir fry, teriyaki noodles, or a healthy teriyaki tofu bowl with rice or salad. Low in calories but high in protein (and flavor), this is one pan-fried meal that won’t leave you feeling guilty!
Get your tofu press ready, and heat up the wok. It’s time to learn how to make pan-fried tofu teriyaki!
How to make tofu teriyaki
Makes 4 servings
- 14 oz of tofu, extra firm
- 3 Tbsp of teriyaki sauce*
- 2 Tbsp of frying oil
- ½ tsp of salt
- Sesame seeds for garnish
*Purchase teriyaki sauce in your local store or see our notes below if you want to make teriyaki sauce from scratch.
- Begin with pressing your block of tofu. Leave your tofu to press for at least 20 min, for the best results.
- Once pressed and drained, use a sharp knife to slice your tofu into small cubes.
- Now heat up your oil in the wok or large skillet on the stovetop. Keep the skillet on medium to high heat, and place your tofu into the oil.
- Add salt as you’re cooking tofu in the pan, and allow each piece to fry for at least 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. As you fry the tofu, add a little more salt as you please.
- Once your tofu is golden brown, you can spoon your teriyaki sauce into the pan and give each piece a thin coating.
- Allow the tofu teriyaki to fry for 1 m, then turn the heat off completely.
- Place your teriyaki tofu onto a plate or into a bowl, and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
- Serve and enjoy!
Tofu teriyaki FAQs
This teriyaki tofu recipe is a simple yet healthy dish to prepare at home. We got with our trusted chefs to find answers to the most common questions we receive! Check out our top tips to help you create the tastiest teriyaki tofu dinner you can!
Why do I need to use extra firm tofu?
One of the most important things to remember is that your tofu needs to be extra firm. For any pan-fried tofu recipes, you should always be cooking with extra firm tofu. Extra-firm tofu holds its shape and consistency exceptionally well under high heat.
You can get away with using firm tofu, but avoid using silken or soft tofu for this recipe. More delicate tofu will easily fall apart when it’s pan-fried in the oil. It also won’t be anywhere near as crispy as extra firm tofu.
Why do I need to press the tofu before cooking it?
As well as selecting the right sort of tofu, you need to remember to press your block of tofu before you start cooking. All tofu has a high water content to prevent the tofu from drying out. However, we need to remove this water before preparing teriyaki tofu. Watery tofu doesn’t taste like much, and it won’t be as firm or chewy when it’s pan-fried.
As we already mentioned in the recipe, you can get the best results by employing a tofu press to do the hard work for you. Simply place your extra firm tofu block into the press and leave it for 20 minutes.
However, if you don’t have your own tofu press, you can use heavy kitchen items and equipment that you already have available.
Wrap your block of tofu in paper towels, then push down on top with a heavy chopping board, a large cast-iron skillet, or anything else you have on hand. Leave the tofu with the heavy object on top to press for at least 20 minutes. If you have time, then the longer you can leave the tofu to press and drain, the firmer and tastier your teriyaki tofu is going to be.
Can I marinate my tofu in teriyaki sauce?
It might be tempting to marinate your tofu in teriyaki sauce, as marinades usually work particularly well with tofu. In this particular scenario, however, it’s not the best option in terms of taste!
Fried tofu sauce tends to thicken up quickly and can easily burn and stick to the pan. If left in the skillet too long, teriyaki sauce (with its sugars) will caramelize, leaving you with a pan of sticky, gooey mess.
For that reason, we recommend frying your tofu first. Add the teriyaki sauce at the end and fry it for a minute or two to infuse it into the tofu. Teriyaki sauce is relatively strong in flavor, anyway, so it’s still going to taste great without spending a few hours marinating!
How to fry tofu crispy?
There’s nothing quite like crispy teriyaki tofu, and in our opinion, the crispier the tofu is, the better it is!
The simplest way to make crispy tofu is to fry it longer. Give it an extra minute or so on each side, and you’ll see the outside begin to really crisp up. You can add to the process by using more oil and allowing the oil to thoroughly heat up before adding the tofu to the pan.
Try adding an extra layer of seasoning to the tofu itself before you start frying it. Mix together some cornstarch and soy sauce, and coat all of your tofu bits in this secret, crispy ingredient.
Fry your cornstarch covered tofu first, as per our recipe above, and then add your sauce. The cornstarch helps to create super crispy teriyaki tofu triangles as it fries in the oil.
Is tofu teriyaki healthy?
Tofu teriyaki is surprisingly healthy, especially compared to pan-fried meats. In fact, tofu makes for an excellent meat substitute because it can not only taste like traditional meats, but it’s also high in protein. Tofu teriyaki calories are low, while also low in saturated fats.
Of course, pan-frying in oil does add saturated fats, but you can limit this by using less oil and selecting ‘healthy’ frying oils. We like to use peanut oil, for instance.
You can make this recipe even healthier by totally removing the pan-frying element. Instead of cooking in the skillet, you can place the tofu in the oven or into an air fryer. When it’s crispy, remove it, then toss it in the teriyaki sauce for 1 minute in a pan.
You could also grill your tofu instead of frying it. This allows the oils to drip away as the tofu cooks. Fire up your grill, cook your tofu for 8 minutes on either side, then drizzle with teriyaki sauce to finish.
What’s the best way to serve teriyaki tofu?
While teriyaki tofu makes for a great little treat on its own, you can prepare it for use in a wide range of other dishes and meals too.
Create delicious (and healthy) teriyaki tofu bowls. Cook up your favorite rice, layer your tofu on top with a few extra vegetables. You could also use your teriyaki tofu as the main ingredient in a stir fry. Simply heat up your wok, add a few crunchy vegetables (bell peppers, zucchini, carrots, etc.), then add your tofu at the end and serve with noodles.
If you’ve decided to grill or bake your teriyaki tofu, then it goes particularly well with grilled or roasted vegetables, including bell peppers, mushrooms, and broccoli.
How can I prepare homemade teriyaki sauce?
Although teriyaki sauce is easy to find in your local store, it’s more fun (and often healthier) to prepare your own from scratch. It’s not actually that difficult either, as the sauce itself only requires soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and water in its most basic form.
Experiment with the mixture, and you can perfect a teriyaki sauce that’s well suited to your tastes. For instance, if you prefer the sweet side of the sauce, then add more sugar. If you prefer the salty element, then up the level of soy sauce that you add.
To thicken the sauce itself, you can use cornstarch. Cook all your ingredients on the stovetop over low heat to thicken it. Teriyaki sauce can keep for weeks, so it’s a great sauce to prepare in large batches.
Is teriyaki sauce vegan?
Another advantage of preparing teriyaki sauce at home is that you can control the ingredients going into it.
Many store-bought teriyaki sauces often have non-vegan ingredients, such as fish oil or honey, that might not be made glaringly apparent on the packaging.
If you’re concerned about this, then prepare your own sauce at home, using vegan substitutes such as agave syrup, for instance.
That’s how to cook tofu teriyaki at home!
That’s it for our straightforward yet inspiring tofu teriyaki recipe. This wonderful Japanese-style tofu dish makes for a great addition to a wide range of excellent lunches and dinners, making this one tofu dish that you can prepare time and time again.
Whether you love a good teriyaki stir fry or prefer a mellow rice bowl, why not save our tofu teriyaki recipe for your next tofu dinner?