Vegan crispy tofu that's better than takeout

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bowl of pan fried crispy tofu, text overlaybowl of pan fried crispy tofu, text overlaycrispy tofu process collagecrispy tofu process collagebowl of pan fried crispy tofubowl of pan fried crispy tofu

Pan-fried crispy tofu is as decadent as its takeout cousin but at a fraction of the price. And it couldn't be simpler to make!

bowl of pan fried crispy tofu

I. Love. Crispy tofu! That crunchy coating around piping-hot, pillowy tofu has called my name from many a Chinese restaurant menu. 

And I love that, even when eating out isn't in the budget, it's easy to make equally-delicious pan fried tofu at home!

Jump To:

  • Recipe notes
  • Three keys to this recipe
  • Serving suggestions
  • How to store and reheat
  • Vegan crispy tofu

crispy tofu ingredients on a marble tablecrispy tofu ingredients on a marble table

Recipe notes

Start by marinating the tofu. While it marinates, you have time to prep any side dishes that you're serving.

The coating for this tofu uses a shake-and-bake-style method. Toss the tofu with cornstarch in a large bowl, then add seasoned flour and toss again.

You can use all purpose, white wheat, or whole wheat flour to coat your tofu.

image collage showing tofu sliced, marinating, coated, and then in the frying panimage collage showing tofu sliced, marinating, coated, and then in the frying pan

Now, it's time to fry! Heat that oil. You can check if your oil is hot enough by getting your hand wet, then flicking some water into the pan. When the drops sizzle off immediately, the oil is ready.

Add your tofu, and let it cook for around seven minutes, then flip the cubes over and cook for about seven minutes more.

Drain your tofu on a plate lined with paper towel or a clean kitchen towel, and you're ready to serve!

Three keys to this recipe

  1. Use a nonstick pan. I have made this tofu in my cast iron skillet, and the results just aren't as good. Doable, but not ideal.
  2. Place the tofu pieces into the pan one at a time. Don't dump the bowl in! You want to arrange these so they aren't touching, and one by one is the best way.
  3. Leave them alone. Don't mess with the tofu until it's time to flip. If you do, you can mess up the coating. Trust the process.

Serving suggestions

This tofu recipe is incredibly versatile. It's a great salad or bowl topper! I love it with my strawberry salad dressing in the crispy tofu salad, pictured here:

crispy tofu salad in a white bowl with romaine, strawberries, avocado, green onions, and creamy dressingcrispy tofu salad in a white bowl with romaine, strawberries, avocado, green onions, and creamy dressing

Serve it with your favorite steamed or sautéed veggies over your favorite grains or salad greens. Top it off with different sauces for all sorts of mix-and-match meals!

Here are a few sauce and salad dressing ideas that you can drizzle over your crispy tofu to make it extra special:

Need some side ideas to go with your tofu? I've got you:

Truly, the sky's the limit, so get creative and build your perfect crispy tofu bowl.

How to store and reheat

Your crispy tofu will keep for four to five days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

To reheat it, I do not recommend the microwave, because your tofu won't crisp back up in there. Instead, toss it onto a lined baking sheet and bake at 350° F for 10 minutes. Or, you can reheat it in the air fryer at 350° F for five minutes.

bowl of pan fried crispy tofubowl of pan fried crispy tofu

Vegan crispy tofu

Pan-fried crispy tofu is as decadent as its takeout cousin but at a fraction of the price. And it couldn't be simpler to make!

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Prep Time:

30

minutes

Cook Time:

15

minutes

Total Time:

45

minutes

Servings:

4

Calories:

200

kcal

Author:

Becky Striepe

Ingredients

  • 3

    tablespoons

    soy sauce

    low-sodium is OK

  • 1

    teaspoon

    rice vinegar

  • ½

    teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1

    block

    extra firm tofu

    pressed and sliced into 24 "fingers"

  • 2

    tablespoons

    cornstarch

    or potato starch

  • ¼

    cup

    flour

    white, wheat, or white wheat are all fine

  • ¼

    teaspoon

    salt

  • 1

    teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1

    teaspoon

    onion powder

  • ¼

    cup

    sunflower oil

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, and ½ teaspoon of garlic powder. Pour over the tofu cubes in a shallow dish, then set aside to marinate for 15-30 minutes. Whisk together the flour, salt, remaining garlic powder, and onion powder, and set that aside.

  • Transfer the tofu to a large bowl, discarding any extra marinade. Add the cornstarch to the bowl, and toss together until the tofu is well coated. Then, add the flour mixture to the same bowl, tossing to coat evenly.

  • Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat, making sure that the pan is hot before adding the tofu. To check, wet your fingers under the tap, and flick a few drops of water into the oil. If it sizzles off immediately, the pan is ready. Add the tofu to the pan making sure that the pieces don’t overlap.

  • Cook the tofu for 7-8 minutes, until you can see that the bottoms have turned golden brown. Use a spatula to flip the cubes over, and cook for another 6-7 minutes, so they’re browned on the other side. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels or a clean cloth napkin to drain for a few minutes, then serve immediately. 

Video

Notes

Use a nonstick pan . I have made this tofu in my cast iron skillet, and the results just aren't as good. Doable, but not ideal.

Place the tofu pieces into the pan one at a time. Don't dump the bowl in! You want to arrange these so they aren't touching, and one by one is the best way.

Leave them alone. Don't mess with the tofu until it's time to flip. If you do, you can mess up the coating. Trust the process!

Leftover will keep for 3-5 days in the refrigerator. Reheat at 350° F in the oven for 10-12 minutes or the air fryer for 5-7 minutes. 

Nutrition

Calories:

200

kcal

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