Tofu is one of the most versatile and handy cooking ingredients you could wish for. Made entirely of soy milk, tofu is high in protein, low in fat, and a 100% vegan ingredient that even carnivores will love… When it’s appropriately prepared! Here is your guide to The Best way to Cook Tofu.
How to cook tofu
There are so many methods to cook tofu. Baked, sauteed, marinated, scrambled, or even in delicious vegan desserts… Once you’ve learned some of the basics, tofu makes the perfect ingredient for almost any dish you can think of!
#1 Baked Tofu
- Press extra-firm tofu until no liquid remains.
- Cut the pressed tofu into cubes or slabs and place in a glass dish.
- Pour your marinade or sauce all over the tofu and gently toss to ensure every piece is well coated.
- Cover the dish and leave your tofu to marinate for approximately 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Preheat oven to 400’F.
- After your tofu has marinated, transfer the tofu pieces onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (reserve the marinade) and bake at 400’F for 35-40 minutes.
- Halfway through baking, flip the tofu pieces and brush with some of the reserved sauce.
#2 Crispy Baked Tofu
- Press your tofu until no liquid remains, then cut into cubes—Preheat oven to 425’F.
- Place your tofu cubes into a bowl and gently toss with 1-2 tbsp of cornstarch.
- Transfer the tofu pieces to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Drizzle olive oil over the tofu with a few pinches of salt.
- Bake at 425’F for 25 minutes or longer if you want even crispier tofu cubes!
#3 Sauteed Tofu
- Press tofu until no liquid remains, then cut into cubes.
- Drop a dash of oil into a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat.
- Add the tofu cubes to the skillet and brown on each side for 1-2 minutes. Total cooking time = approximately 15 minutes.
- Once every side of the tofu cubes is lightly golden brown, add approximately ¼ cup of your chosen sauce.
- Sautee the tofu in the sauce, frequently stirring, until all of the sauce has been fully absorbed. The sauce should slightly caramelize around the edges to provide a crispy exterior.
#4 Fried Tofu
- Press extra-firm tofu until no liquid remains, then cut into triangles (or any shape you like).
- Heat 2 tbsp oil on the medium-high temperature in a non-stick skillet.
- Once the oil is hot, add the tofu to the pan in a single layer, careful not to overcrowd the pan (cook in multiple batches if needed).
- Cook, undisturbed, for approximately 5 minutes. The bottom of the tofu should be golden brown and crispy.
- Flip the tofu triangles over, sprinkle with salt, and cook for an additional 4 minutes on the other side.
- Once both sides of the tofu triangles are crispy and golden brown, remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel. Season the second side generously with salt.
You can also add sauce to fried tofu for some extra flavor. If you plan on adding sauce towards the end of the cooking process, it’s a good idea to use less oil to avoid splattering or an excessively oily sauce.
#5 Scrambled Tofu
- Press tofu, then slice into rectangles.
- Warm 1 tbsp oil in a non-stick or cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat.
- Add the tofu slices to the hot pan.
- Use a wooden spoon to break and scramble the tofu in the pan.
- Once you’ve ‘scrambled’ the tofu, add your sauce or seasoning. Cook for around 3-4 minutes, or until all the tofu has been thoroughly coated and is starting to absorb the sauce.
- Leave the tofu to cook undisturbed for approximately 4 minutes. This should allow it to crisp up in the pan.
- Stir the tofu to redistribute the cooking surface, then leave for another 3-4 minutes or until the tofu becomes as crispy as you want.
What do you need to know about cooking tofu?
The most crucial thing to do when cooking such dishes is to make sure you know how to press tofu.
Tofu is full of excess water and liquid when it comes out of the packaging, which can prevent it from cooking nicely or absorbing the flavor of seasoning or marinates. Usually, when someone says they don’t like tofu, this is because it wasn’t correctly pressed when they tried it.
As a general rule, the longer you press tofu, the firmer the texture will get, and the crispier and tastier the end results will be!
If you frequently cook with tofu, it is definitely worth investing in a tofu press. If not, you can press tofu by placing it between two chopping boards and adding weight to the top. Don’t forget to line the boards with paper towels to catch the mess!