Here’s an easy recipe for pan-seared Crispy Tofu that can be made on the stovetop in 15-20 minutes with just 3 ingredients. You’ll find a million uses for this crispy tofu and fun ways to season it – adding it to meals you are already making- like Tacos, Buddha Bowls, Soups, Veggie Lo Mein or Thai Noodle Salad !
A fast and easy way to prepare tofu on the stovetop that turns out crispy and delicious every single time! The best part? It only takes a few minutes and you can season it however you like! Scroll down to see all the options.
After 20 years in the restaurant and catering business -I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard people tell me how much they dislike tofu. Most often it is not the tofu they dislike, but the way it was prepared.
But there is no convincing. There is only experiencing it for yourself. So make this – or don’t make this -up to you. But I know if you do, you might be pleasantly surprised. And the fact that you will have added one more plant-based protein into your diet, may just come in handy someday.
What kind of Tofu to use?
It starts with a good block of tofu. Opt for:
- Non-Gmo Tofu
- Firm or extra firm
- “Sprouted” (optional, but easiest to digest) I love Trader Joe’s Sprouted Organic Tofu.
- Do not use silken tofu for this recipe.
How to make basic Crispy Tofu:
- Blot with paper towels (FYI: pressing all the liquid out will make it dry and chewy. So just lightly press.)
- Cut into cubes, pat gently with pepper towels.
- Sear in a well-seasoned (salted and pepper) skillet (or wok) with oil (olive, avocado, coconut, peanut, etc)
- Let it crisp up before turning. (Tofu likes to stick, but once it crisps, it will naturally contract and release itself from the pan. If it is sticking, it is not ready to turn. )
- Sear most sides until golden.
- Place on a paper towel-line plate.
Cut into ¾-1 inch cubes. Gently pat with paper towels.
You really don’t need to get every single drop of water out.
Heat oil in a skillet.
Season the oil (not the tofu) with a generous five-finger pinch of salt and pepper. It will smell amazing.
Carefully add the tofu allowing space around each piece and cover with a splatter guard if you want.
Over medium heat, let the tofu get deeply golden. Be patient and don’t try to turn the tofu before it develops its crust. If you turn too early it will stick. As it browns, the tofu will naturally release itself from the pan. Give the pan a shake.
Wait for this!
I usually just sear two sides but feel free to sear all sides if you prefer. Taste a piece for salt. Most of the time I add a little more salt while searing.
SEASON THE CRISPY TOFU (if you want)
- If going Mexican, add a sprinkling of chili powder and cumin.
- Indian, sprinkle with curry powder, turmeric or Garam Masala.
- Asian, try Szechuan Sauce.
- Middle Eastern, try Zaatar.
- Cajun Seasoning
- Granulated garlic or onion powder
Here I’ve seasoned half with curry powder and turmeric and the other half with Mexican Spices. Just sprinkle the tofu with spices before searing.
You can also season the tofu in the pan at the end. Either way will work.
Crispy flavorful and yummy!
I know you will find so many ways to play around with this using spice blends you already have at home.
And if you don’t feel like being creative, I seriously love the basic salt and pepper recipe, so simple fast and easy! We use it ALL the time.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.
RELATED: How to Bake Tofu in the Oven
Crispy Tofu Recipe
Here’s a easy recipe for Crispy Tofu that can be made on the stovetop in 20 minutes with just 3 ingredients. You’ll find a million uses for this crispy tofu and fun ways to season it – adding it to meals you are already making- like this Veggie Lo Mein or Thai Noodle Salad Recipe!
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 10
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 2 1x
- Category: vegan, main
- Method: stovetop
- Cuisine: american
- 8 ounces tofu (non-GMO, firm, extra firm, or sprouted- do not use “silken”)
- 2–3 tablespoons oil ( olive, coconut, avocado, peanut)
- five finger pinch salt
- five finger pinch cracked pepper
- BLOT Place the block of tofu on a kitchen towel or paper towels, and bring up the sides, wrapping it up and pressing gently. (FYI: weighting or pressing all the liquid out will make it chewy. So just lightly press.)
- Cut into cubes, again, pat gently with pepper towels. It may still feel damp, it’s ok. 🙂
- Heat oil over medium high heat and season the oil in the skillet– generously with salt and pepper (not the tofu)
- SEAR: Carefully place each piece of tofu in the oil – don’t just throw it in, it will splatter. Season the top side with a little salt and let sear.
- TURN: Let the tofu crisp up before turning. (Tofu likes to stick, but once it crisps, it will naturally contract and release itself from the pan. If it is sticking, it is not ready to turn. ) Give the pan a good shake to test. Using a metal spatula turn over. Sear most sides until golden. Or just sear two sides for less oil.
- Place on a paper towel-line plate until ready to use ( or keep warm in an oven- don’t stack, single layer is best to retain crispiness.)
SEASONINGS: ( Toss or sprinkle over tofu, before searing)
- Mexican, add a sprinkling of chili powder and cumin (1/2 teaspoon each)
- Indian, sprinkle with 1/2 -1 teaspoon curry powder, turmeric or Garam Masala.
- Middle Eastern Zaatar, or sumac
- Cajun Seasoning
- Granulated garlic or onion powder
- Asian-try adding Szechuan Sauce, at the end
If you like more of a crispy “crust” on the tofu, feel free to dredge in cornstarch before adding to the oil. Add a generous pinch of salt and sugar to the cornstarch before dredging.
If tofu tastes “bland” it needs more salt. Remember to season the oil in the pan generously.
Keywords: crispy tofu recipe, how to make crispy tofu, easy tofu recipe, how to cook tofu
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