If you want very crispy tofu cubes, this method will blow your mind. This is our favorite way to use tofu as a topping for Thai curries and Buddha bowls.
Tofu is one of your best friends as a vegan, vegetarian, or plant-based eater, so you need to master its cooking methods. Making crispy tofu easily is a skill that will be your companion for the rest of your life, so observe; it is an easy and worthy ride!
It takes only minutes, 2 ingredients apart from tofu, and no skills! We consider this a preparation that can be easily adjusted and added to any meal or even on its own as an appetizer with your favorite dipping sauce.
Crispy tofu is widely used in Chinese Tofu recipes.
How to know it’s ready: the cubes should be golden brown and look very crispy at the edges.
- Extra-Firm Tofu: Extra-firm tofu holds its shape well when cooked, making it ideal for a variety of cooking methods, such as frying or grilling. Its subtle flavor acts as a blank canvas, allowing it to absorb the flavors of the marinades or sauces it is cooked with.
- Your Choice of Oil: Using oil in the recipe helps to create a crispy and golden exterior when frying or sautéing the tofu. The choice of oil allows for flexibility in flavor and health preferences, such as using olive oil for a mild flavor or sesame oil for an Asian-inspired dish.
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch acts as a thickening agent, helping to create a crispy coating on the tofu when it is fried. It can also be used to thicken sauces or marinades, ensuring they cling to the tofu for maximum flavor absorption.
Press extra firm tofu for at least 15 minutes (I line up some parchment paper or plastic bag and place a couple of heavy books on top).
Leave it slightly inclined next to the sink so the excess water can run. Then cut the tofu into cubes.
Step 1: Cut tofu into thick ½" slices, putting a parchment paper or paper towel below.
Step 2: Put another sheet of paper towel on top.
Step 3: Put some weight on top, like books or any other weight. You can put another chopping board and weight on top to distribute the weight evenly.
Step 4: Dice tofu into cubes.
Now, you need to coat the cubes with cornstarch. You can do this in two ways:
- Place those cubes in a bowl and toss gently with 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch. As seen in the video.
- Or, you can add the cornstarch to a Ziplock bag and get the tofu cubes inside. Shake the bag and get ready. As seen in the picture below.
Step 5: Or, you can add the cornstarch to a Ziplock bag and get the tofu cubes inside. Shake the bag and get ready. As seen in the picture below.
Step 6: Arrange the tofu on a parchment-lined baking sheet and drizzle with your oil of choice.
Step 7: Bake at 425ºF (250ºC) for 25 minutes or until you see they are golden enough for your liking.
🍳 Preparing crispy tofu on the stove
- Lightly dab with paper towels. (Note: Over-pressing removes too much moisture, leading to a dry texture.)
- Slice into cubes and gently pat them using paper towels.
- Fry in a skillet or wok seasoned with salt and pepper, using oils like olive, avocado, coconut, or peanut.
- Wait for the tofu to become crispy before flipping. If it's sticking to the pan, it's not ready to be turned.
- Fry most of the sides until they're a golden hue and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
💡 Tips and Substitutions
- Type of oil: it doesn’t make much of a difference, but I like to be consequent to the flavor’s palettes to use either a neutral oil to go safe. I like using sesame or peanut oil for Asian dishes, Extra-Virgin Olive Oil if we use the cubes for other preparations such as pasta!
- Cornstarch: use tapioca or potato starch instead.
- As for toppings: as mentioned before, these perfect tofu cubes are commonly found in Buddha bowls and curries, but I recently even added it to my pesto pasta to add some extra protein and loved it. Of course, they would kill me here in Italy for making such a “thing,” but what can I say? It was delicious.
- Cube sizes: you might want to try different sizes the first time to make it identify your sweet spot. We find that the smaller the size, the less chunky, meaty center you will get. So try big, ½ inch (1 cm) cubes for curries and appetizers and smaller ¼ inch (½ cm) cubes for more delicate sizes on pasta.
See how to make crispy air fryer tofu nuggets with a Mediterranean Marinade.
Yes, flour gives decent results, but in my experience, the more critical "outstanding" results come from (in order of priority):
1. Using cornstarch (maizena) instead of flour.
2. Pressing them for 10-15 mins, as the excess water can influence the crispiness. All tofu brands are different, and all of them have different textures and are more or less firmer, so this step ensures you "standardize" how much moisture the cubes hold.
3. The size of the cubes also plays a part.
Hint: you can also use tapioca or potato starch.
📚 More Tofu Recipes
🥢 How to serve
These curries are great to top with these delicious tofu chunks.
- Indian Eggplant Curry
- Thai Fresh Vegan Curry
- Vegetable Green Thai Curry
- Veggies Yellow Thai Curry
- Chickpea Coconut Curry
- Vegetable Massaman Curry
⭐ If you try this recipe, let us know! 💬 Leave a comment, rate it, and don't forget to tag us @ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
How to Make Crispy Tofu
- Press extra firm tofu for at least 15 minutes. Then cut the tofu into cubes.
- Coat the cubes with cornstarch. You can do this in two ways:Place those cubes in a bowl and toss gently with 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch. As seen in the video.Or, you can add the cornstarch to a Ziplock bag and get the tofu cubes inside. Shake the bag and ready. As seen in the pictures.
- Arrange the tofu on a parchment-lined baking sheet and drizzle with your oil of choice.
- Bake at 425ºF (250ºC) for 25 minutes or until you see they are golden enough for your liking.
- Serve in your favorite buddha bowl or stir fry or eat as an appetizer with your favorite dipping sauce. We like doing just that with our Creamy Vegan Sauce.
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