Shredded BBQ tofu is a flavorful but simple filling that's perfect in tacos, sandwiches, and quesadillas. All you need is a cheese grater, 6 ingredients, and just about 30 minutes to make shredded tofu!
Grating tofu with a box grater, then baking it yields an amazing texture. Baking the tofu dehydrates it, resulting in some pieces of tofu that are firm and others that are almost chewy.
This creates a more realistic BBQ experience because a variety of textures is what you would expect in something like shredded barbecue chicken or pork.
You can use shredded tofu in bowls, tacos, and sandwiches (though might I recommend my BBQ tofu sandwich?). If you're looking for a new way to serve tofu, this is it!
- Texture: The tofu is grated and baked until firm. This results in a chewier, more complex texture than baked tofu. The tofu is then tossed with barbecue sauce and seasonings and baked again to further enhance the flavor and texture.
- Ingredients: Shredded tofu use just six simple ingredients. I use my favorite store-bought sweet BBQ sauce, but homemade vegan BBQ sauce also works.
- Time: Shredding tofu is the most time-intensive part of this recipe, and it only takes a few minutes. Overall, this recipe is ready in just over 30 minutes.
Want to learn more about how to cook tofu? Check out my roundup of easy tofu recipes for more tips and some of my favorite tofu recipes.
- Tofu: This recipe works best with super firm tofu. I tried it with extra firm tofu that was pressed for 15 minutes and the shreds were much more crumbly, resulting in less texture overall. I recommend sticking to super-firm tofu for the best results. Extra firm tofu works better for tofu taco meat, which is a ground consistency instead of shredded.
- BBQ sauce: I prefer sweet BBQ sauce, but you can really choose any kind of sauce here.
- Smoked paprika and chili powder add extra depth and smokiness.
- Cooking oil: I usually use olive oil or canola oil. Oil helps to crisp and brown the shredded tofu.
Step by step instructions
The first and most important step is to grate, or shred, the tofu. You will need a box grater for this step. Use the side that is used to make shredded cheese. It looks like this grater.
Grate along the short edge of the tofu, starting at the top holes and pulling toward the bottom ones for the most consistent grated tofu pieces.
Once fully shredded, toss with oil and salt. Spread the tofu out into as thin a layer as possible onto a lightly oiled or parchment-paper-lined half-sheet pan.
The shredded tofu pieces will overlap, that's okay.
Bake at 375F for 12-15 minutes. At this point, the pieces closest to the edges will be turning golden.
To the pan, add the BBQ sauce and seasonings. Gently toss until all of the tofu is coated.
Return to the oven to bake for an additional 6-8 minutes. The tofu is ready when the edge-most pieces are dried out and the center-most pieces are sticky instead of wet.
Variations and cooking tips
- This recipe makes 2-3 servings of shredded tofu, depending on your appetite. I use a half sheet pan for a single batch and a full sheet pan for a double batch.
- This method also works without BBQ sauce. Add any herbs or seasonings at the beginning and cook the shredded tofu until it is slightly dehydrated and firm.
- Any other sauce can be used in place of BBQ sauce. Teriyaki sauce would work especially well!
Leftovers are best within 3-4 days. Let cool before transferring to a closed container in the fridge.
Reheating: The tofu loses most of its original baked texture when reheated in the microwave. To keep some of the crispiness and texture, reheat it on the stove over medium heat.
Freezing: I have not tried freezing shredded tofu but I imagine that it works well. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
Looking for more tofu recipes?
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Baked BBQ Shredded Tofu
- 16 ounce block super firm tofu see note #1
- 1 tablespoon canola oil or other neutral cooking oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup sweet BBQ sauce
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Using the large holes on a cheese grater, shred the tofu along the short edge. Start at the top of the grater and pull downwards to create long shreds similar to farm-style cheese.
- In a bowl, toss the tofu with 1 tablespoon olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt.
- Spread into a thin layer on a parchment-paper lined half sheet pan. Lightly oil the sheet pan if not using parchment paper. It's okay if some of the tofu pieces overlap.
- Bake on the middle oven rack at 375F for 12-15 minutes, until golden and starting to crisp around the edges.
- Remove from the oven. Use a spatula to toss the tofu with BBQ sauce, chili powder, and smoked paprika.
- Return to the oven for an additional 6-8 minutes, or until the tofu is firm and sticky. The result is sweet and smoky, almost chewy shreds of tofu.
- Serve in tacos, quesadillas, or sandwiches. Enjoy!
- Tofu: I tested this recipe with extra firm tofu and did not like the result as much as super firm. Extra firm tofu, even when pressed, was more crumbly. I recommend sticking to super firm tofu.
- BBQ sauce: Any sweet BBQ sauce goes best. I use Trader Joe's or my homemade vegan BBQ sauce.
- This method of shredded baked tofu works without BBQ sauce. Just add any blend of seasonings at the same time as the salt and bake until firm and golden.
- Leftovers are best within 3-4 days. Keep refrigerated. Reheat in a skillet over medium heat for best results.
- If doubling the recipe, use a full sheet pan instead of half.