Sweet and savory flavors combine to make this easy but delicious baked sesame tofu! This recipe is great for quick weeknight dinners and is vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free optional.
Sesame tofu is slightly sweet and balanced with savory ginger and garlic flavors. Toss with oven baked tofu for a delicious better than takeout meal!
You can make the sesame garlic sauce in just 10 minutes while the tofu is baking in the oven. Honestly, this sauce is even great served over vegetables.
Ingredients and substitutions
Sesame oil: This imparts much of the sesame flavor into the dish.
Ginger and garlic: Fresh is best for this recipe because it is the backbone of the sauce.
Light brown sugar: For sweetness! White sugar or coconut sugar will work in a pinch.
Soy sauce: I use full-sodium soy sauce in this recipe. To cut down on salt you can use reduced-sodium if desired. Use tamari for a gluten free dish.
Rice wine vinegar: A little bit of acid adds brightness to the sauce.
Vegetable broth: In a pinch you can use water in place of vegetable broth, but broth will make the sauce more flavorful.
Cornstarch slurry: This is used to thicken the sauce. Mixing the corn starch and water together in a separate bowl prevents the sauce from getting lumpy. If your sauce isn't getting as thick as you'd like it you can always add extra cornstarch and water.
Toasted sesame seeds: Quickly toasting sesame seeds in an unoiled pan is a great way to add extra sesame flavor to the tofu.
Tofu: Extra firm or super firm work best but firm is fine if that's what you have on hand. Learn more about the different types of tofu in my complete guide to tofu.
How to get crispy tofu
To get the crispiest tofu we'll use corn starch like I do with my simple baked tofu recipe.
All you have to do is toss cubed tofu with a bit of olive oil, corn starch and salt. Bake it in the oven for 30 minutes until nice and crispy.
Side note: You can definitely make this recipe without baking the tofu! Simply saute tofu in a hot pan until browned on each side, much like my marinated tofu recipe.
Toss with the sauce and enjoy!
I like to pair sesame tofu with plain white rice and sauteed broccoli. Simple but oh so good! This tofu also goes really well in vegan fried rice.
Looking for more tofu recipes? Here are a few of my favorites:
Baked Sesame Tofu
- 1 block (14 ounces) extra firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 6 tablespoons (¼ cup + 2 tablespoons) vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- chopped green onions for serving
- Preheat oven to 420 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice tofu into 1" cubes. Press tofu firmly with a paper towel to remove excess moisture from the outside.
- Add tofu to a large plastic bag or container. Sprinkle with olive oil, corn starch and salt. Gently toss to coat the tofu. You can also move your hands on the outside of the plastic bag to coat the tofu.
- Place the tofu in a single layer on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. The tofu cubes should not be touching each other. Bake in 420 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Meanwhile, make the sesame sauce. Add sesame oil to a small sauce pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add garlic and ginger. Saute until golden and aromatic, about one minute.
- Stir in brown sugar. Add the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and vegetable broth. Bring to a rapid simmer over high heat. Mix together one tablespoon cornstarch and one tablespoon water in a small dish to form a "slurry". Add this to the the pot, then reduce the heat to medium low.
- Allow to simmer until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon without sliding off. This will take about 5 minutes.
- Heat a small pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the sesame seeds. Stir consistently until toasted and aromatic, about 1-2 minutes.
- Drizzle sesame sauce on the baked tofu. Toss with the toasted seeds. Serve with rice and green onions.
- Tofu: Extra firm or super firm work best but firm is fine if that’s what you have on hand.
- Extra sauce goes well on rice or steamed vegetables.
- This recipe is best enjoyed right away but will keep refrigerated for 4-5 days.