This easy pan-fried tofu is crispy and coated in a delicious spicy peanut sauce. This recipe takes under 30 minutes to make but it's packed with flavor!
Usually, I wait a little while to write a blog post after making a new recipe, just to make sure that it's something that I really want to share. But I just couldn't wait with this spicy peanut sauce tofu! I knew right away that it was one of my favorite recipes that I had ever made.
This crispy tofu is pan-fried and coated in a delicious spicy peanut sauce. It uses pantry staples and is just plain easy to make. The tofu doesn't have to be pressed or marinated and the entire dish comes together in just 25 minutes.
- Quick & easy: It takes under 30 minutes to make
- Tofu: The tofu is pan-fried. No pressing or baking required to make crispy, golden, and flavorful tofu.
- Spicy peanut sauce: This is made from a mixture of
- Versatile: Spicy peanut tofu is great as an appetizer or as a main dish when paired with rice and broccoli or snap peas.
Don't like spicy food? No problem! Simply leave out the sriracha or try the sauce from my baked peanut tofu instead.
- Peanut butter: Choose creamy peanut butter. Natural or regular peanut butter work, but regular may need to be thinned out more than natural.
- Peanut oil: This doubles down on the peanut flavor. However, any neutral oil like vegetable or canola oil will work.
- Sriracha is the main source of heat/spice. Adjust to taste. Feel free to use red pepper flakes instead.
- Soy sauce adds saltiness to the spicy peanut sauce. Use an equal amount of tamari to make this recipe gluten-free.
- Ginger and garlic: I recommend using fresh ginger and garlic because sauteing it adds a ton of flavor to the sauce.
This recipe uses my go-to method for pan-frying tofu.
Slice the tofu into thin squares. One block of tofu makes about 20 tofu squares.
Heat the peanut oil over medium heat and add in the minced garlic and ginger, sauteing for one minute. This part is key, as these ingredients (peanut oil included) impart a lot of flavor to the peanut sauce and tofu.
Add the tofu squares to the pan; they should all fit without overlapping, but you can do this part in batches as needed.
Saute each side for 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Brush one side with the peanut sauce, then flip it over so that it's the side being cooked. Coat the other side and flip over after 1-2 minutes, so that each side is browned.
Brush the peanut sauce on the tofu so that you get evenly coated and lightly crispy tofu. You can use the remaining sauce over rice and veggies, or as a dipping sauce.
Method note: The first time I made this I just poured the peanut sauce right into the pan, which basically made really messy fried tofu. I'll admit that I loved the flavor, but it's not the most beautiful thing to have chunks of fried peanut butter sliding off of the tofu. Tasty, but not cute.
For a well-rounded quick meal, enjoy the spicy peanut tofu with rice and steamed broccoli. Top with green onions, cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
For even more heat, sprinkle the tofu with red pepper flakes or an extra drizzle of sriracha.
You can also bake the tofu using my go-to simple baked tofu method. You might also like this baked peanut tofu.
Looking for more tofu recipes?
If you're new to cooking with tofu, check out my guide to tofu.
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Spicy Peanut Tofu (Pan-Fried)
- 1 block (14 ounces) extra firm tofu
- 1 and ½ teaspoons peanut oil*
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup natural peanut butter*
- 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- ¼ cup vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon sriracha adjust to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (from half of a lime)
- green onions, for garnishing
- cilantro, for garnishing
- Slice the tofu into ten slices, width-wise. Cut each slice in half so that you have 20 squares of tofu. To remove excess moisture, pat each side lightly with a clean dish towel or paper towel.
- In a large saucepan, heat peanut oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the minced garlic and ginger. Saute until aromatic, about 1 minute.
- Add the tofu to the pan in a single layer; depending on the size of your pan, you may need to do this in batches. Cook each side for 5 minutes, until lightly browned.
- Meanwhile, making the spicy peanut sauce by mixing together the peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, vegetable broth, rice wine vinegar, lime juice, and sriracha. It should be smooth and creamy, like a thick sauce.
- Use a basting or pastry brush to brush the peanut sauce lightly onto the exposed side of the tofu. Flip over, cooking another 1-2 minutes, until browned. Repeat with the other side of the tofu.
- Remove the tofu from the pan once browned on both sides. Enjoy with additional spicy peanut sauce, rice, and veggies.