This easy pan-fried tofu is crispy and covered in a spicy peanut sauce. This vegan recipe takes under 30 minutes to make and is perfect for quick weeknight meals.
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’s my favorite recipe I’ve ever made.
I know that sounds like a hyperbole, but I’m not kidding! This spicy peanut tofu is my new favorite quick meal.
This crispy tofu is pan-fried and covered in a delicious spicy peanut sauce. It uses pantry staples and is just plain easy to make.
Here’s why you’ll love this recipe:
- It takes under 30 minutes to make
- Tofu is a healthy plant based protein that’s absorbs the flavor of whatever you cook it in, making it super versatile and tasty
- Spicy peanut sauce. Need I say more?
- Great as an appetizer OR main dish when paired with rice and broccoli or snap peas
- No baking or excess dishes required; just a large saute pan and a small mixing bowl
Don’t like spicy food? No problem! Simply leave out the red pepper flakes.
This recipe uses my go-to method for pan-frying tofu.
Slice the tofu into squares (see the photos below for reference size). 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 shoould 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.
Side note: Here’s the thing: 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.
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.
For a well rounded quick meal, enjoy your delicious crispy tofu with rice and steamed broccoli. Top with green onions, cilantro, and a squirt of lime.
If you’re really into spicy food, sprinkle with some more red pepper flakes or 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 similar recipes?
- Vegan Chorizo Tofu Crumbles
- Crispy Baked Tofu Nuggets
- Vegan Tofu Pot Pie with Veggies
- Easy Marinated Tofu
- Peanut Sauce Chickpea and Broccoli Bowls
You might also like this guide to tofu.
Spicy Peanut Sauce Tofu
- 1 block (14 ounces) extra firm tofu
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil*
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter*
- 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 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 red pepper flakes. 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.