Marinating tofu will take your dinner game to the next level! All you need is a handful of pantry staples for this flavorful, crispy pan-fried tofu. It's great in stir fries or with rice and veggies!
Marinating tofu, as with any other protein, gives an extra kick of flavor and really takes it to the next level. This is a great recipe to try if you're not usually a fan of tofu or if you find it boring.
The best part of this recipe is actually how it's cooked. Pan-fry in a hot skillet for the crispiest blackened texture combined with a soft and flavorful inside. It is so delicious!
Why make this recipe
- Easy to make
- Super flavorful
- Pan-fried until golden and crispy
- Perfect for stir fries, fried rice or on its own
Ingredients and substitutions
Tofu: Firm, extra firm or super firm tofu will work well in this recipe. Soft will not work.
Soy sauce: I use the full-sodium kind in this marinade, but you can swap with reduced sodium as desired. Tamari can be used for a gluten free option.
Apple cider vinegar: This adds the slightest hint of acidity and sweetness to the recipe. Try using rice vinegar or plain vinegar if you don't have apple cider vinegar on hand.
Nutritional yeast: I think that this is the best part of the dish. It adds a lot of body to the marinade and the nutritional yeast flakes get nice and crispy when they're sauteed.
Maple syrup: Replace with honey, agave syrup or date syrup as needed.
Vegetable broth: This is used to stretch the marinade so that it covers the tofu. Use broth instead of water for the extra flavor it provides.
A. Press tofu for 10 minutes to remove excess moisture. I use this tofu press but a DIY press will work just as well. To make your own place the tofu between two plates. Stack a bag of beans or cans on top to weigh the plate down until water starts coming out.
B. Slice the tofu into 1 inch cubes. Add the cubes to the dish with the marinade. Swirl the marinade around so that all of the tofu gets touched. It won't all be underneath the marinade.
Next, stir together the marinade. Place tofu in a shallow baking dish and cover with the marinade.
You only need to marinate the tofu for 15 minutes but it's best if you let it marinate for 30 minutes to an hour. You can even let it marinate overnight!
My favorite way to cook tofu is in a cast iron skillet. A regular skillet will also work.
Heat the skillet over medium-high heat. Add peanut oil (any other neutral oil can be used if peanut is not available). Once hot, add the tofu without the marinade. Drizzle the tofu with an extra two tablespoons of soy sauce.
The key to crispy tofu is to let it fully cook on each side before turning it. This will take 3-4 minutes. Flip the tofu with a spatula to evenly brown all sides.
When the tofu is golden and just about ready, add an extra tablespoon of nutritional yeast. Sauté another minute, turning as needed to prevent burning.
Recipe FAQ and expert tips
- I always add an extra sprinkle of nutritional yeast and soy sauce to the tofu before serving. An extra sprinkle of hot sauce doesn't hurt either!
- Serve with rice and veggies for a quick and balanced meal. It also goes so well with this vegan fried rice.
- Check out my tofu guide for beginners for more tips and tricks.
Yes! Use tamari or coconut aminos in place of soy sauce for a gluten-free option.
Marinate for at least 15 minutes to allow it to soak up the marinade. You can marinate tofu up to 24 hours.
Marinated tofu works best with firm, extra firm or super firm tofu.
Keep tofu refrigerate in a closed container for 3-4 days. Reheat over medium-high heat in a non-stick skillet until crispy and warmed through.
Definitely! They won't have the same texture but will still be flavorful. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through. Add the extra soy sauce and nutritional yeast after removing from the oven.
I recommend freezing the tofu after marinating and before cooking. Freeze for up to three months. Let thaw in the fridge overnight before cooking on the stove per recipe instructions.
Looking for more tofu recipes?
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Easy Marinated Tofu
- 1 block (14 ounces) extra firm tofu drained, see note #1
- ¼ cup vegetable broth
- 5 tablespoons soy sauce divided
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast divided
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more for serving
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil see note #2
- ¼ cup sliced green onions for serving (optional)
- Remove tofu from package and drain off excess water. Press tofu for at least 10 minutes. Use a tofu press or make your own by placing the tofu between two large plates. Weigh down the top plate with a bag of dry beans or cans until water comes out of the tofu.
- Meanwhile, in a small baking dish or ziploc bag, stir together the marinade ingredients: ¼ cup vegetable broth, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon maple syrup, ½ teaspoon each: garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper.
- Slice the pressed tofu into 1 inch cubes. Add the cubes to the dish with the marinade. Swirl the marinade around so that it touches all of the tofu. The tofu will not be fully covered. Marinate for at least 15 minutes and up to 24 hours.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat (a regular non-stick skillet will also work). Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil. Once hot, add the tofu without the marinade. Drizzle the tofu with an extra two tablespoons of soy sauce.
- The key to crispy tofu is to let it fully cook on each side before turning it. This will take 3-4 minutes. Flip the tofu with a spatula to evenly brown all sides.
- When the tofu is golden and just about ready to serve, add an extra 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast. Saute another minute, turning as needed to prevent burning.
- Enjoy topped with additional freshly ground black pepper, nutritional yeast and optional green onions.
- Tofu: Use firm, extra-firm or super firm tofu. This recipe does not work with soft tofu.
- Peanut oil: This can be replaced with any neutral oil as needed, such as olive or canola.
- Storage and reheating: Keep tofu refrigerated in a closed container for 3-4 days. Reheat over medium-high heat in a non-stick skillet until crispy and warmed through.