This Chinese takeout-inspired General Tso's tofu is sweet, savory, and super easy to make. It's perfect for weeknight meals and the sauce is so good that you'll want to drizzle it on everything!
- Dietary-features: vegan, vegetarian, nut-free
- Flavorful: Features a balance of sweet, salty, and savory flavors inspired by atkeout General Tso's tofu.
- Versatile: Can be made with baked or air-fried tofu.
- Great as a weeknight meal starter. Pair with rice and broccoli for a simple but satisfying vegan meal.
Take-out General Tso's is one of my favorite meals, so I had to find a way to make my own version at home.
My recipe is by no means authentic but I do hope that you enjoy my spin on this Chinese takeout staple.
General Tso's is traditionally made with deep-fried chicken in Chinese restaurants, but this version features a lighter plant-based spin using oven-baked tofu. You can also cook tofu in the air fryer, which makes this a 30 minute recipe!
- Extra firm tofu or super-firm tofu are my go-tos for baked tofu but firm will work in a pinch.
- Hoisin sauce: This is a sweet and salty sauce. You can find it in the sauces section or International section of most grocery stores.
- Reduced sodium soy sauce can be replaced with tamari as needed. Regular soy sauce also works.
- Rice vinegar is a cooking staple (I use for peanut stir fry sauce, cold peanut noodle salad, etc.). I don't recommend using regular vinegar.
- White sugar can be adjusted to taste. Coconut sugar also works but will yield a slightly more caramel flavor.
- Corn starch is used to thicken the sauce. Arrowroot powder can also be used.
- Tomato paste adds depth. I usually freeze leftover tomato paste in a small jar.
Making the tofu
For a lightened-up version of General Tso's tofu, I like to bake the tofu. You do not need to press tofu for this method.
- Slice tofu into 1 inch cubes. For more texture, you can tear the tofu block into chunks.
- Pat the tofu pieces gently with a clean towel or paper towel to remove excess moisture.
- In a freezer bag or closed container, toss the tofu cubes with corn starch and oil.
- Bake in the oven at 420F until golden brown.
For more information on this method, you can read my post on how to make crispy tofu.
Making the sauce
Combine all ingredients, except for vegetable broth and corn starch, in a small saucepan. With the heat off, use a silicon whisk to mix ingredients together (I use silicon to avoid scratching).
Slowly whisk in vegetable broth. Bring to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat. I recommend slowly whisking in the broth instead of adding it all at once because this helps keep lumps from forming.
In a separate bowl, whisk together corn starch and water to make a slurry. This thickens the General Tso's sauce.
Add the slurry to the simmering sauce. Simmer sauce uncovered until thickened enough to coat the back of a metal spoon without sliding off. See the image above for reference consistency.
Tips and variations
- Make it spicy: Add red pepper flakes to taste for a spicier sauce.
- Adjust for sweetness and saltiness by increasing/decreasing sugar and soy sauce. The hoisin sauce also contributes a lot of sweetness.
- Variations: The General Tso's sauce is great on cauliflower, chickpeas, tempeh or any other protein.
- Make it gluten-free: Hoison sauce usually is not gluten-free. You may be able to find a gluten-free Hoisin sauce at your store or you can buy it online. Use tamari in place of soy sauce.
- Air-fry option: You can also use air-fryed tofu instead of baked tofu. Air fry corn starch-coated piecse of tofu at 400F for 10-12 minutes, until golden and crispy.
- Serving ideas: I like to eat General Tso's Tofu with white or brown rice and steamed broccoli. It's also great in vegan fried rice!
The tofu will last in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or re-crisp on the stove over medium heat.
Yes, the sauce freezes well. Let cool to room temp before transferring to a freezer-safe container or pint-sized ball jar. Leave at least ½ inch space at the top of the container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the fridge before using.
Yes! To make pan-fried tofu, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Drizzle with a neutral oil, such as canola oil. Add the cornstarch-coated tofu and sauté until golden, stirring as needed for even cooking.
Looking for similar recipes?
New to tofu? Check out my complete guide about how to cook tofu.
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General Tso's Tofu
- 14 ounce block extra firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1-2 tablespoons white sugar see note
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon vegetable broth divided
- for serving: 3 cups cooked white rice 2 cups broccoli
To Make the Tofu
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- To make the baked tofu: Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice tofu into 1" cubes. Pat tofu firmly with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Add tofu to a large plastic bag or container. Sprinkle with olive oil, corn starch and salt. Gently toss to evenly coat the tofu.
- Place the tofu in a single layer on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake in 425 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven when golden brown.
To Make the Sauce
- In a small saucepot (the stove should be off) whisk together rice vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, tomato paste, sugar, ground ginger, garlic powder and red pepper flakes. Pour in ¾ cup vegetable broth, stirring to combine.
- Bring to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat. In a small bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon corn starch and 1 tablespoon vegetable broth. Pour this slurry into the simmering sauce.
- Reduce heat to a slow simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer until thickened enough to coat the back of a metal spoon without sliding off. This should take about 5 minutes.
- Stir baked tofu into the sauce. Serve with rice and broccoli.
- Sugar: You can use white sugar, coconut sugar, or maple syrup in this recipe in equal amounts. The maple syrup will give a slightly different flavor but is still very good. Use 2 tablespoons for a sweeter sauce.
- Read my post on how to make SImple Baked Tofu for more information on the tofu method.
- This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. Do note that the base General Tso's sauce makes a little more than is needed to coat all of the tofu. I usually drizzle my vegetables and rice in the extra sauce.
- Leftovers and reheating: Keep refrigerated in a closed container for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or re-crisp on the stove over medium heat.
- For pan-fried tofu: Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Drizzle with neutral oil, such as canola oil. Add the cornstarch coated tofu and sauté until golden, stirring as needed for even cooking.
- To freeze the sauce: Let cool to room temp before transferring to a freezer safe container or pint-sized ball jar. Leave at least ½ inch space at the top of the container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the fridge before using.
- To make gluten-free use tamari in place of soy sauce and choose a gluten-free Hoisin sauce.