This tasty baked tofu recipe is perfectly seasoned, easy to make, and healthy to boot. Ready in under 30 minutes, the tofu texture is perfection - succulent and meaty on the inside with a crunchy golden crust on the outside.
We are BIG fans of tofu recipes at our house, I cook tofu A LOT and everyone loves it (now). Tofu is a healthy vegan protein, quick and easy to make, inexpensive, and super versatile.
- Air fried tofu is the quickest, least fussy, healthy way to cook crispy tofu.
- Sizzling pan fried tofu is hands down the crispiest way to cook tofu for irresistibly crispy tofu and epic crunchiness.
- Baked tofu (my favorite!) is one of the easiest and best tofu recipes to make and yields a batch of the most succulent tofu with tender pillowy insides and gorgeous crispy crusts! It's perfect for adding to salads, ramen, tacos, stir fries, Buddha bowls and so much more.
Try one of these 3 EASY tofu cooking methods for the tofu lovers and tofu skeptics in your life - they won't be disappointed (and neither will you), I promise.
Ingredients with Substitutions
Cooking with tofu is quick, healthy, and delicious (great for meal prep!). It's inexpensive and readily available at the supermarket in the refrigerated aisle (usually near produce, cheese or deli). Here's what you'll need to make the easiest baked tofu recipe:
- Extra firm tofu: Can use firm if no extra firm available (talking to you, January!)
- Soy sauce: For rich umami, salty flavor. Sub with gluten-free soy sauce, tamari or low sodium soy sauce.
- Sambal oelek: Asian chili paste that adds a kick of heat. Can sub with sriracha or skip altogether to suit your taste.
- Nutritional yeast: Nutritional yeast is optional, but adds a ton of cheesy savory flavor. I add it about half the time - either way this tofu is flavorful and delicious.
- Basic seasonings: I always use garlic powder and coarse black pepper, but there's no limit to the type of seasonings you can add (see notes below).
- Olive oil: I like olive oil, but any oil can be subbed in for olive oil or skip it if oil free.
- Cornstarch: One of the secrets to the crispiest tofu coating.
Baked Tofu FAQ
Tofu may taste like nothing special on its own (it's a blank canvas), but transforming it into something special starts with selecting, preparing, and seasoning it properly. Let's get into the details:
- What is tofu anyway?: Tofu is so easy to make at home. It's just boiled soy beans that are curdled and then the water is pressed out. The more water pressed out, the firmer the texture is.
- Which tofu texture should I use?: For this baked tofu recipe (and most tofu main dishes), go for the extra firm or firm variety. Extra firm tofu has denser/firmer texture as it has a lower water content than other types of tofu like medium and silken.
- To Press or not to press tofu: Typically I don't press extra firm tofu that comes in a vaccum pack. I just wrap it with paper towels and gently squeeze any excess water from it. For softer tofu, pressing is recommended. Use a tofu press if you have one or wrap the tofu in a clean kitchen towel, stack a few cookbooks on top for 15-30 minutes.
- Seasoning tofu: Tofu itself has a neutral taste, but it's super flavorful when seasoned well. Tofu can be seasoned with dry rubs, marinades, sauces or dips (some suggestions below).
How to Cook Tofu
Crispy oven baked tofu makes the perfect substitute for chicken in any recipe. And the process is so simple (great tofu recipe for beginners!). Here's the step by step instructions for cooking tofu that tastes good!:
- Cut or break the tofu: Once the tofu is prepped, cut or break it into ~1" pieces then place them into a large bowl.
- Marinade the tofu: Add the tofu marinade ingredients (soy sauce, sambal oelek, oil, garlic, coarse black pepper) to the bowl then toss to coat.
- Coat the tofu: Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, toss to coat completely. If the marinade is still juicy, add another tablespoon of cornstarch. The tofu should be sticky and completely coated (not juicy and wet).
- Cooking the tofu: Transfer the tofu pieces to a parchment paper lined baking sheet in a single layer with space between. Bake at 400º F until the golden, crispy crust forms ~18 minutes total (flipping after 12 minutes). Voilà, the most delicious, perfectly cooked and irresistible tofu dish!
- Dig in: Garnish and enjoy immediately.
Pro Tips & Variations
- Epic crunch: For extra crispy tofu, add a drizzle of oil to the parchment-covered baking sheet. Spread it evenly over entire sheet before adding the tofu pieces.
- Make it oil free: If you follow an oil-free diet, this healthy baked tofu recipe is still super delicious made without oil - just skip it altogether. We enjoy this tofu recipe oil-free often.
- Tofu seasonings and marinades: There are lots of ways to make tofu taste good! Play with the flavor by adding 1-2 tablespoons of your favorite seasoning mix to this basic tofu recipe eg. taco seasoning, KFC seasoning, sage and onion seasoning, Italian seasoning or Buffalo spice to name a few. Or soak the tofu cubes in your favorite tofu marinade or dressing for 15 minutes before coating and baking. Of course there's always finishing sauces and dips to add layers of flavor to tofu as well!
- Storing leftover tofu: Leftover over baked tofu bites will keep in the fridge all week. It's not crispy, but it's very delicious and the texture is excellent.
- Reheating tofu: To bring the crispness back to baked tofu, pop it into the air fryer at 380ºF for ~2 minutes until heated through.
MILLION DOLLAR TIP: Don't overcook your tofu! Overcooked tofu is rubbery and dry (not great). In my experience, newbies to tofu prefer a firmer tofu texture (well done) at first. To achieve that, cook the tofu for a few extra minutes or cut it into smaller tofu cubes which creates that firmer, meaty texture. When you first start cooking tofu recipes, I recommend tasting it periodically as you're cooking until you find the perfect combination of time, temperature, and texture to suit your taste (rare, medium or well done). This tofu recipe is ~medium.
Ways to Serve Baked Tofu
- As an appetizer: Serve baked tofu bites with your favorite dipping sauce like sweet and spicy tahini, vegan ranch, creamy chipotle sauce or peanut hoisin sauce to name a few.
- In a bowl: Top up a Buddha bowl or spicy Thai Peanut Noodles.
- Elevate your salads: Bump up the plant protein in your favorite salad like Thai Crunch Salad, Crunchy Asian Cabbage Salad or Mason Salad Jars for a healthy lunch.
- Tossed in a finishing sauce: like orange sauce, ginger sesame sauce or teriyaki sauce.
The Best Tofu Recipes
Whether you air fry tofu, pan fry it, shred it, crumble it or bake it, tofu makes a delicious plant-based, high protein meal in minutes. Here's some of my family's favorite tofu recipes:
- Spicy Tofu Noodle Bowl
- Crunchy Vegan Chicken Nuggets
- Crispy Orange Tofu
- Easy Teriyaki Tofu
- Tofu Scrambled Eggs
- Vegan Taco Bowl
If you tried this Succulent Baked Tofu recipe, please leave a rating and review below! Be sure to follow along on Instagram and Pinterest or sign up for my Sunday morning newsletter for tips on how to make vegan food taste incredible.
Oven Baked Tofu (The Best!)
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- 12 ounce tofu block, extra firm
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 2 teaspoons sambal oelek
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ - 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Wrap tofu (12-16 ounce block) in a clean kitchen towel, gently squeeze any extra water and pat dry. If your tofu is softer, it would benefit from being pressed. (see notes).
- Preheat oven to 400º F.
- Cut or break the tofu into ~1" pieces. Place in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the soy sauce, sambal, garlic powder, black pepper, and oil over the tofu and toss to coat using a large spoon or your hands.
- Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cornstarch over the tofu and shake again to coat the tofu. If the tofu is still wet/juicy, add another 1 tablespoon cornstarch and mix until the tofu is coated and sticky (see photos). No dry spots.
- Cover a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and spread evenly over the surface. Arrange tofu on the baking sheet in a single layer with space between. *The oil is optional.
- Bake at 400º F for 12 minutes. Flip the tofu pieces over and return to the oven for an additional 6 minutes. Bake for additional time for a more well done tofu texture.
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