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This 30-Minute Baked Tofu recipe is my favorite way to make tofu! It’s ultra-easy, totally customizable with your favorite seasonings, and surprisingly crispy and delicious.
Finally, after sharing recipes this week for how to bake chicken, steak, pork, salmon, and shrimp, we arrive at the recipe that kicked off this whole back-to-basics protein series…
…how to make baked tofu!
I admittedly never used to be the biggest fan of tofu. But after meeting and marrying a vegetarian who absolutely loves it, tofu has found its way into our weekly dinner rotation nowadays about once a week. And I’ve come to appreciate how awesome it can be when prepared well, plus the multitude of ways that you can prepare it! We love it nice and soft in soups (hello, miso soup, hot and sour soup and sundubu jjigae). We love chopping and mixing it into sofritas and healthy meatballs (coming soon) and veggie burgers. We love popping it on the grill and searing it up in a skillet. But most of the time?
We love making this ultra-simple baked tofu recipe in the oven.
Also read: Fried Shrimp | Family Cuisine
It’s just about the easiest recipe in the world, and yields a batch of tofu that is surprisingly crispy on the outside, yet still nice and soft on the inside. And perfect for topping steaming bowls of soup or curry noodles, tossing with sauce in a tofu stir-fry, adding to burritos or salads or tacos, or whatever else may sound delicious. And of course, this basic recipe is also easily customizable with your favorite seasonings or sauces that you’d like to add.
So whether you’ve been on Team Tofu for years, or you’re a newbie ready to give it a try, here are all of my best tips and tricks for how to make the best crispy baked tofu recipe you’ve ever tried!
Baked Tofu Recipe | 1-Minute Video
First of all, a quick rundown about tofu basics, if this is your first time cooking with it.
What is tofu made of? Tofu is made from curdled fresh soy milk, which has been compressing it into blocks. (Similar to the process of making cheese.) It’s usually 100% gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan. Although because it contains soybeans, it is not Paleo or Whole30-friendly.
What does tofu taste like? Tofu has a super-mild flavor (think: soy milk) that easily adopts whatever seasonings you’d like to add.
Tofu nutrition? We mostly love to eat tofu because it’s a vegetarian protein that is high in calcium and protein. Tofu is also an excellent source of amino acids, and has a low calorie count (although a high fat count). We always buy organic tofu.
How is tofu sold? Typically there are two main categories of tofu — silken or regular. Aptly named, silken tofu is super soft and creamy and silky, because it is undrained and has a high water content. By contrast, regular tofu (or Chinese-style tofu) comes in a variety of different levels of firmness — soft, medium, firm, extra-firm. For this recipe, you will need firm or extra-firm tofu.
Where to find tofu in the grocery store? Tofu is typically found in the refrigerated sections of grocery stores, either in the produce section, near the cheese section, or in the health food section. Silken tofu, however, is sometimes sold un-refrigerated and may be found in an ethnic section.
Baked Tofu Ingredients
To make this baked tofu recipe, you will need the following ingredients:
- Tofu: One block of tofu, either firm or extra-firm. I also strongly recommend buying organic tofu, if it’s available.
- Oil: Olive oil, or whatever your preferred cooking oil may be.
- Cornstarch: This is the magic ingredient that helps make tofu (as well as many other foods) extra-crispy in the oven.
- Seasonings: I typically just use a mixture of garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper to season my tofu. (This mixture goes well with just about any recipe.) But see below for other seasonings ideas.
How To Cook Tofu In The Oven
Alright, let’s talk about how to cook tofu! To bake tofu in the oven, simply:
- Drain the tofu. First things first — even the most firm varieties of tofu contain lots of extra water. So in order to get our tofu nice and crispy, we need to drain some of that our first. To do so, slice your block of tofu into 2 or 3 slabs (depending on the shape of your tofu block, each slab should be about 3/4 to 1-inch thick). Then lay some paper towels or a clean tea towel on a flat surface, and place the slabs side by side on top of the paper towels. Cover with another layer of paper towels on top of the tofu. Then place a cutting board on top, and stack a bunch of heavy cans or pots or whatever you can safely balance on the cutting board. The idea is to put a lot of pressure/weight on the tofu, which will help the excess water to press out into the paper towels. Let the tofu drain for at least 15-30 minutes.
- Cut the tofu. Once the tofu has drained, remove the weights and paper towels. And use a knife to cut the tofu into your desired shapes. I typically just make little cubes (about 3/4-inch each), but you can cut any size of triangles, rectangles, or other shapes that you’d like. Of course, the thickness of your shapes will determine your crispy-outside to soft-inside ratio. So if you want even crispier bites of tofu, make your shapes a bit thinner.
- Coat the tofu. Then add your tofu to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle it with olive oil, and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle evenly with cornstarch and seasonings (I use garlic powder, salt and pepper). Toss gently again until the tofu is evenly coated.
- Arrange on a baking sheet. Then turn the tofu out onto a parchment-covered baking sheet, and arrange it so that the tofu is in an even layer (not overlapping).
- Bake until crispy. Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes. Then remove the baking sheet from the oven, and flip each of the tofu bites so that they can cook evenly on the other side. Return to the oven for 15 more minutes, or until the tofu reaches your desired level of crispiness. Then remove and…
- Serve warm! And enjoy!!
Tofu Seasonings, Sauces & Marinades
Similar to chicken, tofu does a brilliant job of adopting whatever flavors you choose to use in your seasonings. I’m a big fan of the simple garlic powder/salt/pepper mix in the recipe below, which goes with just about any cuisine. But if you’d like to mix things up, feel free to sub in any of your favorite dry seasoning mixes, such as:
- Italian Seasoning
- Cajun Seasoning
- Za’atar Seasoning
- Taco Seasoning
- Curry Powder
- Caribbean Jerk Seasoning
Or, feel free to soak your tofu in your favorite tofu marinade for 10-15 minutes (after draining, before coating with cornstarch). Or — my favorite — cook the tofu with the basic seasoning mix above, and then toss it with your favorite finishing sauce afterwards, like in this magic garlic tofu stir-fry recipe below. Recipe coming next week!
Side Dish Ideas
Looking for some side dishes to serve with this salmon recipe? Here are a few of my faves:
- Everyday Salad
- Fried Rice or Sesame Noodles
- Roasted Asparagus or Perfect Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Berry Fruit Salad or Winter Fruit Salad
More Baked Protein Tutorials
Be sure to check out our other baked protein tutorials here on the blog. (More coming soon!)
- Baked Chicken Breasts
- Baked Pork Chops
- Baked Steak (How To Cook Steak In The Oven)
- Baked Shrimp (The Easiest Way To Cook Shrimp!)
- Baked Salmon
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