Crispy Baked Tofu with Italian Herbs

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Baking sheet of Italian herb crispy baked tofu topped with fresh thyme and basil

Crispy tofu that tastes like pizza? Count us in! After a few tests, we nailed this crumbled baked tofu featuring Italian herbs and garlic. It’s so crispy and flavor-packed that we couldn’t stop eating it right off the pan! Even tofu haters admitted it’s good.

It’s an endlessly versatile, plant-based protein boost perfect for polenta, pasta, pizza, wraps, and beyond! Did we mention it’s easy to make with just 10 ingredients and 1 pan required? We can’t wait for you to try it! Let’s get crispy!

Tofu, tamari, balsamic vinegar, Italian herbs, garlic, olive oil, and salt

Origin of Tofu

It’s believed that tofu originated in China during the Han dynasty (202 BC – 8 AD). Then about 500 years later, it’s thought to have spread to neighboring countries such as Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. It’s now consumed and enjoyed throughout the world. You can take a deeper dive into the history of tofu here.

How to Make Crispy Baked Tofu

Tofu is one of those foods that gets a bad rap for being flavorless and having a strange texture. But when done right, it’s anything but that! And this recipe (plus these) is definitely tofu done right — think crispy, flavor-packed, and effortless to prepare.

Here are some of our top tips for flavorful, crispy baked tofu:

Tip #1: Press out the moisture

Remove excess moisture from the tofu using a tofu press or by wrapping it in a kitchen towel and placing something heavy on top (like a cast iron skillet). Less water in the tofu means it can absorb more marinade.

Tip #2: Crumble into bite-sized pieces

We crumble the tofu into bite-sized pieces to maximize the surface area, which helps it to crisp up all around.

Crumbling tofu into bite-sized pieces in a bowl

Tip #3: Use a flavorful sauce

Tofu has a neutral flavor, which means it benefits from a super flavorful sauce. For this recipe, the sauce consists of umami-packed tamari, rich olive oil, tangy balsamic vinegar, sweet tomato paste, salt, and Italian herbs (oregano, thyme, and basil).

Crumbled tofu on a baking sheet next to a bowl of marinade

Tip #4: Bake at a high heat

Baking the tofu at 425 degrees Fahrenheit (218 Celsius) for 30-35 minutes allows it to get firm with crispy edges. Just make sure to give it a stir after 20 minutes to ensure even cooking.

Pan of crispy baked tofu crumbles

We hope you LOVE this crispy baked tofu! It’s:

Herby
Flavor-packed
Firm with crispy edges
Simple
Versatile
& Tastes like pizza!

Plus, it’s delicious on pizza! And risotto, polenta, pasta, and so much more. We also have a vegan wrap recipe coming soon, and this tofu is the star of the show. Stay tuned, friends!

More Flavorful Tofu Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Bowl of polenta topped with crispy baked tofu and Italian herbs

Crispy Baked Tofu with Italian Herbs

Crispy tofu that tastes like pizza! A simple, endlessly versatile, and protein-packed topping for polenta, pasta, wraps, and beyond! Vegan, gluten-free, and bursting with herby goodness!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Wooden spoon resting on a pan of Italian herb baked tofu
4.93 from 40 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 (~1/2-cup servings)
Course Entree
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Italian-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 3-4 Days

Ingredients

  • 1 (14-oz.) package extra-firm tofu
  • 1 ½ Tbsp tamari (or soy sauce // ensure gluten-free as needed)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (NOT glaze)
  • 1 ½ Tbsp tomato paste
  • 4-5 small cloves garlic, crushed or minced (4-5 cloves yield ~2 tsp crushed)
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (omit if using soy sauce)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 F (218 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Wrap your extra-firm tofu in an absorbent towel. Set something heavy on top — like a cast iron skillet — to press out extra moisture for 15 minutes. Alternatively, use a tofu press.
  • Crumble the tofu into pieces less than 1/2-inch in size and arrange them on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients (tamari, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, garlic, basil, oregano, thyme, and salt). Pour over the tofu and toss to coat.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, flip with a spatula, and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the tofu is a little firm and golden with crispy edges.
  • Enjoy warm or at room temperature. This tofu is the perfect protein boost for wraps, risotto, polenta, creamy pink pasta, pasta arrabiata, or on pizza or paired with roasted vegetables.
  • Leftovers keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. Reheat in a skillet or in the oven at 350 F (176 C) for 5-10 minutes until warm and crispy.

Video

Notes

*Prep time includes pressing tofu.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 225 Carbohydrates: 6.7 g Protein: 14.5 g Fat: 17.2 g Saturated Fat: 2.6 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 4.6 g Monounsaturated Fat: 9.1 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 536 mg Potassium: 288 mg Fiber: 1.3 g Sugar: 3.6 g Vitamin A: 109 IU Vitamin C: 2 mg Calcium: 401 mg Iron: 3.9 mg

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  1. Paige says

    Hi! I just realized I’m out of tomato paste! I do have pasta sauce already made – is there any combo of pasta sauce amount with other seasonings that may work here?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Paige, that could work! You might want to cook the sauce down a bit to concentrate the flavor. Hope that helps!

      • Paige says

        Thanks!! I used about 1/2 – 3/4 cup of pasta sauce, until the coating on the tofu was similar to how it looks following your recipe. I added a splash of vinegar (my favorite part of your recipe) and some more herbs. Your recipe is much better as it is written, but this worked in a pinch. Thank you ☺️

  2. Hannah Kaiser says

    Hi! I cook your recipes all the time and they never fail. I am allergic to balsamic vinegar – any thoughts on substitutes?
    Thank you!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Hannah, can you have other kinds of vinegar? If so, we think red wine vinegar with a splash of maple syrup might be a suitably sweet/tart substitution. If you can’t have vinegar, some combination of lemon juice and maple syrup/molasses might work. Hope this helps!

  3. Jane says

    Can I use ketchup instead of tomato paste? I always end up buying a tube and throwing out the extra so I thought ketchup might be an easy sub that we always have. Thanks!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jane, that might be okay, but the flavor won’t be as well-balanced. We like to freeze leftover tomato paste in an ice cube tray to solve that issue. Hope that’s helpful!

  4. Paige says

    Wow. I wish I could give this more than 5 stars. It was so delicious, and super easy. Can’t wait to make it again!

  5. Cara says

    I made this and it absolutely blew my mind!!!!! Flavor beyond my wildest dreams. (Also subbed coconut aminos for tamari.) I topped a pasta dish with this and now can’t wait to top vegan pizza with it, too. My mind is bursting with possibilities as to how I can sprinkle this delectable recipe all over my life! 😂

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Whoop! We’re so glad it exceeded your expectations, Cara! Thank you for the lovely review! xo

  6. Lyn says

    On many of your replies , you mention cooking on a convection setting. Is that still at 425, or am I dropping the temperature to 400 as convection is cooked in recipes at 25 degrees less? Thanks.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lyn, with convection we’d suggest keeping the same temperature, but checking on it sooner. Hope that helps!

  7. Niamh says

    My experience with tofu has been very hit and miss… But I’ve finally found the biggest hit! I really really love this. I’ve just had the best wrap for lunch with salad and hummus… The texture is incredible and the flavour is just perfect. Will be making this weekly for salads, sandwiches and rice bowls. Just wonderful. Thank you for sharing :-)

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Whoop! We’re so glad you enjoy this recipe, Niamh. Thank you for sharing! xo

  8. Diane says

    I made this yesterday and loved it! I added a little cayenne and smoked paprika for more kick. I crumbled it pretty small. Most of it did get crunchy but some of the bigger pieces were chewy. I liked that mix of crunchy and chewy. I will definitely be making this many times over.

  9. Raewynn says

    Wow, this was the most gorgeous way to make tofu. I have been stuck in flavouring tofu with Asian spices/sauces etc but this was a game changer. So easy to prepare and cook. Served over a lemon and pea risotto, simply delicious. On the ‘keeper’ list for easy, fuss free, teenage friendly winners! Can’t wait to try this in your other suggestions – wraps etc. Yum!

  10. Catherine says

    This was delicious, even before I cooked it. I’m not usually a fan of tomato with tofu, but this really works. Umami heaven. And ridiculously easy.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoy the recipe, Catherine! Thank you for the lovely review! xo

  11. Allison says

    REALLY good! Used it in brown rice bowls with roasted broccoli, cherry tomatoes and picked red onions. Will definitely make again. I didn’t have any basil left so made it with out; can’t wait to try a batch with fresh basil as the predominant spice.

    Mine didn’t come out very crispy. I use the Breville counter top oven and probably didn’t give enough room between tofu bits. Next time would try it in the bigger regular oven.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yum, that bowl sounds so delicious, Allison! Thank you for the lovely review! xo

  12. Megan says

    We made this last night for dinner and were blown away! Love the depth of flavor with the balsamic and herbs. This has so many pairing possibilities with roasted veggies, pasta, gnocchi, etc.. Excited to add it to our rotation.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Woohoo! So glad you enjoyed this, Megan. Thanks so much for the wonderful review!

  13. Emily E says

    This is delicious! Texture came out kind of like “blackened” tofu, rather than crispy in the way of “popcorn” style. I cooked it about 20 mins total, 15 in one side 5 on the other. Served it in wraps with hummus and spring greens and was really satisfied. My husband and I finished the whole batch in one meal and he suggested that we add it to the rotation :)
    Also used only 2 Tbsp of oil and it still came out great.
    Next time I think I will double it, and just use two pans.

  14. Lysa says

    I doubled the recipe, and it turned out absolutely delicious! I eat a lot of tofu and this is my new fav recipe. We enjoyed it atop pasta.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! We’re so glad you enjoy this recipe, Lysa. Thank you for sharing! xo

  15. Caro says

    That was delicious!! I put it in wraps with garlicky hummus sauce and it was perfect. The tofu was flavorful and crispy but still tender. My husband and toddler loved it!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! We’re so glad you and your family enjoyed it, Caro. Thank you for sharing! xo

  16. Ashley says

    My toddler is eating it!!! Hooray! Putting it on pizza da once, sure my other two kids will devour it too! FINALLY, tofu with flavour! Thanks you!!!

  17. Elizabeth Jennings says

    This tofu is my new favorite!
    It really does taste like pizza topping and goes well with quinoa or rice. I initially made it as written then modified it with one third less oil for calorie reasons only. I also doubled the Oregano and left out the Thyme and Basil as I was running low and It still tastes great!

    Wondering…
    I have a newly purchased air fryer and am wondering if this recipe would be a good option for it? Hoping to reduce the calorie content even more and speed up the cooking time.
    Thank you!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoy it, Elizabeth! Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications! We do think it would work well in an air fryer – just keep in mind it will probably cook faster. Let us know if you try it that way!

  18. Cait says

    This was a great weeknight dish that we made into the Italian Herb Tofu Wraps with Garlicky Hummus Sauce (also on your site!). This recipe was easy-peasy and super flavorful. Next time I will double the recipe because it was eaten up quickly!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Cait! Thank you for sharing! For doubling, just make sure you put it on two baking sheets so there’s enough room between the tofu to crisp up =)

    • Cristy says

      I love that all these ingredients are always in my house, so this was extremely easy and fast. I used all but a tablespoon of the sauce because I was afraid to have the crumbles sitting in liquid, I think that worked out well for me. My tofu crumbles were not even enough, so I ended up with tiny crumbs burned, the mid sized with a perfect crunch, and larger ones still chewy. (I’m like tofu Goldilocks?) I may try to dice my tofu next time, to try for more even sizes, and make sure they are small enough…because yes there will be a next time, they are addictive and I keep eating them off the pan when I need to save some for lunch tomorrow😂

  19. Jessica Cooney says

    Hoping to modify this for a cooking class but only have access to a stove-top. Any ideas for doing this in a sauté pan?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jessica, it will be flavorful, but is unlikely to get as crispy. To encourage crispiness, we’d suggesting cooking in a skillet in a little oil and working in batches to avoid crowding the pan. Hope that helps!

  20. Janet says

    I so wanted this to work but it didn’t happen. After 35 minutes in the oven it was tough and not crisp or crunchy. Gave it 10 more minutes, then 7 more. Then it was kind of crispy because it was burnt but still kind of tough. All the flavor was kind of replaced with burnt. The raw sauce was yummy. Any suggestions – I fear crispy/crunchy is not going to happen for me :(

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Sorry to hear that, Janet! It sounds like perhaps your oven isn’t hot enough? We’d suggest using the convection setting if you have it and/or increasing the temperature. Hope that helps for next time!

    • Flyingmartini says

      I made this last night. It was really good. Because I have an electric stove (I miss my gas stove!) – 😡 I baked it at 400. I definitely need to bake it about 5 minutes less. It did get burned on one side. I also cubed it instead of crumbling it.

  21. Rebecca says

    Another delicious, easy recipe that shows the versatility of tofu! I used super firm tofu (which eliminates draining). Because the block was 16 ounces, I made a bit more of the marinade. I wasn’t sure about using soy sauce in an Italian herbs marinade, but WOW! It definitely makes a difference. I also love the crispness and firmness of the tofu after 30 minutes in a hot oven.

    I decided to make a pizza and use the Italian herb tofu as the topping. I made a chickpea flour skillet pizza base. After broiling the pizza batter in an iron skillet, I spread pesto sauce, heaped the crust with the tofu mixture, topped that with mozzarella cheese and baked for 10 minutes in a 450-degree oven.

    AMAZING, DELICIOUS, FILLING PIZZA! I can’t wait to try this tofu mixture atop polenta, as a salad topping, or in wraps.

    My husband and I have a short-term goal to eat vegetarian and/or vegan meals 50% of the time, with a long-term goal of 80%. The recipes in this blog are helping us to happily reach this goal. THANK YOU!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      We love to hear this! And that pizza sounds DELISH. Thanks so much for the wonderful review, Rebecca!

  22. Stacey says

    Yummy! Made this (sans the balsamic) and tossed it into a roasted veggie bowl with some vegan pesto and LOVED it so much as part of a roasted veggie bowl. Love the textured of the prep so played with some Mexican seasonings: subbed chipotle for tomato paste and took out thyme, adding smoked paprika. Plunked in bowl with roasted sweet potatoes and red peppers, fresh spinach, arroz verde (from the Vegan Taco Cleanse), and your 5-Minute Smokey Chipotle dressing (I could drink that stuff!). So, so, so yummy. Thank you for all of your hard work in testing and creating recipes. We are so lucky to have this site and your recipes delivered to our in boxes!!! You’re amazing!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yum, that bowl sounds amazing! LOVE your creativity, Stacey! Thank you so much for your kind words! xo

  23. Jennifer B says

    This is the best tofu I have made!! Simple recipe but full of flavor. Sooo good. Will make a double batch next time…

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Whoop! We’re so glad you enjoy it, Jennifer! Thank you for sharing! For a double batch, just make sure you put it on two baking sheets to help it crisp up =)

  24. D.T. says

    This was the perfect addition to the vegan lasgana I made today. So easy and packed with flavor. Excited to try it as an addition to other dishes.

  25. Michelle says

    We made this last night and served it with creamy polenta, mushrooms and asparagus. It is so flavorful and delicious! Thankfully, we doubled the recipe to have leftovers!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yumm, sounds SO perfect! Thanks so much for the lovely review and for sharing how you served it, Michelle!

  26. Anonymous says

    This was so delicious! I saw it on Instagram and got everything I needed for it as soon as I went to the grocery store.

    I like to freeze and thaw my tofu for the texture, so I did that and then made this recipe. I used only half the oil but otherwise followed the ingredients and the instructions.

    For serving I rolled this up in a tortilla with spinach, fresh basil, pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and black olives. Definitely recommend! Looking forward to leftovers tomorrow.

  27. Fiona says

    I made this and it was delicious.
    A tip: 425° is too high if you’re leaving it in for 25-35 minutes as per the recipe. I did it for 10 mins, then stirred and baked for another 10mins. It was almost too long then too. 375° would work better.

  28. Theresa Ade says

    I love tofu on the best of days but was getting bored with the way I usually make it. I tried this recipe immediately and it was ridiculously delicious! I have no idea why you talk about storing left-overs…what leftovers??
    Absolutely awesome recipe! Highly recommended!!

  29. Jill says

    This was a delicious and easy recipe. I cooked the tofu for 20 minutes on each side and reheated for 10 more minutes and it was very crispy. I served it with hot oil chili noodles and broccoli. I will definitely make it again!

  30. Jodi says

    So good! Such a fun texture we’re not used to with tofu!! I didn’t realize we didn’t have tomato paste, so I omitted it, but it was delish anyways! Will try again. Also I think this would be fantastic with a chili/chipotle/smoked paprika/cumin seasoning as well and added to tacos!

      • Megs says

        Our house is a large community of women. We do weekly dinners and your blog is reliable and highly recommended.

        I made this last night with the wrap. It was scrumptious. I pressed the tofu for an hour. However I don’t know how to get the tofu crispy. Would it have helped to space out the pieces? With it being covered in sauce, it seemed to only crisp as it got a bit too dark.

        Thanks for providing our community with deliciousness!

        • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

          Hi Megs, we’re so glad our recipes are helpful to your community! If you were making a larger batch and the tofu didn’t have enough space on the baking sheet, that could definitely be the issue. Otherwise, you can try increasing the temperature or using the convection setting if you have it.

  31. Linda says

    I have just made this and it is still in the oven. I have baked this for over an hour now I and I don’t think it is anywhere near crispy like it should be. AmI trying to get it too crispy?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Linda, is it possible your oven runs a little on the cooler side? A few ideas: 1) make sure to press the tofu 2) use convection if you have it and 3) transfer it off the parchment paper and broil for a few minutes at the end. Hope that helps!

  32. De says

    I am super impressed! I’ve never had tofu like this—and it was incredibly easy. I didn’t even mix the sauce first, just poured individual ingredients over the tofu and mixed it right on the pan. It was absolutely delicious. We are the first pan straight and had to make another pan for dinner. I could eat this a few times a week without getting tired of it.

  33. Elise says

    This was so tasty! I served it over creamy polenta, and three toddlers and my tofu-skeptical husband approved. For leftovers, I added some chopped black olives, red pepper flakes, and shredded mozzarella/ provolone for ALLL the pizza vibes!

    The only trick was getting it to crisp up… (I used extra firm tofu and pressed it for over an hour!) I ended up putting the tray on the highest rack in the oven and broiling it @ 500 F for several minutes.

    So happy to find a delicious, easy, recipe that I already had all the ingredients to make! Thank you!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Whoop! We’re so glad it was a hit with the whole family. Thank you for sharing your experience, Elise! xo

  34. GABRIELLE OTTAVIO says

    Delicious. Made this last night. Topped my pasta tossed in a vegan puttanesca sauce with the tofu crumbles Italian style. My husband ate 2 portions of it. Added a meaty texture and depth of flavor to our pasta dinner. Froze the leftover tofu crumbles and will use them next week.
    Thank you for such an awesome and easy recipe!

  35. Caroline says

    SO GOOD! My daughter hates tofu, but she admitted this was amazing! Little crispy bits that taste like pizza? Too good for this world. I served with a rocket salad on the side (vegan Parmesan and black pepper with some extra virgin olive oil). It was a lovely, lightened Italian dinner! We ate it off the plate, but sprinkled on top of the rocket salad was delicious. Thank you for another amazing recipe!!
    Love from OZ,
    Caroline xx

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi KK, the olive oil helps it crisp up, but we think using half the amount should be fine. Or if you have a convection setting on your oven, that will help with the crisping. Let us know if you try it!

  36. Milvi says

    I can’t find another way to contact you about a technical issue, so hoping this gets to someone. For some time now, your print recipe option is not displaying the recipe image, even though the default ‘recipe image’ is checked. I have tried with Firefox and Chrome browsers.

    Your recipes are delicious! Most of my diet for the last couple of years comes from your collection.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Milvi, sorry for the inconvenience and thank you for letting us know! We are aware of this issue and trying to figure out a solution.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jen, the balsamic vinegar adds richness that apple cider vinegar won’t. Perhaps with less vinegar, more tomato paste, and maple syrup it would work, but we can’t guarantee it will be the same!

  37. Dana Chalamet says

    Omg. Looks and sounds amazing. Plan on making for sure! (LOVE tofu!). But I would love to know is that simply your polenta recipe with this recipe that’s pictured right under “More Flavorful Tofu Recipes.” It looks incredible and I must make, lol. Many thanks for ALL you share! 💞🙏🏼

      • Dana Chalamet says

        Oh, YES! Can’t wait to make! And I’m SURE I’ll love it … what’s not to like? ☺️ Many, MANY thanks! … and XO back to you! 💞🙏🏼☺️

      • Sarah says

        This was great! I really enjoyed this burst of flavor sprinkled on my potatoes tonight for dinner. I added in a dollop of pesto because I didn’t have dried basil. Loved how the balsamic came through. Thanks for another great recipe!

  38. Jill Marie says

    Is it all right to make it with something like aqua faba rather than olive oil for a whole-food plant-based no-oil diet?

  39. Jaycen says

    This was fantastic over an iceberg salad with a little vegan ranch! Polished off an entire block of tofu in one setting.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Jaycen! Thank you for sharing! Next time, would you mind leaving a star rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! xo

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Christie, with convection it will get extra crispy (not a bad thing!), so we’d suggest flipping it after 15 minutes, then check it after 5-10 minutes. Hope you love it!