Quick & Easy Crispy Tofu (25 minutes!)

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Cast iron skillet filled with cubes of the best Crispy Tofu recipe

If you follow my Instagram stories you likely already know I’ve been tinkering with my How To Make Tofu Taste Good recipe to make the process even faster (20-25 minutes!).

I thought it wasn’t possible to make crispy tofu without baking it for at least 30-40 minutes. But, I was wrong.

One night when I was super hungry and desperate for dinner fast, I tried this new-and-improved method and it worked so well I’ve since used this one exclusively! It’s that good. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner. Plus, it easily carves 5-10 minutes off of the original method and includes the opportunity to add more seasonings. Hello, quick and crispy tofu!

A block of tofu on a towel to show one of the steps for how to make the best crispy tofu

Step 1: Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C) and wrap your extra firm tofu (this is important – anything less than extra firm won’t crisp up as fast or as well) in a kitchen towel and set something heavy on top like a cast iron skillet.

Showing how to cut tofu into cubes for easy Crispy Tofu

Step 2: Cube tofu and add to a mixing bowl. Season with salt and, depending on what type of dish you’re adding it to, season accordingly (i.e. curry powder for a curry dish, or a bit of tamari and/or chili garlic sauce for a stir-fry). I was adding mine to a green curry (coming later this week!), so I went with curry powder.

Stirring cubed tofu in spices for our Crispy Tofu recipe

Step 3: Sauté in oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until browned on all sides (shaking the pan as needed to cook all sides).

Step 4: Finish baking in the oven for about 15 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Mmmm, yes, please.

Now what to do with crispy tofu? Add it to salads, curries, stir-fries and more! While seasoned well on the outside it will still benefit from a hearty sauce, like my stir-fry glazeAlmond Butter Tofu Glaze, or a NEW green curry sauce coming soon!

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

Grabbing a spoonful of Crispy Tofu from a skillet for an easy plant-based meal

Quick & Easy Crispy Tofu

The fastest, easiest way to make crispy tofu for any dish. Just 4 ingredients and 25 minutes required! Perfect for adding to stir fries, curries, and more!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
How to make Crispy Tofu in 25 MINUTES!
4.86 from 81 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 (entrée servings)
Course Protein, Side
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 3 Days

Ingredients

  • 14-16 ounces extra firm tofu (extra firm is important)
  • 1 healthy pinch sea salt
  • 1 tsp desired seasoning (such as curry powder, chili powder, tamari, tandoori spice, etc.)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut, avocado or grape seed oil (if avoiding oil, skip this, but tofu may stick to a bare pan)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and 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 5 minutes. Alternatively, use a tofu press.
  • Unwrap tofu and cut into small cubes (see photo), then add to a medium mixing bowl and season with a pinch of salt and desired seasoning, which will vary depending on your dish. I was adding mine to a curry, so I added curry powder. If adding to a BBQ dish, try a BBQ seasoning blend. Or if adding to a Thai dish, try a Thai curry powder. If you want it to remain neutral in flavor and just crisp up, simply season with salt and skip the extra seasoning.
  • Heat a large oven-safe metal or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the oil and the seasoned tofu. Sauté for 5 minutes, shaking/flipping occasionally to cook on all sides, until tofu has a slight crust on each side and has begun to brown.
  • Transfer skillet to oven to bake for about 15 minutes, or until the tofu is firm to the touch and has begun to dry out and crisp up. The longer it bakes, the firmer it gets. I found the 15-minute mark to be about right.
  • Now you have crispy tofu to add to virtually any dish you’d like! While the tofu is crispy and slightly seasoned, it does still benefit from a sauce, such as Peanut Sauce, my Almond Butter Glaze, a Curry Sauce, or my Garlic Dill Sauce. Best when fresh, but can be stored in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Reheat in a 375 degree F (190 C) oven until very hot.

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with sea salt and avocado oil and without extra sauces/seasonings.
*Method adapted from my Make Tofu Taste Good recipe.

Nutrition (1 of 2 servings)

Serving: 1 entrée serving Calories: 270 Carbohydrates: 2.3 g Protein: 21 g Fat: 18.5 g Saturated Fat: 3.1 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.92 g Monounsaturated Fat: 4.81 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 108 mg Potassium: 280 mg Fiber: 2.3 g Sugar: 0 g Vitamin A: 0 IU Vitamin C: 0 mg Calcium: 234 mg Iron: 4.2 mg

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  1. Alice says

    This worked out perfectly! I used Hodo Tofu, which is extra firm. So much so that it barely releases any water when pressed. I seasoned it with salt pepper and garlic powder and fried in a stainless steel pan in just over a tablespoon of sunflower oil. It crisped up very nicely. I didn’t even wait until all sides were evenly browned before finishing it in the oven for about 20 minutes. Very crispy. It went into our vegan fried rice (also delicious). Can’t wait to try again with different seasonings.

  2. Amanda says

    This was the easiest, tastiest crispy tofu I’ve made so far. I have always had a hard time with tofu as it never came out right and made me wary to keep trying, but tonight was on point and Awesome!!! Simple steps to great taste, with just a little oil. Definitely will be using this recipe again, I love being able to switch up the flavour to match the dish. Thank you so much Minimalist Baker!! You made my tofu dreams come true 😊

  3. Helen says

    I’ve always struggled with getting tofu crispy without frying it in loads of oil which is messy and unhealthy. This made it easy and I didn’t need to use a lot of oil or corn starch/flour. Have saved this as my go to for tofu.

  4. Margo says

    This did not work as well for me as your previous method of simply baking the tofu in the oven for 30+ minutes. The tofu was too squishy after 15 minutes in the oven and I ended up baking it for another 15 minutes. Plus, using this method means I had another pan to wash!

  5. Cberry says

    I made this and it was the first time making tofu. Just used salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, little bit of spray oil and cornstarch. It was very good! I will make mg cubes smaller next time. Mine were about .75 inch and I will do .5 next time.

  6. Allison says

    I made this today with paprika, chili powder and salt. It was good, and I’ll use this method again! One thing to remember – the smaller the cubes, the more surface area of seasoning there is. The smaller pieces definitely taste better. .5″ inch cubes maybe? Thanks for the recipe!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Allison! Thank you for sharing your experience and helpful tips! xo

  7. Haley says

    Delicious recipe that worked very well! I pressed my tofu for 30 minutes, as I usually do, but still had it in the oven for 15 minutes which was perfect. I added them to a vegetable soup which arguably cancels out the crispy-ness but it was so flavorful after using this recipe that it didn’t matter.

  8. Michelle says

    I have done it Dana’s way as above but I try to use my oven as little as possible so I find it’s easier slice the tofu block into eight rectangles (cut in half, cut pieces in half again, then again), press between two folded dish clothes. Then put a very very generous dollop of coconut oil in an already heated skillet. Place tofu rectangles in oil (test oil with wooden spoon or skewer to be sure it’s hot enough and make sure to have a splatter lid handy) until golden – only a couple of minutes. Flip and leave until the other side is golden. You may want to flip again depending on how chewy you like your tofu – I like mine chewy! Place on cooling rack until ready to use. When I am finishing up my pot of curry or pho or stir fry or whatever, just before serving I use my kitchen shears and cut the crispy fried coconutty tofu rectangles right into the bowl(s).

  9. Lily Assaad says

    Hello, thanks for this recipe! I did indeed dry the tofu using the exact method described. I need to leave the tofu in the pan for 20 minutes and then we need to put it in the oven for 25 minutes and it still wasn’t crispy. I’m not sure what I did wrong. What are you recommend I do in the future so that it doesn’t take that long?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lily, sorry to hear it didn’t work out for you. Were you using extra firm tofu? Is it possible your cubes were on the larger side? If so, we’d suggest baking for longer. Hope that helps!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Chuck, do you mean while the tofu is cooking? You could try that, but it’ll be a little more tricky to evenly distribute it.

  10. jimmothy says

    I did this recipe in two ways at the same time: once with the water pressed out of the tofu and once without. side by side, the difference was minimal.

  11. Samantha says

    I’m a notoriously awful cook (potato soup on the walls kind of disaster) and this was my first foray into cooking tofu. It was SO EASY and it came out perfectly! I bought extra firm tofu but it still crumbled a bit, but that didn’t seem to matter. I seasoned lightly with salt, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes to add to a quinoa bowl I was attempting. The tofu was perfectly crispy and I’m so pleased! Thank you so much for the clear directions! :)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Whoop! Great job! We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Samantha. Thanks so much for the lovely review! xo

  12. Kerry says

    This worked SO well I actually don’t believe it. I did press it for a few hours, which likely could have helped as I usually do for ~ 30 mins. So crispy and delicious!

  13. Aisa says

    This combo really worked for me. Didn’t have extra firm tofu so used firm and just left the weight on about 30 mins longer. Also used a nonstick pan and resisted the temptation to shake the pan until I saw a “crust”. Many thanks 🙏🏽

  14. Kristin Nelson says

    I just squeezed the extra firm tofu between the backs of 2 plates for about 30 seconds, & seasoned the cubes with salt and curry to taste in a bowl. Sizzled in Avocado oil for 5 min. in an iron frypan then sprinkled with fresh cilantro, & baked the frypan for 15 min. just like she said. Really nice flavor, unlike unseasoned tofu yuk bland, not as crisp as I would have liked but LOOOOVED it thank you!

  15. Andrei Tihoan says

    Really good! I’ve one question though, should I really season the tofu before I sear it on the pan? In my case it seems that just burns a bit of the seasoning. Is that a sign I’m searing on too high a heat?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Andrei, that could mean the pan is too hot and/or it needs more oil. It could also potentially be the type of pan? We’d suggest cast-iron or non-stick for best results. Hope that helps!

  16. Krista says

    Hi!

    Could you use this method to tofu that has been marinating? For example your crispy peanut tofu , or another recipe that I’ve used where you can marinate for up to three days .

    I am excited to try!

  17. Dorsilfin says

    Hello, your recipe is great, but can you clarify? what is “a healthy pinch of salt” given that salt is not really healthy, do you mean a small pinch for health sake or a good pinch so as not to be shy? Regards :)

  18. H. Allender says

    Made this but didn’t have a dish towel to wrap the tofu, so I placed it in medium-large bowl and put a large saucer directly on top of the tofu that was weighed down with a couple of heavy items for about an hour in the ‘frig. The tofu was well-drained; followed the rest of the directions and had delicious and crispy tofu cubes for a veggie stir-fry. Made in again, same as last time, but sprinkled a little corn starch on the cubes before baking them and got extra crispy tofu cubes! Thanks for inspiring me to make tofu more often!

  19. TONYA says

    Fantastic! Game changer for me! I followed the recipe and it was simple and exactly how I like it. I kept seasoning simple as I added it to a stir fry sauce, brown rice and broccoli. Fantastic! I have a kitchenette so I cook with an electric fry pan and toaster oven. A+ all the way around!

    • Emily says

      Hands down the best tofu I’ve ever made! I’ve been vegetarian for 12 years and have never been able to make tofu that I really like. I always buy it at restaurants, but could never get the texture right at home. This is restaurant quality! Thank you so much.

  20. Allison says

    Hi so I got a little confused… wrap tofu with what? And put the iron skillet on top of what? If you could just clarify that it would be great. Thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Allison, we recommend wrapping the tofu in a clean dish towel and setting the cast iron skillet on top of the wrapped tofu. Hope that helps clarify!

      • ktc says

        I was confused as well by this. Your printable recipe instructions state it clearly but your written intro is still somewhat vague:

        “Step 1: Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C) and wrap your extra firm tofu (this is important – anything less than extra firm won’t crisp up as fast or as well) and set something heavy on top like a cast iron skillet.”

        When I first read this I thought perhaps “wrap” was a typo and that maybe it meant to “unwrap the tofu” and also that the skillet was supposed to go on top of the sheet in the oven :) When I read the recipe steps later then it was very clear. Maybe consider updating the written instructions as well?

        I’m excited to try this! Thank you!

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          Thanks for letting us know! We’ll see if we can improve clarity there. Hope you love it!

  21. Wiley Coyote says

    Amazing! Remember to wrap the tofu first. I added some lemon juice, cilantro, and cubed tomato at the end. Thank you so much for the recipe. I’m learning more vegetarian dishes and this is a keeper :).

  22. Liliana says

    First time baking tofu, followed the steps one by one and it came out delicious. Thank you for sharing your expertise!

  23. Jen says

    This was my first time making crispy tofu and it came out perfectly! All it needed was a little salt and pepper before browning. This is going to be a go-to going forward.

  24. Ashley B. says

    It was great!!! And I hate tofu this is bareable and tasty. I would cut them super thing next time for extra crispness.

  25. Claire says

    This recipe converted my tofu-questioning boyfriend! Neither of us are vegetarian but I have been introducing him to a more plant-based/meatless diet. I don’t have a cast-iron skillet so the two times I’ve made this I put the tofu on a parchment-lined baking sheet. It didn’t crisp up as much as I would’ve liked, but I was too impatient to wait longer, haha. I used curry powder the first time and chili powder the second, and both were yummy. Can’t wait to keep trying it out.