Crispy Pan-Fried Tofu 

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by Alena Schowalter
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Looking for an easy plant-based protein fix? Well, pan-fried tofu is the perfect addition to your vegan meals! It’s affordable, customizable, and delicious.

Tofu is a star ingredient in vegan cooking for good reason! With around 36g of protein per block, it’s a great way to add nutrition to a plant-based cuisine.

It can soak up any flavor you want it to, making it great in breakfast sandwiches and your main course at dinner. Our pan-fried tofu is delightfully crispy, perfect in sandwiches or Asian recipes like our bibimbap bowl.

Fried Tofu in a Pan

Along with its versatility, we love how accessible and affordable it is. You can usually find tofu in your local grocery store for around $3 USD. Some even come pre-seasoned! How great is that?

For more vegan protein options, try out our tofu scramble or these 15+ Beyond Meat recipes!

Recipe highlights

  • Protein-packed
  • Super simple to make
  • Crispy and hearty
  • Customizable flavors
  • Beginner friendly 

For this easy recipe, you’ll need a non-stick frying pan, tongs or spatula, a cutting knife, and some measuring equipment. 

patting tofu dry with a paper towel

Ingredients needed

  • Tofu — our protein-packed main ingredient!
  • Soy sauce — adds saltiness and umami.
  • Sesame oil — to crisp up our tofu. Also adds extra flavor.
  • Agave syrup — slight sweetness to balance out flavors. Helps with caramelization.
  • Cornstarch — coats our tofu for easy frying.

That’s right, only 5 easy ingredients! Find exact measurements and additional flavor recommendations further down.

sliced tofu on a plate next to fresh veggies
marinating tofu in a bowl with starch, soy sauce, and spices

How to make this pan-fried tofu

  1. Remove any excess moisture from the tofu by squeezing it and patting it dry with a clean kitchen towel. See our FAQ for other methods of extracting the water.
  2. Cut the tofu into pencil-thick slices, then add the tofu to a shallow bowl. 
  3. Sprinkle tofu with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and cornstarch, then toss to combine.
  4. Add the sesame oil to a non-stick frying pan. Place over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the marinated tofu slices in a single layer.
  5. Fry for around 3 minutes, until golden brown and crispy on one side.
  6. Add the remaining soy sauce and agave syrup to the pan and give everything a good stir. 
  7. Flip the tofu slices so that they can get crispy on the other side, too! Once they are done, set them aside.
Frying Tofu in a pan next to veggies

Storage & reheating

You can store the pan-fried tofu in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the fridge. Reheat on the stovetop until warm or in the microwave for 30 seconds.

In the freezer, it can last up to 3 months. However, the texture will be more chewy and meaty. 

Serving suggestions

Since tofu can easily absorb flavors, try experimenting with your favorite marinades and spices!

Marinades

Here are some marinade suggestions:

  • BBQ
  • Garlic soy sauce
  • Teriyaki
  • Peanut sauce
  • Cilantro lime
Best Tofu Dipping Sauces
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Garnishes

  • Scallions
  • Sesame seeds
  • Fried onion
  • Kimchi

Dish recommendations

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FAQs & tips

What kind of tofu should I use?

We recommend using firm tofu. It has enough density to keep its shape and also enough absorbency to soak in marinades. Extra firm tofu is great for pan frying, but its denser texture makes it difficult to absorb flavor.

How do I drain tofu?

A common way to drain tofu is by wrapping it in a clean towel and weighing it down evenly with a pan (or something heavy). This process takes about 20 minutes.

Alternatively, there are tofu presses sold online that make it super easy to drain the water!

Is tofu healthy?

Yes, it is! Tofu contains all 9 essential amino acids essential to our body’s health. And, of course, it’s a great source of protein.

Find our favorite silken tofu recipes here.

More related recipes

Did you make our crispy pan-fried tofu and like it? We’d love to read about it, so be sure to leave a review and share it in the comments below. You can also Pin this recipe here!

Crispy Pan Fried Tofu (So Tasty!)

by Alena Schowalter
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 6 minutes
Looking for an easy plant-based protein fix? Well, this crispy pan-fried tofu is the perfect addition to your vegan meals! It’s affordable, customizable, and delicious. 
Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 8 oz firm tofu 225 g, drained
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp agave syrup
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

Instructions

  • Remove any excess moisture from the tofu by squeezing it and patting it dry with a clean kitchen towel. Alternatively, you can wrap it with a towel and weigh it with a heavy pan or use a tofu press
  • Cut the tofu into pencil-thick slices, then add the tofu to a shallow bowl. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and cornstarch, then toss to combine.
  • Add the sesame oil to a non-stick frying pan. Place over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the marinated tofu slices in a single layer.
  • Fry for around 3 minutes, until golden brown and crispy on one side.
  • Add the remaining soy sauce and agave syrup to the pan and give everything a good stir. 
  • Flip the tofu slices so that they can get crispy on the other side, too! Once they are done, set them aside.
  • Enjoy with a side of rice or in a dish of your choice!

Notes

  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days
  • Substitute our tofu marinade for flavors of choice! We’ve listed some recommendations in the serving suggestions!
Course: Sides
Cuisine: Asian
Nutrition Facts
Crispy Pan Fried Tofu (So Tasty!)
Amount per Serving
Calories
147
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
8
g
12
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
6
g
Sodium
 
1323
mg
58
%
Carbohydrates
 
7
g
2
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
2
g
2
%
Protein
 
13
g
26
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated automatically, their accuracy is not guaranteed.
Rate and share if you likeMention @nutriciously_ on Instagram or share this on Pinterest!
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Hi, I'm Alena Schowalter — a Certified Vegan Nutritionist who has been a vegetarian since childhood and vegan since 2012. Together with my husband, I founded nutriciously in 2015 and have been guiding thousands of people through different transition stages toward a healthy plant-based diet. I enjoy discussions around vegan ethics, walks through nature, and creating new recipes. Read more about us here.

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