What to Do with Fried Tofu: Comprehensive Guide

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Are you a fan of fried tofu but looking for new and creative ways to use it in your cooking? In this article, we’ll explore some delicious and inventive recipes that feature fried tofu as the star ingredient. From stir-fries to salads, we’ll provide plenty of inspiration for making the most of this versatile and tasty food.

what to do with fried tofu

Types of Tofu

Tofu is a versatile ingredient made from soybeans and comes in various textures, making it suitable for different types of dishes. In this section, we will explore three primary types of tofu: silken tofu, firm tofu, and extra firm tofu.

Silken Tofu

Silken tofu has a high water content and is the softest type of tofu available, with a smooth, custard-like texture. This type of tofu is not pressed, making it delicate and best suited for dishes like soups, smoothies, and desserts. For example, Bon Appétit suggests using silken tofu in both sweet and savory dishes due to its creamy consistency.

Some ways to use silken tofu include:

  • Blending it into smoothies for extra protein and creaminess
  • Using it as a base for vegan quiches or custards
  • Incorporating it into sauces, dressings, or dips

Firm Tofu

Firm tofu is pressed longer than silken tofu, giving it a more substantial texture that can hold its shape better in various dishes. This type of tofu works well when pan-fried, stir-fried, or baked, as it can absorb flavors from marinades and sauces effectively. Serious Eats recommends using firm tofu in dishes like crispy stir-fried tofu with broccoli or vegan chorizo for omnivores.

Some ideas for using firm tofu include:

  • Marinading and grilling it as a protein source in salads or wraps
  • Crumbling it into a tofu scramble as a substitute for scrambled eggs
  • Slicing it and using it as a base for sandwiches or burgers

Extra Firm Tofu

Extra firm tofu has the least amount of water content, resulting in a dense and resilient texture that can withstand more vigorous cooking methods. This tofu is ideal for grilling, frying, and baking, as it maintains its shape and structure. According to The Spruce Eats, extra firm tofu can be used in a wide variety of dishes due to its versatility and ability to absorb flavors.

Ways to utilize extra firm tofu:

  • Cutting it into cubes and adding it to stir-fries or curries
  • Coating it in batter or breadcrumbs and deep frying it for a crispy exterior
  • Slicing it thinly and marinating it for use in tacos or fajitas

By understanding the characteristics of silken, firm, and extra firm tofu, you can experiment with various recipes and cooking methods to create delicious and satisfying dishes with this plant-based protein.

Preparation of Tofu

When it comes to preparing tofu for frying, there are several essential steps to follow to ensure a delicious dish. In this section, we will discuss the key aspects of preparing tofu, from draining and pressing to marinating and cubing.

Draining and Pressing

Firm or extra firm tofu is recommended for frying, as it holds its shape and texture better during the cooking process. Before you begin frying, it’s essential to remove excess moisture from the tofu. Start by taking the tofu out of its packaging and placing it on a clean towel. Then, fold the towel over the tofu to cover it completely.

Next, put the wrapped tofu on a plate, and place another plate on top of it. To apply pressure, add a 3- to 5-pound weight (like a cast iron pan or a couple of heavy books) on top of the second plate. Allow the tofu to press for 30 minutes to an hour, during which time the towel will absorb the excess liquid. This step is crucial for achieving a crispy texture when frying.


Marinating tofu is an optional but excellent way to infuse it with flavor. Once you’ve drained and pressed the tofu, cut it into cubes or slices as desired. Combine your favorite marinade ingredients (such as soy sauce, garlic powder, and black pepper) in a large bowl, and add the tofu. Gently toss the tofu in the marinade to coat it evenly, and then let it sit for at least 15 minutes – the longer, the better. A well-marinated tofu will have a more flavorful and enjoyable taste when fried.

Cubing Tofu

To cube tofu, use a sharp knife and a steady hand. Start by cutting the drained and pressed tofu into thin slices, about 1-inch wide. Then, stack a few slices on top of each other, and slice them into 1-inch columns, creating 1-inch by 1-inch cubes. The cubed shape allows the tofu to cook evenly on all sides when pan-fried.

By following these steps in the preparation of tofu – draining and pressing, marinating, and cubing – you’re setting yourself up for a delicious and satisfying fried tofu dish. Remember to use a nice and neutral tone, while maintaining a knowledgeable and confident voice in your writing. Overall, keep it brief and to the point, avoiding any false claims or exaggerations.

Frying Techniques


Pan-frying is a popular method for cooking tofu, providing a crispy exterior and tender interior. To pan-fry tofu, start by pressing it to remove excess moisture. Then, cut it into desired sized pieces, and season or marinate as desired. In a non-stick pan, add some olive oil and heat it on medium-high. Place the tofu pieces in the hot skillet, spreading them evenly to allow for proper browning. Cook the tofu for 5 to 6 minutes until lightly browned on the bottom 1. Use tongs or chopsticks to carefully flip the tofu and cook for an additional 5 to 6 minutes, or until evenly browned.

Deep Frying

Deep frying tofu yields a crispy, golden brown crust. To deep fry tofu, start by pressing and cutting it as you would for pan-frying. Preheat a deep fryer or a wok filled with oil to 350°F (180°C). Carefully lower the tofu pieces into the hot oil and fry for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the tofu reaches a deep golden brown color. Always use caution when working with hot oil and ensure the frying area is well-ventilated. Remove the tofu with a slotted spoon and place it on paper towels to drain excess oil.

Air Fryer Tofu

Air frying is a healthier alternative to traditional frying and still provides that crispy tofu texture. To air fry tofu, press, cut, and season your tofu as usual. Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C) and place the tofu pieces in the air fryer basket, ensuring they are not overcrowded. Cook the tofu for 12 to 15 minutes, flipping halfway through the process, until it reaches your desired level of crispiness2. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to cook the tofu in batches.

Baking Tofu

Baking tofu in the oven is another way to achieve a crispy exterior yet maintain a healthier cooking process. Start by pressing and cutting the tofu as you would for other methods. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Arrange the tofu in a single layer on the baking sheet and drizzle with some olive oil. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, flipping the tofu halfway through, until the tofu is crispy and golden brown3.

In summary, there are various methods to prepare fried tofu, including pan-frying, deep frying, air frying, and baking. Each method offers a different crispy texture and level of oiliness. Choose the cooking method that best suits your taste and your preferences for healthy eating.


  1. A Couple Cooks: Perfect Pan Fried Tofu
  2. Simple Vegan Blog: Crispy Pan-Fried Tofu
  3. Martha Stewart: The Best Ways to Cook Tofu, According to an Expert

Seasoning and Flavoring

Sauces and Marinades

When it comes to seasoning and flavoring fried tofu, sauces and marinades play a significant role in enhancing taste and texture. Soy sauce, a popular choice for marinating tofu, allows the tofu to absorb flavor quickly1. To boost the flavor even further, combine soy sauce with sesame oil and rice vinegar. Tamari, a gluten-free alternative to soy sauce, can also be used for marinating tofu.

For a spicy kick, consider adding ginger, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper to your marinade. This combination complements the mild taste of tofu and creates a deliciously bold flavor. You can also add arrowroot powder to your marinade to help thicken the sauce, allowing it to better coat the tofu during the frying process2.

Spices and Herbs

Spices and herbs can elevate the taste of fried tofu, adding depth and complexity to its flavor profile. A blend of salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder creates a simple yet effective seasoning. Dried herbs, such as basil, oregano, thyme, or rosemary, can be mixed with these spices for added aroma and flavor3. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your spice and herb combinations; it’s important to experiment and discover what you enjoy most.

Sesame Seeds

To enhance the texture of fried tofu, consider adding sesame seeds. Toasted sesame oil provides a nutty flavor and pleasant aroma, while the seeds themselves add a delightful crunch. Prepare your tofu by pressing and cutting it into your desired shapes, then season or marinate it to your liking4. Before frying, coat the tofu with a layer of sesame seeds, ensuring an even distribution for the best results. As the tofu fries, the seeds will become golden and crispy, adding a unique and delicious texture to your meal.

In conclusion, seasoning and flavoring fried tofu can greatly enhance its taste and texture. Experiment with sauces and marinades, spices and herbs, and the addition of sesame seeds to discover your perfect combination. Remember to keep your flavors balanced and complementary and don’t be afraid to try new combinations.


  1. MasterClass – How to Season Tofu
  2. Simple Vegan Blog – Crispy Pan-Fried Tofu
  3. wikiHow – 3 Ways to Season Tofu
  4. Food with Feeling – Tofu Marinade

Fried Tofu Recipes

Fried tofu is a versatile ingredient that can be used in various dishes, providing a delicious, plant-based protein option for both vegetarians and vegans. In this section, we’ll explore four appealing fried tofu recipes to inspire your cooking journey: Crispy Pan-Fried Tofu, Spicy Fried Tofu, Fried Tofu and Soba Noodles, and Fried Tofu with Roasted Broccoli.

Crispy Pan-Fried Tofu

To create a delightful Crispy Pan-Fried Tofu, start by pressing and draining the tofu. Cut the tofu into large cubes and cook them in a pan over medium heat until they are golden brown on each side. This recipe is not only easy to make but also dairy-free and can be made gluten-free by using gluten-free soy sauce. Serve this crispy tofu atop rice or mixed with your favorite vegetables for a satisfying meal.

Spicy Fried Tofu

Add some heat to your meal with Spicy Fried Tofu. First, prepare the tofu as you would for Crispy Pan-Fried Tofu. To make the marinade, combine red pepper flakes or sriracha sauce with soy sauce, and let the tofu soak up the flavors before frying. This tasty, golden brown tofu is perfect for those who enjoy a bit of spice in their vegetarian or vegan dishes.

Fried Tofu and Soba Noodles

Looking for an Asian-inspired dish? Try this Fried Tofu and Soba Noodles recipe. Begin by frying the tofu until it’s crispy and golden brown. In the meantime, cook soba noodles according to package instructions. Combine the noodles with your choice of vegetables, such as bell peppers and shredded carrots, and toss everything with a savory sauce. Add the crispy tofu on top, and you have a delicious, easy, dairy-free, and potentially gluten-free dish that’s an excellent source of plant-based protein.

Fried Tofu with Roasted Broccoli

This tasty Fried Tofu with Roasted Broccoli recipe is an easy, nutritious choice for both vegetarians and vegans. Start by frying the tofu until it’s crispy and golden brown. Meanwhile, roast broccoli florets in the oven, seasoned with salt and pepper. Once everything is cooked, combine the tofu and broccoli, and enjoy a healthy, dairy-free, and gluten-free meal that’s packed with plant-based protein.

By exploring these creative fried tofu recipes, you’ll unlock new ways to enjoy this versatile, healthy ingredient in your vegetarian or vegan culinary adventures.

Serving Suggestions and Pairings

Fried tofu is a versatile and delicious plant-based protein that can be incorporated into a variety of dishes. In this section, we’ll explore how fried tofu can be used in tofu scrambles, salads, and stir-fries to create protein-packed, flavorsome meals.

Tofu Scramble

A tofu scramble is a fantastic way to use fried tofu as a plant-based alternative to traditional egg scrambles. To make a tofu scramble, first crumble your fried tofu into a pan with a little oil. Add your preferred seasonings, such as turmeric, nutritional yeast, and garlic powder. You can also include a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Cook the crumbled tofu over medium heat for a few minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together. You may wish to add a splash of soy sauce for added umami flavor.

Once the tofu mixture is heated through, stir in your choice of vegetables, like bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, or spinach. Cook until the vegetables are slightly softened, and your mouth-watering tofu scramble is ready to be enjoyed on its own or as a filling for breakfast burritos or sandwiches.


Fried tofu is a great addition to salads, providing plant-based protein and a satisfying crunch. Before adding the tofu to your salad, consider tossing it in a little cornstarch and then frying it until crispy. This will give the tofu a delightful texture that pairs well with salad greens and other ingredients.

You can add fried tofu to a simple green salad, a tofu and kale salad with avocado and grapefruit, or create a vibrant Asian-inspired salad with mixed greens, shredded cabbage, carrots, and cucumber. Drizzle your choice of dressing over the salad, such as a miso-tahini dressing, a soy-ginger vinaigrette, or a spicy peanut sauce.


Stir-fries are an ideal way to incorporate fried tofu into a flavorful, vegetable-packed meal. To make a tofu stir-fry, heat a few tablespoons of oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add your choice of vegetables, such as sliced bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and broccoli, and cook them until they are tender-crisp.

Now, add the fried tofu to the pan along with your choice of stir-fry sauce. You can use a store-bought sauce or create your own by mixing soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and a little brown sugar. To add some heat, include a splash of Sriracha or a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook the mixture for a few more minutes, allowing the tofu to absorb the flavors of the sauce and meld with the vegetables. Serve your delicious tofu stir-fry over steamed rice or noodles for a filling, plant-based meal packed with protein and nutrients.

Cooking Tools and Tips

In this section, we will discuss various tools and tips that can help enhance the process of preparing and enjoying fried tofu.

Chopsticks for Frying

Chopsticks are an incredibly versatile tool, especially when it comes to frying tofu. They offer great precision and control in flipping and moving the tofu pieces during the frying process, ensuring even browning and crispiness. When handling tofu with chopsticks, gently grip the tofu pieces from the sides and turn them over in a smooth motion. In comparison to tongs or spatulas, chopsticks can provide a better grip on the tofu without risking breakage, and they’re much easier to work with once you get the hang of it.

Wooden Spoon for Mixing

When it comes to mixing sauces, marinades, or stir-fries, a wooden spoon is incredibly useful. Its gentle, non-scratch surface makes it the ideal tool for blending together ingredients in a non-stick pan without risking damage. It’s always a good idea to have a wooden spoon on hand when dealing with fried tofu, as it’s useful for incorporating any additional seasoning or ingredients you may want to pair with the tofu. Allow the tofu pieces to soak up flavors from sauces or marinades by gently stirring and folding them in using the wooden spoon.

Paper Towels for Draining

Properly draining your fried tofu is essential for achieving the perfect crispy texture. To do this, it’s important to utilize paper towels. Before frying, you can press tofu between paper towels to remove excess moisture and prevent it from being soggy during the cooking process. Additionally, after frying your tofu, place the pieces on paper towels to absorb any excess oil. This will ensure your finished dish maintains the desired crispy texture.

In summary, incorporating these tools and tips into your fried tofu preparation will help you achieve a delicious and satisfying dish. Utilizing chopsticks, a wooden spoon, and paper towels will allow you to properly handle, mix, and drain your tofu, resulting in an enjoyable and successful cooking experience.