How to Make Baked Tofu

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Tofu is a nutrient-packed and plant-based protein source that can deliver various culinary delights. Learn how to make crispy baked tofu with a few critical preparation steps. Cut the bean curd into multiple shapes and serve with any sauce or sides.

Photo looking down on a bowl of baked tofu with glazed carrots and greens

Tofu is prized for its high plant-based source of protein. What makes it even more unique is that its made from soybeans, the only legume that has all nine essential amino acids. That’s why finding ways to incorporate the pressed bean curd into meals may provide added value from a nutritional perspective.

The lightly sweet, nutty and neutral flavors open a world of culinary options. It’s simple to switch things up and add a layer of interesting texture when cooking with tofu. The simplest way to do this is by coating small pieces of tofu with cornstarch and baking until golden. Learn how to make baked tofu and the essential steps to achieve that satisfying crispy bite.

How to make baked tofu

Bowl of crispy baked tofu cubes

Tofu is an especially good option for those on a vegetarian, gluten-free, or vegan diet. There are different types of tofu, the main difference being the texture.

For baking, use firm or extra-firm tofu. These hold there shape well when cut, and more moisture can be removed for tighter yet tender bean curd.

Cut into shapes

Photo of a persons hands using a chefs knife to cut into a block of tofu

Make sure to pour out the water that the tofu is submerged in before cutting, and dry with paper towels. For shapes, cubes or slabs are ideal.

I cut about a 3/4-inch cube, which gives more light and crispy tofu on each side. Rectangles about 1/4-inch thick can also be cut into larger pieces.

Photo of two blocks of tofu on a cutting boards sliced into slabs and cubes

I prefer the cubes because they bake up more crisp due to more surface area browning. No matter what shape you choose, make sure to make them as close to the same size for even cooking.

Remove excess moisture

Cubes of tofu on paper towel to absorb moisture

There’s a lot of liquid that still retained inside of the tofu once cut. The goal is to release as much moisture as possible so that the surface of the tofu gets golden and crisp on the edges faster.

Otherwise, wet tofu will steam and take longer to cook. The way to achieve this is to place about three layers of paper towel on a sheet pan, then evenly space out the tofu pieces.

Photo of canned food on a baking sheet used as a weights to squeeze moisture out of tofu

Place 3 layers of paper towel on top, another sheet pan of similar size, and a few heavy cans of food. I used about three 15-ounce cans as weights to help press out the liquid. Allow the tofu to drain for about 15 minutes, 30 minutes is ideal.

Add a Coating

Mixing bowl with cornstarch added to cubes of tofu

Tofu becomes crispy by drying its surface with hot air circulating in the oven. To enhance this process some oil and cornstarch can be used as a coating.

For smaller cubes toss in olive oil and then cornstarch. When working with more massive slabs of tofu, oil it first, and then lightly sprinkle the cornstarch on each piece of tofu to prevent breaking.

Sifter sprinkling cornstarch over a baking sheet filled with slabs of tofu

Cornstarch helps to absorb any drops of water on the exterior and clings to the tofu. Potato starch can also be used if you’re not a fan of cornstarch. The extra layer of starch is what will make the tofu extra crispy.

You can skip the cornstarch if desired, the tofu with still change textures in the oven, however, it just won’t be as intense of a crunch. Make sure to use a high smoke point oil. Otherwise, the tofu will stick to the parchment paper after baking.

Bake

Small cubes of baked tofu on parchment paper

Bake the tofu at 400ºF (204ºC) to help quickly drive off excess moisture and begin the browning and drying process. The time will vary depending on the size and shape. Bake for 15 minutes, and then carefully flip the pieces over and continue to roast about 15 to 25 minutes until golden and crispy.

Crispy baked tofu cubes

Serve baked tofu immediately for maximum crunch. It’s best to enjoy the same day, as the tofu can become chewy once cold and refrigerated. I like to enjoy the crispy tofu with a soy sauce and sesame oil dip, drizzled with chimichurri or served with teriyaki sauce and vegetables.

More tofu recipes

Add starch before baking tofu for a crispy texture

Adding cornstarch or potato starch helps with two things for crispiness. It first absorbs any excess moisture on the surface of the tofu. This allows the browning and drying to occur faster because it reduces steaming. Secondly, it adds another layer, similar to the effect of a breaded coating on the outside of foods like tempura for further texture development.

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Baked Tofu

Learn how to make crispy baked tofu with a few key preparation steps. Cut the bean curd into various shapes and serve with any sauce or sides.
Pin Print Review
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine Asian

Ingredients

  • 14 ounces extra firm tofu, or firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Instructions 

  • Set the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat to 400ºF (204ºC).
  • Line a baking sheet with a few layers of paper towel and set aside.
  • Remove the tofu from the packaging, pouring off excess water. Drain tofu and dry excess moisture with paper towels.
  • Cut tofu into cubes about ¾-inch in size, or slice into ¼-inch thick rectangular pieces.
  • Arrange the tofu on the paper towel-lined baking sheet. Place a few layers of paper towel on top.
  • Place another baking sheet on top of the tofu, then add some weights on top like a few cans of food to help press out the extra moisture.
  • Allow tofu to express the excess moisture for 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Transfer tofu to a medium-sized bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Gently use fingers to toss the cubes to combine or evenly coat the larger slices on each side by flipping over.
  • Sprinkle the cornstarch over the tofu and gently combine until the outside of the tofu is evenly coated.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Arrange the tofu in a single layer, evenly spaced on the baking sheet.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, and then use a spatula to flip over the pieces for even cooking.
  • Cook an additional 15 to 25 minutes depending on the size of the tofu, until the surface is a light golden brown and crisp.

Notes

  • Enjoy warm or refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  • Potato starch can be substituted for cornstarch.
  • Tofu can be baked without cornstarch, however, will not be as crispy.

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Nutrition Facts
Baked Tofu
Amount Per Serving
Calories 130 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Sodium 258mg11%
Carbohydrates 4g1%
Fiber 2g8%
Protein 9g18%
Calcium 180mg18%
Iron 1.6mg9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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5 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Cathy says

    Hi! What an informative and helpful piece! Thank you! I was wondering on the nutrition label posed, what is the serving size? Many thanks!

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