This recipe is sponsored by EZ Tofu Press. All opinions are 100% my own.
Homemade, pan-fried crispy tofu is as decadent as its take-out cousin but costs a fraction of the price. And it couldn't be simpler to make!
I. Love. Crispy tofu! That crunchy coating around piping-hot, pillowy tofu has called my name from many a Chinese restaurant menu.
And I love that, even when eating out isn't in the budget, it's easy to make equally-delicious pan fried tofu at home!
How to Make Crispy Tofu
As with many of my tofu recipes, pressing that tofu to the max is essential. If you want that super-firm texture that you get in a restaurant, the EZ Tofu Press is your friend.
Yes, you can press tofu without a press, but it's not as fast or as efficient. We pressed about a dozen blocks during one recipe shoot and learned that the EZ Tofu Press gets an average of ½ cup of water out of a block of tofu.
That is a lot of water!
Getting the water out makes room for the tofu to soak up your flavorful marinade, so you get better texture and flavor.
Once you press your tofu, slice it into cutlets and pour on my super-easy, 3-ingredient marinade.
Dredge the marinated tofu in cornstarch and flour, and you're ready to pan fry to crispy perfection. The actual stovetop part of this recipe only takes 12-14 minutes, so you'll be eating in no time.
As you can see, the recipe below doesn't skimp on the oil. If you don't like to cook with oil and you own an air fryer, I suggest checking out my Crispy Air-Fryer Tofu instead, which includes an oil-free variation just for you. The texture will be a bit different, but it's just as flavorful and versatile.
How to Serve Pan Fried Tofu
This tofu recipe is incredibly versatile. Serve it over your favorite steamed or sauteed veggies over your favorite grains. Top it off with different sauces for all sorts of mix-and-match meals!
Here are a few sauce ideas that you can drizzle over your crispy tofu to make it extra special:
- 5-Minute Peanut Butter Sauce
- Magical Tahini Dressing
- All-Purpose Coconut Curry Sauce
- Chili-Ginger Tahini Sauce
- Hoisin Sauce
- Soy Sauce
- BBQ Sauce
- Chili Garlic Sauce
Need some side ideas to go with your tofu? I've got you:
- rice or quinoa
- Easy Sesame Noodles
- Ginger-Sesame Kale
- steamed or roasted broccoli
- Easy Stovetop Collard Greens
- Sticky Sesame Cauliflower
Truly, the sky's the limit, so get creative and build your perfect crispy tofu bowl.
Restaurant-Style Crispy Tofu
For the Marinade
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce - low-sodium is OK
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 block extra firm tofu - pressed and cut into 8 cutlets
For the Crispy Tofu
- ¼ cup cornstarch - or potato starch
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup peanut oil - or sunflower oil
Marinate the Tofu
- In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic powder. Pour over the tofu in a shallow dish, then set aside to marinate for 15-30 minutes.
Make the Crispy Tofu
- Pour the cornstarch and flour into separate shallow bowls.
- Dredge each piece of marinated tofu in the cornstarch and then in the flour.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat, making sure that the pan is hot before adding the tofu. To check, wet your fingers under the tap, and flick a few drops of water into the oil. If it sizzles off immediately, the pan is ready. Add the tofu to the pan, making sure that the pieces don’t overlap.
- Cook the tofu for 7-8 minutes, until you can see that the bottoms have turned golden brown. Use a spatula to flip them, and cook for another 6-7 minutes, so they’re browned on the other side. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels or a clean cloth napkin to drain for a few minutes, then serve immediately.