This Simple Baked Tofu is my go-to versatile protein to add to nearly any meal, and I know it’ll become a regular for you too!
It uses just a couple of pantry staple ingredients and foolproof cooking methods. The flavor of the baked tofu cubes is simple yet delicious, while the crunchy outsides and pillowy insides make this recipe just plain addictive.
Best of all, this savory baked tofu can be added to nearly any meal. Once the golden, crunchy nuggets are ready, toss ‘em into curries, stir-fries, noodle dishes, salads, lettuce wraps, breakfast hashes, grain bowls, and more!
Why this recipe works
The best texture
Even if you aren’t the world’s biggest tofu fan (yet), you’ll enjoy this baked tofu. A simple mix of oil, salt and pepper, and potato starch gives the tofu cubes the best texture – pillowy soft and slightly chewy insides with a crispy, crunchy coating around the outside.
The tofu is simply seasoned with just the right amount of salt and pepper, giving it a mild flavor that’s versatile enough to use in almost any meal.
Use it as a last-minute topping on a salad or grain bowl, or go the elaborate route by folding it into a vibrant Thai curry or a vegan breakfast burrito! Get inspired and learn how to use your crispy baked tofu in the How to use baked tofu section below.
A foolproof, hands-off recipe
Baking tofu is an easy and hands-off method that any home cook can manage. There are less than 10 minutes of active prep involved before the tofu is left to do its thing in the oven, which gives you space and time to work on the rest of your meal!
Extra firm tofu is my choice for baked tofu. It holds its shape well and yields pillowy, chewy insides and crispy, crunchy outsides when baked. In short, every bite is completely satisfying.
Brands we like: Our go-to tofu brands are House Foods Organic and Wildwood Tofu, although you can use any extra-firm tofu that’s available to you.
While I recommend using cornstarch when you are pan-frying or deep-frying tofu, potato starch will give you the crispiest coating with baked tofu. It tolerates high heat very well and has a neutral taste that doesn’t transfer to the baked tofu.
Substitute: The best substitute for potato starch is arrowroot starch. I personally don’t like using cornstarch because it leaves a subtle chalky aftertaste.
When you mix the baked tofu with other ingredients, you may not notice this aftertaste, but sensitive palates like mine will. Potato flour will not work, either.
If you want completely irresistible and crunchy tofu that doesn’t dry out, you need oil! You can use either olive oil or a neutral-flavored oil, like avocado oil or grapeseed oil.
I know some folks will want to air fry this, but you simply won’t get the same texture with this particular recipe.
If you have a tofu press, use it to press the water out of the tofu (affiliate link).
If you don’t have a tofu press, slice the tofu vertically into 4 slabs and wrap them in a thin dish towel or several paper towels. Place your heaviest cookbook on top and press for 10 to 15 minutes. If your cookbook isn’t that heavy, you can weigh the book down with a few cans of beans/tomatoes or a skillet.
Cut the pressed tofu into ½ to ¾” (1.25 to 2 cm) cubes and add them to a large bowl.
Season with oil, salt, and pepper, then gently toss to coat with your hands or a silicone spatula. Now add the starch and, as gently as possible, toss to coat with your hands.
Lay the seasoned tofu in a single layer on a sheet pan lined with parchment.
Bake the tofu for 30 minutes until the cubes are golden and crisp, flipping halfway through.
Tips for making this recipe
Press the tofu
Pressing the tofu is an important step because it removes the excess moisture, which allows the tofu to develop a beautifully golden and crunchy outside and to not be watery or mushy on the inside.
That said, don’t press for too long! We once let our tofu press for 30 minutes, and it dried out too much in the oven. Pressing for 10 to 15 minutes is ideal.
*I like to cut the block of tofu into slabs before pressing because the smaller pieces drain more efficiently than the large block.
Cut the tofu into even cubes
Slice the tofu into small, evenly-sized cubes to ensure they bake evenly.
We sliced them into ½-inch to ¾-inch cubes, but you can experiment with the size to figure out what works best for you. ¾-inch cubes feel more substantial and have a pillowy interior, while ½-inch cubes get a little crispier.
Be gentle when tossing the tofu
Tofu cubes are fragile and can break up or crumble easily, which is why you need to be extra gentle when tossing them in the starch. The best and most gentle method is to toss them by hand or to use a silicone spoonula (affiliate link).
Use parchment paper
During our tests, we found that using a parchment-lined baking sheet not only gave us tofu with great texture but also prevented the tofu from sticking and of course made for easy cleanup.
Spread the tofu
Spread the tofu out in a single layer on the baking sheet with room in between each piece to encourage even cooking and airflow. This method also prevents the tofu from steaming (which means soggy tofu – no thanks!) and sticking together due to the potato starch.
With one block of tofu, you will have plenty of room on a half sheet pan.
And for the crispiest golden tofu, remember to flip the pieces halfway through the baking time.
Double the recipe
If you are using a standard half-sheet pan (affiliate link), you will have enough room to bake two blocks of tofu. And trust me, once you realize how versatile and tasty this tofu is, you’ll be sold!
You can season the tofu with a variety of seasonings, like garlic powder, curry powder, or Italian seasonings (add when you add the salt/pepper).
However, in our many tests, we preferred the version with just salt and pepper, as they gave the tofu the best texture (spices can interfere with the tofu crisping up). We also found that the spice flavor was a little overpowering and made the tofu a lot less versatile.
One of the best ways to add extra flavor to roasted tofu is with a marinade or sauce. Our Seriously Delicious Marinated Tofu yields epic tofu every time, or you can use this maple-dijon marinade or sesame-soy marinade for a more dynamic flavor.
Once the tofu is cooked, you can customize the flavor by tossing the cubes in a savory sauce, like barbecue sauce, teriyaki sauce, buffalo sauce, or peanut sauce.
How to use baked tofu
Turn to this baked tofu whenever you need a protein boost! It’s perfect in both cold and warm dishes, like salads, curries, stir-fries, and grain bowls. These are some of our favorite ways to use it:
- Toss the tofu cubes in a sticky, flavorful sauce before serving them over a bowl of white or brown rice with simple steamed vegetables, like broccoli or bok choy.
- Add the crispy tofu to my Quinoa Salad to make it extra hearty and filling.
- It’s an easy go-to protein you can use in loaded grain bowls with roasted vegetables, leafy greens, and a flavorful sauce or dip like Beet Hummus, classic Hummus, Vegan Tzatziki, or pesto.
- The tofu will bulk up all kinds of rich and flavorful curries, like my Thai Green Curry and Red Lentil Curry.
- It will also make noodle dishes, like my Chili Garlic Noodles and Gochujang Noodles, more satisfying.
- Make filling salads for lunch or meal prep by layering the baked tofu in a container with greens, vegetables, and your favorite salad dressing.
- Warm up the pre-baked or leftover tofu cubes in a vegan stir fry.
- Use them as an alternative to the Tofu Scramble in these Vegan Breakfast Burritos.
Frequently Asked Questions
The tofu is best when it’s eaten right after it comes out of the oven or the same day it’s made, though leftovers will stay good for 3 to 4 days.
I share my go-to method of how to prep this tofu ahead of time and then serve it fresh in my 1 hour meal prep YouTube video (timestamp included).
It’s easy! Simply double the ingredients. If you are using a standard half sheet pan, you should have enough room to spread out two blocks of cubed tofu. If they seem crowded, divide the tofu between two sheet pans to prevent the tofu from steaming. Arrange an oven rack at the bottom and in the top third. Switch the pans’ locations when you flip the tofu for even baking.
If you’re interested in marinating tofu, I recommend using the marinade and instructions in my Marinated Tofu recipe.
Yep! All the ingredients, including potato starch, are naturally gluten-free.
Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Toss the chilled leftovers in salads or reheat the cubes by tossing them in a warm stir fry or a sauce in a skillet. If serving plain, you can add the tofu cubes to a frying pan with a touch of oil. Reheat until revived and a bit crisped up (the texture will be a bit different though).
If you love this Baked Tofu, please rate it and review it below! And of course, tag me with your remakes on Instagram!
- 1 (14- ounce/400g) block of extra-firm tofu
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil or neutral-flavored oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons potato starch (can sub with arrowroot powder)
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF/218ºC and arrange an oven rack in the top ⅓ of the oven. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
- Slice tofu block into 4 slabs, lengthwise. Wrap the slabs in a thin dish towel or several paper towels. Place your heaviest cookbook on top and press for 10 to 15 minutes.*If your cookbook isn’t that heavy, you can weigh the book down with a few cans of beans/tomatoes or a skilletNOTE: If you are using a tofu press, just press the entire tofu block (don't slice it into 4 slabs). *I don't recommend pressing the tofu for more than 15 minutes, as it can dry out too much in the oven.
- Cube the tofu. I like to slice each of the four slabs in half vertically, then slice each of the 8 slabs into ½” to ¾” (1.25 to 2 cm) cubes.
- In a large bowl, add the tofu, oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Toss gently to coat, using either a silicone spatula or your hands. Now add the potato starch and, as gently as possible, toss to coat the tofu.
- Arrange tofu on the pan in a single layer, spreading out the pieces so they don’t touch. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip with a spatula or carefully turn the tofu with your hands, working quickly*. Bake for another 15 minutes, or until the tofu is golden and crisp.*I work quickly when flipping with my hands, and it's fine/I don't burn myself, but use a spatula if you're new to this.
Recipe: Nisha Vora / Rainbow Plant Life | Photography: Megan Morello