Baked Tofu

This 30-Minute Baked Tofu recipe is my favorite way to make tofu!  It’s ultra-easy, totally customizable with your favorite seasonings, and surprisingly crispy and delicious.

Baked Tofu Recipe | Gimme Some Oven

Finally, after sharing recipes this week for how to bake chicken, steak, pork, salmon, and shrimp, we arrive at the recipe that kicked off this whole back-to-basics protein series…

…how to make baked tofu!

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I admittedly never used to be the biggest fan of tofu.  But after meeting and marrying a vegetarian who absolutely loves it, tofu has found its way into our weekly dinner rotation nowadays about once a week.  And I’ve come to appreciate how awesome it can be when prepared well, plus the multitude of ways that you can prepare it!  We love it nice and soft in soups (hello, miso soup, hot and sour soup and sundubu jjigae).  We love chopping and mixing it into sofritas and healthy meatballs (coming soon) and veggie burgers.  We love popping it on the grill and searing it up in a skillet.  But most of the time?

We love making this ultra-simple baked tofu recipe in the oven.

It’s just about the easiest recipe in the world, and yields a batch of tofu that is surprisingly crispy on the outside, yet still nice and soft on the inside.  And perfect for topping steaming bowls of soup or curry noodles, tossing with sauce in a tofu stir-fry, adding to burritos or salads or tacos, or whatever else may sound delicious.  And of course, this basic recipe is also easily customizable with your favorite seasonings or sauces that you’d like to add.

So whether you’ve been on Team Tofu for years, or you’re a newbie ready to give it a try, here are all of my best tips and tricks for how to make the best crispy baked tofu recipe you’ve ever tried!

How To Drain Tofu | Crispy Baked Tofu Recipe

Tofu FAQ

First of all, a quick rundown about tofu basics, if this is your first time cooking with it.

What is tofu made of? Tofu is made from curdled fresh soy milk, which has been compressing it into blocks.  (Similar to the process of making cheese.)  It’s usually 100% gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan.  Although because it contains soybeans, it is not Paleo or Whole30-friendly.

What does tofu taste like? Tofu has a super-mild flavor (think: soy milk) that easily adopts whatever seasonings you’d like to add.

Tofu nutrition? We mostly love to eat tofu because it’s a vegetarian protein that is high in calcium and protein.  Tofu is also an excellent source of amino acids, and has a low calorie count (although a high fat count).  We always buy organic tofu.

How is tofu sold? Typically there are two main categories of tofu — silken or regular.  Aptly named, silken tofu is super soft and creamy and silky, because it is undrained and has a high water content.  By contrast, regular tofu (or Chinese-style tofu) comes in a variety of different levels of firmness — soft, medium, firm, extra-firm.  For this recipe, you will need firm or extra-firm tofu.

Where to find tofu in the grocery store? Tofu is typically found in the refrigerated sections of grocery stores, either in the produce section, near the cheese section, or in the health food section.  Silken tofu, however, is sometimes sold un-refrigerated and may be found in an ethnic section.

How To Bake Tofu In The Oven | Crispy Baked Tofu Recipe

Baked Tofu Ingredients

To make this baked tofu recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Tofu: One block of tofu, either firm or extra-firm.  I also strongly recommend buying organic tofu, if it’s available.
  • Oil: Olive oil, or whatever your preferred cooking oil may be.
  • Cornstarch: This is the magic ingredient that helps make tofu (as well as many other foods) extra-crispy in the oven.
  • Seasonings: I typically just use a mixture of garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper to season my tofu.  (This mixture goes well with just about any recipe.)  But see below for other seasonings ideas.

How To Make Perfectly Baked Tofu

How To Cook Tofu In The Oven

Alright, let’s talk about how to cook tofu!  To bake tofu in the oven, simply:

  1. Drain the tofu. First things first — even the most firm varieties of tofu contain lots of extra water.  So in order to get our tofu nice and crispy, we need to drain some of that our first.  To do so, slice your block of tofu into 2 or 3 slabs (depending on the shape of your tofu block, each slab should be about 3/4 to 1-inch thick).  Then lay some paper towels or a clean tea towel on a flat surface, and place the slabs side by side on top of the paper towels.  Cover with another layer of paper towels on top of the tofu.  Then place a cutting board on top, and stack a bunch of heavy cans or pots or whatever you can safely balance on the cutting board.  The idea is to put a lot of pressure/weight on the tofu, which will help the excess water to press out into the paper towels.  Let the tofu drain for at least 15-30 minutes.
  2. Cut the tofu. Once the tofu has drained, remove the weights and paper towels.  And use a knife to cut the tofu into your desired shapes.  I typically just make little cubes (about 3/4-inch each), but you can cut any size of triangles, rectangles, or other shapes that you’d like.  Of course, the thickness of your shapes will determine your crispy-outside to soft-inside ratio.  So if you want even crispier bites of tofu, make your shapes a bit thinner.
  3. Coat the tofu. Then add your tofu to a large mixing bowl.  Drizzle it with olive oil, and toss gently to coat.  Sprinkle evenly with cornstarch and seasonings (I use garlic powder, salt and pepper).  Toss gently again until the tofu is evenly coated.
  4. Arrange on a baking sheet. Then turn the tofu out onto a parchment-covered baking sheet, and arrange it so that the tofu is in an even layer (not overlapping).
  5. Bake until crispy. Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes.  Then remove the baking sheet from the oven, and flip each of the tofu bites so that they can cook evenly on the other side.  Return to the oven for 15 more minutes, or until the tofu reaches your desired level of crispiness.  Then remove and…
  6. Serve warm!  And enjoy!!

Easy Crispy Baked Tofu Recipe | Gimme Some Oven

Tofu Seasonings, Sauces & Marinades

Similar to chicken, tofu does a brilliant job of adopting whatever flavors you choose to use in your seasonings. I’m a big fan of the simple garlic powder/salt/pepper mix in the recipe below, which goes with just about any cuisine.  But if you’d like to mix things up, feel free to sub in any of your favorite dry seasoning mixes, such as:

Or, feel free to soak your tofu in your favorite tofu marinade for 10-15 minutes (after draining, before coating with cornstarch).  Or — my favorite — cook the tofu with the basic seasoning mix above, and then toss it with your favorite finishing sauce afterwards, like in this magic garlic tofu stir-fry recipe below.  Recipe coming next week!

Magic Garlic Tofu Recipe

Side Dish Ideas

Looking for some side dishes to serve with this salmon recipe?  Here are a few of my faves:

More Baked Protein Tutorials

Be sure to check out our other baked protein tutorials here on the blog.  (More coming soon!)

Enjoy, everyone!

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Baked Tofu

This 30-Minute Baked Tofu recipe is my favorite way to make tofu!  It’s ultra-easy, totally customizable with your favorite seasonings, and surprisingly crispy and delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 1 block (about 14 ounces) extra-firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

  1. Drain the tofu. Slice your block of tofu into 2 or 3 even slabs (depending on the shape of your tofu block, each slab should be about 3/4 to 1-inch thick).  Lay some paper towels or a clean tea towel on a flat surface, and place the slabs side by side on top of the paper towels.  Cover with another layer of paper towels.  Then place a cutting board on top of the tofu, and stack a bunch of heavy cans or pots or whatever you can safely balance on the cutting board.  The idea is to put a lot of pressure/weight on the tofu, which will help the excess water to press out into the paper towels.  Let the tofu drain for at least 15-30 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat your oven to 400°F.
  2. Cut the tofu. Once the tofu has drained, remove the weights and paper towels.  And use a knife to cut the tofu into your desired shapes.  I typically just make little cubes (about 3/4-inch each), but you can cut any size of triangles, rectangles, or other shapes that you’d like.
  3. Coat the tofu. Add your tofu to a large mixing bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil, and toss until evenly coated.  Sprinkle evenly with cornstarch, salt, garlic powder and black pepper.  Gently toss until the tofu is evenly coated.
  4. Arrange on a baking sheet. Turn the tofu out onto a parchment-covered baking sheet, and arrange it so that the tofu is in an even layer (not touching).
  5. Bake until crispy. Bake for 15 minutes.  Then remove the baking sheet from the oven, and flip each of the tofu bites so that they can cook evenly on the other side.  Return to the oven for 15-20 more minutes, or until the tofu reaches your desired level of crispiness.  Remove baking sheet from the oven.
  6. Serve warm.  And enjoy!

Recipe slightly adapted from The Kitchn and Cookie & Kate.

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If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

Easy Crispy Baked Tofu Recipe | How To Bake Tofu

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17 comments on “Baked Tofu”

  1. This looks delicious! I like tofu but it’s never amazing when I make it at home, so I’m excited to try this. How does the baked tofu reheat? I know I couldn’t eat a whole block at once, but wasn’t sure how it would work as leftovers.

  2. I love tofu! Just want to make sure — no oil or cooking spray necessary in this recipe? Thank you!

  3. Early in our dating days many years ago, my husband introduced me to tofu. I can’t say I was ever crazy about it. This recipe looks really good and I will have to give it another try. I look forward to some recipes showcasing it before I branch out and substitute it on my own. Thanks!

  4. Our family is firmly on Team Tofu, and a grocery store near me carries an organic super firm tofu that is PRE. PRESSED. Total game changer!!!! They sell it in the produce section.

    I also like to bake tofu like this, it’s so much easier in stir fry dishes. Cannot wait to try the new stir fry recipe you teased above!!

  5. I’d be willing to bet you can do this and air fry it as well! Prepare the recipe and of course drain it and then just pop it all into your air fryer and I’m going to say set the timer on 8 mins at 375 or even 400 for 5 mins. Just readjust per your taste for crispiness. I cook spam by just slicing it and laying it in the container and put it on 375 for about 12 mins. OMG sooooo perfectly brown n mildly crispy!

  6. I have been wanting to try cooking with tofu, and this looks like the perfect way to start! I’m a little confused though, where to use the olive oil.

    • Ah, my apologies! Just saw that I left the oil out of the instructions in the middle of the post. It’s in there now. :) Just toss the tofu with the oil before adding the cornstarch. Enjoy!

  7. Love how versatile tofu can be for so many flavors, spices, sauces, etc!

  8. I learned the cornstarch trick for tofu a few years ago and it was life changing! Even my carnivore of a fiancé will eat tofu cooked this way 🤗 I’ll often coat the tofu with Korean BBQ sauce at the very end of baking and make tacos with it!
    I realize this isn’t helpful in Spain but for any US readers with a Trader Joe’s nearby, they have the least watery extra firm tofu EVER! I hardly have to squeeze liquid out of it and it’s truly really really firm. 10/10 would recommend!

  9. Looks perfect Ali! Waiting for the stir fry recipe now :)

  10. Love tofu and this looks easy and CRAZY delicious. Making this for my gf tonight!

  11. Thank you for this recipe. I have always like tofu in any way that is prepared but I am never good at deep frying so I will give this a try. I also did stuffed tofu (ground pork or turkey) and they were always been delicious. Looking forward to your other recipes.

  12. Can I press it the night before? Or do the pressing stage in the fridge during the day? I’m trying to figure out how to make this 30 minutes from the time I start making dinner rather than 30 minutes of pressing + 30 minutes of cooking.

  13. I think this has potential, but I’m having trouble getting it to turn out. I made it twice, and neither time turned out like the photo. The second attempt was a bit closer (less cornstarch and more oil), but neither turned out golden brown–both were more gray. Both also did not seem to stay seasoned after baking–I had to add salt (plus cooking spray to make it stick) after baking to both batches. It also seems to dry out by the time it gets crispy on the outside, so it’s crisp but dry, and different sized cubes didn’t seem to help. Would firm instead of extra firm tofu fix any of these issues?

  14. I have loved this week of protein prep – it’s been like a good cooking school for me and I super love crunchy tofu and now I feel liken I can actually make it at home. Thank you for this!

  15. Just made this as an addition to ramen stir-fry for dinner last night. The crispiness was perfect! A few things, though. I didn’t slice it into smaller cubes, but larger rectangles for ease of turning in the oven. I got 12 total. I thought this was genius until it came time to toss them with oil and cornstarch and it turned out they were too big to toss easily. They broke, the cornstarch and spices weren’t evenly distributed, etc. Some pieces were SO salty and others had barely any salt.
    So…good recipe, but I strongly recommend cutting them into the small cubes she shows!

    Rating: 4
  16. This recipe is amazing! The tofu really did crisp up nicely and was the tastiest tofu I’ve ever had/made!!!

    Rating: 5