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.
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!
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!
Baked Tofu Recipe | 1-Minute Video
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.
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 Cook Tofu In The Oven
Alright, let’s talk about how to cook tofu! To bake tofu in the oven, simply:
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.
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.
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.
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).
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…
Serve warm! And enjoy!!
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!
Side Dish Ideas
Looking for some side dishes to serve with this salmon recipe? Here are a few of my faves:
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
My son and tried this recipe and I thought is was delicious. Crispy, tasty, and easy to prepare.
This was the best tofu I’ve ever made, and I’ve made my fair share. It came out so crispy and delicious! I used my air fryer and just shook them around in the basket a couple of times. Fantastic! Costco had tofu on sale, so I just bought a ton, which I’m looking forward to consuming in this way every.single.time!
could you use almond flour in place of cornstarch to add the crispy texture to the exterior? I’m paleo and can’t consumer cornstarch.
Try arrowroot or tapioca starch!
So yummy! Definitely not quite as crispy as the pictures, but I think maybe I need to squeeze out more water. BUT, not only is this delicious the moment it comes out of the oven, but it’s still SO GOOD reheated (I just put it back in the oven at 350 for a few minutes). This means it’s a dream for meal prepping so now I’ve been making it at the beginning of the week and then storing it in the fridge to add to my roasted veggies or bowls. Thank you!
Thank you so much for mentioning using leftovers, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to save them- this is great
This is hands down my favorite tofu recipe! I was never able to replicate the chewy texture of tofu that I enjoy when eating out until I stumbled across this. Even my very carnivore husband likes it, as does my 1 year old niece! I keep intending to try some of the other spice blends Ali suggests but I change my mind each time because I love the garlic powder/salt/pepper combo so much :) Thank you for sharing!!
This is my favorite tofu recipe to date. I love fried tofu in all manner of stir fries and curries, but I don’t like fussing with frying most of the time. This gives me perfectly crispy tofu while allowing time to prep and cook the rest of whatever I’m using it in. I have made it several times, and it has never disappointed.
Hi Ali! I made this for the first time tonight, and my family favored it over the ribs I baked alongside (a miracle for my carnivorous family!). They’ve already requested a repeat performance for tomorrow. I can’t wait to try it with your sesame noodles. Thank you!
My go to recipe for baked tofu. Love it! Perfect every time. Thank you.
Kids loved this
Great ! So simple to make I live it !!!
Love this recipe. It’s made a tofu lover out of my 12 year old daughter. Prep time is way off, though. Be sure to add 15 to 30 minutes for squeezing the moisture out of the tofu. Unless you have stored a bunch of pre-drained tofu, this is not a quick recipe.
I think I messed this one up! Mine came out a bit tough and chewy. What do you think I did wrong? Too much oil?
Basic recipe; awesome results! So easy to make, and really versatile in a number of vegetarian/vegan dishes I make. The only thing I don’t do is flip the tofu half way through the cooking. I just let it bake for 30 minutes, and it still comes out perfectly. A+ recipe!
You made my kids like tofu! : ) Thank you a million times over. It is now in the regular rotation.
Would this recipe work with ranch seasoning packets and breadcrumbs? I’ve been looking for a simple recipe similar to the ranch chicken my brother used to make, ever since I became a vegetarian a few years back. I’d love to hear any tips or suggestions you might have for me regarding this. Thank you!
Accidentally bought just firm tofu, but with 2 hours of draining it worked perfectly. Not as pretty as the pictures here, but an excellent addition to That vegetarian green curry, and for snacking. Didn’t use garlic or pepper, but it still had a great nutty flavor. Will be making a lot from here on out. Thanks!
This was honestly my favorite tofu recipe ever. So crsipy and delish! I made peanut sauce for dipping and I could eat it all day!
Tastiest baked tofu I’ve tried yet! Thanks for the great recipe ?
This recipe turned out great! I added a tablespoon of bread crumbs & I used a tofu press instead of the pressing method described. I wouldn’t eat this tofu plain (I’d never do that, it needs to be dressed up with something else) but this is the best texture I’ve ever achieved with tofu. I usually hate tofu but loved this in the wrap I made!
Love tofu love your vegetarian recipes! Thanks
I have a recipe that calls for sautéed tofu in sesame oil… have you tried sesame oil in stead of olive oil with this baking method?
I sprinkled Chinese five-spice seasoning on and, oh my gosh, it was delish m!
Can you skip the oil? Thanks!
This is great! Simple, tasty, great texture, and less oil than frying. Thank you!
I enjoyed your recipe. Thanks for sharing. How long will baked tofu last in the refrigerator?
Love this recipe ! Ive made so many different recipes and i was always either disappointed in the end product or they were just too complicated . this is so easy to make and the flavor is delicious ! I do cut back on the garlic powder a little tho .
So good!! I actually tried it once it had cooled down to room temperature and liked it better! Such a great crunchy salty savory treat and so easy to make. Reminds me of the fried salt and pepper tofu you find in Taiwan! Love it, shared it already!
Just like every other recipe of yours, this was so simple to make and turned out SO good! I’ve been interested in making tofu for a while but felt intimidated by it; this was so straightforward and turned out crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, I honestly liked it better than chicken! It was perfect for my Buffalo bleu cheese salad but I already know I’ll be using this in all kinds of dishes. Thank you!!
This was delicious. I served it over the sesame noodles recipe you posted here, which was also delicious too. I just wish I knew the nutritional value of this meal. Trying to figure out what the sodium content would be.
Not sure what I did wrong, but my tofu turned out tough and dry.
Absolutely LOVE this recipe and make it often. We use it to top salads or dip in sauces like you would nuggets or wings. Soooo super crispy!
So delicious and very crispy. If there are leftovers should it be stored in the fridge or will that take away the crispness?
Came out really crispy and delicious. Much easier than frying the tofu and healthier too! My only modification is that I found it salty even with the salt cut down to 1/2 tsp.
This has rejuvenated my love of tofu. It can be so bland and texturally unexciting, but, this recipe gives crispness and flavour. I like to serve it on top of a massoman curry with rice.
Both times I tried to make this the tofu started on fire in my oven. Not sure why it did but I definitely don’t recommend trying this…
My thirteen year old daughter decided she wants to be a vegetarian which I fully support but want to ensure she gets enough protein. Luckily she loves tofu! A friend of mine recommended your baked tofu recipe and it’s a huge hit! While I make it for her on a regular basis, I really enjoy it as well so sneak a few pieces when she’s not looking. ? The spice blend you recommended tastes great but might try some different combinations to change it up!
This was really great- just WAY TOO SALTY. I used fine sea salt like the recipe calls for-not sure what happened. I would recommend 1/4 tsp if you’re salt sensitive. Otherwise- I will make this on the regular!
Best baked tofu I made. I didn’t realize cornstarch made it crispier. Will be using this recipe again. I added soy sauce too because I love soy sauce with tofu.
Sounds great! Question, would this be good to put in a curry recipe after backed? I hate plain, tasteless tofu in recipes so I was wondering if it would be good to use that way. I would definitely season it before baking. Please let me know what you think. Thanks.
Perfectly crispy – and so easy! Will make again.
Good recipe. I made a batch which I stored in fridge then used in different dinners later in the week. So tasty!
This turned out great except 1 teaspoon of salt was too salty. Next time I’ll use 1/2 teaspoon.
I became a regular tofu eater because of this recipe. Thank you!
Absolutely a family favorite. Our modifications include half the salt and just leaving the tofu when done baking in the oven as the everything cools. An extra half hour or so. Perfect!
I over-salted and made my cubes too small. But I absolutely see how this recipe is a winner and a new idea for me to work with! We tossed our super salty tofu croutons into pasta and it was like having some savory bacon pieces. I will follow the recipe more closely next time. So many possibilities. Thank you!
HUGE FAN. I used my air fryer and 15 min later on 400° was perfection.
My tofu turned out very crispy and tasty but kind of dry. I needed to use more than a tablespoon of oil I think. Finished product reminds me of croutons and I will add the cubes to salads for added protein.
This recipe is the best!!!! I used some toasted sesame oil and low sodium soy sauce. Delicious
Making this today, I have the tofu draining right now. I plan to eat it with some yum yum sauce and some veggie fried rice I picked up from my favorite Chinese restaurant. I hope based on all the rave reviews that it comes out good! I’ve been craving fried tofu and going to give baked a try.