Learn how to cook tofu in the oven, stove and air fryer. Tofu is a super versatile vegan and vegetarian substitute for meat. It can also be used as an ingredient in pudding, soup and plenty of other dishes you want to make vegan friendly. Here’s a tutorial on the different ways to cook perfectly crispy tofu here!
Easy Ways to Cook Tofu
Want to learn how to cook tofu? You can cook tofu in the oven, on the stove or in an air fryer. Down below, you’ll find specific instructions for each method of cooking tofu.
It’s important to press and drain your tofu before cooking it in order to release the excess moisture. It can be cooked until crispy or golden brown like a marshmallow, depending on what you prefer and what you’re making it for. It’s easily customized to suit your needs!
What is Tofu?
Tofu is a dairy-free meat substitute and cooking ingredient that’s made from condensed soy milk. It’s easy to flavor with different seasonings and marinades, and it’s naturally low in calories! Tofu comes in a few different forms that make it suitable for different types of recipes.
What Kinds of Tofu Are There?
The consistency of tofu ranges from soft and silken to extra-firm.
Firm tofu is best used as a meat substitute in salads, bowls and other main dishes as well as on its own!
Softer tofu is great for blending into mousse and other desserts, and it’s also a nice addition to soups and stews. Firm tofu has less moisture than softer tofu, but it’s still important to press and drain it before you cook it.
Press and Drain Your Tofu Before Cooking
There are a few different ways you can press and drain your tofu so it’s ready for the oven, stove or air fryer.
Using a tofu press is the quickest method, but you can drain it without one in just ten minutes. All you need to do is place the tofu between two heavy plates or other flat objects lined with paper towels. Let it sit for ten minutes, and the pressure will draw the moisture from the tofu to the paper towels!
How to Cut Tofu
After you drain your tofu, cut your tofu block into small 1.5″ cubes using a sharp knife. Then season with salt, seasoning + coconut aminos. Toss to coat and allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes.
Marinate Tofu for Amazing Flavor
Marinating your tofu is the best way to make it nice and flavorful. Even a quick 15-minute marinade will work wonders for flavoring your tofu! Using cornstarch is a great way to make it come out extra crispy, if that’s what you’re going for. You can use just about any marinade for tofu, but oil or soy-based ones work best. I use a simple combination of sea salt, avocado oil, coconut aminos and mushroom umami seasoning. If you don’t have time to throw together a marinade, soy sauce will give the tofu a great flavor on its own!
How to Cook Tofu in the Oven
To make baked tofu:
- Preheat the Oven: Set your oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet or casserole dish with one layer of parchment paper. Transfer the drained tofu to your prepared baking sheet.
- Bake: Once the oven is preheated, bake your tofu for 35 to 40 minutes or until it reaches your preferred crispiness. Make sure to flip the tofu half way through so it bakes evenly.
- Char the Top: If desired, switch your oven to broil for the last 2-3 minutes to char the top of the tofu.
How to Cook Tofu in an Air Fryer
To make Air Fryer Tofu:
- Grease Air Fryer Basket: Spray your air fryer basket with oil or cooking spray.
- Insert Tofu: Place the drained tofu in your air fryer basket – you may have to separate it into batches.
- Cook Your Tofu: Set the air fryer to 375°F and cook for 13-15 minutes or until desired crispiness. Toss your tofu half way through so it cooks evenly.
How to Cook Tofu on the Stove Top
- Heat Oil: Heat oil in a large skillet on medium high heat.
- Cook Tofu: Place your drained tofu in a single layer on the pan and cook it for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until desired crispiness. You may have to separate your tofu into batches.
Tips for the Best Tofu
Tofu is easy to work with, but there are a few ways to make sure it cooks perfectly.
- After you press your tofu, cut it into smaller cubes. This way, it’s easier to remove the moisture. If you don’t drain your tofu enough, it won’t get crispy.
- For extra crispy tofu, you can toss it in cornstarch or arrowroot starch before cooking it. This is a quick trick to make it get crispier. When you cook your tofu, you always need to flip it half way through so you get an even bake. Otherwise, one side of your tofu will cook more than the other.
How to Store and Reheat Cooked Tofu
Tofu is best served fresh, but you can store any leftovers in the fridge! Make sure you store it in an airtight container, and it will stay good for 2-3 days. When you want to reheat your tofu, set your oven to 375°F and heat it until it’s very hot.
Can I Freeze Cooked Tofu?
You can certainly freeze your tofu after cooking it, but it might cause the tofu to become more porous. This means it could develop a slightly spongy texture. If you don’t mind that possibility, you can freeze your tofu in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
What to serve tofu with?
More tofu recipes you might like:
Tofu Curry – from Bon Appetit
Tofu Scramble – from Minimalist Baker
Tofu is a super versatile vegan and vegetarian substitute for meat. It can also be used as an ingredient in pudding, soup and plenty of other dishes you want to make vegan friendly. Learn all the different ways to cook tofu here!
- 14-16 oz extra-firm tofu we buy ours from Whole Foods
- 1 pinch fine sea salt
- 1 tsp Trader Joe's mushroom umami seasoning
- 2 tsp coconut aminos
- 1 tbsp avocado oil
Use a tofu press to remove excess moisture or place the block of tofu between two paper towel lined heavy plates or blocks for 10 minutes.
Cut into small cubes and season with salt, seasoning + coconut aminos. Toss to coat and allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes.
Spray air fryer basket with oil, then place the tofu in the basket in a single layer. You may have to work in batches.
Air fry at 375°F for 13-15 minutes or until golden and desired crispiness, tossing halfway through.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Transfer tofu to a parchment-lined baking sheet or a casserole dish in a single layer.
Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until desired crispiness.
Optional: Set the oven to broil for the last 2-3 minutes for charred tops.
Heat oil in a large skillet on medium high heat.
Place the tofu in a single layer on the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until desired crispiness. You may have to work in batches.