4.27 from 190 votes

The BEST Crispy Tofu (Pan-Fried)

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With only a few ingredients and a few minutes, you can enjoy the best crispy tofu meal in no time! Covered in a sweet umami sauce, you’ll love this dish.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
£0.44
Makes: 4
mains
Asian

If you think tofu isn’t your cup of tea, you haven’t tried this crispy tofu yet! It’s covered in a deliciously sticky, sweet, umami sauce that pairs well with rice or noodles. Bonus – it’s ready in 15 minutes!

Close up shot of a piece on crispy tofu on a fork with the pan full of the tofu faded in the background.

Why this recipe works

Did I mention this recipe is ready in only fifteen minutes?! It only takes about five minutes to prep the tofu and sauce ingredients. Plus, another ten to fry up the crispy tofu and have it ready to serve! It can last in the fridge for about five days, so it’s an excellent option for lunch or dinner meal prep during the week.

Even though this pan-fried tofu recipe is fried and saucy, the crispy tofu is still relatively low in calories (about 200) per serving. It also has a good amount of protein in each serving, which will help keep you full and satisfied until your next meal.

If you have any leftover tofu from making this crispy tofu dish, you can use it up with these easy tofu dishes Crispy Soy Tofu, Aubergine & Rice, Sticky Tofu on Rice with Crispy Kale, or Vegan Egg Fried Rice.

What is the best way to get crispy tofu?

The key to crispy tofu is to heat the oil in your pan before adding tofu cubes. Coating the pan-fried tofu in corn flour helps create a crispy coating as the cubed tofu cooks in the oil.

Another key to getting uber-crispy tofu is removing excess liquid/moisture from it before you cook tofu. As it cooks, the tofu naturally releases any moisture left inside, which can turn your crispy exterior into a soggy tofu bite. Many people use a tofu press or press tofu between heavy objects (like a cast iron skillet) to remove this extra liquid.

Ingredients

Overhead shot of ingredients to make crispy tofu laid out on a plae blue background and labelled.

Tofu
This recipe requires firm tofu, as options like soft and silken will fall apart in the pan while cooking. Extra firm tofu is also fantastic for creating this crispy tofu dish.

Soy Sauce
This ingredient is necessary for adding a savoury, umami flavour. If you can’t consume gluten, you can use tamari or coconut aminos to provide a similar taste to this crispy sauteed tofu.

Corn Flour
Corn flour is the secret behind this crispy tofu recipe. However, you can also use cornstarch to achieve a crunchy exterior. Mixing corn flour and cornstarch in a 1:1 ratio will produce the crispiest tofu.

See the recipe card for full information on all ingredients and quantities.

How to make crispy tofu in a pan

  1. Start by removing the Tofu from it’s wrapping, drain and cut into cubes (Image 1).
  2. Then using a kitchen towel squeeze and pat the tofu to remove any excess liquid (Image 2).
2 step by step photos, the first with tofu cut into cubes on a wooden board, the second with the tofu cubes on a tea towel on the board.

3. Add the tofu cubes to a large bowl with 1 tbsp of soy sauce and toss to combine. Then using a sieve, sprinkle the cornflour over the tofu (Image 3).

4. Mix with a spatula to ensure the flour evenly coats the tofu (Image 4).

2 step by step photos, the first with tofu squares in a glass bowl  flour being sprinkled over a sieve onto tofu, the second with the flour covered tofu mixed with spatula

5. Using a non-stick frying pan, add a tbsp of rapeseed oil. Wait until the oil is hot (start on high heat) and then add the tofu into the pan. Evenly distribute the pieces tofu across the pan so none of the pieces are touching, otherwise they’ll stick together (Image 5).

6. Leave to fry for around 3 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy on one side. Then keep turning to get that crispy brown coating (Image 6).

2 step by step photos, the first with pale tofu squares frying in a pan, the second with the tofu cubes browned in pan.

7. Then add the remaining soy sauce and honey into the pan and rotate the pieces of tofu, until the tofu starts to brown further (Image 7).

8. Once the honey and extra soy sauce is added continue to fry until super cripsy and golden browned.

Serving suggestions: Serve over rice, with noodles, in a salad or with roasted soy veggies (Image 8).

2 step by step photos, the first with honey being added to the tofu cubes, the second with the golden browned crispy tofu cubes in pan.

Variations

A few quick swaps will help you turn this crispy tofu dish into a gluten-free and vegan recipe. The only ingredient with gluten is the soy sauce. You can use coconut aminos or tamari as a gluten-free swap (as mentioned above). Use maple syrup or agave as a replacement for honey, and you’ll have vegan crispy tofu in one easy swap.

Tips for the best result


Press the tofu before frying
If you want to make tofu recipes easy, get in the habit of pressing or removing as much excess moisture as possible. Removing the extra moisture gives you the best chance of getting a crispy tofu crust.

Pick a firm tofu you like
No particular brand of tofu will make a better batch of crispy tofu than another brand. Instead, picking your favourite tofu is best as you’ll enjoy the dish more. Remember to select a firm, extra firm, or super firm variety.

Use a non-stick pan to pan-fry tofu
Even though you’ll be using oil to fry the tofu, there’s still a chance it may stick to your pan while cooking. Avoid broken tofu bits and pan scraping by using a non-stick pan for this crispy tofu dish.

Season the corn flour for extra flavour
Add seasoning (like garlic powder) to the corn flour before dipping the tofu cubes if you want a bolder taste for your crispy tofu.

Close up of lots of cubes of tofu browned and crispy in a pan.

FAQs

Why is my tofu not getting crispy?

If your crispy tofu isn’t getting crispy, it could be because there is too much moisture in the tofu. Another issue could be the oil isn’t hot enough to fry the tofu. Or you forgot to add the corn flour. These three reasons can cause your tofu to be soggy or not crisp up as much as you’d like.

What can I use instead of cornflour for crispy tofu?

As mentioned, you can use cornstarch instead of flour to create crispy tofu recipes. Rice and potato flour are also great alternatives that help you achieve a deliciously crispy exterior. Additionally, you can use an egg and breadcrumb coating, though it will change the dish’s flavour slightly and alter the calories.

 
Should I press tofu to make it extra crispy?

It’s not necessary to press tofu to make it extra crispy. However, removing as much moisture as possible from the tofu before frying it helps create golden and crispy tofu. Removing moisture can be done by wrapping the tofu in a paper towel or a clean kitchen towel and squeezing it.

How do you keep fried tofu crispy?

If you know you won’t be eating all your crispy tofu at once, separate some of the fried tofu and sauce and pack it in airtight containers separately.

What to serve with crispy tofu?

You can make a satisfying meal by pairing this crispy tofu with a veg and carb. You can also add a bit of heat by drizzling your favourite chili garlic sauce on top. Below you’ll find some options for side dishes that you can enjoy with this saucy tofu.
Creamy Gochujang Pasta
Singapore Fried Rice
10 Minute Vegetable Noodle Soup

Close up of lots of browned and crispy tofu cubes/rectangles in a pan.

If you tried this Crispy Pan-Fried Tofu recipe, it would be mean so much to me if you could leave a review & a star rating to let me know how you found it! I love hearing about your experiences – it motivates me to keep creating more and more recipes for you guys 💛 Let’s get cooking! – Mimi x

The BEST Crispy Tofu (Pan-Fried)

Print
4.27 from 190 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
£0.44
mains
Asian
Servings: 4
With only a few ingredients and a few minutes, you can enjoy the best crispy tofu meal in no time! Covered in a sweet umami sauce, you’ll love this dish.

Ingredients

  • 396 g Cauldron tofu/ any firm tofu (£2.75)

Cupboard Essentials

  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp corn flour
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil

Method

  • Start by removing the excess moisture from the cubed tofu by squeezing and patting with some kitchen towel. Add to a large bowl and coat with 1 tbsp of the soy sauce. Toss to combine.
  • Using a sieve, sprinkle the cornflour over the tofu whilst tossing occasionally to evenly coat.
  • Add the rapeseed oil to non-stick frying pan on a high heat. Wait until the oil is hot and then add the tofu into the pan. Evenly distribute the tofu across the pan so none of them are touching, otherwise they'll stick together. Leave to fry for around 3 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy on one side.
  • Add the remaining soy sauce and honey into the pan and rotate the pieces of tofu, until at least two sides of the tofu are super crispy.
  • Serving suggestions: Serve over rice, with noodles, in a salad or with roasted soy veggies.

Notes

  • Press tofu before frying to remove excess moisture for a crispy crust.
  • Choose your preferred firmness of tofu for the best results.
  • Use a non-stick pan to prevent sticking and ensure intact tofu.
  • Season the corn flour with spices for added flavour in the crispy tofu.

Nutrition

Servings: 4 servings
Fat: 14g
Calories: 209kcal
Carbohydrates: 7g
Protein: 14g

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Thank you so much for trying my recipe! I hope you loved it. I’d be so grateful if you could leave a comment/rating - it makes my day hearing your feedback!

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Comments

  1. I don’t normally comment, but I’ve been trying to make Tofu taste good for a year now. My cooking skills are minimal which is why I think I’ve struggled, but YOU DID IT! Thank you!! I can now enjoy it. I sent a family to my friends and family saying they can now enjoy it when I make haha5 stars

  2. Marscha | 1 year ago

    I tried tofu for the first time,
    I was told by other people that coooking with tofu, it had no flavour & very bland.
    I used your recipe & loved it.
    Going to add other ingredients, but as I live with a stoma bag for life, that’s makes recipes very limited, Spice & vegetable wise.5 stars

  3. Have always longed for crispy tofu and never knew how to make it, tried baking it, stir-frying etc but with your brilliant recipe have finally got the magic knowhow. Delicious outcome, added it to a veggie stir-fry and it was totally divine. Big Yum.5 stars

  4. I absolutely love this. It’s the best I’ve ever had.5 stars

  5. I must make this at least once a week, I absolutely love it!5 stars

  6. I tied this recipe but did it backward – lol let me explain. I put the honey in with the cornstarch soysauce on withbefore they went into the pan. I hit it with the last 2 tbl of soysauce and as it cooled sprinkled it with garlic powder. Its was unbelievably good.5 stars

    1. Mimi Harrison | 2 years ago

      oooo that sounds delicious! Glad you really enjoyed it and thanks for the message!

  7. Jennifer Sevitt | 2 years ago

    This was so tasty!5 stars

  8. I’m not a tofu lover, but thought I’d try this recipe as it looks so tasty in the pictures. I hadn’t realised how by adding some cornflour, soy sauce and honey and slowly frying the tofu until golden brown and crispy changed my opinion. Instead of the soggy tofu I’d tried before, this crispy version was so delicious and mixed with some rice and vegetables made the ideal dinner.5 stars

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