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Crispy Tofu

by Dana Bean, RD

Golden, crispy tofu recipe in under 30 minutes including tofu pressing! Find out what to add to make it a full meal.

Crispy Tofu

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Course: dinner
Keyword: proteins, tofu


  • 1 Package Extra Firm Tofu
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter


  • Drain tofu and press tofu for 10 minutes as a whole block (wrap in a paper towel and place something heavy on top). Slice vertically into 3 thinner sheets and press again for 5 minutes. Cube tofu.
  • Heat non-stick pan to medium heat and add butter and oil.
  • Let tofu cook for a few minutes on each side until golden brown. Use tongs if needed to crisp all sides.
  • Optional: Add 2 Tbsp of thick teriyaki sauce.

Many recipes for crispy tofu will have you press the tofu for 1-2+ hours! Not only is this overly time consuming, but I’ve found that pressing this long can actually relieve too much moisture from the tofu. This can make it crumble instead of staying in tact for that nice crispy tofu cube we’re looking for. Plus, who remembers to press tofu 2 hours before they’re going to make it? NOT ME!

Crispy Tofu in a pan

Pressing the tofu before cooking is still important though. This is where I find a happy medium with this 15 minute press.

  1. Drain the tofu block
  2. Wrap in a paper towel (or a dish towel)
  3. Place something heavy on top. I use a small cast iron with about 3 cans in it. Let this press for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the towel, slice vertically into 3 “sheets” (so it’s the same width and height, but the “depth” is what we’re reducing).
  5. Wrap in another towel and place the heavy items back on. Press for 5 more minutes.
  6. Ready to cook!

This recipe is simple, but has been my best luck at creating the perfect crisp and golden pieces of tofu! Once you get the oil and butter heated in the pan, we’ll add the tofu. We want to use that non-stick pan and cook for a few minutes on each side before flipping. I use tongs to make sure each side of the tofu cubes get a turn to get crispy!

crispy tofu with vegetables and sauce

So we have this crisp, golden tofu. Now what do we add?

The easiest go-to would be adding 2 Tbsp of thick teriyaki sauce right to the pan after the tofu is done cooking. Teriyaki tofu just like that! we could also do a premade curry sauce. Yum!

I’ll usually opt for rice or yakisoba noodles to pair with the tofu. You could also do rice noodles!

Frozen stir-fry vegetables are my favorite go-to option here. The big bags from Costco are awesome or any frozen stir fry mix will be great!

Tofu gets a bad wrap sometimes for being bland (kind of like brussels sprouts, but we’ve got a remedy for that too) And here’s the thing. Tofu IS bland on its own. We’ve gotta add some of these things I mentioned above for it to taste great! It will take on whatever flavor we give it, but we do have to give it flavor (unless you’re into plain, raw tofu. That’s cool too).

If you haven’t tried it yet, have it a few different ways before making up your mind!

Remember, we don’t label food and “good” or “bad”. Food is neutral! Diet culture could probably spin this crispy tofu either way (like it does with its’ contradicting opinions about every food). But let’s instead tell ourselves the reality. This is a protein option that we can choose when we would like it! The crispy, golden nature of this tofu may allow it to be more satisfying in both texture and staying power of the meal. Also, if you don’t like tofu you don’t have to eat it 🙂

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