This is the ultimate guide to how to make crispy tofu with just tofu – no cornstarch, no flour, no breading, and no intense prep. Believe me, I’m a tofu girl, but I am also a FIRM believer that you do not need to prep hours ahead of time to have the ultimate crispy tofu.
This crispy tofu recipe is designed to be your baseline. It’s multifunctional, you can toss it in salads, slather it in sauce, mix it in stir-fries, and top it on soups! One of the questions I get asked most often is, “How do you make your tofu?” and the answer is so simple. So of course, we are here, and we are sharing all the tofu secrets today.
Table of contents
What kind of tofu is best for crispy tofu?
First, let’s start by saying that all tofu is good tofu! Silken, soft and firm, all are amazing and hold incredible value in certain cultures and cuisines.
But if you are just looking for a tofu that will easily crisp up, extra firm is always the way to go. You can also use firm (or even medium, if you are strapped for options!) but you’ll never get the same result as extra firm. Extra firm just means a more compressed tofu, and a denser tofu means it is much easier to crisp up and hold its shape.
How should I cut my crispy tofu?
What’s so fun about tofu is that the shape is up to you! Unlike tempeh or seitan, tofu comes in a uniform block, so it’s relatively simple to cut. For this recipe, I recommend choosing a shape that is no more than 1-inch thick on at least one side. This helps the pressing process!
How do I press my tofu for this crispy tofu recipe?
Great question! Contrary to popular belief, I don’t own a tofu press. But that’s only because I prefer to press my tofu in PIECES. That way you can press them for less time, but still draw out more moisture.
I like to place my tofu pieces evenly on a paper towel-lined baking sheet, cover them with two more layers of paper towels and then another baking sheet. Then I weigh them down with either books or another heavy object for 15 minutes – and voila! Perfectly pressed tofu.
What is the trick to my crispy tofu?
You can definitely find all the instructions in the recipe box below, but my TWO BIG TRICKS are (drumroll please) – use enough oil, and DON’T MESS WITH THEM.
You want to cook the tofu in a liberal amount of oil (think of it as a pan fry) and let them sit untouched for about 4 minutes on each side. They should look like gorgeous little golden toasts. The reason we don’t mess with them, is because when cooking in this amount of oil, it’s actually a relatively dry cooking process only if you aren’t constantly stirring, flipping and adjusting the tofu. We don’t want the tofu to absorb oil like an oil slick, but instead, just cook in it, and crisp up!
Looking for recipe ideas for your tofu?
Here are a few great ones that I always go back to:
And that’s it for this crispy tofu!
And of course feel free to leave any questions, comments or reviews! This is the best place to reach me, and I’d love to hear from you.
Crispy Tofu (using just tofu)
- 5 paper towel pieces
- 2 baking sheets of equal size
- 1 heavy object
- 1 block extra firm tofu drained
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil plus more as needed
- Drain your block of tofu and pat it dry with a paper towel, no need to press it just yet.
- Cut the tofu into your preferred pieces, making sure they are all even in thickness. I recommend not going above 1 inch thick.
- Layer a baking sheet with paper towels. Evenly layer the tofu on top of the paper towels. Place two more layers of paper towels on top, and place the second baking sheet on top. Weigh this down with a heavy object (I like books or a teapot).
- ***What this is doing, is instead of pressing the tofu in one big cube, like most tofu presses do, this is pressing them in individual pieces. This decreases pressing time and is much more effective at making every tofu piece crispy!
- Press for 15 minutes. In the last few minutes of the pressing time, add the oil to a pan and bring it to medium heat.
- Cook the tofu in batches, undisturbed, until they are golden on each side. This is usually about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove them from the pan and place them on a rack or paper towel to drain.
- After that, use them any way you like! They are so simple, so versatile and so good.