Crispy Pan Fried Tofu

There’s nothing better than the texture of crispy pan fried tofu! The secret to that crunch is one simple ingredient, which we’ll get to later.

Tofu is a staple around here because it’s a wonderful source of protein and it takes on any flavour you add, like our recipe for Zucchini Tofu Lasagna and Tofu Chili! With just a few simple ingredients, you can have dinner on the table in 20 minutes.

The marinade makes this dish extra flavourful – which tofu really needs because on its own, it’s very bland.  The ingredients shown below are core ingredients, but we also add Sriracha and Hoisin to the marinade for a sweet and spicy twist to make this tofu recipe flavourful. I think ginger is another ingredient that would marry well in the marinade but we haven’t tried that yet. If we do, we’ll either use powdered ginger or add fresh ginger near the end so it doesn’t burn.

Marinate Tofu

Cut the tofu into cubes and marinate.

Gently mix being careful not to break the cubes and let it sit in the marinade for while you heat the pan.

A high smoke point oil, such as grapeseed oil, is important for getting that crisp exterior without burning.

Add the oil and let the pan get good and hot. It should smoke when it’s ready.

Add oil to the pan for crispy pan fried tofu

Now add the cornstarch and mix again – that’s what makes it crisp!

The ingredient that makes crispy pan fried tofu so crispy is corn starch!

As you cook the tofu, turn the cubes onto all sides to get them crisp and brown.

Brown tofu on all sides for crispy pan fried tofu

Serve as a side dish with scallion and sesame seeds sprinkled over top. Or make it a meal and serve with a side of salad.

If you have leftovers, you can reheat again in a toaster oven.

Here’s another variation of marinated crispy tofu where we experimented with different spicing and technique.

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Crispy Pan Fried Tofu

There's nothing better than the texture of crispy pan fried tofu! The secret to that crunch is one simple ingredient!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Japanese
Keyword Tofu
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 servings


  • 2 x 12 oz packages firm or extra firm tofu cut into 1” cubes we use organic Tofu
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch we use gluten free
  • 2-3 tbsp grapeseed oil


  • 2 tbsp tamari tamari is gluten free
  • 2 tsp Lee Kim Kee Sriracha Chilli sauce Optional if you like it spicy
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp hoisin Optional if you like sweetness
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Ground black pepper to taste


  • Green onion finely chopped
  • Sesame seeds


  • In a large bowl, mix together first 7 ingredients to combine. Cube the tofu and add to the bowl. Gently toss the tofu into the marinade using a silicone spatula. Set aside.
  • In the meanwhile, preheat large ceramic non-stick skillet on medium heat. Add half of the grapeseed oil. It should be hot enough to make tofu sizzle right away.
  • Sprinkle the tofu cubes with cornstarch mixture and gently stir to coat. The marinade should soak in so don’t be worried if the cornstarch mixture is wet and sticky.
  • In a large teflon skillet add the tofu in a single layer. If you don’t have a large enough pan, cook it in two batches.
    If pieces stick together, you can gently separate them if you wish.
  • Cook on first side until browned, about 2-3 minutes. Flip each cube with teflon tongs, or a spatula, and pan fry for a few more minutes or until crispy. Halfway through cooking, as you rotate the cubes to crisp each side you can add the reserved marinade that collected at the bottom of the bowl (if you are cooking in two batches, split the marinade in two). Transfer to a plate and garnish with green onion and sesame seeds.


The first few times we made this, we used firm tofu and it cooked perfectly. The last time we used firm tofu, it fell apart but it was close to its expiry date. Next time we'll try extra firm tofu for this recipe to see if it makes a difference. 

6 thoughts on “Crispy Pan Fried Tofu

  1. This sounds like a great way to cook tofu. I love the crispy texture! I would put this on salad for a protein. Thanks for sharing! Pinned 🙂

    • It’s probably our favourite way to eat it – and extra bonus that it’s fast – lol!

    • Thanks Marie! We love Grapeseed oil for high heat cooking!

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