Soy marinated tofu is packed with flavor from a soy sauce-based marinade and then cooked until browned and crispy in the pan. The recipe is just 5 ingredients, plus the tofu, and 5 minutes to prep.
Today, I’m sharing soy marinated tofu, which is my absolute favorite ways to enjoy tofu.
I actually started eating and enjoying tofu in high school, which may sound surprising.
We definitely didn’t have it at my house, but I tried it in restaurants a few times. I wasn’t always a great eater back then, but I would get curious from time to time.
Then in college, one of my roommates was vegetarian, and she had tofu on occasion, and we’d cook it in our apartment sometimes.
It’s so economical, packed with protein and nutrients, and it can really take on whatever flavors you throw at it. Which makes it really versatile.
This soy marinated tofu has become my go-to way to enjoy it, and I’m so happy to finally be sharing it with you!
These tofu pieces are packed with flavor from our soy sauce-based marinade that gets soaked into the tofu as it marinates.
That way, the flavor permeates all the way through and you’ll have bite after happy bite.
It’s got a salty kick, crispy browned edges and a hint of heat from the sriracha in every bite. (You can adjust that to your tastes.)
The recipe is also just 5 ingredients, plus the tofu. And they are some easy on-hand kitchen staples, so you can pull this together anytime.
And I think you’ll be coming back to this again and again.
It really is my favorite way to make tofu.
(Although if you have an Air Fryer, I highly recommend this crispy Air Fryer tofu. So easy and turns out so crispy!)
So let’s get cooking!
Now, I’ve got some notes, tips and substitutions coming up below on how to make marinated tofu. Just tryin’ to be helpful.
If you want to jump on down to the recipe, simply scroll right on through the rest of the text. The recipe card is near the bottom of the page, above the comments section.
Notes on making soy marinated tofu:
- You’ll need to press the tofu before you marinade it. This helps remove excess liquid, which also helps the tofu absorb the marinade, which gives it the great flavor. Please plan accordingly.
- The tofu also needs to marinate for at least 30 minutes. The total “additional” time in the recipe card below is 1 hour, which is the minimum.
- However, I have tried this without marinating it, to see if the tofu gets even crispier (after I read such a thing in a magazine). I included notes on that in the recipe card below.
- Make sure to buy extra firm tofu. The other less firm varieties won’t give you the same crispy texture once cooked.
- I recommend low-sodium soy sauce to control the sodium in this dish.
- You can also use a soy sauce substitute such as tamari or coconut aminos, depending on your needs.
- The marinade includes sriracha, which adds flavor and a bit of a kick. You can use more or less to your tastes. Or sub in some crushed red pepper flakes instead.
(By the way, there is such a thing as a tofu press, which might be good for someone who eats tofu a few times a week. Otherwise, I think two plates and a weighted can work just as well - and are free!)
The trick with this recipe is letting your tofu get crispy in the pan.
You’ll cook it over medium-high heat and if you let it cook for long enough on each side, without moving the pieces, you should get well-browned cubes of tofu with plenty of crispy edges.
If you try to move them or turn them too early, they'll break and the bottom part will continue to stick to the pan. So be patient. (That's hard for me.)
Sometimes you’ll also have little crumbles break off and those get super crispy in the pan. I sprinkle them on top of the rest of the tofu pieces when serving. Scrumptious!
Oh, and I included the “additional time” in the recipe of 1 hour, to account for the minimum amount of time you need to press the tofu and then marinate it.
(I’m a planner and it’s misleading when recipes leave that out and I think it’s only going to take me 15 minutes to make and then I see I have a long marinade time. So I wanted to be sure to include that here.)
Also, I really do recommend cooking your tofu in a skillet, as the recipe indicates. I’ve made baked tofu before and it just doesn’t get as crispy. (It also takes longer.)
OK, now that we’ve got some delicious tofu, let’s get ready to serve it up!
Serving ideas for soy marinated tofu:
- Use the tofu for a protein in a grain bowl or Buddha bowl.
- Serve over steamed rice and mixed vegetables, such as broccoli and matchstick carrots, or mushrooms and snow peas.
- Incorporate the tofu into a stir fry.
- Make Asian tofu tacos with steamed brown or basmati rice, this marinated cooked tofu, some thinly sliced cabbage and matchstick carrots in a soft tortilla.
You’ll be finding more and more ways to enjoy this.
Oh, and if you are looking for a sauce to pair with this - such as for a rice bowl - I highly recommend this soy ginger dressing. It’s just 5 ingredients, 5 minutes to mix and it’s so addictive!
You are going to be a tofu convert for sure.
P.S. You can check out all of my easy vegetarian recipes if you are looking for more inspiration.
- 1 (14 oz.) block extra firm tofu, drained
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ to 1 teaspoon sriracha (adjust for spicy level)
- Place the block of tofu on a plate with a double layer of paper towels on it. Cover the tofu block with another paper towel and plate topped with a can, such as a can of tomatoes or beans. You want to weigh it down a bit. Let sit for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour to press out excess liquid.
- Meanwhile, make the marinade. Combine soy sauce, 2 teaspoons canola oil, sesame oil, garlic and sriracha in a small bowl and mix well.
- Cut the tofu into ½-inch cubes. Place the tofu cubes in a plastic bag or a large bowl and add the marinade. Toss to coat all of the tofu pieces and let marinate for at least 30 minutes, turning occasionally. (See notes below if you want to skip the marinade.)
- Heat the remaining teaspoon canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu to the pan. (Most of the marine will be absorbed, any extra can also be added to the pan.)
- Stir fry the tofu for 8-10 minutes, turning regularly, until crispy and browned on all sides.
Press: You’ll need to press the tofu before you marinade it. This helps remove excess liquid, which also helps the tofu absorb the marinade, which gives it the great flavor. Please plan accordingly.
Marinade: The tofu also needs to marinate for at least 30 minutes. The total “additional” time in the recipe card below is 1 hour, which is the minimum.
No time to marinade: I have also made this tofu by skipping the marinade time and adding the sauce to the pan after the tofu has cooked and gotten crispy. It worked just fine. Full story: I read in a magazine that skipping the marinade the best way to get super crispy tofu, so I wanted to try it in case I needed to adjust the recipe. The tofu was maybe a bit crispier and although the sauce flavor didn't penetrate as much as when you marinade, it was also really delicious. Do what works for you.
Extra firm: Make sure to buy extra firm tofu. The other less firm varieties won’t give you the same crispy texture once cooked.
Soy sauce: I recommend low-sodium soy sauce to control the sodium in this dish. You can also use a soy sauce substitute such as tamari or coconut aminos, if you prefer.
Sriracha: The marinade includes sriracha, which adds flavor and a bit of a kick. You can use more or less to your tastes. Or substitute some crushed red pepper flakes.
Leftovers: The leftovers can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. They will not be as crispy upon reheating, however.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 68Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 428mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g