Minimal ingredients, perfect chewy texture, oven baked for easy clean-up, plenty of plant based protein, and even an oil-free option! This Baked Tofu Recipe is great for snacking on it’s own or with a dipping sauce and, of course, delicious as part of a larger meal.
Tofu is a high protein plant based food that is often a staple of vegan diets. It’s a complete protein and also boasts high amounts of calcium, selenium, iron, healthy omega-3 fats, magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins. [source]
There are a lot of ways to season baked tofu, but I like this particular recipe for its simplicity. Tofu can be quite bland on it’s own, so I use just enough seasoning to give it flavor, but it’s still mild enough to pair with any type of cuisine.
This is a versatile recipe that I make about once a week. Sometimes, I even double it because the whole family loves it cooked this way. I hope you enjoy it, too!
Ingredients you need
Tofu – For this recipe I prefer Extra Firm. Trader Joe’s sells a Super Firm that I really like. Regular firm will also work, it will just have a bit more water to press out.
Definitely do not use soft or silken varieties. Those are much too soft for this oven baked recipe.
Also, I suggest always choosing organic, non-GMO tofu. I don’t always fuss with organics, but I think in the case of soy, it’s important. So, be sure to read labels and choose accordingly.
Coconut aminos – You may use tamari, a gluten-free soy sauce alternative, or traditional soy sauce instead. I prefer coconut aminos because I find it less salty than the others.
Apple cider vinegar – Rice vinegar, white wine vinegar, or even lemon or lime juice will work. You just need a bit of tang to balance out the flavors.
Pure maple syrup – Agave is a good alternative if you prefer.
Sesame oil – Used here for added flavor. If you don’t have it, you can skip the oil altogether. No need to replace with another oil. And, of course, if you follow an oil-free diet, just leave it out.
How to make baked tofu
If you have a tofu press, you can use that.
Personally, I’m not a fan of most gadgets, so I just use what I already have. See the above photo for my setup.
- Slice the tofu block into thick slabs, two or three is fine.
- Place the slabs in an even layer on a plate lined with a few paper towels. I like to use a plate with a lip to keep the liquid contained in case it’s not all absorbed by the towel. (Alternately, wrap a clean dish cloth around the slabs instead of the paper towels if you prefer.)
- Place another few paper towels on top followed by another plate.
- Weigh the top plate down with books or bags of dried beans or rice.
- Press for at least 20 minutes.
Cut the slabs into bite size pieces and place into a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss well to ensure the pieces are evenly coated.
For many recipes, I would say to marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight to really soak up the flavors. However, this baked tofu recipe is intended to have a mild, neutral flavor so that it pairs with almost anything. For this reason, 20 minutes is plenty, but feel free to do longer if you wish.
Place the marinated tofu pieces, evenly spaced out in one even layer, onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes, flipping all the pieces over half way through to ensure even cooking.
It’s very bland on it’s own, but it easily absorbs flavors and seasonings, making it the perfect complement to all cuisines.
This baked tofu recipe has crispy edges and firm, chewy texture throughout. It’s very “meaty.”
For an even crispier bite, you can toss the marinated tofu cubes (remove them from the remaining marinade first) with 1 to 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. This works great if you’re planning on eating them right away. Once the tofu is stored for later, the extra crispiness from the cornstarch will be gone. For this reason, I don’t usually bother with it, but again, if you’re eating them right away, you may enjoy that little extra crunch.
I’ve made this recipe mild enough in flavor that you can pair it with just about anything. We love snacking on them, as is, straight out of the oven…my 8 year old daughter would eat the entire batch if I let her.
Here are some other ideas to try:
As an appetizer or snack with Easy Peanut Dipping Sauce (also great for lunchboxes!)
Thrown in a salad for an extra protein boost
Over brown rice with steamed vegetables
In a wrap, tacos, or fajitas
In stir fries over noodles or rice
Add a few cubes to a bowl of soup
Tips for success
Be sure to use firm, extra firm, or super firm organic tofu. Do not use soft or silken!
Press the tofu to release as much water as possible. Slicing the block into 2 or 3 thick slabs and then pressing will help get even more water out than pressing the whole block. See notes above or in the recipe card for directions on pressing.
Dice the tofu into equal bite-size pieces to ensure they cook uniformly.
If not all of the marinade gets absorbed, drain it before placing the tofu on the baking sheet.
Be sure to flip the cubes half way through cooking to ensure crisp edges all around.
Sprinkle on salt and pepper as soon as it comes out of the oven for an extra flavor boost.
More firm tofu recipes
I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you tried it, please use the rating system in the recipe card and leave a comment below with your feedback.
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Chewy Baked Tofu
- 1 block 14-16 ounces extra firm tofu (firm and super firm will work, as well)
- [2 tablespoons coconut aminos or tamari or soy sauce]
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil optional
- salt and pepper to taste
- Press the tofu for 20 minutes. (See notes for How to Press Tofu)
- Cut the tofu into bite size cubes.
- Gently toss the tofu cubes with coconut aminos, vinegar, maple syrup, and sesame oil, if using. Let sit for 20 minutes, gently stirring every 5 minutes to ensure all the tofu soaks up the marinade.
- While the tofu is marinating, preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place the tofu cubes onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes, flip all the tofu cubes over, and bake another 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper immediately after taking them out of the oven.
- Serve immediately or let cool and store in an airtight container for later use.