How to make crispy baked tofu every time - using just 5 ingredients and a super simple method, this baked tofu is tender in the middle with a crispy, crunchy breaded shell! Plus, it's easy to customize with your favorite seasonings!
Freeze, thaw, and press your tofu (or at-least press it if you don't want to use the freeze method (see blog post for details).
Step 1: Press The Tofu
Top tip: try to press the tofu evenly across the block's surface, and don't use something too 'heavy' when pressing the tofu, or it may break/crumble.No matter which method you use, try to do it either in the sink or with a pan/dish underneath for the drained liquid to drop down into.
With a couple of chopping boards and a 'weight': simply place your tofu between two chopping boards and weight it with something heavy like a cast-iron skillet, a heavy book, or some cans.ORWrapped in cloth and weighted: if you don't have two chopping boards to spare, then you can use this method. First, wrap the tofu block in a clean kitchen towel or several paper towels layers (this can be done on a plate, pan, etc.). Place either a chopping board or large skillet over the top of the tofu and weigh it down with cans or jars from your cupboards.Press the tofu for at least 30 minutes - up to 60 to be super thorough. You can press as much as 1/2 cup liquid from the tofu block.
Step 2: Slice and season the tofu
Preheat the oven to 400ºF/200ºC.
Cut the tofu into slices. I cut 3-4 slices. You can cut thinner slices, but this will reduce the baking time.
In a shallow bowl/plate, combine the cornstarch, garlic, and optional salt (or other seasonings of your choice).
Coat each slice of tofu with the cornflour mix - there's no need to dust off the excess unless it's really cakey on your tofu slices.
Step 3: Par-bake it
Lay the tofu slices on a baking sheet and bake them in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the sesame oil and soy sauce in a small bowl (optionally add a little maple or another sweetener to balance the salty soy).Chef's note: The oil can stop the soy from penetrating as deep into the tofu, so feel free to first dip the tofu in the soy and then spray with a little oil - but I've found I prefer the results of mixing the two.
Step 4: Marinate, Bread & Finish baking
Remove the tofu from the oven and, using tongs, dip each slice first into the soy mix and then the breadcrumbs.Place back on the baking sheet and return to the oven to bake for a further 10 minutes.
To Make-Ahead & Store
To Make Ahead: once pressed, the tofu can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days. That way, you can marinate and bake it as needed throughout the week.Storing: The tofu will lose its crispiness when over time. However, the leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for between 4-5 days.To Reheat: You can pop it back in the oven till heated through (this should help it crisp up a little more again too). Alternatively, you could reheat them on the stovetop.
Top Tips For Super Crispy Baked Tofu:
Use Extra-firm tofu: I've tried this method with various 'firmness' levels, and extra-firm really is the very best option for the crispiest results.
Freeze Your Tofu: If you cook tofu often, then you've likely heard this tip before. Freezing tofu yields firmer, spongier, chewier tofu that not only tastes better but yields the crispiest results (check the blog post for the freezing method).
Make sure to press that tofu! And I mean, to within an inch of its life.
Don't omit the starch: Cornstarch is an absolute marvel and turning your limp tofu into a crispy tofu dream!
You can slice your tofu how you please for this method: cubes, triangles, slices, etc. The thinner/smaller the slices, the faster they'll bake, so be aware and keep an eye on the oven.
If you're using smaller pieces (like cubes), it may be easier to coat the tofu by adding the starch to a large ziplock bag, adding the tofu, and shaking until they're thoroughly coated. You can do the same with the breadcrumbs.
Get creative with the seasonings: The soy sauce, oil, and garlic powder is really just a perfect base. Feel free to experiment with your favorite herb and seasoning blends (add them in the second part of baking, so they don't burn in the oven)
Feel free to omit the breadcrumbs: You won't get the extra crunch of the breaded tofu, but you'll still have wonderfully crispy results.