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Asian Garlic Tofu

Asian Garlic Tofu- marinated in a sweet and spicy sauce and seared until crispy.


Asian Garlic Tofu cooks up crispy with tons of salty, sweet, and spicy flavor. Serve with broccoli and rice for a fantastically delicious vegetarian meal.

My daughter has been a vegetarian for 2 years. Or maybe it has been 3 years. I can’t even remember. Every now and then I like to share some of her favorite things to eat like Orange Cauliflower and Vegetarian BBQ Nachos.

Asian Garlic Tofu- marinated in a sweet and spicy sauce and seared until crispy.


She doesn’t like beans so tofu is a major source of protein for her. I actually really like to cook with tofu and eat it as well. I love that it has a very neutral flavor that lends itself to being paired with all kinds of seasonings and ingredients.

Asian Garlic Tofu- marinated in a sweet and spicy sauce and seared until crispy.


It’s hard to get tofu crispy but it is possible if you start with super firm tofu and wrap it in paper towels (lots of them) and set something heavy on top. I use a cast iron pan (they are so handy!)

The longer you let it sit, the better. And replace the paper towels a few times. They will get completely wet.

Asian Garlic Tofu- marinated in a sweet and spicy sauce and seared until crispy.


A quick marinade in a mixture of Hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, and a little sugar gives the tofu plenty of flavor.

Asian Garlic Tofu- marinated in a sweet and spicy sauce and seared until crispy.


One more trick to crispy tofu is cooking it in a cast iron pan and heating it well before you add the tofu. Move the tofu around as little as possible. I let it get a nice sear on the bottom and then flip the pieces and let them get a sear on a second side.

Asian Garlic Tofu- marinated in a sweet and spicy sauce and seared until crispy.

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Watch the video below to see how to make Asian Garlic Tofu

Asian Garlic Tofu- marinated in a sweet and spicy sauce and seared until crispy.

Asian Garlic Tofu

Asian Garlic Tofu is a vegetarian meal full of salty, sweet, and spicy flavor.
PREP: 1 hr
COOK: 10 mins
TOTAL: 1 hr 10 mins
SERVINGS: 2 servings


  • 1 package super firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup Hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • green onions for garnish
  • rice for serving


  • Remove tofu from packaging. Place about 4 paper towels on a plate. Set tofu on top of plate and cover with more paper towels. Place a cast iron pan or something else that is heavy on top. Let sit 30 minutes.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together Hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
  • Cut tofu into bite-sized pieces. Place in bowl with sauce and toss to coat. Let sit 30 minutes.
  • Heat olive oil in a medium cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Once really hot, add tofu. Once nicely seared on the bottom, flip over. Continue to cook until seared on bottom.
  • Drizzle with sesame oil and remove from heat.
  • Sprinkle with green onions and serve with rice.


Calories: 352kcal
Author: Christin Mahrlig
Course: Main Course

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205 thoughts on “Asian Garlic Tofu”

  1. Raffael Santana

    Absolutely delicious 😋 even my tofu hating meat lovers liked this and asked I make it again. Thanks for this yummy recipe. Definitely the newest addition to our home menu. Took the scallions and cut the tops for garnish and sliced the bottoms julienne and added them right at the end for extra flavor.

  2. Looking forward to making this! Thanks for the plant based recipe, I’ll be on the lookout for more. Yummy!

  3. Yum! My husband always loves when I make this, and so do I. It’s not a *quick* weeknight dinner, so plan accordingly, but so delicious. Cast iron pan makes everything better!

  4. Making this with honey garlic instead but following the rest! Can’t wait! Never used tofu before!

  5. Being environmentally friendly, we use cloth napkins to soak the water from tofu and just wash them with the laundry. We’re in the process of purchasing a tofu press, though. It will eliminate any need for towels. A friend recommended the ToFuture press.

    1. Stephanie H.

      Yup, when it comes to the environment, those loads of dirty water and laundry soap — and the electricity used for the dryer — sure beat using a few paper towels.

      1. @ Stephanie

        when you throw them in with your other laundry, there really is no extra water, electricity, soap that is used. I suggest you take your negative energy elsewhere, Karen, and let other people do as they please.

        1. I cook with tofu all the time. Just wrap it snuggly in a clean tea towel and put something heavy on it for an hour or so. It is just water that comes out. I cant say I’ve ever heard of a tofu press before but sounds like a waste of money.

  6. So good. I often don’t like hoisin sauce as it can taste too much like molasses to me, but it worked so well in here! I added cornstarch to the mixture before frying and it came out nice and crispy on the outside.

  7. I am a reluctant meat-eater and since trying tofu this year, I always love finding new recipes for it! I bought extra-firm tofu, pressed it for ~2 hours while I took a soothing bath. I was able to leave it on its own and get a lot of moisture out of it by first wrapping it in napkins, then a kitchen rag. I didn’t want to waste a lot of napkins, but I didn’t want lint on my tofu either. It worked very well! The rag was soaked! I prepared this dish without ginger or rice, and with 2 stalks of green onion, lettuce, and broccoli. I am intuitively not a cook (despite working in a kitchen for 2+ years) but this recipe was so easy even I made it, and deliciously so!

  8. Nici Robinson

    This recipe is so good!! I think I’ve been living under a rock because I’ve never used Hoisin sauce before. It is so delicious. I bake the tofu because I always burn it on the stove. But either way, this sauce is amazing!

  9. Mary Ann Stiles

    If you cube up your extra firm tofu (don’t press out the water) and then freeze it overnight it makes all these little holes in the tofu that soak up your sauce. My Chinese friend says that it makes the tofu better.

  10. Barbara Ludman

    Great recipe. It’s identical to the Epicurious recipe. I’m not sure who copied who but I love it! It’s my go-to recipe for an easy, satisfying dinner. I put all of the marinade in a large sealable plastic bag and add tofu to marinate. I also bake the tofu instead of pan fry and find it comes out delicious without using added oil, saving some fat calories. There’s enough oil in the marinade to bake on a sheet pan.

    1. Lisa Vitkin

      How did you back for and at what temperature? Did you still dry out the tofu prior to putting it in the oven?

      1. Bake at 400°F on a parchment paper lined baking sheet for 25-30 minutes. Flip tofu only if you need to half way through cooking time – it depends on what kind of sauce you use)

  11. Tip from a Chinese person: You can skip the step where you dry out the firm tofu step by buying a package of fried tofu in the refrigerated section of your local Asian or Chinese grocery store. Cube up the tofu and then marinate. Easy!

  12. A great recipe that can be customized to individual taste (eg we added a lot more ginger and spicy sesame oil for a greater kick)

  13. Sahar AbdusSabur

    I tried this dinner tonight… Im not a vegetarian but I have found that when cooked the right way ( tofu stir fry from the chinese place) I like tofu. So Im trying to get into cooking it as an occasional substitution for meat. I used this recipe and threw in some stir fried vegetables. I served it with noodles. The sauce is okay. I think the marinating it makes the difference and making sure you get as much liquid as you can out of fhe tofu. I wouldnt make it again but I think the writer made a good effort. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  14. I’m quite accustomed to cooking tofu, being a vegetarian. I usually spend over an hour baking it to dry it out first, but I wanted to give this way a try. It mostly fell apart on me, and was still really soft once done. I do love the flavor, although in the future I would add a tad less red pepper flake, and add a bit more sugar and hoisin sauce. Along with a very short “marinade” time.

    1. Karen M Tucker

      Why not? Just tofu isn’t written in stone. Cooking is about imagination & experimentation.

    2. Karen M Tucker

      Did you use extra firm tofu? Did you let it dry out completely? Sometimes that happens when I use anything less than extra firm alone with not allowing it to completely & accurately dry out.

  15. This is the recipe that made tofu put a foot in our household. And it’s still there. Thank you !


      1. Sharon Llewellyn

        Spare the chicken’s life and just use tofu … just as delicious and no animal harmed 🙂

    1. Karen M Tucker

      Why not? Just tofu isn’t written in stone. Cooking is about imagination & experimentation.

  16. Tammy Kerney

    Wonderful recipe. I served with stir fry vegtables with a homemade vegan Asian sauce and jasmine rice. My meat eating husband and son said we should have it every week. 😳😊❤️

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