This crispy sticky tofu will make EVERYONE love tofu! It's exactly that, crispy pieces of tofu with a sweet sticky glaze…..yum!
Tofu is one of those ingredients that people either love or hate. I personally love tofu as it's a great vegan plant based protein that you can eat in so many ways! It doesn't have much flavor, so you can season and elevate it in any flavour direction you like.
This sweet sticky tofu takes less than 15 minutes to make and is packed with flavour! Serve with rice and vegetables to make it a complete meal, with noodles, or grab some chopsticks and enjoy them on their own.
Some ways I love to have tofu are crumbling it and adding it to Rice Paper Dumplings or in a warm and cozy Thai Yellow Curry.
This recipe is also perfect to serve as a fun delicious appetizer to share.
Trust me, it's going to be your new favourite way to eat tofu!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Tofu is a great plant based vegan protein high in nutrients. It's always best to use extra firm tofu when making crispy sticky tofu. Firm tofu is also great too
- Sweet soy sauce is a mixture of sweet and salty in one and is usually a thicker consistency than regular soy sauce. You can also use regular soy sauce mixed with honey or maple syrup as a substitute or even sugar. If you are gluten-free, use the same concept with tamari
- Rice vinegar balances out the sweetness and saltiness. Apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar can also be used
- Garlic cloves for all my fellow garlic lovers! Use as much or as little as you like! Garlic powder can be used if you don't have fresh garlic. Fresh ginger would also be yum too
- Chilli flakes / Red pepper flakes are added for spice! Fresh chilli, sriracha sauce or even chilli powder will work. If you don't like spice or serving to kids, feel free to omit altogether
- Corn starch is added in the marinade with water to make a cornstarch slurry. It thickens the sauce into a sticky glaze like in a teriyaki sauce. It's also used to coat the tofu before its fried for an extra crispy layer
- Oil is used for frying the tofu. It's best to use a neutral oil such as avocado oil, vegetable oil or even grapeseed oil
- Garnish, in this recipe I've used sesame seeds but sliced green onions would be a great garnish too! Serve with rice and vegetables such as broccoli or Asian greens for the perfect dinner
How to make Crispy Sticky Tofu
This recipe is about bringing all the flavour to the tofu and creating a sticky crispy outside layer, and the best part is you can make this within 15 minutes in a few simple steps.
- To start, press the tofu so all the excess water comes out. I like to simply place the tofu in between a tea towel then place a heavy item on top and wait at least 20mintues. Then cut the tofu as you wish to eat it, in this recipe I've made diagonal cuts to get triangle shapes but you can cut into cubes as well
- Whilst the tofu is being pressed, prepare the marinade in a small bowl by adding sweet soy sauce, vinegar, grated garlic, and chili. Then add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 3 tbs of water. Give it a stir to combine
- At least 20 minutes have passed, coat the pressed tofu pieces in corn starch. Use your fingers to get a good coat on all the edges
- It's time to cook! In a non-stick pan, heat some oil over medium-high heat and add the tofu pieces in a single layer, making sure they don’t touch. Cook for a few minutes on both sides until you have golden and crispy tofu
- To finish, pour the marinade into the pan which will become very bubbly immediately. Quickly turn all the tofu pieces over so they are coated on both sides and serve on a dish straight away.
- To serve, I like to garnish with some sesame seeds. For a complete meal, I will serve alongside rice and broccoli or Asian greens. Or just grab some chopsticks and dig in!
Tips & Tricks
- Press the tofu to remove the excess water which will help it get extra crispy. If you don't have a tofu press, place tofu in a clean tea towel with something heavy on top like a heavy pot
- Fry the tofu pieces in a single layer without touching so they don't stick together and for all sides to become crispy
- Be quick when you pour over the marinade. Move around the pan and flip them over. Due to the sweet soy sauce and corn starch, it will bubble very quickly and become extra sticky
- Ensure to use a non stick saucepan or the glaze will stick to the pan
- There's no need to add any salt as the sweet soy sauce has sufficient seasoning
- To make it oil free, cook the tofu in an air fryer or oven. If you are airfrying, add sufficient cooking spray to the tofu. You can then add the glaze in a pan
Tofu is quite plain and bland on its own, however, it draws in any seasonings and marinades so you can season it how you like! It has a soft sponge-like texture
Seasoning and texture! I love making tofu crispy with either cornstarch or breaded coating. Marinade your tofu to give it tonnes of flavor to make it taste amazing
More Tofu Recipes
More Vegan Dinners
I love seeing your creations and remakes, so be sure to rate the recipe, comment and share your Crispy Sticky Tofu photo on Instagram so I can share the love!
Crispy Sticky Tofu
- 300 g extra firm tofu
- 3 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1-2 garlic cloves
- ½ tablespoon red pepper flakes - or more of you like it spicy
- 4 tablespoon corn starch
- 3-4 tablespoon water
- 3 tablespoon oil
- Garnish sesame seeds or chopped green onions
- Drain and press tofu with either a tofu press or in between a clean tea towel with something heavy on top to remove the excess water
- In a small bowl or ramekin add the sweet soy sauce, vinegar, grated garlic and red pepper flakes. Add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 3 tablespoon water, stir or whisk to combine
- Slice tofu into triangles or tofu cubes and coat in the remaining corn starch
- Heat the oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat and add the tofu pieces in a single layer, making sure they don’t touch. Pan fry for a few minutes on both sides until you have golden and crispy tofu
- Pour the marinade into the pan which will become very bubbly instantly. Quickly turn all the tofu pieces over so they are coated on both sides and serve on a dish straight awayGarnish with the sesame seeds and enjoy your Crispy Sticky Tofu!
Omg, this recipe is amazing! I'm not a vegetarian but really wanted to give Tofu a try. Me and my boyfriend indulged on this and we both love it!! ❤️
Oh yay love this Lynne, your tofu looked so good!! xx
Just made this and it was absolutely DELICIOUS!!! Thank you so much.
Oh YAY!! So happy you loved it Carole xxx
Holy tofu!!! I must have run out of cornstarch during the holidays so I had to use flour. It wasn’t the crispiness I was hoping for, but this was still amazing! So flavorful! I love tofu so I wasn’t concerned, but my 2 year old and husband are the problem. They even liked it! I’m saving this recipe as a favorite and will def be putting cornstarch on my shopping list so I can make this again!
Oh yay what a lovely compliment!! So happy everyone loved it! With the addition of the cornstarch they will be even better 🙂
Thank you so much for recipe! I did a search today and it came up and we loved it so it is a keeper.
Oh yay lovely to hear! Its one of my favourites too x
The tofu crisped perfectly in the pan but the second the sauce hit it, it lost all the crunch. That being said, the sauce was delicious! If I can figure out how to keep the tofu crispy, I would definitely make this again.
So glad you loved this! Once you add the sauce, quickly flip the tofu and serve. They dont need long with the sauce in the pan
This looks amazing and I’ve bought tofu for the first time just to try this recipe! 10/10 as far as looks go now to make and taste
Hope you love it!!
Making this for lunch today as I have all the ingredients on hand. And it looks delicious. I do have a suggestion as I just spend considerable time reviewing both the recipe and descriptive areas. When I first read the description I thought the "it" in one sentence referred to the marinade. I have now figured out that it was the cornstarch you were referring to. A simple edit would help us. Here's the sentence :"It's also used to coat the tofu before its fried"
To my mind having an inner layer of sauce before the cornstarch would help the cornstarch adhere and perhaps the sauce would add even more flavor. I may try soaking them in the tamari sauce before the corntarch layer just to see if it gives it even more umph! What do you think?
Hi Linda, oh great hope you love this recipe! Not sure which section you mean? Also you can do so, however it may be too much sauce as the sticky glaze on top is the main part 🙂
When substituting soy sauce and sweetener(sugar or maple syrup) in place of the sweet soy sauce, how much of each is needed for the recipe?
Add 2 1/2 tbs of soy and 1/2 tbs of honey 🙂
I really enjoyed this recipe as the tofu crunched up really nicely and the sauce was so incredibly good.
So great to hear Laura!
These were delicious - though I have to work on pan frying without burning. Two questions - what type of oil do you recommend?? And you mention "chili" in the directions but not in the ingredients list. Do you mean the red pepper flakes?? Thanks!
I've used olive oil dear, and yes the chili is the red pepper flakes. Ill update that 🙂
This was really delicious! My first time cooking tofu and my daughters first time ever tasting it. She loved it too! I had a lot of coconut oil left in the pan even after I poured in the sauce. Should I just use less? We will make this over and over again!!
Oh yay so happy you loved the recipe Shannon and that you both loved it! Yes use less 🙂
Just made these and they were a hit! Thank you for the wonderful ideas on something quick and different than the normal lunch suggestions. I followed the recipe as written. Make them and enjoy them people! You won't regret it.
So happy to hear Kim!
This was delicious! I’m definitely planning to make it again!
Any recommendations for reheating? My leftovers were still tasty but they lost their crispiness.
Oh yay so glad you liked it! Unfortunately its best to be eaten the same day for the best crisp and stickiness. I usually prefer to heat any leftovers in a pan with a splash of water
So good! The recipe calls for 4 tablespoons of corn starch and in the instructions it says add 1 tablespoon of corn starch. How much corn starch should be added?
HI Liz, its 4 tablespoons of corn starch. 3 are used for the coating of the tofu and the last spoon in the marinade xx
I used peanut oil which gave the tofu a lovely flavor. I really enjoyed it!
Oh yummy love this idea! So glad you liked it Janis xx
This is so good. It's the 2nd time I've made it & I wilted some bok choy directly in the pan with it this time. I'm slowly working my way through all your delicious recipes.
Sounds amazing yum!
Absolutely amazing! Life changing dare I say. Thank you for this inspiring recipe which I keep sharing with everyone around me!
Best wishes from France,
Oh love this and so happy you love this recipe xxx