Perfectly browned, marinated in a delicious sesame soy marinade, and easy to make. This yummy Baked Tofu recipe is fantastic! It's one of my all time favorite ways to make tofu. You can serve it with rice to make bowls, on top of greens to make a salad, or even in wraps!
I'm going to be honest here. Tofu is not one of my favorite things. But when it's done well and right it has me coming back for more. And this is one of those ways to cook tofu that I just love.
Yet, it took me a lot of recipe testing that started years ago long before I became a chef to figure out how I like my tofu. I actually found a recipe online that had like a dozen different ingredients and a two part way of cooking it. It was actually pretty good and changed my view of tofu. I would often make it anytime I went to a potluck and friends always asked for the recipe.
But over the years and after culinary school, I simplified that recipe and made it more flavorful. I found that there was no need for all those ingredients or double cooking.
The key is to get a lot of flavor into the tofu, which means first pressing all the excess water out of the tofu and then marinating the tofu so that it soaks up your desired mix of flavors. In this case, a delicious sesame soy marinade. The process takes boring tofu and turns it into a mouthwatering main event.
And this my friends is one of the best baked tofu recipes I've ever had!
You only need 7 ingredients to make this recipe! Nothing fancy or anything hard to find. You will find all of them at any grocery store.
- Firm Tofu- You have to use firm tofu for this recipe. A softer tofu will not yield the same results.
- Lite Tamari or Soy Sauce- For gluten free use tamari. And for the use of either you want the lite low sodium version.
- Rice Vinegar- If you don't have rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar is a good substitute.
- Maple Syrup- Agave could be used in place of maple syrup.
- Sesame Oil- You have to use sesame oil in this recipe and 100% is the best.
- Garlic Powder- Do not use garlic salt. Only garlic powder.
- Ground Ginger- This too is an important ingredient in this baked tofu marinade.
How To Marinate and Bake Tofu
To make marinated tofu, you first need to press all the water out of the block of tofu. To do this, I like to wrap the tofu in dish towels and then set something heavy on it like a book. The weight of the book helps to press out the water. This will take about 5 minutes. Then you cut the tofu into bite size cubes.
Next, you make your marinade by mixing together the lite tamari, rice vinegar, sesame oil, maple syrup, garlic powder, and ground ginger in a small bowl. Then lay your cut tofu cubes in a 8x8 pan and pour the marinade over the tofu turning to cover all sides. Then cover the pan with a lid or plastic wrap and set in the fridge to marinate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight. The longer you marinate the tofu the more flavorful it will be. I typically start marinating the night before I plan to make it, which allows the tofu lots of time to soak up the flavors.
When you are ready to bake the tofu, preheat your oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit and prep a sheet plan by lining it will foil and cooking spray. Now, remove your tofu from the pan with a slotted spatula and spread it out on the sheet pan. Bake the tofu for 15 minutes then flip and cook for another 10 minutes. When done the baked tofu will be nicely browned.
I like to serve mine with my favorite sauce over rice. You can also serve this tofu with noodles, on top of greens, or in wraps.
Leftover baked tofu will keep in the fridge for about 5 days. It can be eaten hot or cold, which makes it super versatile. To reheat, put it on a sheet pan in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees fahrenheit.
Sadly, this recipe does not freeze well.
Tips for Success
- Pressed Tofu: Take the time to properly press the tofu. This is seriously the first part to the key to super flavorful tofu. If you don't take the few minutes to get the excess water out of the block of tofu the delicious marinade will not be able to soak in. So take my advice and just do it right.
- Marinate Overnight: If you aren't in a rush, marinate your tofu overnight. This too makes a huge difference in flavor. It takes time for the tofu to really soak up all that flavor. You won't be sorry.
- Foil: I wish there was another way because using foil always seems like a waste to me, but it makes a difference in this recipe. The way foil conducts heat browns the tofu perfectly when baking. So I always make an exception and just use it to line my baking sheet when cooking tofu.
This Baked Tofu is amazing because it's...
- Flavorful sesame soy OMG good
- Perfectly browned
- Quick and easy
- Works with a variety of dishes
If you try this recipe please let me know how it turns out by leaving a comment and rating. You can also hashtag #danceswithknives with a photo of your creation on Instagram where you can find me @dances_with_knives.
More Vegan Dinner Recipes
- Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo with Garlicky Mushrooms
- Easy Moroccan Chickpea Tagine
- Vegan Gumbo Louisiana Style
- Vegan Seafood Cakes with Old Bay Seasoning
- Spanish Vegan Lentil Stew with Soyrizo
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Simple Baked Tofu with Sesame Soy Marinade
- 1 14 ounce package firm tofu
- ⅓ cup lite tamari or soy sauce (tamari for gluten free)
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (agave works too)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- Press all the water out of the tofu. You can do this by wrapping the tofu in dish towels and then setting something heavy on top like a pan or book. The weight of the pan will help to push as much liquid out as possible, so that when cooked the tofu stays nice and firm. This will take about 5 minutes. Then cut your tofu into bite size cubes. Here is some more helpful info on how to press tofu if you have never done it before.
- Make your marinade by mixing the tamari, rice vinegar, maple syrup, sesame oil, garlic powder, and ground ginger together in a small bowl.
- Lay the cut tofu cubes in a 8x8 dish or pan. Now, pour the marinade over the tofu and flip the cubes over to ensure all sides have been covered being careful not to break up the tofu. Then cover the pan with a top or plastic wrap and set in the fridge to marinate. You want to allow it to marinate for at least one hour. I let mine marinate overnight for the best flavor. The longer the better in this case giving the pressed tofu more time to absorb the flavors of the marinade.
- Once marinated and you're ready to bake, preheat your oven to 400°F or 205°C. Then line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray or oil. I use cooking spray. Now, remove your tofu from the marinade with a slotted spatula and lay on the prepared baking sheet. The foil is a great heat conductor helping to evenly brown the tofu.
- Bake the tofu for 15 minutes. Then flip the tofu over, rotate the pan, and cook for another 10 minutes. Now, check the tofu. It should be nice and brown, but not burnt. Let the tofu cook another 3 to 5 minutes if it's not there yet. The total time in baking should be about 25 to 30 minutes depending on your oven.
- Serve the tofu over rice with your favorite veggies and sauce. I like to serve mine with vegan hoisin and sriracha. You can also use it to top salads, add to noodles, or even in wraps.