This post may contain affiliate links. By browsing this website, you agree to our privacy policy and terms of use.

This recipe has definitely been a staple in our house in the last couple of months and I am so excited to finally be sharing it with you. Behold – 30 minute crispy peanut tofu. Satisfies that takeout itch but is SO MUCH BETTER. In every way. Seriously.

30 minute crispy peanut tofu take out bowl with black sesames and a lime

[popout_newsletter]

If you’ve never had tofu before and are a little scared to try it, this is the perfect introduction to tofu. Or, if your only tofu experiences were bland, soft, or mushy, give this recipe a try! This is how tofu should be, in my opinion. Crispy, flavorful, and slightly chewy!

Now, although this recipe is super easy, there is one step that takes planning ahead that I don’t recommend skipping!

Why You Should Freeze Your Tofu

I don’t fully understand the magic that happens when you freeze and then completely thaw your tofu, but it changes the texture to be a bit more chewy and allows the tofu to absorb whatever marinade or sauce you’re using so much better! It does take a few days for your tofu to fully thaw after it’s frozen so take that into account when meal planning!

cubed tofu

For this recipe, I recommend using either extra firm tofu or firm tofu. This brand is my favorite, but any firm/extra firm tofu should do. Anything softer will fall apart and be difficult to cut into uniform rectangles.

Once you have your tofu cut into uniform rectangles, lightly cut them in corn starch. This is going to help them get crispy!

tofu pan fried in cast iron skillet

In a large cast iron skillet, pan fry your tofu (as seen above), about 3 minutes on each side. Depending on the size of your skillet, you may need to do this in batches.

While your tofu is pan frying, make the sauce!

The Peanut Tofu Sauce

This peanut sauce comes together very easily with many ingredients you likely already have on hand! Win! Whisk them together until fully combined and set aside until your tofu is ready.

Once ready, pour the sauce over the tofu and thoroughly coat the tofu. Careful your pan is not too hot or the peanut butter will ball up and you won’t get an even coat (It will still be delicious, but it just won’t look as pretty).

tofu in cast iron skillet coated in peanut sauce

Doesn’t this look SO GOOD!?!

Sweet, spicy, tangy deliciousness.

I can’t wait for you guys to try this!

Try These Vegan Takeout Inspired Recipes

30 minute crispy peanut tofu take out meal
30 minute peanut sauce tofu with rice, green onion and chopsticks

[popout_newsletter]

 

Home-Cooked Roots Logo

30 Minute Crispy Peanut Tofu Recipe

5 from 8 votes

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Cost: $7.37 per recipe / $3.69 per serving
Easy vegetarian and vegan crispy peanut tofu. Sweet, spicy and tangy! Satisfies that takeout itch but is so much better in every way. 

Ingredients
 

  • 1 (16 ounce) block extra firm tofu frozen, then thawed ($3.38)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce ($0.19)
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil ($0.02)
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch ($0.04)

Peanut Sauce

  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon peanut butter (natural only, just peanuts and salt) ($0.40)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium tamari substitute soy sauce ($0.69)
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup ($1.17)
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha ($0.30)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger freshly grated ($0.22)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder ($0.03)

For Serving

  • brown rice ($0.35)
  • green onion ($0.22)
  • sesame seeds ($0.36)

Instructions

  • Freeze and thaw 1 (16 ounce) block extra firm tofu ahead of time. Allow 48 hours for thawing completely in refrigerator!
  • Once fully thawed, gently squeeze any excess water out of your tofu over the sink. 
  • Next, cut your tofu into small uniform sized cubes.
  • Add your tofu cubes to a large bowl and toss with <wprm-ingredient uid="32" removed="0">1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil. Once coated, add 1 tablespoon cornstarch and mix again.
  • Add your tofu to an air fryer in a single layer. Air fry the tofu at 400˚F for 20 minutes. (Alternative pan-frying instructions in notes)
  • While the tofu cooks in the air fryer, prepare the peanut sauce. Whisk together the 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 1/3 cup water, 1/3 cup low-sodium tamari, 4 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup, 2 tablespoons sriracha, 1 tablespoon ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder.
  • Once the tofu is ready, heat the peanut sauce in a large skillet over medium heat until just warmed.
  • Add the crispy tofu to the sauce and toss until the sauce coats the tofu.
  • Serve immediately while warm over rice, and garnish with sesame seeds and fresh green onions, or as desired.
  • Storage: This dish is really best served fresh, but leftovers can be stored up to 48 hours in the refrigerator. The orange tofu will be significantly less crispy as leftovers.

Notes

  • Frozen tofu takes about 2-3 days to thaw in the refrigerator so plan ahead! 
  • How to pan fry tofu: Heat 1/4 cup vegetable oil until hot. Add the coated tofu to the hot oil and pan fry on each side for about 2 minutes, or until crispy on all sides. 

Nutrition

Calories: 470kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 31g | Sodium: 1055mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 17g

Disclaimer: The Nutritional Information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian

Did You Love This Recipe?

Rate the recipe here and make sure to leave a comment below!

5 from 8 votes
12 Dirt Cheap Weeknight Dinners ebook page.
12 Dirt Cheap Weeknight Dinners ebook cover.

Wallet-Friendly Recipes & Smart Shopping Tips in Your Inbox

Plus get a free cookbook with 12 Dirt Cheap Dinner Ideas that’ll cost you $2 or less per serving.

leave a comment

I love to hear from you. Submit your recipe questions or review here and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

13 Comments

  1. Mirabelle says:

    5 stars
    Sooooo good and so easy! Perfect week night meal! You don’t even need to chop any garlic. Even my meat-eater partner likes this dish.

    I’ve made this 4-5 times already. I always double the recipe to have leftovers. I’m going try again tomorrow, but in my air fryer for less oil.

    Thanks for the recipe 🙂

    1. Yay! I am so glad you love it and using the air fryer is an amazing idea. I bet you could get away with just a couple of tablespoons of oil that way.

  2. 5 stars
    Hi! I made this again, but i air fried the tofu and it was still an absolute dream!!! it’s a perfect salad addition for during the week.

    1. That is an amazing idea! Thanks so much for sharing, I’m sure other people will love that method.

  3. 5 stars
    We love, love, LOVE this recipe and use the sauce multiple ways. This week I went to make this recipe and I was out of Peanut Butter 😳. Yikes!! I thought oh no we aren’t going to get the dinner we had been looking forward to, but I am happy to report that nuttzo worked in its place and was just as delicious! Yay because I have nuttzo I need to use up.

  4. 5 stars
    This recipe is absolutely delicious. I usually hate tofu recipes due to the texture, but this tofu is great! So crispy. Love the peanut sauce too. Will be making this again (along with the Kong POW cauliflower which is my ultimate love)
    Thanks!!!

    1. AHH, what a compliment. Thank you very much!! So glad you loved it.

  5. 5 stars
    Thats my favorite tofu brand also

    1. I am so glad you agree! I was introduced to it by a friend a few years ago and have loved it ever since!

  6. 5 stars
    This recipe is amazingly easy and will please even your non vegan friends. If you know someone who doesn’t think they will like tofu this is a good recipe to start on. It is so flavorful and delicious they will almost certainly be converted. You will be amazed at how delicious this recipe is! 😋

    1. Yay! Agree it is a great intro to tofu! Thank you for the review!

  7. Hello,

    Does the freezing and thawing method for tofu eliminate the need to press it? Or do you press the tofu first and then freeze it? Or do you press the tofu after it has completely thawed?

    As you can see I am new to preparing/using tofu in recipes. Thank you in advance for your time and patience with me.

    Sincerely.

    1. Hi, Faye!
      Freezing and thawing the tofu will help the water drain out of the tofu much better. Once thawed, I’ll usually just give it a good squeeze over the sink and that’s good enough to get most of the excess water out! No need to press it before freezing. I usually just freeze it right in the package!

      Hope that helps 🙂

related recipes