Lemon pepper tofu is here to spice up your weeknight dinners! Chewy, crispy tofu is tossed in a sweet, citrusy sauce with loads of black pepper for a flavour-packed vegan protein perfect for meal prep.

Overhead view of lemon pepper tofu with rice and asparagus on plate

Consider this lemon pepper tofu a basic building block for a delicious dinner. You can make an old-fashioned protein-starch-and-vegetable dinner plate by pairing it with rice and air fryer asparagus. Or add it to a Buddha bowl for some flavourful protein. 

Tuck it into tortillas with healthy coleslaw for tacos? Yes! 

Jazz up your favourite vegan pizza with roasted broccoli and lemon pepper tofu? Also yes!

Toss it with your next salad? HECK YESSSS!

It’s easy enough that you can make it on even the busiest weeknights, but it stores well enough that you can make it for later, too. It’s crispy and chewy, sweet and tart, peppery and bright—and it takes just minutes to make. Basically, lemon pepper tofu is going to be your new fave!

(Can’t get enough easy vegan proteins? Then try my Jamaican Jerk Tofu or Crispy Teriyaki Tofu next!)

Overhead view of ingredients for lemon pepper tofu with labels

Notes on Ingredients

Please note that this is important information on the ingredients and instructions and the FULL recipe with amounts and details can be found DOWN BELOW (scroll to it) in the recipe card.

For the tofu:

  • Extra-firm tofu – Press this for at least 30 minutes, then tear it into bite-sized pieces. Learn more: How To Cook Tofu 101 + Best Tips on Making the Most Delicious Tofu
  • Lemon pepper seasoning blend 
  • Low-sodium soy sauce – You can also use tamari, liquid aminos, or coconut aminos.
  • Cornstarch – This helps create a crispy exterior.
  • Oil – Any oil you like to use for cooking.

For the lemon pepper sauce:

  • Lemon juice
  • Maple syrup or agave nectar
  • Lemon pepper seasoning blend
  • Freshly grated lemon zest – Zest the lemon first, then juice it.
  • Cornstarch – You’ll combine this with a teaspoon of water to create a slurry that thickens the sauce. 
  • Soy sauce 

To garnish:

  • Chopped parsley and freshly grated lemon zest

What Is the Difference Between Firm and Extra-Firm Tofu?

Extra-firm tofu has a lower water content, giving it a chewier texture. If your grocery store is sold out or you happen to have firm tofu on hand, you can use that in this lemon pepper tofu recipe, but you can expect a softer texture than you’d get with extra-firm.

How to Make Lemon Pepper Tofu

Once you’ve pressed the tofu, this lemon pepper tofu recipe takes just a few minutes to make!

Overhead view of tofu in glass bowl with cornstarch and seasonings

Prep the tofu. Toss the tofu with the soy sauce in a medium mixing bowl. Add the lemon pepper seasoning and cornstarch, then toss to coat.

Cook the tofu. Heat a pan or wok over medium-high heat, then add the oil. When the oil is shimmering and hot, add the tofu and toss, cooking until the tofu is crispy on all sides, or for about 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the tofu to a plate.

Overhead view of lemon pepper sauce in pan with whisk

Make the sauce. In a separate pan, combine the lemon pepper sauce ingredients and bring them to a boil. Simmer for 4 minutes, or until it’s thickened. Remove from the heat and let the sauce cool for about 5 minutes. 

Finish. Pour the sauce over the tofu and toss to coat. Garnish with lemon zest and chopped parsley. 

How Do You Know When Tofu Is Done Cooking?

Tofu can be eaten uncooked, so really, there’s no point at which tofu is “done” cooking—it all comes down to your preferences. I like letting it cook until it’s golden brown on the outside and it forms a nice, crispy exterior.

Overhead view of lemon pepper tofu in skillet

Tips for Success

Here are some hints and tips for perfect lemon pepper tofu.

  • Don’t skip pressing the tofu. This squeezes out all the liquid so the tofu can absorb the flavours you add to it, and it also improves the texture. It’s essential for tofu perfection!
  • Cook the tofu in batches, if needed. Rather than crowding the tofu into the pan, it’s better to cook it in an even layer, so split it into two batches if you have to.
  • Warm it up. If the tofu is cool by the time you add the sauce, you can return the tofu and sauce to the skillet and stir everything together over low heat until the tofu is warmed up again.

Serving Suggestions

Here are some more ideas for pairing with your crispy lemon pepper tofu:

Plate of lemon pepper tofu with rice and asparagus

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

Store lemon pepper tofu in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can eat it hot or cold; to reheat it, pop it in the microwave or warm it up in a skillet set over medium heat.

Can This Recipe Be Frozen?

Yes, you can freeze lemon pepper tofu for up to 3 months in an airtight container or freezer bag. Let it thaw in the refrigerator, then reheat it according to the instructions above.

Overhead view of plate with lemon pepper tofu, rice, and asparagus

Enjoy friends! If you make this vegan lemon pepper tofu recipe, please snap a photo and tag #jessicainthekitchen on Instagram! We’d also love it if you would leave a comment below, and give the recipe a rating! Thanks so much! 

Overhead view of lemon pepper tofu with rice and asparagus on plate

Lemon Pepper Tofu

Chewy tofu is tossed in a sweet, citrusy sauce with loads of black pepper for a flavour-packed vegan protein perfect for meal prep.
5 (from 5 ratings)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb block extra firm tofu, pressed for at least 30 minutes and torn into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Pepper Seasoning Blend
  • 1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoon of oil, to fry it in

Lemon Pepper Sauce

  • 8 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 ½ tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Pepper Seasoning Blend
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch + 1 teaspoon water, mix together separately from the rest of ingredients in a small bowl for a cornstarch slurry
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • chopped parsley and freshly grated lemon zest, for garnish

Instructions 

  • In a medium-sized bowl place the pressed and torn tofu pieces. Add the soy sauce and toss to coat. Add in the Lemon Pepper Seasoning Blend and cornstarch and toss to thoroughly combine, ensuring all the tofu pieces are covered with the seasoning and the cornstarch.
  • Heat a pan or wok over medium-high heat, and add the oil. When hot, add the tofu and toss to crisp up on all sides until the tofu is cooked and crisped on all sides, about 5 to 8 minutes. Feel free to do this in batches if desired. Remove tofu pieces and set aside.
  • In a separate pan, heat all the lemon pepper sauce ingredients together. Bring to a boil then simmer for 4 minutes until saucy and thick. Remove from heat and let it cool for about 5 minutes. Pour over your tofu and toss to coat. Top with more lemon zest and some chopped parsley.
  • Serve with rice and/or air fryer asparagus!

Notes

Store lemon pepper tofu in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can eat it hot or cold; to reheat it, pop it in the microwave or warm it up in a skillet set over medium heat.
Freeze lemon pepper tofu for up to 3 months in an airtight container or freezer bag. Let it thaw in the refrigerator, then reheat it according to the instructions above.
Calories: 217kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0.03g, Sodium: 287mg, Potassium: 296mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 15g, Vitamin A: 13IU, Vitamin C: 13mg, Calcium: 72mg, Iron: 2mg

Disclaimer: Although jessicainthekitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Jessicainthekitchen.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.