Marinated Tofu Recipe (for the BEST Tofu Flavour!)

By Jessica Hylton -

This Marinated Tofu recipe will make you fall in LOVE with tofu with LOTS of great tips! It’s great for baking, pan-frying, grilling, in the air fryer and so much more! Perfect for a multi-purpose simple marinade and makes your tofu so flavourful. 

marinated and cooked tofu on a plate with a gold spoon holding some tofu

A common question I hear is, “my tofu is so bland by itself – how do I get it to taste tasty?”. I love hearing this because it means there are SO many possibilities and that I get the opportunity to blow someone’s mind with how good tofu can taste!

Just like you would pretty much ANY protein source, you HAVE to season tofu if you want it to have flavour. As I said in my Tofu 101 blog post (a must read), it’s not tofu’s job to taste good. It’s a complete source of protein, and a beautiful blank slate to season with whatever your heart desires. Season it well (in fact – season all your veggies) and your tastebuds will thank you. It’s that simple. This is the general tofu marinade recipe that I use for many of my tofu recipes at home. When we just want some tasty tofu, we make this!


Notes on the Ingredients

ingredients for making marinated tofu

block of tofu – always ensure it’s not silken (just regular firm or extra firm) and pressed for at least 30 minutes!

soy sauce – I always use light soy sauce, you can also use liquid aminos or coconut aminos or tamari. Don’t skip this – this helps to really penetrate the tofu for that inside out flavour.

rice wine vinegar – I love the flavour, feel free to experiment with regular vinegar or apple cider vinegar too although it won’t taste the same.

sesame oil – you could also use your favourite flavoured oil here.

agave – you can also use maple syrup! Helps to balance out the other flavours, doesn’t make it sweet.

garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, paprika (preferably smoked) – my preferred seasonings for this marinade!

cornstarch – this helps to thicken up the rest of the marinade to make the marinated tofu a bit saucy too after cooking! You could also use regular flour if you can’t use cornstarch, but it might not be the exact same texture.

How to Make Marinated Tofu (Step by Step Instructions)

step by step photos showing making marinated tofu

In a medium-size bowl place the pressed and cubed tofu. Add the soy sauce and toss to coat. Add in all of the other marinade ingredients and toss to thoroughly combine. Ensure all the pieces are coated and let the tofu sit in the marinade for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 days.

step by step photos showing cooking tofu

In a pan over medium high heat, add the oil. Once hot, scoop your tofu out of the leftover marinade (do not toss your marinade) and add into the pan. Crisp up your tofu on each side for about 2-3 minutes on each side, until all sides are crisped up and browned.

cornstarch in a bowl of leftover marinade with a gold spoon

While your tofu is cooking, add 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to the marinade and whisk vigorously to combine.

marinated and cooked tofu with leftover sauce in pan

Once tofu is finished cooking. Turn off the heat. Immediately add in your marinade and stir to combine. The residual heat will heat through the sauce and cook off the cornstarch. Stir to combine and let it all sit together for at least 2 minutes.

marinated and cooked tofu on a plate with a gold spoon holding some tofu

Remove from the stove, serve and enjoy!

Expert Tips & FAQ

  • Allowing the marinade to sit on the tofu for at least 30 minutes really makes a massive difference to penetrating the tofu and giving it a deep flavour. Marinated tofu really is the best!
  • Make sure you’re not buying silken tofu! That will yield the wrong texture and will break apart if you try and press it. Check out my Tofu 101 post for more, or watch my tofu 101 IG series.
  • If you want to bake the tofu instead, I recommend following my Baked Tofu post instructions – 400°F for 20 minutes, flipping in between. I would still recommend doing the marinade with cornstarch step afterwards (just heat up the pan a bit and add the tofu right after it comes out of the oven).
  • How to press tofu: I cover this in detail in my How to Cook Tofu 101 post! The prep time includes the time to press the tofu
  • Often times tofu sticks in your pan if you’re trying to flip it too early, the heat is too low, or your non-stick coating is gone. If your tofu is sticking, consider one of these and adjust accordingly – it’s usually that you’re trying to flip it too quickly!
marinated and cooked tofu on a plate with a gold fork

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

marinated and cooked tofu on a plate with a gold spoon holding some tofu

Marinated Tofu Recipe

This Marinated Tofu recipe will make you fall in LOVE with tofu with LOTS of great tips! It's great for baking, pan-frying, grilling, in the air fryer and so much more! Perfect for a multi-purpose simple marinade and makes your tofu so flavourful.
by: Jessica in the Kitchen
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American, Asian, Universal
Ingredients
  • 1 lb block of tofu pressed for at least 30 minutes and cut into 1-inch pieces

Marinade Recipe

  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce don't use regular soy sauce (you can always used liquid aminos, tamari or coconut aminos
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 4 teaspoons agave
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika (preferably smoked)
  • 2 tablespoons water

Rest of Recipe

  • 2 teaspoons oil (any oil)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
Instructions

Instructions

  • In a medium-size bowl place the pressed and cubed tofu. Add the soy sauce and toss to coat. Add in all of the other marinade ingredients (rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, agave, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, paprika and water) and toss to thoroughly combine. Ensure all the pieces are coated and let the tofu sit in the marinade for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 days.

Rest of the Recipe

  • In a pan over medium high heat, add the oil. Once hot, scoop your tofu out of the leftover marinade (do not toss your marinade) and add into the pan. Crisp up your tofu on each side for about 2-3 minutes on each side, until all sides are crisped up and browned.
  • While your tofu is cooking, add 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to the marinade and whisk vigorously to combine.
  • Once tofu is finished cooking. Turn off the heat. Immediately add in your marinade and stir to combine. The residual heat will heat through the sauce and cook off the cornstarch. Stir to combine and let it all sit together for at least 2 minutes. Remove from the stove, serve and enjoy!
NOTES
  • Allowing the marinade to sit on the tofu for at least 30 minutes really makes a massive difference to penetrating the tofu and giving it a deep flavour. Marinated tofu really is the best!
  • Make sure you’re not buying silken tofu! That will yield the wrong texture and will break apart if you try and press it. Check out my Tofu 101 post for more, or watch my tofu 101 IG series.
  • If you want to bake the tofu instead, I recommend following my Baked Tofu post instructions – 400°F for 20 minutes, flipping in between. I would still recommend doing the marinade with cornstarch step afterwards (just heat up the pan a bit and add the tofu right after it comes out of the oven).
  • How to press tofu: I cover this in detail in my How to Cook Tofu 101 post! The prep time includes the time to press the tofu
  • Often times tofu sticks in your pan if you’re trying to flip it too early, the heat is too low, or your non-stick coating is gone. If your tofu is sticking, consider one of these and adjust accordingly – it’s usually that you’re trying to flip it too quickly!

Nutrition

Calories: 179kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 816mg | Potassium: 50mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 62IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 149mg | Iron: 2mg
by Jessica

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Recipe Rating




20 comments

  1. Linda Molenaar says:

    This sounds amazing, but how would I make in my air fryer?

    • Hi Linda, follow the directions in my air fryer tofu blog post (just search it in the search bar) then finish off with the leftover marinade and cornstarch in a hot pan. I hope that helps!!

  2. AMBER L says:

    This looks delicious! I will be trying this recipe in the next few days.

  3. Kathleen says:

    5 stars
    Wow Jessica! so delicious! Couldn’t stop eating it! Will become a regular in this household!! Thank you for all your recipes. It helps make eating vegan so much easier!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Thanks so much Kathleen! We’re so happy that you enjoy the recipes!

  4. Angela says:

    5 stars
    This had really good flavor and everyone in my family liked it including my 9 and 6 year old. I cooked the tofu in the air fryer, and mixed the sauce in with the veggies after I stir-fried them.

  5. Lily (@lilifer on IG) says:

    5 stars
    Okay, so we bought the 4 pack of tofu from Costco and want to make it up in a few new ways. As is often the case, right after we bought it, like the same day, Jessica posted this so of course I jumped on it as her recipes are consistently flavorful and aligned with our palate. We whipped this up for our stir fry and it did not disappoint. Great flavor and texture after only 30 minutes of marinading. Little pillowy flavor bombs! We will definitely be making this one again.

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Thanks so much Lily. We’re so happy that you enjoyed it.

  6. Jenna Mildred Elena Poole says:

    5 stars
    Omg this is unreal. Made this after a few tries at tofu with various recipes and this is SO YUM. Ate the whole block in one sitting :):):) thank you for this!!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Thank you so much Jenna! We’re so happy that you feel this way!

  7. Christina A says:

    5 stars
    This was so delicious! I paired it with your cauliflower fried rice, sooo good! Can’t wait to make this again.

  8. Aurora says:

    5 stars
    I must say, this is a really wonderful recipe. I’ve never fried tofu before but this was just perfect. So yummy. It’s a perfect vegan dish to share with non vegan people and everything. SO GOOD!

  9. Reeti says:

    5 stars
    Best Tofu Marinade recipe! We are loving this recipe and have made it multiple times now!!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Awesome! Thanks so much Reeti. We’re happy that you like it!

  10. IW says:

    5 stars
    Awesome recipes… It opened my eyes to the world of tofu , THANK YOU

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Oh wow we’re so happy to hear you say that! Thank you so much!

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