I like my tofu extra crispy. Unfortunately getting it to that point often means keeping a watchful eye on a frying pan. (Nobody likes burnt tofu.) But the trick to perfectly crispy tofu is as simple as popping it in the freezer first.
When tofu freezes, the water within it expands, creating pockets of air. As you cook it and the water evaporates, these air bubbles give tofu a chewier, meatier texture while enabling it to soak up flavor from a marinade or sauce.
Follow these easy instructions for the best way to ensure crispy tofu every time you cook it (with five delicious recipes you’ll want to use again and again) because nothing hits the spot more than tofu at its crispiest.
How to freeze tofu
- Drain your extra-firm tofu and remove it from the packaging. Pat it dry with a kitchen towel or paper towel.
- Cut the tofu into cubes or slices—whatever size you need for your meal. Then, place the pieces in a container and store them in the freezer. You can also put the entire block in the freezer as-is, but it takes longer to cook.
- For best results, leave your tofu in the freezer for 12 to 24 hours. If you’re short on time, you’ll still get decent results with 3 to 6 hours.
How to cook with frozen tofu
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and submerge the frozen tofu. Bring it back to a boil.
- If you’re working with smaller pieces, remove them from the water after 6 to 7 minutes. If you’re working with an entire block of tofu, cook for 7 minutes, flip it over in the water, then cook for another 7 minutes.
- After draining the water, set the tofu on paper towels or a clean kitchen towel on a flat surface to help soak up any excess water as it cools. If it’s still in a block, cut the tofu into cubes or slices after it cools.
- Bring a skillet to medium heat. Lightly spray the skillet with olive or avocado oil, then cook the tofu pieces for a few minutes on each side, or until browned. Remove from the heat once the pieces are crispy to your liking.
How to use crispy tofu
Now that you have a new batch of crispy tofu, there are many different ways to enjoy it throughout the week. Whether it’s slathered in fun sauces or on kebabs, these are the tastiest recipes to start with. And the best part? The tofu prep is already done.
For a healthier version of your favorite takeout, use this General Tso’s sauce that’s the perfect mix of sweet and spicy.
Tofu makes for a seamless meat replacement in kebabs, especially when slathered in homemade BBQ sauce.
Nothing improves a stir-fry like crispy tofu. This almond butter-based sauce will make you want to eat up all your veggies.
The Caesar salad gets a plant-based twist in this combo that features crispy tofu and a creamy vegan dressing made from cashews.
This meal will only take a few minutes to make since your crispy tofu is ready to go. The buffalo-style sauce goes great with the garlicky dip made from dairy-free yogurt.
Still hungry? You might want to grab some cucumbers, which—if you didn’t know—might just be a better salad base than kale. You can also try out these keto-approved recipes in your Instant Pot.