How to fry tofu to crispy perfection in four easy ways! Use this step-by-step guide to learn how to cook this affordable yet delicious and versatile protein source!
Tofu is soft cheese-like curds derived from soya milk processing with a coagulant, then pressed down into white blocks. It’s usually sold in stores water-packed in sealed containers or aseptic cartons.
A staple in Asian cuisine, tofu is a very affordable yet delicious and versatile protein source. It has a bland, neutral taste and comes with a range of textures (silken, soft, and firm), making them easy to incorporate into sweet and savory applications.
How to prepare
- Drain the tofu well. Wrap with a thick layer of paper towels to absorb the excess liquid.
- For an extra crispy texture, press the tofu to extract moisture. You can use a kitchen tool called a tofu press or just set the wrapped tofu on a wire rack and weigh it down with a plate or bowl for about 15 to 20 minutes until dry to the touch.
- Cut to a uniform size to ensure even cooking.
Four ways to cook
Depending on the recipe, tofu can be pan-fried or deep-fried. You can also air-fry or bake in the oven to cut down on fat.
- Choose a high-smoke point oil such as canola, safflower, peanut, or avocado oil.
- Use enough oil, and do not overcrowd the pan. Allow enough room to toss the tofu easily, so it’ll evenly brown.
- Choose a high smoke point, neutral oil such as canola, safflower, peanut, or avocado oil. Heat and maintain the oil at the optimal temperature of 350 F to 375 F.
- Carefully add the tofu to the hot oil and cook, occasionally stirring, for about 2 to 3 minutes or until golden and crisp.
- Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and drain on a wire rack.
- Spray the air-fryer basket or tray with cooking spray.
- In a bowl, toss cubes with about 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to coat.
- Arrange in a single layer in the basket. Do not overload and cook the tofu in batches as needed.
- Spray the tofu with cooking spray and air-fry at 375 F for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden and crisp. Shake the basket a few times during cooking to ensure even browning.
- Remove from the air-fryer and keep warm.
- Use a wide pan to allow more surface area for the tofu to have contact and crisp up.
- Swirl oil to coat the bottom of the pan thoroughly. Heat until oil begins to shimmer, and add tofu pieces in a single layer.
- Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly browned before turning to prevent tofu from falling apart.
- Remove from the pan and drain on a wire rack.
- In a bowl, toss tofu cubes with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. If you want a super crispy texture, sprinkle in about 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and toss to coat evenly.
- Arrange in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in a 400 F oven for about 20 to 30 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
- Remove from pan and keep warm.
Crispy tofu is delicious and filling on its own, but it also makes a great addition to various dishes. Use as a nutritious meal alternative in your favorite recipes.
- Ginisang Togi at Tokwa-a light yet satisfying veggie stir-fry made with tofu cubes and crisp bean sprouts.
- Lugaw at Tokwa-crunchy tofu makes a delightful topping for congee
- Tokwa’t Baboy-succulent pork pieces and freshly-fried tofu are tossed in a tangy, spicy vinaigrette dressing
How to store
- Fried tofu is best when freshly cooked, as it tends to get soggy over time.
- If you have leftovers and don’t mind the softer texture, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- To reheat, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and warm in a toaster or conventional oven for about 2 to 3 minutes or until warm and crispy.
- You can reheat in the microwave, but the tofu will become soft and chewy.