Crispy Soy Garlic Tofu. Crispy tofu pan fried in a garlicky, savoury umami based sauce. This tofu dish is so good it may convert the people in your life to enjoy it!
Ready in 30-35 minutes!
It’s fantastic for dinner, lunch or for meal prep. It can be vegan as well with a substitution.
Let’s get things straight
I am very picky about my tofu. For me to genuinely enjoy it, it must be either crispy tofu smothered in a tasty sauce OR soft. So, you bet that this recipe will be good!
Easy to make!
This soy garlic tofu recipe is easy to make. It’s one of my tofu recipes that isn’t too fussy and if you have an Asian pantry, most or all of the ingredients should be at your finger tips!
You’re simply premixing your sauce ingredients. Then dicing your extra firm tofu and evenly coating it in cornstarch. Next, you’ll fry that tofu in oil until golden and crispy. Once crispy, you’ll remove it from the pan and pour your sauce in to thicken and reduce slightly. Toss back in your tofu and give it a mix. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds, optional. That’s it!
What you’ll Need
For this soy garlic tofu recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- extra firm tofu
- vegetable oil, or avocado oil
- green onions, optional
- sesame seeds, optional
Soy garlic tofu sauce:
- regular soy sauce, not light or dark!
- dark soy sauce
- oyster sauce, or vegetarian stir fry sauce (for vegan version)
- Shaoxing wine, or dry Sherry wine
- rice vinegar or white vinegar
How to make Soy and Garlic Tofu
Below are brief steps with visuals but please scroll down to recipe card for detailed instructions and measurements:
Dice your tofu into equal cubes.
Premix sauce ingredients.
Place cornstarch on a plate and generously coat your tofu in the starch with gentle hands. Do this in a few batches. Once tofu is coated, set aside.
In a hot non-stick pan set over medium heat, add oil followed by tofu. Fry tofu on top and bottom until golden and crispy (7-10 minutes per top or bottom, 14-20 mins in total).
Remove crispy tofu from pan and set aside.
Back into the hot pan, pour in sauce and simmer to thicken.
Once thickened, mix in tofu until coated.
Optional: garnish with green onions and sesame seeds. Enjoy!
Below are tips on making Asian garlic tofu:
Dice tofu evenly
This is important to ensure even cooking time for all pieces. I will first slice my tofu into long even strips first. Then slice those into halves and slices the halves into even pieces to ensure each piece is equal.
Coat tofu generously in starch
This is also important to achieve a crispy texture. I highly recommend placing the starch on a flat plate and then adding your tofu a few batches at a time to coat GENTLY with your hands.
PLEASE do not just dump the tofu into a bowl and pour the starch over top using a utensil to mix. This will break apart your tofu cubes easily.
Be patient in frying tofu to achieve crispy texture
Patience is the key to achieving a crispy tofu. Frying on the top and bottom of the cubes will be sufficient for a crispy texture.
But make sure you give the top and bottom sides each 7-10 minutes (14-20 minutes in total) to get crispy over medium heat. 7 minutes for crispy or 10 minutes for extra crispy.
Ensure sauce comes to a simmer to thicken
Once you remove your crispy tofu from the pan, be sure the pan is hot before adding in your sauce and let this come to a simmer so it can thicken and reduce. If you don’t let it simmer, it will not become thicker.
FAQ for Crispy Garlic Soy Tofu
Below are frequently asked questions about this Asian garlic tofu recipe:
Can I use firm tofu?
Yes, but extra firm is ideal and much easier to work with. Do not use medium or soft tofu or you will have a very hard time flipping it due to easy breakage.
Can I make this vegan?
Yes, you can sub the oyster sauce with vegetarian stir fry sauce be Lee Kum Kee. This is sauce is found at most Asian grocers in the sauce aisle.
Why isn’t my tofu crispy?
To make tofu crispy requires patience and time. You will need to fry it on the top and bottom, each for 7 minutes.
Where can I buy oyster sauce or vegetarian stir fry sauce?
Most Asian grocers will carry this item in the sauce aisle.
Other Tofu recipes you may like!
If you enjoyed this soy sauce garlic tofu, you may enjoy these other tofu recipes:
AIR FRYER SWEET AND SOUR TOFU
CHINESE BRAISED TOFU
SPICY GOCHUJANG SESAME TOFU
JAPANESE STICKY TERIYAKI TOFU
GARLIC SHRIMP TOFU UDON NOODLES
SILKEN TOFU WITH ONION AND GARLIC
ASIAN BREADED TOFU NUGGETS
SWEET AND STICKY TOFU
CHINESE SALT & PEPPER TOFU
Well, I hope you give my soy fried tofu recipe a try! It always excites me when you make my recipes and I hope this is one you try.
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Asian Crispy Soy Garlic Tofu
- 350 grams extra firm tofu cubed
- 3 tablespoon avocado oil (or sub with any neutral oil like vegetable oil)
- ½ - ¾ cup cornstarch or as needed (or sub with potato starch)
- 1 stalk green onion finely sliced, optional garnish
- 1 teaspoon Sesame seeds optional garnish
- 2 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon regular soy sauce not light or dark!
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce or vegetarian stir fry sauce for vegan version
- 1 teaspoon Shaoxing Cooking Wine or Dry Sherry wine
- 1 teaspoon white granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar or white vinegar
- ½ tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ cup water
- In a bowl combine sauce ingredients.
- Dice your tofu into 1 inch by 0.5-inch cubes.
- Place cornstarch on a plate and generously coat your tofu in the starch with gentle hands. Do this in a few batches. Once tofu is coated, set aside. Warning: Do not place tofu in a bowl and dump starch on top. This will make it difficult to coat tofu without breaking apart the tofu, even with your hands.
- In a hot non-stick pan set over medium heat, add oil followed by tofu. Allow the tofu to fry on top and bottom until golden and crispy (7-10 minutes per top and bottom, 14-20 mins in total). Note: 7 minutes for crispy or 10 minutes for extra crispy. Remove crispy tofu from pan and set aside.
- Into the hot pan, pour in sauce and let this bubble to thicken and reduce. Once thickened, mix in tofu until coated. Optional: garnish with green onions and sesame seeds. Enjoy!
Very easy and loved the pointers about making sure to allow the tofu to get crispy by allowing the time to get there. Turned out perfectly! I might prefer a more sweet n spicy sauce but overall great fast dish.
Thanks for making my recipe Jen! I'm so glad you enjoyed it and the tips!
First time eating tofu as a main dish, definitely won’t be the last. Very easy to make and delicious thank you for sharing
Thank you so much for making my recipe Tayler! I am so glad you enjoyed it!
I absolutely love this recipe! Easy to follow and prepare. Thank you so much for sharing 🙏 I'm definitely going to make this again💕
Thanks so much for the kind review Maria! Glad you liked it 🙂
How about rice flour instead of cornflour? Also, when I make this I’ll use coconut oil - I NEVER use vegetable oil in cooking.
Yes rice flour will work and feel free to use coconut oil.
Terry O' Riordan
Come back to this recipe again and again, scrumptious! Thanks so much
Awesome! Thanks so much for making it again and again Terry!
This was a delicious meal!! I used two packages of tofu and doubled the sauce. Had it with rice and mustard greens. Do note the tofu takes some time to fry, like the recipe states. Not very labor intensive but somewhat time consuming. Thx for a great recipe!
Thanks so much for making my recipe Julia! Glad you liked it and thanks for sharing your note! Have a lovely day!
This recipe was SO delicious, and this was the first time I've ever been able to successfully make crispy tofu! I pretty much ignored the tofu while it cooked (10 mins each side) and it came out perfectly! I can't wait to make this again and again. 🙂
Haha yes tofu needs to be ignored for maximum crispiness! Love that. Thank you so much for making my recipe Lexa! So glad you enjoyed it 🙂
What brand of regular soy sauce is used for this recipe?
I used the brand by Yamasa. But any regular all purpose soy sauce will work. As long as the label simply says 'Soy Sauce' without the words "dark", "light". You may use low-sodium soy sauce but please add to taste.
John D. Brown
Did you press the tofu or just dry? Thanks
Nope, just dried it with some paper towel. However, you can press if it you'd like.
I couldn’t find dark soy sauce at my grocery store so I swapped it with Worcestershire sauce and it was delicious.
Awesome! I am so glad it worked with Worcestershire sauce as well! Thanks for leaving a review!
Delicious and simple to make….
Thanks so much for making my recipe Hazel! Glad you enjoyed it!
I made this tonight and it is a keeper! We loved the flavor and the crispness of the tofu. It was very easy and the instructions were on point. I added some snow peas from my garden that I steamed separately and the flavor blended nicely.
Thanks for making my recipe, Cindy! Very happy to hear this. Snow peas are such a great way to add some fiber to this dish. YUM!