Pan-Fried Tofu

Make this pan-fried tofu as a quick and easy snack or as part of a larger meal. I’ve always loved ordering fried tofu as an appetizer at restaurants, but I figured I could learn to make it at home.

Making this pan-fried tofu is so easy you don't order it out ever again!
Making this pan-fried tofu is so easy you don’t order it out ever again!

Turns out, it’s just a mix of seasonings and cornstarch fried in a neutral oil. Making this dish at home is much more cost-effective and saves on time!

Serve it alone as an appetizer or as part of a teriyaki stir fry. This vegan dish is a people-pleasing side or entree that will appeal to folks of all ages and backgrounds.


The main ingredients in this marinade are soy sauce and garlic powder. Have a favorite marinade ingredient? Feel free to add it in.

  • Tofu: You will want to pick up a block of extra-firm or firm tofu. Anything softer than firm tofu will fall apart in the pan.
  • Cornstarch: Often found in asian dishes when frying, cornstarch will make the tofu nice and crispy.
  • Soy sauce: Great for marinating, soy sauce in a key component in this marinade.
  • Garlic powder: Garlic powder adds a great flavor to the tofu.

How to Make Pan-Fried Tofu

Making this pan fried tofu is quite easy and as equally delicious.

First, take the tofu out of its package and press out any extra water out of the tofu with paper towels. Once dry, cut the tofu into cubes. I cut my tofu into one-inch cubes, just based on the size of the block of my tofu.

If you like bigger pieces of tofu, you can cut your tofu into larger pieces.

After cutting the tofu, let it marinate in the soy sauce and garlic powder for at least 5 minutes. You can add more spices if you’d like to the marinade, such as Chinese 5 spice or even chopped cilantro.

Cut tofu into pieces before frying.
Cut tofu into pieces before frying.
Fry tofu in some oil.
Fry tofu in some oil.

After allowing the tofu to marinate, toss it in cornstarch to coat evenly.

Heat some oil in a pan or wok. Heat over medium-high heat and allow the oil to become hot, about two minutes. If you add the tofu before the oil is hot, it will stick to the pan and it will be difficult to get an even fry on it.

You’ll know when your oil is hot enough when small bubbles are coming to the surface. You can also put the back of a wooden spoon in the oil and the oil will bubble around it if it is hot enough.

When your oil is hot, allow the tofu to fry for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Once fried on one side, flip to the uncooked side. This is much easier to do if your tofu is cut into larger pieces.

Once fried, take off the heat and transfer the tofu to a paper-towel lined plate to absorb any extra oil.

You can use the excess oil left in the pan for another dish, such as a teriyaki stir fry. Just add the tofu back into the dish at the end since it’s already cooked.

Serving Ideas for Fried Tofu

Now that you have you pan-fried tofu made and ready to eat, there are lots of options for serving. You can make a side of marinated bok choy to go with it, or you can serve the fried tofu as an appetizer by itself. While fried tofu is often served as an appetizer in restaurants, you can make it a part of a complete meal by adding a side of veggies and even rice to go with it.

If you do want to serve this pan-fried tofu as an appetizer, make a sauce to serve with it. Either a teriyaki sauce or another asian glaze for dipping.

Storing Instructions

Your fried tofu will be the most delicious and crisp on the day it’s made. But, if you have leftovers, it’s perfectly fine to store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

If you end up with leftovers that you’re unsure what to do with, you can always add them to another dish. You can also make this fried tofu a day ahead for a specific dish if you are short on time.

Other Recipes you Might Like:

Looking for more recipes like this one? Check out more like this below.

Pan Fried Tofu

0.0 from 0 votes
Recipe by Sarah
Course: Dinner, LunchCuisine: American, AsianDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 8 oz block tofu, extra firm

  • 3 tbsp cornstarch

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 2 tsp soy sauce


  • Cut the tofu into small one-inch cubes.
  • Add the soy sauce and garlic powder to the tofu and toss. Let marinate for at least 5 minutes.
  • Add the cornstarch, toss to coat.
  • Add a generous amount of oil to a frying pan, about 5 tablespoons and heat over medium-high heat. Let the oil get hot before adding the tofu.
  • Add the tofu and let fry for 5 minutes each sided. The tofu will be a golden brown color when it’s done.

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