Teriyaki Tofu

By: MeganPosted: 28/09/2022 Updated: 01/12/2023
Prep 20 minutes
Cook 7 minutes
Total 27 minutes
Crispy teriyaki tofu is a quick, delicious, and healthy meal that can be made in under 30 minutes! The tofu is pan fried until crispy perfection and coated in a sweet, aromatic, umami-packed teriyaki sauce.
Teriyaki Tofu

Crispy teriyaki tofu is a quick, delicious, and healthy meal that can be made in under 30 minutes! The tofu is pan-fried until crispy perfection and coated in a sweet, aromatic, umami-packed teriyaki sauce.

A bowl of rice topped with broccolini and teriyaki tofu.

Raise your hand if you love under-30-minute weeknight recipes! This sweet and savory crispy teriyaki tofu recipe makes crispy tofu bites that are coated in the best teriyaki sauce! These small bites of tofu are coated in a sweet, salty, garlic, and ginger-flavored, teriyaki sauce that is absolutely addicting.

This teriyaki tofu recipe is the ideal recipe if you are trying out meatless Mondays or trying to incorporate less meat into your diet without compromising on flavor. If you are interested in other easy quick recipes, check out my gochujang pasta, Vietnamese shaking beef, and garlic noodles recipes.

Someone holding a bowl of teriyaki tofu and rice.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s delicious. This teriyaki tofu recipe yields crispy on the outside yet soft on the inside tofu cubes marinated with the best teriyaki sauce that is sweet, aromatic, and packed with umami.
  • It’s quick. You can make this better than takeout teriyaki tofu in under 30-minutes for those busy weeknights without sacrificing any flavor.
  • It’s healthy. Tofu is a great alternative source of protein that is affordable and packed with all nine essential amino acids.
Lifting up a piece of teriyaki tofu with a pair of chopsticks.

Kitchen Equipment

  • Mixing Bowls: you will need mixing bowls to hold all of your measured ingredients for this crispy teriyaki tofu recipe.
  • Large Skillet: You will need a large skillet to pan-fry the tofu cubes and make the best teriyaki sauce.
Looking down at a bowl of teriyaki tofu and rice.

Ingredients

You can find all of these ingredients for the best teriyaki tofu recipe at your local Asian grocery store or online.

  • Medium Firm Tofu: medium tofu is firm enough to hold its shape when frying yet soft enough to have that beautiful silky texture when you take your first bite.
  • Cornstarch: cornstarch is used to coat the tofu to have an added crispy layer. It is also used to thicken the teriyaki sauce to fully coat the tofu.
  • Ginger: is one of the aromatics in the teriyaki sauce. Make sure to use freshly grated ginger for the best results.
  • Garlic: another aromatic in the best teriyaki sauce. Use freshly minced ginger instead of pre-minced ginger for the richest flavor.
  • Soy Sauce: for a rich and delicious flavor, I recommend using Japanese soy sauce. I love using Kikkoman organic soy sauce.
  • Mirin: mirin or sweet rice wine adds a mild sweetness to the teriyaki sauce.
  • Sake: sake is another type of rice wine that adds additional sweetness and rich umami flavor.
  • Brown Sugar: sweetens the teriyaki sauce and adds a hint of molasses for a more complex flavor
  • Toasted Sesame Oil: toasted sesame oil adds a hint of umami nuttiness that adds a lovely finish to the dish.
  • Toasted Sesame seeds: for garnish
  • Green Onion: for garnish
All the ingredients to make the teriyaki sauce to pair with fried tofu.

Substitutions and Additions

You can customize your teriyaki tofu bowl with different types of rice, noodles, vegetables, and protein.

Substitutions

  • Protein: you can swap out the tofu for any protein of your choice! You can use firm tofu, chicken, beef, salmon, and shrimp!
  • Honey: if you’d like a sweeter and more complex flavor you can add in honey as a sweetener.
  • Tamari: you can substitute the soy sauce for Tamari instead. Tamari has a rich, deep umami flavor that is slightly more mellow than soy sauce.

Additions

  • Rice: You can serve this tofu over a bed of white, brown rice, multigrain rice or fried rice.
  • Noodles: I personally love eating this teriyaki tofu with my garlic noodles recipe, but you can also pair them with any stir-fried noodles as well.
  • Vegetables: any steamed vegetable or stir fry pairs well with this teriyaki recipe such as broccoli, bok choi, gai lan, asparagus, snap peas, etc.

How to Make Teriyaki Tofu

You can make this delicious and addicting teriyaki tofu recipe in easily under 30 minutes! Preparing this dish breaks down into 2 separate parts 1) preparing the tofu and 2) cooking the best teriyaki sauce.

Crispy Tofu

  1. Prepare the tofu. Drain the tofu by wrapping the tofu with a paper towel or tea towel and placing a plate or tray over the tofu for 20 minutes. This will drain the tofu of all the excess moisture. Make sure the weight is not too heavy so that it will break the tofu. Then cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes.
  1. Coat the tofu. In a shallow bowl or tray, add the cornstarch and dredge the tofu pieces until all the sides are coated in cornstarch. Set aside.
Tossing pieces of cubed tofu in cornstarch for frying.
  1. Pan-fry the tofu. Heat a medium skillet on medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the oil and the tofu cubes and fry on all sides until golden brown and crispy about 5-6 minutes. Remove the tofu and place it on a paper towel-lined tray.
Pan frying tofu in a large skillet.

Best Teriyaki Sauce

  1. Mix the teriyaki sauce together. Heat the same medium skillet on medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and ginger, and garlic. Saute for 1 minute until lightly browned and fragrant. Then add the soy sauce, mirin, sake, and brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
  1. Thicken the teriyaki sauce. In a small bowl, mix together 2 teaspoons of cornstarch with 2 teaspoons of water until dissolved. Then add the cornstarch slurry to the teriyaki sauce and mix for 30 seconds until the sauce has thickened. Turn off the heat and add the sesame oil and tofu. Toss everything together for 1 minute until the tofu is thoroughly coated.
  1. Serve. Serve the teriyaki tofu over steamed rice, topped with toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallions.
Up close of a bowl of rice topped with teriyaki tofu.

Tips for the Best Teriyaki Tofu

  • Drying the tofu prevents too much splatter when frying. When hot oil comes into contact with water it splatters. To prevent too much splattering, you will need to absorb as much water from the tofu as you can. Draining the tofu also firms up the tofu to make it easier to pan-fry.
  • Don’t put too much weight on top of your tofu. You want just enough weight to drain the liquid from the tofu but not too much where the tofu will break and crumble.
  • Have all the ingredients prepped before cooking. Having all the ingredients prepped in mixing bowls before you begin cooking will ensure a seamless and easy process while cooking.
  • If your tofu is sticking, it may be because 1) you tried to flip it too early, 2) the heat is low, or 3) your pan has lost its non-stick coating. If your tofu is sticking I suggest increasing the heat and adding a touch more oil.
  • Don’t add the sesame oil until the end. If you cook sesame oil on the skillet for too long the flavor will cook away and you will lose that beautiful nuttiness flavor.

Storage Instructions

This crispy teriyaki tofu is best eaten the day of since that is when it is crispiest. However, you can store this teriyaki tofu in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Frequently Asked Q’s & A’s

Why do I drain the tofu before cooking?

Draining the tofu before cooking allows the tofu to be coated and pan-fried easier with minimal splatter. The more water that is drained from the tofu the easier it is for the tofu to absorb more flavor and get crispier when you fry it.

What is teriyaki sauce made of?

Authentic teriyaki sauce uses soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and sake. Westernized versions incorporate garlic, ginger, and cornstarch for a thicker and more aromatic flavor.

Can I air-fry tofu?

Yes! You can make this teriyaki tofu in an air fryer. Instead of pan frying the tofu, you can toss the coated tofu in your air fryer, spray it with vegetable oil and cook at 375°F to 190°C for 15-20 minutes. Shake the basket every 5 minutes and keep the tofu from touching so they do not stick.

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Recipe

Up close of a bowl of rice topped with teriyaki tofu.

Teriyaki Tofu

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
Crispy teriyaki tofu is a quick, delicious, and healthy meal that can be made in under 30 minutes! The tofu is pan fried until crispy perfection and coated in a sweet, aromatic, umami-packed teriyaki sauce.
Servings: 4 servings
Print Recipe

Ingredients

Tofu

  • 14 oz medium firm tofu
  • cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

Teriyaki Sauce

  • 1 teaspoon ginger grated
  • 1 teaspoon garlic minced
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup mirin
  • ¼ cup sake
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoon water
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Garnish

  • toasted sesame seeds
  • green onions sliced

Instructions

  • Prepare the tofu. Drain the tofu by wrapping the tofu with a paper towel or tea towel and placing a plate or tray over the tofu for 20 minutes. This will drain the tofu of all the excess moisture. Make sure the weight is not too heavy so that it will break the tofu. Then cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes.
  • Coat the tofu. In a shallow bowl or tray, add the cornstarch and dredge the tofu pieces until all the sides are coated in cornstarch. Set aside.
  • Pan-fry the tofu. Heat a medium skillet on medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the oil and the tofu cubes and fry on all sides until golden brown and crispy about 5-6 minutes. Remove the tofu and place it on a paper towel-lined tray.
  • Make teriyaki sauce. Heat the same medium skillet on medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and ginger, and garlic. Saute for 1 minute until lightly browned and fragrant. Then add the soy sauce, mirin, sake, and brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
  • Thicken the teriyaki sauce. In a small bowl, mix together 2 teaspoons of cornstarch with 2 teaspoons of water until dissolved. Then add the cornstarch slurry to the teriyaki sauce and mix for 30 seconds until the sauce has thickened. Turn off the heat and add the sesame oil and tofu. Toss everything together for 1 minute until the tofu is thoroughly coated.
  • Serve. Serve the tofu over steamed rice, topped with toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallions.

Notes

  • Drying the tofu prevents too much splatter when frying. When hot oil comes into contact with water it splatters. To prevent too much splattering, you will need to absorb as much water from the tofu as you can. Draining the tofu also firms up the tofu to make it easier to pan-fry.
  • Don’t put too much weight on top of your tofu. You want just enough weight to drain the liquid from the tofu but not too much where the tofu will break and crumble.
  • Have all the ingredients prepped before cooking. Having all the ingredients prepped in mixing bowls before you begin cooking will ensure a seamless and easy process while cooking.
  • If your tofu is sticking, it could be because 1) you tried to flip it too early, 2) the heat is too low, or 3) your pan has lost its non-stick coating. If your tofu is sticking I suggest increasing the heat and adding a touch more oil.
  • Don’t add the sesame oil until the end. If you cook sesame oil on the skillet for too long the flavor will cook away and you will lose that beautiful nuttiness flavor.

Nutrition:

Calories: 356kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 983mg | Potassium: 54mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 0.1IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 137mg | Iron: 2mg

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