This flavorful tofu is one of my go-to tofu recipes for busy weeknights. The tofu is coated in a flavorful sauce and broiled in the oven, an easy cooking method for delicious tofu!
The sauce is made from sesame oil, soy sauce, coconut aminos and maple syrup. Salty, savory and just slightly sweet, and perfect for adding flavor to tofu!
While it's under the broiler, the tofu soaks up the sauce. The heat of the broiler gives tofu a texture that is slightly firm and caramelized on the outside and soft and pillowy on the inside.
I like broiling tofu because it's so hands-off. While you do have to keep an eye on the tofu so it doesn't burn, you don't have to stand over a hot stove, frying or sautéing anything.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Tofu: Firm or extra-firm tofu works best for this recipe. The firm texture means the tofu will absorb more of the flavorful marinade. It's also easier to slice.
Sesame oil: Use toasted sesame oil, which has more flavor. You can substitute a neutral-flavored oil (like sunflower) but the tofu will have less flavor. Here are the best substitutes for sesame oil.
Soy sauce: Either regular or lower-sodium soy sauce are both fine. I haven't tested this recipe using tamari, but it should work fine as well.
Maple syrup: Just a tablespoon of pure maple syrup gives the sauce enough sweetness. I don't recommend substituting sugar (too grainy) or honey (burns too fast) in place of maple syrup.
Coconut Aminos: This ingredient can't be substituted, or the flavor of the tofu will change. Coconut aminos can be found in many (but not all) grocery stores. I buy it at either Trader Joe's or Whole Foods.
Coconut aminos is a condiment that is both sweet and salty. It's made from coconut blossom nectar and sea salt.
My family likes coconut aminos over cooked rice or salmon, so I often put it on the table as a condiment. You can also use it to flavor salmon sushi rice bowls.
Don't use more soy sauce in place of coconut aminos or the dish will be too salty. I haven't tested this recipe using Bragg Liquid Aminos. The flavor would probably be okay, but the tofu might turn out too salty as well.
How to Press Tofu
Pressing tofu means pressing moisture out of the tofu. I press tofu for 10 to 30 minutes, depending on how much time I have. It can be done while you're prepping other ingredients for your meal.
You can buy a tofu press, or just use a kitchen towel with something heavy on top. You can press a whole block of tofu, or slice the tofu first and then press it.
If you press the tofu for this recipe, you'll be happier with both the flavor and texture.
When water has been pressed out, the tofu will soak up marinades and sauces better and the tofu will have more flavor.
Also, pressed tofu is less soggy will get crispier when it is cooked.
If you're not using an actual tofu press, then anything heavy in your kitchen can be used as weight to gently press down on the tofu.
- Wrap the tofu in a lint-free towel and set it on a plate or sheet-pan.
- Set another plate or sheet-pan on top of the tofu.
- Set a weight on top. I usually use two cookbooks. You could also use canned tomatoes or beans.
- Press the tofu for as long as time allow, but at least 10 minutes.
How to Cut the Tofu
For this recipe, you want rectangular slabs or "cutlets" of tofu.
To get cutlets, slice a block of tofu into rectangles that are about ½-inch thick. Sometimes it's easier to get even slices if you first cut the block of tofu in half widthwise. Then cut each half into 4 or 5 slices.
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Step-by-Step Recipe Instructions
Step 1: Combine sauce ingredients in an 8x8 baking pan.* Lay slices of tofu in the pan, then flip the slices so both sides are lightly coated in the sauce.
*covering the pan in foil before adding the sauce and tofu will prevent the sauce from burning to the pan under the broiler
Step 2: Broil the tofu for 5 minutes. Rotate the pan under the broiler. Broil 3 to 5 minutes more, until the tofu has mostly soaked up the sauce and is deeply browned. Flipping the tofu slices over and broiling the backside for another 3 minutes is optional.
More Easy Vegetarian Recipes
Easy & Flavorful Broiled Tofu
This flavorful tofu is one of my go-to tofu recipes for busy weeknights. The tofu is coated in a flavorful sauce and broiled in the oven, an easy hands-off cooking method.
The texture of broiled tofu is slightly firm and caramelized on the outside and soft and pillowy on the inside.
For the best flavor and texture, make sure to press the tofu at the beginning of the recipe.
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 10
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 2 to 4 servings 1x
- Category: Vegetarian
- Method: Broil
- Cuisine: Asian American
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 1 12 to 14-ounce package of firm or extra firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
Tools needed: 8x8 baking pan, foil
- First, press the tofu to remove most of the moisture: Wrap the block of tofu in a lint-free towel. Set it on a plate or sheet-pan. Set another plate or sheet-pan on top. Set something heavy on top, like cans of beans or a cookbook. Press the tofu for at least 10 minutes (see photos in blog post above).
- Cut the tofu into slices/cutlets that are about ½-inch thick.
- To cook the tofu, use an 8x8 baking pan made of metal. The pan shouldn't be larger than 8x8, or the tofu won't soak up all of the sauce, and the sauce is more likely to burn under the broiler. Also, Do NOT use glass (even pyrex) under a broiler. The heat of a broiler can make glass shatter.
- Make sure to put a layer of foil in the pan. It will prevent the sauce from burning under the broiler.
- In the foil-lined 8x8 pan, combine sesame oil, soy sauce, coconut aminos, maple syrup. Tilt the pan to spread the sauce around the pan.
- Set the slices of tofu in the baking pan. Then, flip the slices over so both sides are lightly coated in the sauce.
- Turn on the oven broiler and let it heat up for a few minutes before putting the pan in the oven.
- Place the baking pan on the top oven rack under the broiler. Broil 5 minutes.
- Rotate the pan under the broiler. Broil 3 to 5 minutes more, peaking in the oven once or twice to keep an eye on the tofu. The tofu and marinade should be bubbling and browning, but not burning. If you start to smell burning, or the color of the tofu starts moving past nicely browned into really dark brown or burnt, take it out.
- The tofu is done when it's deeply browned and most of the sauce has been soaked up by the tofu. If you want, you can flip the tofu over and broil it for another minute or two on the backside.
- Remove the tofu from the oven and let it sit for a few minutes before serving. If there is any remaining sauce in the pan, the tofu will soak it up while it rests.
You can double this recipe and use a 9x13 baking pan.
This recipe works best with rectangular slabs or "cutlets" of tofu. Smaller triangles or cubes either burn easily or don't brown properly under the broiler.
This tofu is really good served cold too! It's great for packed lunches.
Keywords: broiled tofu, flavorful tofu,