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Crispy Vegan Tofu with Teriyaki BBQ Sauce

Crispy oven-baked tofu in a sweet teriyaki and BBQ inspired sauce that is quick to make. 

This is probably my family’s favorite way to eat tofu and we make it at least once a week. It’s seriously that good! It checks all the boxes for a great weeknight meal: Quick, easy, and delicious. It’s has a ton of flavor and you can customize the spice level to what you enjoy. 

Looking down at a big bowl filled with white rice and topped with teriyaki bbq tofu cubes. Green onions are sprinkled on top. It's on a place mat with chopsticks and a cup next to the bowl.
A bowl filled with teriyaki tofu and rice.

This easy vegan dinner is one that I make so often and love so much. It’s quick to make, you can add your favorite grain or starch with it, along with any frozen or fresh vegetables for an easy weeknight dinner. 

Why You’ll Love this Tofu 

  • It’s super quick! No need to marinate the tofu in this recipe. That makes it perfect for a quick and easy weeknight dinner. 
  • Super delicious and easily customizable! Make it spicy, make it sweet, enjoy with veggies and rice or pop it in a wrap. There are so many ways to eat this tofu!
  • It keeps well in the fridge, making it perfect for meal prep. Making this dish ahead of time is not only a good time saver, but you can make a double batch and have tofu to last you the whole week! 

Ingredients 

Here is a quick rundown of the simple ingredients you’ll need to make this Teriyaki BBQ Tofu recipe. For the ingredient measurements, please see the recipe card below. 

Ingredients for the teriyaki tofu in various glass bowls and plates on a wood table. Black and white labels have been added to name each ingredient.
Ingredients for the teriyaki tofu and the sauce.

Crispy Tofu Ingredients 

  • Tofu: I recommend a high protein, super firm tofu that is about 16-ounces in size. If you can’t find a high protein tofu, any kind of extra-firm or super firm tofu will be great. 
  • Soy sauce: This helps to flavor the tofu in the first round of baking, and is used in the Teriyaki BBQ sauce. 
  • Cornstarch: Using a bit of cornstarch helps to make the tofu crispy! If you can’t use cornstarch, tapioca flour or arrowroot powder are great substitutes. 

Sauce Ingredients 

  • Ketchup: This is the base of the sauce. Use your favorite brand of ketchup. I really like Annie’s Ketchup and the organic ketchup from Trader Joe’s. 
  • Soy Sauce: Again, a little bit to help balance the flavors. 
  • Garlic Powder: To deepen the flavors. 
  • Brown Sugar (or sweetener of choice): A little sugar adds a little touch of sweetness and transforms it into a BBQ like sauce! I typically reach for brown sugar, but I’ve also made this with coconut sugar, date syrup, and maple syrup. Use what you like best. 

Variations

Want to make this but you’re out of cornstarch? No worries! Use an equal amount of either arrowroot powder or tapioca flour. I’ve had more success with arrowroot powder as I find it crisps up nicer than the tapioca flour (which tends to be a little softer and stickier). You can also use potato starch but make sure it is starch and not flour. There is a difference. 

Instructions 

Making this recipe is done in two sections: A first bake of the tofu to get it crispy, and a second bake of the tofu in the sauce. 

Make sure to check out the recipe card below for the full recipe and ingredient list.

Start by gently blotting the tofu with a clean towel to remove any excess liquid. Using a sharp knife, cube the block of tofu into one-inch or half-inch tofu cubes. 

A glass bowl on a wood table filled with the unbaked cubed tofu being mixed with cornstarch by a green spatula.
Mixing the tofu in cornstarch slurry.
The unbaked tofu on a parchment lined baking sheet before baking.
Adding tofu to a parchment lined baking sheet before baking the first time.

In a medium sized bowl, place the cubed tofu and drizzle over half of the soy sauce along with the cornstarch. Using a spatula, give this a gentle stir, making sure all the tofu get an equal covering of the mixture. 

Place the tofu on a lined baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 12 minutes. 

A small glass bowl on a wood table filled with the mixed sauce. A green spatula is stirring the sauce.
The thick teriyaki bbq sauce in a bowl.
A glass bowl on a wood table is filled with cubed tofu that is being mixed in a sauce by a green spatula.
Coating the par-baked tofu cubes in the sauce.

While the tofu is baking, whisk the sauce together. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, remaining soy sauce, sugar of choice, and garlic powder. Give it a little whisk, a quick taste for seasonings, and set aside. 

Remove the tofu from the oven when the tofu is golden brown and carefully toss to coat the tofu in the teriyaki sauce. Place the tofu back on the baking sheet and bake for another 7 or so minutes. 

Sauced tofu on a baking sheet before baking.
Tofu in the sauce before baking.
Cubed tofu on a baking sheet after baking.
Tofu in the sauce after baking.

When the tofu is crispy and you see the sauce getting really dark on the baking sheet, it’s done! Remove from the oven and top with sliced green onions, a sprinkle of sesame seeds (if desired), and serve and enjoy! 

FAQs

What’s the best tofu to use? 

To get a good cube of tofu, you want to make sure that you are using an extra-firm or super-firm black of tofu. I like to use a high protein tofu as well, just for some extra protein power! A medium tofu or soft tofu or silken tofu will not work in this recipe. 

Why is my tofu sticking to the pan? 

Often tofu sticks to the pan for one of two reasons: First, you are using tapioca flour in place of arrowroot powder or cornstarch. Tapioca is a bit stickier in texture. Second, you didn’t let the tofu bake long enough in the first round of baking. It’s usually that you are removing the tofu from the heat too soon. 

Do I need to press the tofu? 

I always recommend that you give the tofu a quick pat down to remove the excess water from it, however, for this recipe you don’t need to press the tofu or marinate the tofu before baking.

Side view of a big bowl filled with teriyaki tofu cubes and white rice. Green onions are sprinkled on top. It rests on a placemat with a cup blurred in the background.
Close up of the tofu cubes in a big bowl.

What to serve with this tofu? 

What goes best with teriyaki bbq tofu? Almost anything! 

  • Grains / Starches: You can keep it simple and serve over a bed of white rice (both jasmine rice or basmati rice) or brown rice. Quinoa or couscous are also delicious as a base for this tofu. And you can also make up some baked potatoes to serve with this tofu.  
  • Salads: One of my favorite ways to enjoy this tofu is over a giant salad with lots of freshly chopped bell pepper, cucumbers, and carrots.  
  • Vegetables: A side of any steamed or stir fried vegetable is delicious. Think things like broccoli, carrots, cauliflowers, asparagus, green beans. peppers, bok choy, bean sprouts,  or a blend of all of these!  
  • Garnishes: Some popular options for garnishes are thinly sliced green onion (aka scallions), a sprinkle of sesame seeds (if you aren’t allergic), or a drizzle of chili oil on top. My personal favorite it to add some red pepper flakes to make spicy tofu! 
  • Easy meals: Use this crispy tofu recipe as the protein for a meal along side garlic noodles, gochujang noodles, or lo mein noodles. 

Top Tips 

  • Gently blot the tofu with a clean tea towel or paper towels before cubing to remove any excess water. You do not need to press this tofu for this recipe. 
  • For the best results, make sure that you cut the tofu into small cubes. This helps them to get crispy, and helps cut down on cooking time. 

How to Store 

Tofu is best when it is freshly made. However, you can totally store it in either the fridge or freezer. 

Fridge: Store leftover tofu in an airtight container for up to 4 days. 

Freezer: Freeze leftover tofu in a freezer safe container for up to 2 months. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight before eating again. 

To Reheat: Place the tofu on a microwave safe plate and warm in 30 second intervals until warmed through.

Want to save this recipe for later? Add it to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest!

If you try these out, please leave a comment below! This provides helpful feedback to both me and other readers. And if you want more delicious, vegan friendly recipes you can subscribe to the newsletter. Did you make these? Please tag me on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest! I love to see your creations!

Looking down at a big bowl filled with white rice and topped with teriyaki bbq tofu cubes. Green onions are sprinkled on top. It's on a place mat with chopsticks and a cup next to the bowl.

Crispy Vegan Tofu with Teriyaki BBQ Sauce

Crispy oven baked tofu in a sweet and spicy teriyaki bbq sauce that is perfect for weeknight meals.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: dinner ideas, quick meals
Servings: 5
Calories: 108kcal

Equipment

  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper (optional)
  • Spatula
  • Mixing bowls
  • Mixing spoons
  • Measuring spoons
  • Chef’s knife
  • Cutting board

Ingredients

  • 16 oz tofu super firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce divided, use tamari as needed for gluten free
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar or replacement depending on how sweet you like your sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400F/205C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set aside.
  • Prep the tofu. Cut and cube the tofu into small cubes, either 1-inch cubes or smaller. Place into a medium sized bowl. Drizzle over 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and cornstarch. Using a spatula, carefully stir to coat each cube.
  • Bake the first round. Place the tofu on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the tofu is crispy.
  • Mix the sauce. While the tofu is baking, mix the sauce together. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, remaining soy sauce, brown sugar (or other sweetener of choice), and the garlic powder.
  • Put it together and bake the second round. Remove the tofu from the oven and stir the sauce over top. Place the tofu back in the oven and bake again for another 7 to 10 minutes. The tofu is ready when the tofu is browned and the sauce has some browning as well. Remove from the oven, top with desired toppings, and enjoy!

Notes

  • How to Store 
    • Fridge: Store leftover tofu in an airtight container for up to 4 days. 
    • Freezer: Freeze leftover tofu in a freezer safe container for up to 2 months. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight before eating again. 
    • To Reheat: Place the tofu on a microwave safe plate and warm in 30 second intervals until warmed through.
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Nutrition

Calories: 108kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 0.5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 516mg | Potassium: 54mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 62IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 119mg | Iron: 1mg
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