This marinated tofu is hands down the best tofu I’ve ever tasted! It’s super flavorful, simple to make, and very versatile. I like to serve it on a bed of rice with stir fried vegetables, or even sliced in sandwiches. Perfect addition to salads, too!

marinated tofu in a bowl close up

As I’ve shared before, I live near Portland, Oregon. I’m about 30 minutes from the city, and honestly, with my kids and everything else going on, I don’t get to enjoy the bounty of vegan restaurants quite as often as I’d like. Several months ago, we ate at a place called the Bye and Bye, and they had the most delicious tofu. I got a BBQ tofu, brussels sprouts and rice bowl, and it was A-mazing. The tofu had flavor like I had never tasted! Flavor was infused all throughout each piece of tofu, and I decided I needed to find a way to re-create this deliciousness at home.

After several tries, I have finally perfected this flavorful marinated tofu. If you think tofu is bland, boring, or difficult to make, think again! I’ll teach you how to make the best tofu ever. I love serving this with rice and some stir fried vegetables, but it’s also good in sandwiches, on salads or simply as a high protein snack.

marinated tofu in a bowl with rice and green onions

How to press tofu quickly:

There are a few things you need to know about tofu. The most common way to buy it is packed in water. You usually need to press the tofu to drain most of the water, especially for stir fries or baked tofu. You can skip this step buy purchasing super firm tofu that is vacuum packed, not in water.

To press it very quickly, remove the tofu from the water pack and cut into cubes. Place the cubed tofu on a flat surface like a cutting board, lined with paper towels (or a clean tea towel.) Cover with more paper towels, a baking sheet, and then place something heavy on top like a cast iron skillet. This way, you only need to let it press for about 15 minutes while you make the marinade.

My set-up looked like this:

showing how to press tofu for marinated tofu, cast iron pan on sheet, tofu underneath

While it is pressing, combine the marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Once tofu is done pressing, place the cubes in a shallow baking dish and cover with the marinade. Let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour, longer if desired.

showing pressed tofu pieces on paper towels and with marinade in a dish

How do you cook tofu after marinating it?

After the tofu has marinated, warm a few tablespoons of canola oil in a pan, cast iron preferred. Remove the tofu from the marinade, but do NOT discard the extra sauce. Place the tofu in the pan and fry until golden brown on all sides.

TIP: How to prevent tofu from sticking in the pan

The key to keep tofu from sticking to the bottom of a pan is this: when you first add the tofu cubes to the hot pan with oil coating the bottom, let them cook, without trying to move them AT ALL, for 3-4 minutes. They should get browned and crispy on the bottom by then, and will be much easier to flip. Repeat once you flip them. Do this instead of trying to move them around too much. Use a quality spatula to move them around in the pan, and be gentle.

Can I bake the tofu instead?

If you prefer to make this tofu oil free, it can be easier to bake them. It works well, they just won’t be as crispy as if you fried them. To bake, place the marinated tofu cubes on a silicone mat or a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes, flip and bake 20 minutes more. To add extra flavor, quickly saute the baked tofu in a pan with the extra marinade.

marinated tofu being fried in a cast iron pan

Want more mouthwatering tofu recipes?

marinated tofu piece on a chopstick

follow me on pinterest button

Recipe adapted from Genius Kitchen.

marinated tofu in a bowl close up
4.91 stars (214 ratings)

Marinated Tofu (The Best Tofu Ever!)

This marinated tofu is hands down the best tofu I've ever tasted! It's super flavorful, simple to make, and very versatile. I like to serve it on a bed of rice with stir fried vegetables, or even sliced in sandwiches. Perfect addition to salads, too!
Prep: 1 hour 20 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 16 ounces extra-firm tofu
  • 4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger, OR 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 2-3 tablespoons neutral oil, such as canola


  • Quick press the tofu: Cut the tofu into cubes. Place them evenly on a flat surface such as a cutting board lined with paper towels or a clean towel. Cover with a layer of paper towels, set a baking sheet on top and then something heavy, like a large book or cast iron skillet. Press like this for 15 minutes while you make the marinade. 
  • Make the marinade: In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, sesame oil, garlic and ginger. 
  • Marinate the tofu: Place the pressed tofu pieces in a shallow dish. (In the photos above I doubled the recipe, so I used a 9 x 13 inch dish, but for one batch you will need a smaller dish, such as an 8 x 8 inch.) Pour the marinade over the tofu. Let it marinate for at least 1 hour, covered, in the refrigerator. If you want to leave it overnight, it will be even more flavorful.
  • Cook the tofu: In a large skillet, cast iron preferred, add a few tablespoons of a neutral oil, such as canola oil and heat over medium-high heat. You can omit the oil if needed, but you will need a very good non-stick pan so the tofu pieces don't stick. Remove the tofu pieces from the marinade and add to the pan. Do not discard the marinade sauce. Fry the tofu until golden brown on each side.
  • Once the tofu pieces are browned, pour any leftover marinade sauce into the pan with the tofu, and stir to coat. This makes the tofu even more flavorful! The tofu will quickly absorb the sauce. Remove from heat, and serve with rice and stir fried vegetables such as baby bok choy, mushrooms and carrots.
  • Store leftover tofu in a covered container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. It's also good cold, as a high protein snack or in sandwiches and salads.



  1. For gluten free, use tamari instead of soy sauce.
  2. You can also bake the tofu if you prefer. Place the tofu pieces on a silicone mat or parchment paper on a baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Flip the pieces and bake for 20 more minutes. To add more flavor after baking, quickly saute in a pan with the leftover marinade sauce; you won't need to use any oil.
  3. Instead of quick pressing, you could also press the whole block of tofu for at least an hour.
  4. This recipe can easily be doubled or even tripled, and stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, if it lasts that long! I always double it as my family gobbles it up fast.
  5. Nutrition information is for 1/4 of the tofu only, using 2 tablespoons of canola oil for frying.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 161kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 606mg | Potassium: 215mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Japanese
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Read my full disclosure here.

Posted In: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

you may also like:


  1. Thank you for these ideas, and especially the tip about getting excess water out of a slab of tofu before going any further.

  2. Thanks…did in air fryer.. tastes great. I used garlic ginger paste from a jar. I wouldn’t do that again, I’d use fresh. But great start to exploring perfect way to cook tofu x

    1. Hi Andy. There are so many ways to cook delicious tofu! I’m glad you enjoyed this recipe! Thanks for sharing your great feedback!

  3. Hello! Can I use medium-firm tofu for this? If not, do you have any receipe recommendations that use medium-firm tofu? Thanks!

  4. I am not a regular tofu eater and I went all out and made a double batch and baked it. I devoured it in maybe 1.5 days 🙂 I marinated mine overnight and flipped them the next morning. So delicious that I am making another batch this weekend! Thanks so much!

      1. I made this today and couldn’t resist trying it straight out the pan. I wasn’t that impressed and was a bit disappointed.
        However I tried it again a bit later and it tasted absolutely delicious, I think as it cooled and sat in the reduced marinade all the flavours must have absorbed and come together, just shows how important it is to let it rest for 10-15 minutes before eating. This will definitely be a regular dish in my home. Thank you for the recipe.

  5. This has become our favorite tofu recipe. I’ve been making it regularly for the past year and even my picky eater loves it.

  6. Thank you for this recipe. It sounds delicious. I’m looking forward to trying it with veggies and rice for breakfast.

    The Nutition Facts are for “1 serving.” How much of a block of tofu are you counting as one serving, please? One third of a block? Half? A whole block? (I don’t have a scale to weigh it, and the size of cubes can vary the volume in a measuring cup, so in the proportion of a block would be the most helpful.)

    I need to watch my protein, carbohydrate, and sodium intake, etc., so I need to know what portion of a block of tofu you calculated as “1 serving.”

    Thanks again!

    1. There are 4 servings total, so 1/4th of the recipe (or of a block of tofu). Hope that helps and you enjoy the tofu!

  7. I have a problem printing all the info before the actual recipe as your emails come too huge and my printer won’t size it to the page so that if I try to print the article only a corner shows on the page. My monitor is only 19 inch size [but should that matter]?. Is there any way for your emails to be sent page size? Thanks, Lois.

    1. If you are trying to print the recipe, simply go to the recipe on my website, scroll down to the recipe card (with the complete recipe) and hit the “print” button. This brings the recipe up in a printable form. I wouldn’t recommend trying to print an email, that probably won’t work well. I hope that helps! You should be able to print any of my recipes this way and have them look correct.

  8. Truly is THE BEST. I’m typically lazy with my tofu and can enjoy it minimally seasoned , but this is so easy and delicious I can’t find an excuse to not do it. I just throw all this in a blender and give a couple pulses.

  9. Very tasty and easy. Thank you for the recipe and directions. I look forward to trying more from your website.

    1. Hi Cheryl. I hope you enjoy your journey through my recipes! Thanks for your fabulous feedback! Happy cooking!

  10. Great marinade for tofu. I didn’t squeeze too much water out of the extra-firm tofu because I like it a bit moist and soft on the inside. Marinated for a day in fridge, and oven baked it. It is very delicious. I will be making my tofu using this marinade from now on. Thank you.

  11. i have been making this marinade for a few years now and it is perfect! i have fried it as directed which was delicious. i have also baked as directed and it was delicious. my favorite is to bake at 400° for the nora recommended baking time. it makes a lovely snack, like jerky, after it has cooled completely. thank you, talented chef, for your amazing recipes

    1. You are welcome, Heather! I’m thrilled you love the recipe! Thanks for sharing your wonderful feedback and review!

  12. I’ve been eating tofu for decades and this is a great recipe – flavorful + easy! I accidentally left mine to marinade for 2 days because I forgot it was in the fridge. DELICIOUS

    1. I agree, so delicious after a long marinade! Thanks for your fantastic feedback and review! I love the easy and delicious combo! Happy cooking!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.