Never eat bland or boring tofu again! This Marinated Tofu recipe easily transforms a regular brick of tofu into the most delicious protein with amazing flavors. Perfect for frying, baking, or air frying!

Are you skeptical of tofu? The secret to delicious tofu is how you prepare it! You’ll love my Perfect Fried Tofu, Crispy Baked Tofu and Air Fryer Tofu recipes as well.

And here are a few of my all-time-favorite tofu based dinners:

close up on cooked and marinated tofu cubes in a white bowl with rice.

If you think tofu is bland, boring, or difficult to make, think again! This Marinated Tofu recipe teaches you how to easily make the best tofu ever. All it takes is a really simple marinade!

Here’s what one reader had to say:

“Holy smokes. You nailed it. I haven’t been this excited about food for a long while! I couldn’t stop eating it out of the marinating dish lol. Thank you! So appreciate you sharing this with us.”


Why I love this recipe

  • The tofu marinade is super flavorful and simple to make with pantry staples.
  • The tofu soaks up the marinade like a sponge, taking it from a bland soy blob to an incredibly flavorful protein source or snack.
  • Marinated tofu is extremely versatile. Add it to a stir fry, salad, noodle bowl, sandwiches and so much more!
close up on a marinated tofu cube being held up with chopsticks.

How to marinate tofu

Cut the tofu into cubes and place them in a single layer on a flat surface, like a cutting board lined with paper towels. Add a layer of paper towels on top, followed by a baking sheet. Weigh it down with something heavy, like cookbooks or a cast iron skillet to drain the water.

You can also choose to press the whole block of tofu instead of cutting it first. Slicing it first simply cuts down on time.

a black skillet placed on top of a baking sheet.

Meanwhile, make the tofu marinade by whisking the soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger together.

Transfer the pressed tofu cubes to a shallow dish or a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the marinade over top.

Cover with a layer of plastic, then place the dish in the fridge. Let the tofu marinate for at least 1 hour or overnight for more flavorful results.

rows of tofu cubes on a paper towel-lined cutting board.
rows of tofu cubes covered in a marinade in a white baking dish.

How to cook marinated tofu

There are 3 ways I love to cook marinated tofu: pan frying, baking, and air frying.

Pan fried tofu

Warm some oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Place the marinated tofu pieces in the pan, then fry until golden brown on each side.

Pour some of the leftover marinade into the pan and stir to coat. Serve over rice with stir fried vegetables, then enjoy!

Baked tofu

Place the marinated tofu cubes on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350ºF for 20 minutes. Flip, then continue baking for another 20 minutes.

If you want extra flavor, quickly fry the baked tofu in a skillet with the reserved marinade.

Air fryer tofu

Place the tofu pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket (work in batches so the pieces aren’t crowded). Air fry at 400ºF for 10 to 15 minutes or until the pieces are golden and crispy, shaking the basket after 10 minutes.

Plate the tofu and drizzle the reserved marinade over top. Enjoy!

Frequently asked questions

What kind of tofu can you marinate?

A firm variety is best, like medium-firm, firm, or extra-firm tofu. This recipe does not work with soft or silken tofu because they’re too watery and delicate to be pressed.

How long can you marinate tofu?

The longer the tofu sits in the marinade, the better it will taste! That’s why I recommend you marinate it for a minimum of 1 hour or overnight for the best results. Some readers have even let the tofu cubes marinate for 2 days with great results!

Is the tofu marinade gluten free?

You can use tamari instead of soy sauce to make a gluten free tofu marinade.

Help! My fried tofu is sticking to the pan. What should I do?

The best way to prevent your fried tofu from sticking to the bottom of the pan is to preheat the oiled skillet and not move the tofu cubes AT ALL for the first 3 to 4 minutes. This helps the bottom get nice and crispy, making the pieces much easier to flip. Be very gentle when you do eventually move them around in the pan and use a quality spatula or even a fork.

How do you store marinated tofu?

The leftover cooked or uncooked tofu can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

Can you freeze the tofu in the marinade?

Absolutely! Add the tofu cubes and marinade to a large ziplock bag, seal it closed, and freeze for up to 6 months. Before cooking, let the frozen tofu thaw in the fridge.

frying marinated tofu cubes in a black skillet.

Serving suggestions

I love serving the cooked tofu stir fry-style. I’ll top the cubes over bowls of rice or noodles with stir fried vegetables, like bok choy, mushrooms, and carrots. 

The Asian-inspired flavors in the marinade also help the tofu pair perfectly with Vegan Fried Rice and endless noodle bowls. Toss it into a batch of these Teriyaki Noodles and Easy Drunken Noodles for a nourishing and satisfying meal!

Lastly, you can use the tofu as an easy plant-based protein source on grain bowls, sandwiches and salads. I love to use it in my Vegan Poke Bowls or Buddha Bowls because they make every bite extra filling and satisfying.

close up on a pile of cooked marinated tofu cubes.
4.91 stars (232 ratings)

Marinated Tofu (The Best Tofu Ever!)

Never eat bland or boring tofu again! This Marinated Tofu recipe easily transforms a regular brick of tofu into the most delicious protein with amazing flavors. Perfect for frying, baking, or air frying!
Prep: 1 hour 20 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 14.5 ounce block extra-firm tofu
  • 4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon toasted 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 or avocado


  • 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!

Adapted from Genius Kitchen.

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.

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  1. I have been a vegetarian for 4 years now but always struggled with tofu. This recipe has finally fixed this!! It is perfect. I air fry mine and absolutely love it!! Thank you for helping me break my tofu dilemma!!

    1. You are welcome, Christine! I also love the way tofu cooks in the air fryer! Thanks for sharing your fabulous review!

  2. Just in the process of becoming vegetarian, and this tofu was absolutely delicious! My daughter and I couldn’t stop nibbling on it. Will make this often.

  3. Hello Chef,

    I’ll just make it short, what would you do with Banana tofu? my girlfriend loves the sweets, just looking for some how to maybe sneak into a meal instead? not banana bread or pudding.

    Thanks for your time and have a stress-free day or night!

    1. Hi Andi. I make tofu in my air fryer frequently, and it works very well! Air fry for 10-15 minutes, shaking occasionally, at 375 – 400 degrees. Hope that helps!

  4. I just wanted to say that this is one of my absolute favorite tofu marinades! I do substitute the vinegar with lemon juice, but this is my go to recipe when I need to marinate tofu. Thanks for sharing this!

  5. Nora, would I be able to use this marinated tofu in a hot pot? We are doing a fondue. Perhaps I could just deep fry it in the oil? I’m not the vegan, my brother-in-law is and I’m a little out of my depth when it comes to tofu.

    Thanks very much

  6. My husband and I are trying to eat less meat. Well, let’s say I am and I’m trying to get him on board. He’s a meat and potato guy.
    I made this last night with roasted vegetables and he wasn’t interested in trying it. Then he did. He really liked it , got a second helping and said he would be willing to have this meal once a week!!! I LOVED it from the first bite!
    Thank you for such a stellar, healthy recipe!

    1. You are welcome, Wendie! I’m thrilled you both like the recipe! Thanks for your wonderful review and feedback! Wishing you lots of happy cooking!

  7. I love this marinade and make it often. This time, I baked it without the additional marinade at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes, then flip for another 10 or so.
    I added the remaining marinade to stir-fried vegetables and mixed in the cooked tofu at the end. Served everything over lime-cilantro jasmin rice. My teenage boys gobbled it up! (PS: I always add a generous squirt of sriracha to the marinade because we like the heat).

    1. I am thrilled that you guys loved the tofu recipe! I appreciate you sharing your cooking experience and fabulous review! Happy cooking!

  8. I didn’t even make it to baking my tofu- just enjoyed this marinade with the fresh firm tofu.

    I grew up in Japan and miss having access to soft tofu regularly (not common to find at our available grocery stores where I live). I wasn’t a fan of the hard tofu that is popular here in the states, and in Chinese cuisine, but have grown to like it as well for the simple recipes I used to like for the soft tofu.

    I’ll need to wait until I’m not starving to make this recipe to completion, but otherwise just enjoying the sauce with my tofu as is! 😊 thanks

  9. Hi there, I can’t find low sodium soy sauce, just regular. Should I adjust the recipe? Many thanks…. Can’t wait to try it!

    1. That’s fine! Try using only 3 tablespoons of regular soy sauce in the marinade instead of 4. Give it a taste and feel free to add the missing 1 tablespoon if you feel that it needs more salt/umami. I hope this helps!

    2. The best!!! I’m not the hugest tofu fan, now I am!! Delicious.I substituted apple cider vinegar for the rice vinegar (bc I was out of rice vin). I marinated it overnight. Sooooo good! Thank you.

  10. I can’t think of anything that would make this recipe any better. It was delicious. We even had it again tonight. I shook a few shakes of Chinese 5 Spice (Spice Hunter) on it while cooking. It goes together so quickly, when you have each ingredient ready to go. I did press the tofu for a couple hours under some big heavy books because I wanted it to soak up all the goodness of the sauce. 😉 Thanks so much, Nora!

    1. You are welcome, Linda! I bet the Chinese 5 spice was delicious in this recipe! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review and feedback! Happy cooking!

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

  12. 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!

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

  14. 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.

    1. Whenever I can’t get extra firm I like to press what I can without breaking it, following frying directions to get nice crisp edges on it, then I’ll bake it for another 10-30 mins or however long I can wait in the oven to dry them out a lil more! Works a treat!

      Also – I made this yesterday and it was fabulous! I used the excess marinade into a thicker sauce with some cornstarch and used that as my stir fry sauce for vegetables – it was soo delicious 😋 will definitely be making this again! Thank you Queen Nora!!

      1. LOL! I am honored! I appreciate you, Lydia! I’m thrilled you love the recipe! Thanks for sharing your tips and fantastic review! Wishing you lots of happy cooking!

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

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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!

  20. 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.

  21. 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!

  22. 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!

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