Quick one-pan dinners don’t get much easier than this Tofu Stir Fry! It’s a 20-minute, flexible recipe and there is no need to press your tofu.
If you love making stir fry as much as I do, then you’ll want to try these Vegan Stir Fry and Peanut Tempeh Stir Fry recipes as well!
This Tofu Stir Fry has everything you love about quick and easy stir fry recipes, with the bonus of chewy pan-fried tofu (that you don’t have to press for an hour) and a homemade garlic ginger sauce.
Everything comes together in one pan in just 20 minutes to help you get dinner on the table as quickly as possible. Follow the recipe to a tee or customize it… There are plenty of ways to make this recipe your own!
- Chewy, protein-packed fried tofu: If you want to take vegetable stir fry up a notch, you need a protein. That’s where my perfect pan-fried tofu comes in! It’s crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, soaks up all of the flavors from the stir fry sauce, and fills you up. After all, just ½ cup of tofu contains 10 grams of protein.
- Made in one pan: Forget about dealing with a lengthy cleanup or long prep times. In this recipe, the tofu, vegetables, and sauce are all cooked together in one pan!
- Easy ingredients, big flavors: It’s amazing how simple, pantry-staple ingredients can result in such big flavors here. You don’t need anything complicated to make tofu stir fry. And even if you don’t have one or two ingredients, swap them for something else. Flexibility is the name of the game!
Ingredients needed (with substitutions)
- Tofu – Extra-firm tofu is best because it contains very little water and always results in meaty, chewy pieces when fried. Plus you really don’t need to press it first! It’s how I get my Fried Tofu and Marinated Tofu to achieve their tender, crisp, and spongy texture. If you only have firm tofu, that’s fine, but you will need to press it first. You could substitute tempeh or soy curls that have been rehydrated, if you’d like.
- Canola oil – Or use another oil with a high smoke point, like avocado oil.
- Green onions
- Baby spinach – Or you can use another leafy green, like kale or bok choy. Scroll to the Variations section for more vegetables you can use in this stir fry.
- Soy sauce – The base of the garlic ginger stir fry sauce. Use tamari if you need gluten free.
- Rice vinegar – Its sweet and sour flavor helps balance the sauce.
- Ginger – Use freshly grated ginger if you can. I like to buy the little frozen ginger cubes at Trader Joe’s. If all you have is dry ginger, only use ½ teaspoon.
- Sesame oil
- Maple syrup – This sweet element in the sauce is important for balance. It isn’t overly sweet, but you can lower the amount to 1 tablespoon if you want. Agave will work as well.
- Cornstarch – To help thicken the sauce. Feel free to use tapioca or arrowroot starch instead.
How to make tofu stir fry
Find the complete recipe with measurements below in the recipe card.
Drain and press the tofu before slicing it into small cubes. Do this by wrapping the brick in paper towels and placing a plate or skillet on top. Add a few heavy books on the plate/skillet and let it press for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
While you wait, make the stir fry sauce by stirring all of the ingredients together in a jar or bowl.
Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and fry until the cubes are golden brown on all sides.
Next, add the green onions and spinach. Let them cook until the spinach wilts, then lower the heat and stir in the sauce.
Keep stirring until it thickens and coats each piece of tofu.
Take the vegan stir fry off the heat and scoop it over a bowl of noodles or rice. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and enjoy!
Scoop the stir fry with tofu over bowls of white or brown rice or noodles, like udon, soba, or rice noodles. Finish each serving with hot sauce, sesame seeds, more green onions, or chopped nuts on top, and enjoy!
- Take the tofu over the top by using my Marinated Tofu recipe instead or by using frozen, then defrosted extra firm tofu.
- Save a little time (and avoid excess oil) by air frying or baking the tofu instead of pan-frying.
- Tofu is prone to sticking, which is why I recommend frying it in a high-quality non-stick pan with oil. Also, don’t move the tofu cubes in the first 3 to 4 minutes of cooking. This will help them brown and make them much easier to flip.
- Add more vegetables – Add as many vegetables to the stir fry as you want, like bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, baby corn, cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts, zucchini, or mushrooms. Even frozen vegetables are a great option, like in this Frozen Vegetable Stir Fry.
- Instead of tofu – Use tempeh or soy curls instead or use a variety of vegetables to make a vegetable-only stir fry.
- Instead of the garlic ginger sauce – Use my savory 5 Minute Stir Fry Sauce.
- Gluten free – Make the stir fry sauce with tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.
Want more easy one-pan recipes?
Quick One Pan Tofu Stir Fry
- 14 ounce block extra-firm tofu
- 2 tablespoons canola oil or other high smoke point oil
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions
- 2 cups baby spinach
Garlic ginger stir fry sauce
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari for GF
- 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Optional, for serving
- cooked rice or noodles
- hot sauce
- sesame seeds
- Prepare tofu – Drain the tofu and pat it dry with paper towels, pressing down for a few seconds to squeeze out excess moisture. Slice into small cubes, about 1/2 inch big.
- Make the sauce – In a mason jar, add all sauce ingredients. Place a lid on tightly and shake until well combined. Set aside.
- Pan fry tofu – In a large non-stick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the tofu and pan fry until golden brown. TIP: To keep tofu from sticking, use a quality non-stick pan and let it cook for a few minutes before attempting to stir it/flip it around.
- Add vegetables and sauce – Once the tofu pieces are golden, add the green onions and baby spinach. Stir fry for a few minutes until the spinach wilts. Now lower the heat to low-medium and stir in the sauce. Stir constantly until the sauce thickens and coats the tofu and vegetables. Remove from heat.
- Serve – Serve over rice or noodles with hot sauce and sesame seeds, if desired. Enjoy! Leftover stir fry will keep in the refrigerator for about 3 days. Reheat until warm.
- The recipe makes a lot of sauce, perfect for serving with rice noodles or cooked rice. You could use 2 blocks of tofu for the amount of sauce, if desired.
- To make the stir fry even easier, use frozen or jarred/tubed garlic and ginger. Fresh always tastes best though.
- Agave will work in place of the maple syrup.
- May use arrowroot or tapioca starch instead of cornstarch, if needed.
Made for dinner this evening (different veggies because of what was on hand) and the sauce is so yummy! I’ve been looking for an easy and tasty stir fry sauce, thanks Nora for the recipe!
Thanks so much for your feedback and review!
Great easy recipe – very tasty tofu. I marinate for a bit and then cook and after browned – add a bit more sauce – so good! Nora’s website was the best thing to happen to my tastebuds! Thanks Nora
Hi Teresa! I am thrilled you are loving my recipes! Thanks for taking your time to share your great review and comments! Happy cooking!
I made this, everyday tofu stir fry and it was EXCELLENT!!
That’s so great to hear!! Thanks for the comment!
Beautiful and delicious recipe. So simple. Such a food staple meal. Thanks!!