Vegan Tofu Tacos are easy to make using crispy baked tofu, flavorful Mexican seasonings, and lots of toppings. No marinating or pressing the tofu required!

tofu tacos in a row, close up on the middle one

Ready to get dinner on the table fast? Then try these plant based Tofu Tacos! Made with a chewy and flavorful baked tofu “meat”, this Mexican-inspired vegan taco filling pairs well with all of your favorite toppings, is a perfect fit for nachos, and is delicious inside of burritos.

The tofu “meat” in this recipe is a play on the seasoned ground beef you find in classic hardshell tacos. Crumbled extra firm tofu is seasoned in a smoky chili paste (somewhat similar to taco seasoning) and then baked to give you a chewy and tender meat substitute that is so deeply flavored. All you need are a handful of budget-friendly ingredients and seasonings, and just 15 minutes to get it going!

Just like my walnut and cauliflower taco meat and sofritas, the base of these tofu tacos is meaty, smoky, and delicious. Stuff the taco filling into tortillas, layer with avocado, vegan sour cream, and lettuce, then dig in!

Ingredients needed (with substitutions)

  • Olive oil May omit for oil free taco “meat”.
  • Low sodium soy sauce – For gluten free, substitute gluten free tamari.
  • Tomato paste – Adds a thickness to the sauce that coats the tofu.
  • Maple syrup -Or agave.
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Smoked paprika
  • Chili powder
  • Firm tofu – Extra-firm is fine as well. No need to press it first.
  • Tortillas – You can use corn or flour tortillas here. Or serve in a taco salad or on Vegan Nachos instead!

How to make tofu tacos

Mix the olive oil, soy sauce, tomato paste, maple syrup, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and chili powder together in a bowl. Crumble the tofu over top and stir it into the paste.

collage of how to make tofu meat step by step

Spread the tofu mixture over a parchment-lined baking sheet.

tofu on a pan uncooked

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, stir, then bake for another 15 minutes. The tofu should be golden, crispy, and chewy when it’s done.

Serve the hot taco tofu meat in tortillas with your favorite taco toppings and rice and beans on the side.

tofu on a pan cooked and crisp

Air fryer instructions

Making tofu taco meat in the air fryer should speed up the process a bit and help it crisp up. To do so, place the tofu mixture in an even layer in the air fryer basket (working in batches if you need to). Cook at 350ºF for 20 to 30 minutes, shaking the basket every so often.

Tofu taco toppings

Layer the tofu crumbles into corn or flour tortillas with all of your favorite toppings! Here are some ideas to get you started:

More ways to use tofu taco meat

On nachos with cheese sauce, mixed into vegan queso, in enchiladas or quesadillas, as a base in all of your favorite vegan taco recipes, in a vegan breakfast hash, stuffed into sweet potatoes, in a grain bowl or burrito bowl, and so much more!

Variations

  • Gluten free – As long as you use corn tortillas and gluten free tamari instead of soy sauce, these tacos are gluten free.
  • Spicy tacos – Stir a pinch of cayenne or your favorite hot sauce into the paste to add a bit of heat to the tofu “meat”.
  • Oil free – The 1 tablespoon of olive oil in this recipe does help the tofu get a bit crispy and chewier, but you can leave it out if you want.
  • Add-ins – Feel free to stir cooked black beans, pinto beans, corn, or lentils into the tofu crumbles after baking.

Frequently asked questions

  1. Do I have to press the tofu first? It isn’t necessary for this recipe. Just crumble the unpressed tofu right into the bowl with the paste and you’re good to go!
  2. Why is my tofu not crispy? Make sure to only stir the tofu once as it’s baking so it has a chance to get nice and crispy in some spots. If you want it even crispier, use the air fryer method or turn the heat up to 375ºF.
  3. How to store taco filling – Keep leftover tofu meat in a covered container for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
  4. Can I freeze it? You can freeze it if needed, but it’s much better fresh. Reheat in the oven until crispy for best results.
sideways shot of tacos in corn tortillas with toppings

Looking for more vegan Mexican-inspired recipes?

square image of a taco with meaty crumbles
5 stars (18 ratings)

Tofu Tacos

Meaty Tofu Tacos are easy to make using crispy baked tofu, flavorful Mexican seasonings, and lots of toppings. No marinating or pressing the tofu required!
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients 
 

Tofu Taco "Meat"

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce (tamari for gluten free)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 14 ounce block firm tofu, patted dry

Taco assembling

  • 8-10 small corn or flour tortillas
  • Optional: Vegan Sour Cream
  • Optional: salsa, diced avocado, diced tomatoes, non-dairy cheese shreds, shredded lettuce, cilantro

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the olive oil, soy sauce, tomato paste, maple syrup, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika and chili powder. Now crumble the tofu into the bowl with your hands, and mix together using a large spoon until well combined with the paste.
  • Spread the tofu mixture evenly in the parchment lined pan. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then give it a little stir and bake for 15-20 more minutes, until the tofu is golden, crispy in places and chewy.
  • Remove from the oven and serve immediately in corn/flour tortillas with desired toppings.

Notes

  1. I usually double the recipe for my family of 5. If you double the recipe, the tofu will take longer to cook, more like 40-45 minutes.
  2. Tofu taco “meat” will stay good in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. It freezes okay if needed. 
  3. For gluten free, use tamari instead of soy sauce and corn tortillas.
  4. Calories are for 1/4th of the tofu taco “meat” only. Calories will vary based on your tortillas and toppings.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 232kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 434mg | Potassium: 396mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 665IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

This recipe was originally posted in September 2019 and has been updated with improved photos and helpful information.

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Comments

  1. this was great. my new go-to, for sure. served with Mexican slaw on top (cabbage, red pepper, scallions, avocado, mayo, lime, coriander, pepper, salt, chipotle powder, all to taste)

    1. Hi Corynne. Thanks for sharing your wonderful feedback! I’m so glad you love the tacos, and that this is your go-to!

  2. Made this last night to put in burritos and it was really delicious! I added  peppers and onions to the tofu mixture, and used a bit of a chipotle powder instead of chili powder (didn’t have any on hand). It was spicy, smoky, and very flavorful!  Your recipes are always a hit in my house, even among the more tofu averse. Thanks, Nora!

    1. Thanks for sharing your positive and encouraging feedback! Your taco mix sounds so delicious! Thank you for using my recipes, and I’m so glad you are loving them! I love creating them! Wishing you lots of happy cooking!

  3. These crumbles are incredible, I immediately ate the whole batch, lol, sans taco.
    They’re pretty easy to make – I used a package of Hodo Firm tofu – which is 10 oz instead of 14 – I think because they pre-press the water out, but this brand worked great.  Thank you for this amazing recipe!

    1. You are welcome! I’m so glad you loved the tacos! Thank you for sharing your positive feedback and review!

  4. This was really, really good. My husband  feels like all meals need meat to feel fulfilled, but this is my second time trying a recipe from this blog that changed my husband’s mind!

    Delicious, especially with great toppings.

    1. Thank you for sharing your feedback and review! I’m glad you and your husband enjoyed the tacos! They are fun and delicious to make, and there are so many delicious topping choices! Happy cooking!

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