Crispy Orange Tofu

Enjoy a bowl of this delicious crispy orange tofu with sticky orange sauce rather than calling for takeout. This recipe delivers the best crispy, battered tofu served in a sweet and sour orange sauce. It’s an easy gluten-free tofu recipe that you can fry in a skillet or even bake. Imagine this Chinese take-out classic, sauce and all, made in your very own kitchen. It’s the best way to go!

Serve orange tofu with some Brown Rice, Cauliflower Rice, or even some Zucchini Noodles.

Crispy Orange Tofu sits in a white plate with chopsticks nearby and green onion at the top.

There are a few words you can combine together that sound pretty amazing. I think crispy and orange are great examples. But, here’s the question. Is this a case where two’s company and three’s a crowd? Because some of you might be thinking the last word in vegan orange tofu stir fry, spoils the fun.

You’ll just have to trust me when I say, it’s perfect. If you haven’t tried tofu before, this would be a great first recipe, because it’s easy, orangey, crispy, and pretty darn tasty too!

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • A cornstarch coating makes the tofu extra crispy and delicious
  • Using sesame oil adds depth of flavor to this recipe (toasted sesame oil is even better)
  • The sweet orange sauce is made with fresh orange and adds deliciousness to every bite

Who would have thought that orange would taste so good in a savory dish? But sweet and savory flavors have been coupled together since humans first discovered they had taste buds. OK. I don’t actually know that for a fact, because I wasn’t there, but we do know for sure that savory and sweet has been around for quite a while.

What You Need

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Tofu — I use extra-firm tofu for this recipe. Here’s more on how to buy tofu.
  • Flaxseed — You’ll need some ground flaxseed.
  • Cornstarch — We’ll use cornstarch to thicken the sauce. You can substitute arrowroot powder.
  • Flour — You can use all-purpose flour or even gluten-free flour.
  • Sesame oil — This oil is so flavorful. You can find it in the Asian section of most grocery stores and health food stores.
  • Green onions — These create a more subtle onion flavor.
  • Orange — You’ll need one orange, and we’ll be using both the zest and the juice.
  • Tamari or soy sauce — If you have issues with gluten, you can use Tamari, otherwise soy sauce works just fine.
  • Rice vinegar — You can find this in Asian aisles of most grocery stores. You can substitute white wine vinegar.
  • Agave — I use agave, but you can substitute maple syrup.

How to Make Crispy Orange Tofu Chicken

  1. Make the tofu batter by stirring together ground flax seeds, water, cornstarch, and flour.
  2. Dip the tofu in the batter and then fry it in a skillet.
  3. Make the orange sauce by combining the ingredients. Then pour the sauce over the tofu.
  4. Prepare the Sticky Orange Sauce by combining all the ingredients and cook until it thickens.
  5. Serve the tofu over brown rice with chopped green onions, orange sauce, and sesame seeds. 

Here are more detailed step-by-step instructions.

Step One: Make the Tofu Batter

First, you’ll want to make the batter. This is what you’ll be dipping the pressed and cubed tofu in. Combine ground flax seeds, water, cornstarch, and flour.

A white bowl sits on a white table with creamy sauce in the middle and a blue spatula.

Step Two: Cook Tofu

Dip the tofu in this tofu marinade recipe. This is what creates a crispy crust on the tofu. It’s a gluten-free mixture and since tofu is gluten-free as well, this is a great option for folks looking for vegan gluten-free recipes.

A white bowl sits on a white table with tofu cubes sitting in a sauce to create a coating for the tofu before frying.

Fry the battered tofu in a skillet. Unless you have a large frying pan, it’s best to do this step in batches.

Quick Fix Tip

Skip the pan-frying and use Air Fryer Tofu! Prepare the air fried tofu as recommended in the recipe, then add it to a skillet, coat with the sauce and serve with rice and the orange sticky sauce. Delicious!

Step Three: Add the Orange Sauce

  1. While the tofu is cooking, prepare the orange sauce by stirring together the ingredients.
  2. Once the tofu is done, return everything to the skillet and add the orange sauce.
  3. Cook it all for up to a minute or two to let the tofu sauce thicken. The combination of crispy and sticky in this pressed tofu recipe is pretty irresistible.
A white bowl on a white table with brown sauce and a tablespoon waiting to stir it.

Marly’s Tips

There are lots of ways to adapt this sauce to your particular tastes. For example, add 1 teaspoon of ground ginger to the sauce to make orange ginger tofu. Add 1 teaspoon red chili paste for a more spicy orange tofu.

If you’re curious about which tofu to buy, I recommend checking out my Tofu Buying Guide. For this recipe, I recommend extra firm tofu. The firmer the better.

Frequently-Asked Questions

What is orange tofu?

You make orange tofu by frying extra-firm tofu until crispy, then tossing it in a sticky orange sauce that’s both tangy and sweet. You can easily make orange tofu both vegan and gluten-free by using Tamari instead of soy sauce.

What is orange sauce made of?

Asian-style orange sauce is a sweet and tangy sauce made with fresh orange juice. You’ll also add things like sugar, soy sauce, and more. You can add additional flavorings such as ginger or red chili flakes.

How do you flavor and cook tofu?

Stir-frying tofu is a favorite way to add flavor to tofu. First, be sure to press the tofu to remove excess water, then chop it into cubes and add sauces and seasonings. The tofu will absorb the flavors of the ingredients it’s cooked with.

Is tofu gluten-free?

Tofu is made from soybeans, which means it is gluten-free. Be mindful of what you cook tofu in to keep your recipes gluten-free. For example, soy sauce is a common seasoning used with tofu. However, soy sauce is made from wheat. You can substitute Tamari, which is a gluten-free soy sauce.

Is tofu healthy?

Because tofu is made from soybeans, it’s a great source of protein that’s perfect for a plant-based diet! It also has iron, calcium, and other nutrients.

Crispy Orange Tofu is a favorite easy weeknight meal at our house!

The Best Crispy Orange Tofu

Calling for takeout is always a temptation, but when you’ve got something like this vegan orange chicken tofu recipe it doesn’t have to be.

Besides. I like to know exactly what’s in the food I’m eating. And sometimes I don’t feel so great after eating takeout. It makes me wonder exactly what I just ate.

So, why not just make your own? This easy orange-glazed tofu recipe is similar to any stir fry. Just throw on a pot of brown rice, chop up the flavored tofu and go to town.

Also, this vegan orange chicken recipe is crispy, sweet, savory, and filling, all at the same time. We love serving orange tofu and broccoli together. It’s a great combination.

Vegan Asian Recipes

If you love this orange tofu recipe, here are even more vegan Asian-inspired recipes to try!

Crispy Orange Tofu on a bed of rice with sliced green onions on top.

That’s it for this tofu a la orange!

Crispy Orange Tofu sits in a white plate with chopsticks nearby and green onion at the top.

Crispy Orange Tofu

Enjoy this easy and delicious Crispy Orange Tofu with Sticky Orange Sauce rather than calling out for takeout. You’ll enjoy the food and how you feel too!
4.84 from 6 votes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 309kcal
Author: Marly

Ingredients

Fried Tofu

  • 14 oz package extra firm tofu drained and pressed dry
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed ground
  • ½ cup water
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil toasted is best

Orange Tofu Coating

  • 2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ cup chopped green onions
  • zest of 1 orange (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup or honey

Sticky Orange Sauce

  • Juice of one orange (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup or honey
  • 2-3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

Instructions

For the Fried Tofu:

  • Press the tofu and then chop it into 1/2-inch cubes. (See notes for how to press tofu)
  • In a small bowl combine the flax, water, corn starch, and GF flour. Stir until combined. Add the tofu (in batches works best) and thoroughly coat each piece.
  • Place a skillet over medium to medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Place 2 to 3 sheets of paper towels on a plate on the counter near your skillet.
  • Use tongs to place half of the batter-coated tofu in the heated oil, being careful not to burn yourself. Allow space between each piece for all the sides to get browned. Cook the tofu on each side until browned. Place finished pieces of tofu on the paper towels to drain any excess oil.
  • Add a little more oil to the pan and repeat with the remaining tofu.

For the Orange Tofu Coating:

  • In a small bowl, combine the orange coating ingredients and give them a quick stir.
  • When all the tofu is cooked, return it to the pan and add the orange coating and cook over medium heat until thickened.

For the Sticky Orange Sauce:

  • Prepare the sticky orange sauce by combining all the ingredients in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Stir to combine. Heat in the microwave in 30-second increments until thickened. It shouldn't take very long. If it gets too thick, add a little hot water and stir to incorporate.
  • Serve the tofu over brown rice with additional chopped green onions, sticky orange sauce, and sesame seeds. A side of steamed broccoli goes nicely with this dish too!

Recommended Equipment

(The products above contain sponsored links to products we use and recommend)

Notes

Note: You don’t have to make the Orange Sauce, but it’s nice to have this to drizzle over the rice.
You can substitute one batch of Air Fryer Tofu in place of the fried tofu from this recipe.
To press tofu, remove it from the package and drain the liquid. Then wrap it in a kitchen towel or paper towels and place something heavy on top, like a heavy pan. Alternatively, use a tofu press. Allow 15 to 20 minutes to press tofu.
Nutrition Facts
Crispy Orange Tofu
Amount Per Serving
Calories 309 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 1049mg44%
Potassium 334mg10%
Carbohydrates 34g11%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 10g11%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 155IU3%
Vitamin C 10.1mg12%
Calcium 54mg5%
Iron 2.3mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

This post was originally published in 2018 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.

22 Responses to Crispy Orange Tofu

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyNikki @Seeded at the Table Reply

    This is perfect! I’ve been wanting to explore the world of tofu ever since having a dish in CA that I really liked! This sounds wonderful!

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyAmber Reply

    Ohmygosh, this has me drooling. As I was reading the recipe, I had my fingers crossed that I’ve got all the ingredients here to make this tonight. I do! 🙂

  3. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyLindsay @ The Live-In Kitchen Reply

    Yum! We used to love orange chicken, so this looks like the perfect make-at-home swap!

  4. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyHeather B. Reply

    This sounds so delicious! Yum!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Thanks, Heather!
      xoxoxo
      mm

  5. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyLisa Reply

    Looks delicious! In reading through the recipe, I could not locate the step where the “Orange Coating” is introduced. Do all the ingredients get combined and added at some point? Thanks. Can’t wait to try it.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Oh, Lisa, thanks for this comment because I can see where I instructions got a little confusing. I’m fixing it right now so hopefully it will be more clear. Let me know if you have more questions. Thanks!

  6. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMegan {Country Cleaver} Reply

    Ohhh this looks so scrumptious and crunchy!! YUM!

  7. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyRhona Reply

    I will be making this Sunday for my friend’s bday lunch. Excited! I will share on instagram for sure.

  8. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyOlya Reply

    I made this tonight. I used a large orange and it made the whole dish too orange-y. The dish was okay, but I would not remake it.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Olya. I know orange is not a flavor for everyone, especially if you’re not used to orange in a savory dish. One idea if you wanted to try it again, would be to leave the orange zest out of the topping and just have the orange juice in the sauce. That way you can put less sauce on (or more) based on your preference.

  9. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyHoneyBunny Reply

    Very tasty. Planning to add stir fried onions and red peppers to dish next time to add more texture and color.

  10. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyAnataTroy Reply

    My friend ordered this at a small, family owned restaurant. She and I are both lacto-ovo but lean toward veganism. I tested her’s as I had never enjoyed Orange Tofu. This recipe sounds delish and simple. I am cooking it for supper tonight.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      It is one of our favorites! To be honest, I prefer making it at home so I can reduce the amount of oil. We also love serving it with a LOT of steamed broccoli. So good!

  11. Avatar thumbnail image for Marlydarsy redmond Reply

    Made this however I didn’t have flax seed so I omitted it, also used regular flour. I think it would’ve turned out even more amazing if I had used a gf flour. this was time consuming for 1 person to make however one of the tastiest dishes i’ve ever cooked. Thank you!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Darsey! I’m so glad you liked this recipe! We’re out of town visiting family and you’re inspiring me to think about making this recipe for them! Sometimes spending a little more time on a dish can be so worth it. Hugs to you! ❤️

  12. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyLawanda Reply

    Can I use almond flour in place of GF flour?

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Lawanda. I haven’t used almond flour in this recipe, but I certainly would give it a try. I think it should work just fine. Let me know how it goes!

  13. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyNatasha Reply

    Can I use arrowroot starch instead of corn starch? Want to use what I have if possible. 🙂 Thanks!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Natasha. Yes, absolutely you can use arrowroot starch instead of cornstarch! Hope you love this as much as we do!

  14. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlySUSAN DALBY Reply

    Could I use your basic airfryer recipe then add the orange sauce at the end? I’m really trying to avoid regular frying anything at this point….

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Susan. I think that’s a great idea! And it makes this recipe easier to make too. I’ll add this as a note to the recipe. Thanks!

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