Marinated Tofu Recipe

This easy marinated tofu recipe creates tofu that’s crispy and full of flavor. Using pressed tofu is the key to making delicious baked tofu recipes, and I’m sharing tips on how to cook it to perfection. This vegan keto tofu marinade provides plant-based protein with low carb macros. If you’re looking for easy tofu recipes, this is the one for you!

A bowl full of marinated tofu with steamed broccoli sits in front of a bowl of sauce and more broccoli.

If you were to stop by my house on any given day of the week, chances are you’d find this tofu recipe marinating in my fridge. That’s simply how much we love it!

But I get asked this question all the time: what does tofu taste like? The good news is, tofu is fairly neutral right out of the box. When you add flavors, like this marinade, it takes on the flavors of the marinade. It transforms into something amazing!

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • Using extra-firm tofu delivers a firm texture with a tasty bite.
  • A combination of olive oil, vinegar, and spices make the best tofu marinade that’s full of flavor.
  • Using tamari keeps this recipe healthy and gluten-free as well.

Ingredient Spotlight

A block of extra firm tofu sits on a white plate.

What Tofu is Best for Marinating?

Firm or extra-firm tofu is best for marinating because it has a compact texture that produces the perfect mouth-feel. Tofu has a neutral flavor, allowing it to soak up the seasonings it’s cooked with. However, tofu comes packed in water, so pressing the packing water out of the tofu is the best way to make way for the flavors you’re about to cook it with. To press tofu, wrap it in a kitchen towel and place something heavy on it, like a pan or use a tofu press.

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 — You’ll want to use firm or extra firm tofu for this recipe. Learn more about tofu from this buying tofu guide.
  • Tamari — This is a gluten-free soy sauce. You can use tamari or soy sauce for this recipe.
  • Olive oil — You can use olive oil or substitute sesame oil, which is always a favorite.
  • Vinegar — I prefer using apple cider vinegar because of its mild flavor. You can substitute rice vinegar or white wine vinegar.
  • Garlic powder — We’ll use garlic powder to keep this recipe simple, or you can substitute fresh minced garlic or a few tender, mashed cloves from this garlic confit.
  • Onion powder — Use onion powder, dehydrated onions, or chopped green onions.

How to Make Marinated Tofu

Knowing how to season tofu is both art and science. Follow these tips to get it perfect every time! This is a Chinese tofu recipe. You can change up the spices to create a Thai marinade or even an Italian marinade!

  1. Cut pressed tofu into cubes.
  2. Make the easy tofu marinade by combining the ingredients in a lidded rectangle dish (like a small pyrex).
  3. Add the tofu cubes to the marinade and toss gently.
  4. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to several hours.
  5. For baked tofu marinade, place the tofu in a single layer in a baking dish. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.
  6. To pan-fry tofu, cook it in a skillet with olive oil over medium heat. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes and use tongs or a spatula to flip the tofu. Cook for another 5 to 7 minutes on each side.

Here are more detailed step-by-step instructions:

Step One: Press Tofu

If you’re wondering how to prepare tofu, the first step is to press it. I love using my tofu press, however, here is a manual process for pressing it:

  1. Remove tofu from its package and drain the water.
  2. Wrap it in a dish towel or paper towels.
  3. Place something heavy on top, like a small baking dish.
  4. Let it sit for 30 minutes to up to an hour.
A hand holds a knife and is cutting tofu. It's sitting next to a tofu presser gadget.

Once the tofu is pressed, cut it into small, 1/2-inch cubes.

Step Two: Marinade Tofu

Prepare the tofu seasonings by combining these ingredients: tamari, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, and dehydrated onions (or onion powder).

A glass container holds sauce with a cutting board and more ingredients next to it.

Tamari is basically a gluten-free soy sauce. If you don’t have issues with gluten, then go ahead and use soy sauce. You can use sesame oil in place of olive oil. Either will work here.

Place the flavored tofu cubes in the marinade and stir gently to coat.

Chopped tofu in a glass container is covered with marinade.

Cover and refrigerate to marinate tofu for up to 30 minutes to an hour. If you have time, allow it to marinade even longer for more flavor.

This quick tofu tastes so good, I sometimes even eat it straight from the container. It’s great on salads like this!

Frequently-Asked Questions

How long do you marinate tofu?

Pressed tofu should be marinated for a minimum of 30 minutes, but if you have more time, marinating it an hour (or more) delivers an even more outstanding flavor in the tofu.

How long does marinated tofu last in the fridge?

Marinated tofu, once it’s cooked, can keep in the fridge for up to 5 to 7 days. Be sure to store it in an airtight container.

Is tofu marinade healthy?

Tofu is a high protein, low calorie, low carb ingredient. Depending on the marinade used, serving marinated tofu is a great option for a healthy diet. It can be served for dinner, lunch, or even as a snack!

Per Serving nutrition estimates: Calories: 94 Fat: 5g Net Carbs: 3g Protein: 8g

I love this BBC article on why eating tofu is healthy.

If you’re on a low-carb or vegan keto diet, you may be wondering is tofu keto-friendly. I understand the question because vegan keto ingredients can be hard to come by. However, tofu is great to include in your vegan keto diet because it’s low carb.

A closeup of tofu over noodles with steamed broccoli.

How to Serve Marinated Tofu

You can serve this simple tofu recipe in a number of ways, including:

  • Appetizer — Serve it as an appetizer with some dipping sauce or hot sauce.
  • Wraps — Serve it with lettuce like these Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps
  • Noodles — Add it over a bowl of noodles with steamed broccoli
  • Marinated Tofu Salad — It’s a great healthy protein option to add to salads such as this vegan wedge salad
  • Tofu Stir Fry Marinade — serve this tofu with brown rice with Asian vegetables and sauce.
  • Fried Rice — Serve it over this Vegan Fried Rice for the ultimate eating experience!

More Simple Tofu Recipes

Looking down on a dish of noodles with steamed broccoli and other ingredients.
Looking down on cooked tofu over noodles.

Marinated Tofu

You'll love this deliciously easy vegan recipe for marinated tofu. Serve tofu on salads, with stir fries, or even on sandwiches.
5 from 2 votes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Resting time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 99kcal
Author: Marly

Ingredients

  • 15 ounces extra-firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Instructions

  • Remove the tofu from the package and press the tofu to remove excess liquid. 
  • Slice pressed tofu into ½-inch cubes. Pat cubes dry with paper towels. 
  • In a lidded rectangle dish (like a small pyrex), stir together the tamari, oil, vinegar, garlic powder, and onion powder. Add the tofu cubes and toss gently. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to several hours.
  • To bake tofu: When the tofu is ready, preheat the oven to 400°F. Cover a baking dish with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. Place the tofu in a single layer in the baking dish. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.
  • To pan-fry tofu: When the tofu is ready, place a skillet over medium heat. Add a teaspoon or two of olive oil (or sesame oil) and add marinated tofu. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes and use tongs or a spatula to flip the tofu. Cook for another 5 to 7 minutes on each side.

Recommended Equipment

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Notes

Use a tofu press like the one in the post above to press tofu. Or if you don’t have a tofu press, wrap tofu in a kitchen towel and place it on a plate. Top it with something heavy and let it sit for a while to press the moisture out.
If you don’t have issues with gluten, feel free to sub soy sauce for the tamari.
Nutrition Facts
Marinated Tofu
Amount Per Serving
Calories 99 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Sodium 570mg24%
Potassium 191mg5%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 8g16%
Calcium 33mg3%
Iron 1.5mg8%
* 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 2019 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.

7 Responses to Marinated Tofu Recipe

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyElvira Summers Reply

    Love your recipes here and would love to see more. Thank you.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Thanks, Elvira! There are plenty more on the way!

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyBarbBQ Reply

    I’m confused. I’ve never made Tofu before and want to try your recipe but the list of ingredients don’t match the instructions on the recipe. What coconut aminos and sesame oil, and how much of each?

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Thanks BarbBQ! I experimented so much with this recipe, trying to find the very best processes and ingredients! The recipe instructions have been updated to reflect tamari instead of coconut aminos. That said, if you don’t have an issue with gluten, soy sauce will work just fine.

  3. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyBarbBQ Reply

    Thanks for the clarification Marly. I can’t wait to try this recipe.

  4. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlySharon Young Reply

    My tamari and Coconut aminos have sediment in the bottle. Should I throw them out? I keep Coconut aminos in fridge, but the tamari did not specify.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Sharon! I’ve noticed this too and have done some research on it. I’ve found very little information but what I have found indicates it’s not problematic to use it as long as it smells ok. These are fermented products and so that sediment is just part of the fermentation process. Hope that helps!

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