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Crispy Baked Tofu

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This crispy-on-the-outside and slightly-meaty-on-the-inside, crispy baked tofu is absolutely delicious smothered in gravy made by using the leftover marinade sauce.

overhead shot of platter with baked tofu and roasted veggies in background

I was told by my husband that this oven-baked tofu recipe reminds him of country-fried steak. Wasn’t expecting that, and he really likes it!

slices of baked tofu stacked up with vegan gravy dripping off and roasted potatoes in front

What makes this recipe so delish is the breading made with whole-grain flour, cornmeal, nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt, & pepper. Or, maybe it’s the delicious gravy made from the marinade.

You will love this crispy baked tofu because it’s…

  • Crispy on the outside & tender on the inside
  • Super flavorful
  • Loaded with protein
  • Full of calcium
  • Oil-free
  • Delicious
white plate with baked tofu slices and gravy

How to make baked tofu

For this recipe, you are going to want to purchase firm or extra-firm tofu because it is much denser and better suited for recipes that need more texture such as this one.

If you have time to plan ahead, I suggest freezing the block of tofu before using it. It’s not required, but freezing tofu changes the texture and causes it to have a spongy texture that I really like for this recipe and others such as my Breakfast Tofu Scramble and Air Fryer Tofu. It’s also a great idea when making Veggie Kabobs on the grill because the tofu stays on the skewer so much better.

wooden cutting board with sliced tofu and knife

When I bring tofu home from the grocery store, most of the time, I pop it right in the freezer and store it that way. It’s a great idea because there’s no need to worry about it going bad before the expiration date like would normally be a concern when it’s stored in the refrigerator. For a lot more information about cooking with tofu, check out my article, Easy Tofu Recipes, which has lots of tips.

If you have previously frozen and defrosted tofu on hand, simply drain the water from it and squeeze with your hands to remove all the excess water. If your tofu is fresh, you’ll need to press it.

tofu block being pressed on wooden board with black cast iron pan on top

To press fresh tofu, slit the package and drain excess water over a sink. Next, place the tofu block in a tofu press if you have one. If pressing without a tofu press, continue by using another dish towel or paper towels to place on top of the block and top with a heavy plate or cast iron pan. Continue to drain under pressure for approximately 30 minutes.

Next, cut the tofu into 1/2″ slices and place them into a flat shallow dish and set to the side while you mix up the ingredients for the marinade.

Making the marinade

In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together all of the marinade ingredients EXCEPT THE THICKENER which will be used at the end. Keep in mind that this marinade has two purposes. After it has been used for marinating the tofu, we are going to make it into a yummy gravy to drizzle over the final dish after baking.

clear mixing bowl with gravy ingredients and whisk with bottle of soy sauce and meassuring spoons

One of the ingredients for the marinade is poultry seasoning. Now everyone, please remain calm because there is no chicken in the seasoning. It’s simply herbs that are commonly used to season chicken, and it’s really good to cook with.

If you like a lot of gravy on your food, maybe even consider making a double-batch of it now so there will be plenty leftover to make the gravy shortly.

I love not having to waste the marinade sauce the way I used to when working with meat. It always had to be thrown out, but not this marinade!

Now, pour the marinade over the tofu slices in the flat shallow dish. Turn the slices over so all the sides are well coated. Cover the dish and place it in the refrigerator to allow it to marinate for several hours or even overnight. Turn the slices over occasionally or spoon marinade over them from time to time.

tofu slices marinating in a flat baking dish

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400°F, and line a baking dish with parchment paper to prevent sticking and make for really easy cleanup.

slices of tofu being battered in flour mixture in bowl with baking pan in background

While the oven is heating up, whisk together the coating mix in a medium-sized bowl. Remove each slice of tofu from the marinade one at a time and dredge each one in the coating mix, making sure to cover them well all over.

Place the slices on the prepared baking sheet as soon as they are coated well. Once they are all on the sheet, I like to sprinkle mine with a little smoked paprika and dry parsley.

slices of battered tofu on baking sheet with spices

Place in the oven and bake at 400°F until the slices are golden brown which takes approximately 20-30 minutes.

Air fryer directions

If you have an air fryer, these do really well and finish up even more crispy than baking in the oven. Simply place the breaded tofu slices in your fryer and set the appliance at 400°F and cook for approximately 20 minutes.

Turning the marinade into gravy

While the tofu is cooking, scrape the marinade into a microwave-safe bowl. If you decided to make a double-batch of the marinade earlier, I think you’re going to be even more pleased.

clear mixing bowl full of vegan gravy with spoon dripping off

Add your thickener of choice and whisk together well. I personally like arrowroot powder best because it doesn’t clump and is so easy to use.

Simply place the bowl in the microwave and heat for 2-minutes. Stop and whisk and check thickness. If it needs to be a little thicker, add 1-minute. However, be aware that it will continue to thicken for a minute or two even after you remove it from the microwave, so don’t get it too thick. If it does get too thick, just add a little bit of water to thin it a bit.

Once the tofu is baked, remove it from the oven. Allow it to cool and then drizzle the marinade gravy over the top before serving. If you want to make Mashed Potatoes as a side dish, this gravy is perfect for those too. As you can see from my photos, roasted vegetables are another great side option.

wooden board with platter of baked tofu and roasted potatoes and carrots

*Recipe originally published August 2016.

Adapted from Dr. Neal Barnard’s book, Breaking the Food Seduction.

Is tofu healthy?

Some people are not too sure about tofu, because it contains phytoestrogens. Turns out, phytoestrogens are very health promoting and are not at all like our body’s natural estrogen that can cause harm and lead to disease.

This makes so much sense, because the countries that consume the most soy, such as Japan and China, have the lowest rates of cancer and chronic disease. This short video will explain the benefits of soy.

baked tofu slices topped with vegan gravy

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overhead shot of platter with baked tofu and roasted veggies in background

Baked Crispy Tofu

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

This crispy-on-the-outside and slightly-meaty-on-the-inside, crispy baked tofu is absolutely delicious smothered in gravy made by using the leftover marinade sauce.

Ingredients

Marinade & Tofu

Coating Mix

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, or other whole grain flour
  • 1/4 cup yellow corn meal
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika (optional for topping)
  • 1 Tbsp dry parsley flakes (optional for topping)

Instructions

  1. If you have time to plan ahead, I suggest freezing the block of tofu before using it. It’s not required, but freezing tofu changes the texture and causes it to have a spongy texture that I really like for this recipe and others. When I bring tofu home from the grocery store, most of the time, I pop it right in the freezer and store it that way. It’s a great idea because there’s no need to worry about it going bad before the expiration date like would normally be a concern when it’s stored in the refrigerator. For a lot more information about cooking with tofu, check out my article, Easy Tofu Recipes, which has lots of tips.
  2. If you have previously frozen and defrosted tofu on hand, simply drain the water from it and squeeze with your hands to remove all the excess water. If your tofu is fresh, you’ll need to press it.
  3. Next, cut the tofu into 1/2″ slices and place them into a flat shallow dish and set to the side while you mix up the ingredients for the marinade.
  4. In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together all of the marinade ingredients EXCEPT THE THICKENER which will be used at the end. Keep in mind that this marinade has two purposes. After it has been used for marinating the tofu, we are going to make it into a yummy gravy to drizzle over the final dish after baking.
  5. One of the ingredients for the marinade is poultry seasoning. Now everyone, please remain calm because there is no chicken in the seasoning. It’s simply herbs that are commonly used to season chicken, and it’s really good to cook with.
  6. If you like a lot of gravy on your food, maybe even consider making a double-batch of it now so there will be plenty leftover to make the gravy shortly.
  7. Now, pour the marinade over the tofu slices in the flat shallow dish. Turn the slices over so all the sides are well coated. Cover the dish and place it in the refrigerator to allow it to marinate for several hours or even overnight. Turn the slices over occasionally or spoon marinade over them from time to time.
  8. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400°F, and line a baking dish with parchment paper to prevent sticking and make for really easy cleanup.
  9. While the oven is heating up, whisk together the coating mix in a medium-sized bowl. Remove each slice of tofu from the marinade one at a time and dredge each one in the coating mix, making sure to cover them well all over.
  10. Place the slices on the prepared baking sheet as soon as they are coated well. Once they are all on the sheet, I like to sprinkle mine with a little smoked paprika and dry parsley.
  11. Place in the oven and bake at 400°F until the slices are golden brown which takes approximately 20-30 minutes.
  12. If you have an air fryer, these do really well and finish up even more crispy than baking in the oven. Simply place the breaded tofu slices in your fryer and set the appliance at 400°F and cook for approximately 20 minutes.


Gravy Instructions

  1. While the tofu is cooking, scrape the marinade into a microwave-safe bowl. If you decided to make a double-batch of the marinade earlier, I think you’re going to be even more pleased.
  2. Add your thickener of choice and whisk together well. I personally like arrowroot powder best because it doesn't clump and is so easy to use.
  3. Simply place the bowl in the microwave and heat for 2-minutes. Stop and whisk and check thickness. If it needs to be a little thicker, add 1-minute. However, be aware that it will continue to thicken for a minute or two even after you remove it from the microwave, so don’t get it too thick. If it does get too thick, just add a little bit of water to thin it a bit.
  4. Once the tofu is baked, remove it from the oven. Allow it to cool and then drizzle the marinade gravy over the top before serving. If you want to make Mashed Potatoes as a side dish, this gravy is perfect for those too. As you can see from my photos, roasted vegetables are another great side option.

Notes

Detailed instructions, in-process photos, and my personal helpful tips can be found in the article above.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 114Total Fat: 2.1gCarbohydrates: 16.7gFiber: 5.5gProtein: 11.4g

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

Did you make this recipe?

Please rate and leave a comment because I love hearing from you. Remember SHARING IS CARING!

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