It took me close to two years after going vegan to really understand tofu and to be confident with using it in my kitchen. I want to bring this simple and easy crispy tofu chicken recipe to you today so you don’t need to go though the mistakes I’ve made.
Today I’m going to show you the ultimate way to get crispy, flavorful, meaty tofu chicken–without using any oil to cook it!
What Makes This Crispy Tofu Chicken So Good?
This tofu technique will allow you to transform tofu from a spongy, tasteless food product to something your family CRAVES and requests on a weekly basis.
This Crispy Tofu Chicken is:
The perfect fried chicken dupe
Easy to make
Ready in under 20 minutes
Crispy on the outside, meaty and flavorful on the inside
Totally customizable to suit your family’s needs and taste preferences
Ingredients for Crispy Tofu Chicken
This recipe is a base tofu recipe that can be used all alone as a chicken substitute or spiced up even more with different flavors to create a whole new dish.
That’s why the ingredients for this recipe are so simple.
1 block of extra firm tofu. Find this in store usually in the produce department (by the fresh salad dressings) or by the hummus and deli meats
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
I’ve left this recipe salt-free, but if you are not used to eating food without added salt, feel free to use up to 1/2 a tsp in this recipe.
How to Make Tofu Crispy
There are a few secrets I have to creating the perfect crispy tofu:
Use the right kind of tofu. There are many different kinds of tofu on the market. For theCrispiest Tofu-use extra firm tofu.
Break your tofu into chunks with rough edges-don’t cut it into cubes. Those rough sides are going to soak up all kinds of flavor and crisp up beautifully.
Ensure you have a large enough cooking space so the tofu pieces are not touching too much. Tofu needs room to crisp up.
Use high heat. Especially with the BBQ style tofu, having blackened edges really adds to the flavor.
What is the BEST Way to Cook Tofu?
I have a large family of 6 and I usually will cook 2 blocks of tofu at a time.
So when I’m cooking tofu, I need a lot of space.
I find that the best tool to use to cook tofu is a large, family sized grill. I purchased a Sunbeam brand grill last year on Black Friday and it’s been going strong ever since.
I use it quite often for tofu, but also for pancakes, naan bread and anything else that I want to cook a lot of, quickly.
Do You Need To Press Extra Firm Tofu?
The short answer is no.
Here’s the reason.
In my experience, I have found very little difference between using a pressed tofu block vs an extra firm tofu block right from the store for this crispy tofu chicken recipe.
…because the water is taken out of the tofu so well during the cooking process.
I would recommend pressing your tofu if you are looking to marinade it in a sauce. Pressing your tofu would be a great way to remove extra water before you marinate the tofu in a liquid.
Place a non-stick pan over medium high heat. Alternatively, plug in a large, family sized electric grill.
Break tofu into 1/2 inch to 1 inch pieces. The more rough the edges there are the better the texture will be and the closer the tofu will resemble chicken.
Add tofu pieces to the hot pan and dry fry it. You do not need to add water. It is incredibly important to make sure there is enough room in the pan for the tofu to "breathe". If the tofu is sitting on top of each other you will not get the crispy result.
Sprinkle the tofu with the garlic and onion pwder and cook for 5 minutes before turning.
Don't be too quick to turn your tofu. You want it to develop a beautiful browned crust before turning.
Continue to cook the tofu, stiring every 5-7 minutes until it has browned on all sides. You may need to turn the heat down to prevent burning.
For BBQ Tofu
Sprinkle the base tofu chicken with smoked paprika
Add 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce and stir.
Cook for an additional 2 minutes, until the sauce has caramelized
For Asian Sesame Tofu
Sprinkle the Tofu Chicken with anise or fennel seeds.
Add the fresh grated ginger and stir.
Top with the teriyaki sauce and stir to combine.
Cook for an additional 2 minutes, until the sauce has caramelized.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds to serve and top with a touch of sesame oil for flavor (if using).
***Calorie and nutritional information is an estimate only. It has been calculated for the based tofu recipe only.
What to eat with this tofu chicken?
This is one of my all-time favorite recipes, and so I made sure to include it in my favorite vegan meal plan!
I’ve featured it in the Not Meat and Potatoes plan, paired with baked potatoes, cashew sour cream, a large salad and steamed broccoli.
If you’re feeling stuck and want to make eating healthy easy, check out my oil-free, plant-based Vegan Meal Plans.
Make going plant-based easy with a sweet checklist!
I’ve got a great freebie for you that’s gotten a lot of awesome feedback.
I’ve created a pin for your board so you can come back and make this tofu recipe when you’re ready!
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Megan Kerry is a Vegan Lifestyle Educator and Licensed Practical Nurse. Her content focuses on vegan recipes and ethical living. She is a mom of four children, a long time vegan, and an even longer time foodie. She loves veganizing any and all dishes and sharing her recipes and lifestyle tips with all of you!