This sticky tofu is crispy on the outside and coated in a mouthwatering Asian-inspired sticky sauce that is salty, slightly sweet, and so good! Once you try this tofu, you will be hooked!
If you're skeptical about tofu, this sticky tofu recipe will turn you into a tofu lover! It's one of the tastiest ways to eat tofu and I will walk you through steps on how to make the best crispy sticky tofu. Once you try this delicious recipe, you will be hooked!
Hungry for more? You will love my Crispy Asian Tofu, Lemon Pepper Tofu, or Miso Glazed Tofu recipe for another delicious sauce. Make it into a buddha bowl or stir fry like this Asian Tofu Buddha Bowl with Creamy Sesame Dressing and Teriyaki Tofu Stir Fry.
What is sticky tofu?
Sticky tofu has a "sticky" sweet glaze that is a combination of various flavors of garlic, ginger, sweet chili sauce, and more that coats crispy pan-fried tofu. It is sticky like a syrupy sauce that adheres to the crispy tofu.
- Extra-firm tofu: I highly recommend an extra firm tofu to create the best texture. Make sure to press your tofu block to remove excess liquid.
- Corn starch: This is used to coat our tofu to help it become crispy. Don't worry, you won't taste the cornstarch in this recipe!
- Garlic powder: A little bit of garlic adds more flavor to the tofu
- Sesame oil: A toasted sesame oil helps crisp up the tofu in the pan
- Sweet chili sauce: This is a thick sweet and savory sauce made with red chilis and vinegar. It adds so much flavor to this sauce.
- Soy sauce: Used to create a saltiness and umami flavor to the tofu.
- Rice vinegar: This is the sour balance to the salty soy sauce and the sweet chili sauce.
- Garlic powder: Adds more flavor to the sauce
- Fresh ginger: Freshly minced garlic and ginger provide a lot of flavor to the sticky tofu sauce.
💡Tips to make your tofu crispy:
- Press tofu for 30 minutes to decrease the water content.
- Cut your tofu into smaller cubes, rectangles, or triangles (~1 inch) so there is more surface area to get the crispy texture.
- Evenly coat the tofu cubes with corn starch. This will give it a crunchy texture on the outside. I recommend shaking your tofu with the cornstarch in a gallon size plastic bag.
- Pan-fry with a little sesame oil over the stove. Don't flip it constantly. Give it time on each side to crisp up.
Step 1: If you haven't yet, press tofu for at least 15 minutes. Wrap your drained tofu in a cloth or paper towels and place a cutting board with the heavy objects on top. Alternatively, use a tofu press like this one. Cut pressed tofu into ~1 inch pieces.
Step 2: In a large bag, add tofu with cornstarch and garlic powder. Shake gently until combined.
Step 3: In small bowl add all the sticky sauce ingredients and stir until combined. (A fork works best to get rid of cornstarch clumps).
Step 4: In a large pan, heat sesame oil for 1-2 minutes over medium heat. Add tofu in a single layer on pan. Cook tofu on each side until crispy (takes ~ 10 minutes). It should be golden brown.
Step 5: Once tofu is crispy, turn heat down to med-low and add sticky sauce. Stir until it coats the tofu. It will start to thicken up within a minute. Once its thicker, remove pan from the heat immediately.
Step 6: Serve with basmati rice, broccoli, and/or stir fry veggies. Sprinkle tofu with sesame seeds and sliced green onions.
🔄Substitutions & Variations:
- Rice Vinegar: Use apple cider vinegar, lime juice, or white wine vinegar.
- Sweet Chili Sauce: Mix together vinegar with chili oil, red pepper flakes, and sugar. See this homemade recipe here (which you can simplify). You could also use maple syrup instead of sugar.
- Soy sauce: For a gluten-free version use coconut aminos or tamari
- Like it spicy? Use some sriracha sauce in your sticky tofu sauce. You can also try chili flakes in the sauce or on top.
Sweet chili sauce is generally vegan. It is made from red chilis, vinegar, and sugar however it can occasionally contain fish sauce so make sure to check the ingredients.
You can find sweet chili sauce in the international aisle at most grocery stores. This is the sauce I used in my recipe.
There are lots of options! I recommend choosing a grain like basmati rice, brown rice, or quinoa. Pair it with a veggie like broccoli & zucchini, asparagus & carrots, cauliflower, bok choy, red pepper, snap peas, or whatever veggie you enjoy! You can also find 30+ ideas of what to serve with tofu here.
Store sticky tofu in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. I do not recommend freezing leftover tofu.
- Pressing your tofu for 15 + minutes will make a huge difference in the texture of your tofu.
- You can easily double this recipe for meal prep and make different variations of stir fry.
- Your sauce will thicken fairly quickly when you add it to the tofu. Don't overcook it or it will become "gloopy".
⇨Other terrific tofu recipes⇦
♡ Did you love this recipe? ♡
Leave a ⭐️rating and ✏️comment below (I love to read them!) Tag us on Instagram with a photo or video of your dish 📸 @naturallieplantbased.
Subscribe for more delicious recipes!
Mouthwatering Sticky Tofu
- sliced green onion
- sesame seeds
- basmati rice
- steamed or roasted broccoli
- Cut pressed tofu into ~1 inch pieces. In a large bag, add tofu with cornstarch and garlic powder. Shake gently until combined.16 oz block extra firm tofu, 2 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- In a large pan, heat sesame oil for 1-2 minutes over medium heat. Add tofu in a single layer on pan.1 tablespoon sesame oil
- Cook tofu on each side until crispy (takes ~ 10 minutes). It should be golden brown.
- In small bowl add all the sticky sauce ingredients and stir until combined. (A fork works best to get rid of cornstarch clumps).1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 2 tablespoon sweet chili sauce, 3 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 tablespoon water
- Once tofu is crispy, turn heat down to med-low and add sticky sauce. Stir until it coats the tofu. It will start to thicken up within a minute. Once its thicker, remove pan from the heat immediately.
- Serve with basmati rice, broccoli, and/or stir fry veggies. Sprinkle tofu with sesame seeds and sliced green onions. For a little kick add red pepper flakes!sliced green onion, sesame seeds
- You can add more sesame oil while cooking your tofu if needed to make it crispier.
- Store sticky tofu in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Add some spice to this dish by adding some red pepper flakes to the sauce or on top.