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Crispy Baked Teriyaki Tofu (Vegan)

 If you’re in search of a hearty, vegan take-out substitute, you need to try my super quick recipe for Crispy Baked Teriyaki Tofu! Easy to make, perfectly crave-worthy, entirely plant-based, and gluten free to boot, this tasty meal takes just 30 minutes to get on the table, making it an excellent healthy option for busy weeknights.

Jump to:
  • Why You’ll Love This Recipe
  • Ingredients & Substitutions
  • How To Make
  • Serving Suggestions
  • Cooking Variations
  • Optional Flavor Variations
  • Tips and Tricks
  • FAQs
  • Other Tasty Tofu Recipes
  • 📖 Recipe
  • 💬 Reviews

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

If you’re someone who is new to the world of tofu, you may believe that you will be forever stuck eating soft, soggy, bland pieces of this renowned health food. My friends, I’m here to help!

Contrary to popular opinion, tofu does not have to be bland. My Popcorn Tofu Nuggets are a great substitute for their McProcessed counterparts; Tofu Crumbles can liven up any salad or grain bowl; or you can toss them with any other sauce you love, like my Easy Chili Garlic Tofu.

Today, however, we’re going to toss the golden nuggets of crispy baked tofu with my super speedy, delightfully sticky gluten-free teriyaki sauce for a meal that is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. It is the perfect combination of sticky, salty, and sweet!

Not only will this recipe save you money, but it’ll also fill your belly with yummy goodness – all in less time than it would take to watch an episode of your favorite sitcom.

TIP: Don’t want to heat up your kitchen by turning on the oven? I’ve got you covered with instructions for both air-frying and pan-frying these crispy tofu bites under the “Variations” section below!

Ingredients & Substitutions

As with most of the recipes on VNutrition and Wellness, my crispy vegan teriyaki tofu recipe takes just a handful of easy-to-find ingredients.

All you need to make this yummy sticky teriyaki tofu is:

  • Water – Simple enough, right? Be sure to use filtered water for the best flavor.
  • Firm Tofu – Extra Firm will also work
  • Tamari (low-sodium) – Tamari is gluten-free but Bragg’s liquid aminos, soy sauce, and coconut aminos will also work
  • Rice Wine Vinegar – Beautifully light in flavor, rice wine vinegar is a favorite in my pantry. If you don’t have any on hand, swap in apple cider vinegar instead.
  • Maple Syrup – Maple is my sweetener of choice. Regardless of whether you grab grade A or B, it will be delicious. You can also choose to use agave nectar or date syrup instead.
  • Garlic – For the most potent flavor, I suggest using fresh cloves. In a pinch, swap in ¼ teaspoon of dried garlic for each clove called for.
  • Ground Ginger – Ginger gives teriyaki sauce the requisite bite of heat. I always have ground ginger on hand for convenience. If you keep fresh around, you can substitute about a tablespoon of grated fresh ginger root instead.
  • Cornstarch – Used as a thickening agent, be sure to dilute it in a small amount of liquid to create what is known as a “slurry.” If you don’t, it’ll clump up in the sauce. If corn is not on the menu for you, swap in an equal amount of arrowroot powder instead.

How To Make

I promised you, this is a simple recipe. All you need to do is press and marinate your tofu, decide how you’d like to cook it (I give you two extra options under the “Variations” tab!), and quickly simmer the sauce. Read on for more details!

Step 1: Marinate Tofu

First, as with most tofu recipes, you need to press the cube of tofu to remove any excess liquid. You can do this using a tofu press, or simply by using a flat pan and some heavy cans from your pantry.

While the tofu is pressing, mix all the marinade ingredients together. Remove the tofu from the press and cut it into cubes. Add the cubes to a bowl with the marinade and toss to coat. Allow marinating for at least 15 minutes and up to 24 hours.

Step 2: Bake the Tofu

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place the tofu on a baking tray (optional – line baking tray with parchment paper for easy cleanup) and bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway.

TIP: Feel free to double down on the sheet pan action and roast some veggies too! I love teriyaki tofu with broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, or carrots.

Check out the “Cooking Variations” section below for instructions on Pan-Frying and Air-Frying your crispy teriyaki tofu.

Step 3: Make Sauce

Once the baked tofu is cooked to crispy perfection, mix all of the sauce ingredients except the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water in a saucepan. Heat on low-medium until bubbling.

Mix cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water in a separate small bowl to create a slurry. Add to the bubbling sauce. Stir and cook for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Step 4: Assemble

Toss the baked tofu cubes with the sticky teriyaki sauce.

Serve with your favorite veggies and grain/pasta (see below for serving tips). Bonus points if you sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onions on top for a pretty and tasty garnish.

Serving Suggestions

Vegan teriyaki tofu is delicious in many ways. While I personally love scooping these crispy, sticky tofu pieces over some brown rice and serving it with steamed or roasted veggies, that’s just one way of doing things. Here are a few more ideas to get you started:

  • Over noodles (rice, lentil, buckwheat, and chickpea are all good GF options)
  • Over quinoa, brown rice, “fried” rice, or any other grain
  • Add to a buddha or veggie bowl
  • Cook tofu as “steaks” rather than cubes and turn into a sandwich or wrap

However you choose to serve your takeout fake-out vegan baked teriyaki tofu, I’m pretty sure you’re going to love it!

Cooking Variations

I’m a firm believer that variety is the spice of life, which is why I want to offer you a few ideas on how to customize this tasty vegan teriyaki tofu recipe to your needs.

Below I show you extra cooking methods for making deliciously crispy teriyaki tofu (in the event you don’t want to turn the oven on), plus several ideas for turning this recipe into the meal of your dreams.

Pan Fry Method

  • Add the tofu to a pan with a tablespoon of oil and cook over medium heat. Fry for about 2 minutes on each side until golden in color.

Air Fry {Oil-Free} Method

  • Add tofu to air fryer basket and air fry at 400F for 10-15 minutes (or until done to your liking) tossing halfway through.

NOTE: If you prefer more of a smoky flavor, you can also opt to grill your tofu instead!

Optional Flavor Variations

I’m a big fan of this sticky baked teriyaki tofu, but there’s always room for customization here at V Nutrition and Wellness. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Spicy – Some like it hot (me included!), so feel free to add red pepper flakes, sriracha, or sambal oelek to your teriyaki sauce and marinade for an added boost of flavor. PRO TIP: If you’re cooking for both yourself and more sensitive-tongued kiddos, serve the hot stuff on the side.
  • Deluxe – Add extra veggies to the sheet pan to roast alongside your baked tofu. Try sliced brussels sprouts, coins of carrots, bite-sized broccoli florets, or any of your other favorite roasted veggies; simply toss them with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, and add them to the tray next to your tofu (or on a separate parchment lined sheet pan if it’s looking crowded).
  • Go For Garnishing Gold – Nothing makes a dish go from good to WOW like some well thought out garnishes. Thinly sliced scallions, toasted white and black sesame seeds, a drizzle of sriracha, and chopped fresh cilantro are some of my favorites for this vegan teriyaki tofu.

Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t skimp on pressing your tofu! Not only will it not absorb as much of the marinade flavors, but it will also not cook as well. We’re looking for CRISPY teriyaki tofu, right?
  • Marinate for a minimum of 15 minutes. Tofu is notoriously bland as a stand-alone ingredient, but that’s not a bad thing! It acts as a flavor sponge, soaking up any goodness you throw at it. Make sure you give your teriyaki tofu a solid 15 minutes to marinate – that’s the perfect amount of time for you to add a little extra wellness to your day: do a quick meditation, clear out your inbox, or brew yourself a cup of something soothing.
  • Keep an eye on your sauce! It will burn quickly if you let it. I recommend waiting until your baked tofu is out of the oven (or pan, or air fryer) to turn on the stovetop. As soon as it hits a simmer, add the cornstarch slurry, whisk often, and cook for just a few minutes until thickened. It happens faster than you’d think.
  • Waste not, want not! Use the extra vegan teriyaki sauce to pour over your rice and veggies. Extra sauce = extra flavor, amirite?!


Is teriyaki sauce vegan?

While my recipe for teriyaki sauce is definitely vegan, other recipes may vary. As long as they are made without honey, most often the answer is yes.

Can I make this teriyaki tofu gluten free?

Absolutely! This recipe is gluten-free if you use tamari, Bragg’s liquid aminos, or coconut aminos.

Should I Marinate Tofu Before Cooking? If So, For How Long?

Think of tofu as a flavor sponge. It will take on the flavor of anything that you throw at it! Without the addition of a sauce or marinade, tofu is rather bland.

For that reason, I generally try to marinate my tofu for a minimum of 15 minutes before using. If you happen to be one of those people who plan in advance (you go!), tofu will continue to become more flavorful if you marinate it for up to 24 hours.

TIP: In order to ensure the best possible absorption of flavor, be sure to press your tofu prior to marinating it. This will release any excess water, making plenty of space for all the flavor to soak in.

How should I store this?

While this recipe is best served immediately after cooking, leftovers will keep in the fridge for about 5 days or in the freezer for up to a month.

To reheat, microwave for 2-4 minutes or place in a pan on the stovetop with a couple tablespoons of water as needed.

NOTE: Once the baked tofu is tossed in sauce, it will start to lose that delightful crispiness. If possible, keep the sauce and tofu separate if you are planning on making enough for leftovers.

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