This Baked Tofu with Spicy Peanut Sauce can easily be made in 30 minutes and only requires 9 simple ingredients! Crispy baked tofu paired with a delicious sriracha peanut sauce makes this oil-free, gluten-free, & vegan stir fry the BEST weeknight dinner.
*Recipe shared March 2020 and updated January 2022*
Lately, I have been VERY into making vegan versions of my favorite takeout recipes at home. It all started with this Black Pepper Tofu & Green Beans , which is now the most popular recipe on SGTO, followed by the Best Vegan Fried Rice recipe.
This spicy peanut tofu recipe takes it one step further by baking tofu and then covering that tofu in a healthier & oil-free spicy peanut sauce.
This baked peanut tofu recipe only requires 9 ingredients aka it truly is easy! The full ingredients are in the recipe card.
Ingredient substition notes:
- Peanut butter: Really needs to be smooth & unsalted. You can susbtitute almond butter for a similar flavor!
- Tamari: Is gluten-free soy sauce without wheat. You can substitute coconut aminods or regular soy sauce 1:1.
- Sriracha: I used Fix hot sauce, but any brand works. It is what gives this peanut tofu the spicy flavor but could be substituted for gochujang.
- Sugar: Can be replaced with 1 Tbsp maple syrup or 2 Tbsp coconut sugar to keep this dish refined-sugar free
- Black vinegar: While black vinegar has a really uique flavor and adds a lot of depth of flavor to this sauce, it can be substituted 1:1 with rice wine vinegar or even lime juice for a similar flavor.
How to make crispy baked tofu
To keep this recipe completely oil-free, I decided to bake the tofu! Making baked tofu is actually incredibly easy, so here's a quick rundown of the steps:
First, line a baking sheet with parchment paper & preheat the oven to 400F
Doing this helps to prevent the tofu from sticking and still allows it to get crispy in the oven. Win, win! We are also going to cook the tofu at 400F so it gets crispy & gets rid of any excess moisture.
While the oven is preheating, press the moisture out of the tofu
First things first, I want to stress that this recipe only works with the firm or extra-firm tofu. Silken tofu or soft tofu has too much moisture to get crispy and risks falling apart when being mixed with the cornstarch.
Before baking firm tofu, press it between two towels or paper towels to soak up any excess moisture. There are a lot of recipes out there that say you need to do this for hours, but I honestly do it for 5-10 minutes and always get crispy tofu. Place a heavy item, like a plate, on top to really squeeze out any excess moisture.
Add the tofu to a bowl with cornstarch
Once the tofu has been pressed, add it to a large mixing bowl and add in 2 Tbsp of cornstarch. Mix together until the tofu is coated and no dry spots of cornstarch remain.
Layer the tofu & bake
Next, lay the tofu out on the parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until crispy! I like to flip the tofu halfway through baking so it gets evenly crisp on both sides.
Baked Tofu FAQ:
What is the texture of baked tofu?
Cooking tofu this way leads to tofu that is crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. It won't be mushy on the inside! If you want softer tofu, follow my Black Pepper Tofu recipe and stir fry the tofu instead.
Do I need cornstarch?
Yes and no. If you want truly crispy tofu the cornstarch helps crisp and brown the edges. However, baking tofu without cornstarch will also lead to firm tofu. It won't be quite as crispy, but it still will taste great! If you don't have any cornstarch on hand, just omit it and bake the tofu as is.
Also, I don't recommend replacing cornstarch with arrowroot powder or tapioca powder in this recipe as it doesn't produce the same texture.
How to make baked tofu peanut sauce
Ready for this one-step sriracha peanut sauce? Simply add all the ingredients to a food processor and blend! Yes, it's truly THAT easy to make this vegan peanut sauce.
This sauce is decently thick without water which is why I like to add in 1-2 Tbsp of water. However, that's totally optional so adjust this sauce to your preferred thickness.
Also, I do want to note that this recipe only makes enough sauce to coat the tofu. If you are looking to have extra sauce to drizzle on veggies, rice noodles, or just to save for later- I recommend doubling the recipe.
What peanut butter works best for this sauce?
I recommend using creamy UNSALTED peanut butter. I actually used natural peanut butter (which will separate naturally if left to sit) and it worked really well for this recipe!
Using unsalted peanut butter is really important because the Tamari adds a decent amount of sodium to this recipe (and you don't want it to be too salty)
How long will peanut sauce keep for?
Luckily, this tofu peanut sauce is easy to double or triple because it can be stored in the fridge or freezer in a closed container. In the fridge, it will keep for 5-7 days. If you are using natural peanut butter it may separate a bit in the fridge, so just whisk it together before using.
If you are storing in the freezer I recommend adding to ice cube trays, freezing, and then storing the cubes in a closed container. Otherwise, it can be relatively difficult to get the sauce out of a frozen container and you will have to defrost it first. This peanut sauce will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.
I truly hope you enjoy this easy 30-minute Baked Tofu with peanut sauce! It really is the perfect sweet, salty, and spicy baked tofu recipe that also happens to be healthier & oil-free. Enjoy!
More easy vegan weeknight dinner recipes you will love:
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Baked Tofu with Spicy Peanut Sauce
- 14 ounces firm tofu must be firm or extra firm, not soft
- 1.5 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted peanut butter creamy not crunchy- unsalted is very important or sauce will be too salty
- 4 Tablespoons tamari or soy sauce/ coconut aminos
- 1 Tablespoon sriracha
- 1 Tablespoon black vinegar or rice wine vinegar/lime juice
- 1-2 Tablespoons brown sugar add more or less depending on preference
- 1 teaspoon ginger fresh or ½ tsp ground
- 1-2 Tablespoons water optional- I prefer for a thinner sauce
- 2-3 diced scallions optional
- 1-2 Tablespoons crushed peanuts optional
- To begin, slice the block of tofu in half and press it between two towels or two paper towels. Let the tofu sit for 10 minutes to soak up any excess moisture. While it's being pressed, preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Next, cut the pressed tofu into 1 inch cubes and add to a large bowl. Add the cornstarch to the bowl and use your hands to evenly coat the tofu in cornstarch.
- Add the tofu to the parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer and add to the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes until crispy on the outside and cooked throughout. While not entirely necessary, if you want to make sure the tofu evenly crisps, remove the tray and flip the tofu over at the 10 minute mark.
- While the tofu is baking, make the peanut sauce. Add the remainder of the ingredients including the peanut butter, tamari, sriracha, black vinegar, brown sugar, and ginger to a small bowl or blender and whisk/blend until a smooth sauce forms. It will be a thick sauce, so if you are looking for a lighter sauce, add in 1-2 Tbsp of water and blend in.
- Once the tofu is baked remove it from the oven and add to a pan with the peanut sauce. Turn on the heat and mix together until the tofu is coated and the sauce is warm.
- Remove from the heat and serve on top of rice noodles or alongside your favorite vegetables. Enjoy!
- Tofu with peanut sauce on top can be stored in a closed container for 3-4 days in the fridge and up to 3 weeks in the freezer.
- This recipe makes enough peanut sauce to coat the tofu, but the peanut sauce portion of the recipe should be doubled if you want extra sauce to coat noodles or vegetables.
- It's also possible to double or triple the sauce recipe and save for later. In the fridge it will keep for 5-7 days. Natural peanut butter may separate a bit in the fridge, so just whisk it together before using.
- If you are storing extra peanut sauce in the freezer I recommend adding to ice cube trays, freezing, and then storing the cubes in a closed container. Otherwise it can be relatively difficult to get the sauce out of a frozen container and you will have to defrost it first. The peanut sauce will keep in the freezer up to 1 month.