Super easy recipe for perfect, pan-fried tofu! Tofu is amazing when combined with different seasonings and sauces, but what about just a no-frills recipe that compliments any dish? You will love the simplicity.
There's nothing better than just some simple pan-fried tofu next to a bed of fluffy white rice. While I do love all of the other ways to make tofu, though, sometimes I just want something fast and basic.
I love tofu and I think everyone can learn to love this beautiful pressed soybean brick. Tofu is known to not have a flavor, and sometimes all it needs is just a few ingredients.
While this recipe is for pan-frying tofu, I also have a recipe on how to air-fry tofu as well! And if you're looking for a tofu dish that uses something yummy like a peanut sauce, look no further, I got that too!
Yep, that's it! Just 3 ingredients!
You can totally omit the sesame oil if that isn't your thing. I also use just a little bit of olive oil to keep my tofu from sticking to the pan, which is also optional if you have a good non-stick skillet.
I do not recommend using the sesame oil at high temperatures and only as an ending seasoning when the tofu is nearly done.
See the recipe card for quantities.
Cut your tofu brick into cubes just like so, and place them into your skillet along with a splash of olive oil to keep them from sticking. Add your salt at this time.
After about 5 minutes on medium-high heat, start flipping your tofu pieces. If you're a pro and can do the pan flip, perfect, otherwise use a spatula, chopsticks, fork, etc.
Once your tofu pieces are a nice, golden brown on most sides, turn the heat off and add your sesame oil to coat all pieces. Plate and serve, that's it!
I like to use a toothpick or small knife to put a couple of little holes in the tofu so that the salt gets in there as well as the sesame oil. I think it just really brings out more flavor altogether.
🧾Type of Tofu
Tofu comes with different firmness factors like medium, medium firm, firm, extra firm. Sometimes you can find soft and of course there's the shelf stable silken tofu. The type of tofu you need for this recipe is from Medium to Extra Firm depending on what you can find.
I do recommend Firm and up, but medium can work. Just be careful when flipping!
There are very few substitutions for soy-free tofu, like hempfu (tofu made from hemp) pumfu (tofu made from pumpkin seeds also known as pepitas) and even chickpea tofu made from chickpea flour is possible. I have tried them all and they are equally amazing!
Place tofu into an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I do not recommend freezing, as freezing tofu changes the texture.
If you wish to store uncooked tofu, say you only used half of a block, place the other uncooked half into a bowl and cover with water and place in fridge for up to as long as the shelf life exists. Make sure you mark down the best by date on the package before doing so just in case.
Check out my other amazing Tofu recipes!
❓Frequently Asked Questions
It depends! Mostly, no. I typically never do, just be careful adding wet tofu to hot oil! When pan frying, be sure to add the tofu to the pan and oil before it gets hot as to avoid hot splatters. However, you are welcome to dry or press your tofu before pan frying. It should not affect the texture or flavors.
That is subjective and completely up to the person making the meal. If you're trying to eat a little healthier, baking would be a better option.
Pan Fried Sesame Tofu
- 1 toothpick optional
- 1 frying pan
- 1 teaspoon olive oil - optional
- 1 brick extra firm tofu - see notes
- pinch of salt - to taste
- 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil - optional
- Place your frying pan on the stove and add some olive oil (if using).
- Drain your tofu and place it on a cutting board. There's no need to squeeze your tofu for this recipe, though you're certainly allowed to do so, it will not affect anything.
- Cut your tofu brick into bite size squares however is easiest for you. Then place the tofu into the frying pan and turn on the heat. Adding wet tofu to hot oil could be a bad idea so avoid doing this.
- Sprinkle salt all over the tofu pieces and stir around to get each piece salted, then allow to fry up at medium high heat until starting to turn golden (about 5 minutes), then flip the tofu pieces over and fry for another 5 minutes until most of the tofu is cooked and golden.
- Once you are satisfied with how your tofu looks, cut the heat off and then add your sesame oil. If you're using a non-gas stove, I recommend removing the pan from the heat element and adding the oil to coat all pieces.
- Toss the tofu pieces to coat all in sesame oil and then plate and serve!
- I recommend extra firm tofu for this recipe, though you can certainly use just firm and even medium/medium firm. I do not recommend silken tofu.
- For soy-free, try tofu alternatives such as pumpfu, hempfu, or tofu made from chickpea flour. Links in post!
- Play around with seasonings if you'd like!