Easy Pan-Fried Tofu

Pan-fried tofu
My Easy Pan Fried Tofu is healthy and versatile. Add this tofu to any meal for additional flavor and protein.

If I had to choose one way to prepare tofu for the rest of my life, this Easy Pan-Fried Tofu would be it.

This tofu is so versatile.  And as the title blatantly states, it’s easy.

Pan-fried tofu

Pan-Fried Tofu

I developed this pan-fried tofu a few years ago.  I wanted an easy, flavorful protein for sandwiches, and I didn’t want the expense of vegan lunch meat or a brand name meat replacer.

Tofu is always an affordable option.  (Even with inflation, a 14 oz block of Firm tofu at Trader Joes is under $2!). I decided to cube and pan-fry a block of Firm tofu with a little olive oil, sea salt, garlic powder, and onion salt.  That’s all it took to transform a humble block of tofu into the perfect sandwich protein.

Pan-fried tofu
Pan-fried tofu makes a great sandwich.

Pan-Fried Tofu is Versatile

The first way I served this pan-fried tofu was in Ciabatta roll sandwiches with lettuce, tomato, and a little Vegenaise (vegan mayonnaise).  The sandwiches were a hit, and the tofu was the star component.

Since then, we’ve used this pan-fried tofu in Asian noodle dishes, as a side to pasta and rice dishes, with roasted potatoes and chickpeas, and over salads.  

Pan-fried tofu

Make Pan-Fried Tofu!

The possibilities are truly endless.  Make this Easy Pan-Fried Tofu the next time you’re looking to add protein to a meal.  Or, let it be the meal builder that inspires you to create a whole new dish.

Firm tofu Trader Joes
I use Trader Joe's Firm Tofu for this recipe.

A Few Things

Tofu comes in may different textures.  The three basic tofu texture options are Soft, Firm, and Extra Firm.  Rarely will you use Soft tofu for cooking.  It tends to fall apart.  Firm and Extra Firm tofu hold their shape well, and will retain the shape you cut them in.

Choose a firm or extra firm tofu for this pan-fried tofu recipe.

 Trader Joe’s has the best tofu price and quality these days.  I use Trader Joe’s Firm tofu for this recipe (they don’t carry Extra Firm—at least they don’t at the store near me, otherwise I’d probably use it).  It’s the tofu block in their refrigerated section with the yellow packaging on top.

Cubing Tofu Tutorial
My method for cubing a 14 oz block of tofu into 36 cubes.

My Tofu Cubing Method

Cut the tofu into 36 cubes for this recipe.  Follow my photo tutorial for a step by step of my favorite method.

Cubing Tofu Tutorial
My method for cubing a 14 oz block of tofu into 36 cubes.

My Favorite Frying Pan

I’ve used Le Crueset’s nonstick frying pan for years.  Sadly, my pan recently reached the end of its life.  We replaced it with a more budget-friendly pan that continues to impress me.

If you’re looking for a good, affordable nonstick frying pan, try this one from Bialetti [aff. link].  It’s the pan I use whenever I make this pan-fried tofu, and just about everything else that requires stove top cooking.  You can also find it in my Amazon store here.

Tofu Slab Sandwich

A Tofu Variation

For a variation on this tofu, take a look at my Tofu Slab Sandwiches

The tofu is seasoned the same way in each recipe.  But the cutting and frying methods are different, so the resulting tofu is very different.  For a “meatier” tofu, go with the tofu slab recipe.  For a crispier tofu, use this recipe.

Pan-fried tofu
Pan-fried tofu
5 from 1 vote

Easy Pan-Fried Tofu

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Servings: 3 people
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 block (14 oz) tofu, Firm or Extra Firm
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion salt

Instructions

Prepare the tofu

  • Cube the tofu into 36 cubes. (See photos above for my easy method.)

Cook the tofu

  • Add the tofu, salt, garlic powder, onion salt, and 1 Tbsp olive oil to a frying pan.
  • Cook/fry the tofu over medium-high heat for 15-20 minutes. Flip the tofu every 1-3 minutes to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • At the 12-15 minute mark, add the final 1 Tbsp of olive oil, and toss it into the tofu.
  • Tofu is done when each cube has browned and is slightly crisp. The frying pan will be mostly dry.

Serve and enjoy!

Notes

You can make just about any meal with this tofu, like this salad, sandwich, or noodles. It’s also a great side with pasta dishes, or with roasted potatoes and chickpeas.

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4 Responses

  1. 5 stars
    I had never made tofu before, but I made this with dinner tonight. Served it with one of your pastas and salads. It was AMAZING! So easy to make, and I loved that there was no fat to trim, as there is with meat. Will definitely make this tofu again! Can the recipe be doubled?

    1. Thanks Kate, that’s so good to hear! This recipe can definitely be doubled. Just make sure you’ve got a frying pan big enough to hold 28 oz of tofu. If the tofu is over-crowded in the pan, it won’t get as crisp.

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