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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
My Favorite Frying Pan
Be sure to use a nonstick skillet or frying pan for this tofu recipe.
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.
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.
Easy Pan-Fried Tofu
- 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
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 NONSTICK skillet.
- 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 pan will be mostly dry.
Serve and enjoy!
- Serve the tofu with roasted potatoes and chickpeas, with rice or noodles with veggies, in a sandwich, or over a salad. Enjoy!
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?
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.
I love tofu, and this looks like a great way to prepare it. Thanks! Happy New Year!
Thanks Jeff! Happy New Year to you as well!
This tofu was amazing and so easy! What a great meal builder. I put it on a sandwich, as you suggested. Delicious!
Thanks for making the tofu Kim! I’m so happy to hear you made tofu sandwiches, it’s one of my favorite ways to use this recipe. 😋