This teriyaki tofu recipe is simple and delicious! Crispy firm tofu is glazed in a sticky teriyaki sauce that’s made from pantry staples. It’s perfect for a quick weeknight dinner!
We all need a good repertoire of 30-minute vegan recipes for those nights that we’re too lazy or tired to cook.
This teriyaki tofu recipe has been in my weeknight rotation for a while now - it’s simple, quick and you don’t need any fancy ingredients to make it!
Teriyaki without mirin
Now, the correct way to make teriyaki sauce is with mirin and sake.
My problem is that I buy these not-so-common ingredients, use them once and then they end up going bad in the back of my fridge.
So I wanted to come up with a teriyaki-esque sauce recipe that uses just pantry staples.
I tried A LOT of recipes for simple teriyaki sauce that I found online but most of them were gross and just tasted like sugary soy sauce.
Until I came across this teriyaki sauce recipe calling for pineapple juice.
Pineapple juice makes a lot of sense because it’s also used in sweet and sour tofu and the flavour profile of that dish is similar to teriyaki tofu.
It helps cut the saltiness of the soy sauce and adds the subtle sweetness that you’d get from mirin.
I used the juice from a can of pineapples because I like to toss some of the fruit in with my tofu for a yummy sweet and savoury meal, but you can use bottled pineapple juice if you prefer.
How to make teriyaki tofu
This recipe is super easy.
First start by pressing the tofu. While that’s happening you chop some ginger and garlic and combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl.
When the tofu is pressed, cube it, coat it in cornstarch and fry it.
When it’s golden and crispy on all sides, pour over your prepared sauce and let it thicken.
Toss the tofu in the sauce until it’s coated on all sides and it’s ready to eat!
How to make crispy tofu
If you’re new to cooking with tofu, I recommend reading my guide to tofu for beginners.
For the technique to make crispy tofu in this recipe you’ll need firm or extra-firm tofu.
Start by pressing out as much water as you can. You don’t need a fancy tofu press for this, just wrap it in a fluffy towel and place it under a couple heavy books.
I usually leave it pressing for about 15 minutes.
Then cut it into cubes. I like to cut rather small cubes so that each piece is well-coated in the flavourful sauce and there’s less bland tofu in the middle.
Place the cubes in a container with a couple tablespoons of cornstarch, close the lid and shake, shake, shake to get every surface coated in starch.
Then fry the tofu in a neutral oil such as vegetable, canola or sunflower, over medium-high heat until each side is golden and uber crispy!
Why I don’t marinate the tofu
In order to get the tofu crispy, it needs to be as dry as possible when you coat it in cornstarch otherwise it just soaks up the cornstarch and becomes gummy.
Marinades add liquid to the tofu and would inhibit its crisping ability.
Furthermore, adding a glaze-like sauce to the tofu, which is what this teriyaki sauce is, imparts way more flavour than any marinade so marinating the tofu is kind of a waste of time.
As I previously mentioned, I cut my tofu into smallish cubes so that each piece is well-coated and super flavourful.
What to eat with teriyaki tofu
There are lots of ways you can serve this teriyaki tofu. Here’s some ideas:
- Over white or brown rice
- With steamed vegetables like broccoli, bok choy or snow peas
- Rolled into a sushi roll
- As the protein in a Buddha Bowl
- Tossed into a veggie stir fry
- With fried rice
- With noodles like ramen, soba, or chow mein
- Pickled ginger or cucumber salad
How to store leftovers
Teriyaki tofu is best served immediately while the tofu has the best texture.
Any leftover tofu will absorb the sauce and become soft.
That said, it can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days and reheated in the microwave, although it won’t be the same as freshly made.
- 1 (16 oz / 454 g) package extra-firm tofu
- ¼ cup (60 ml) soy sauce
- ¼ cup (60 ml) pineapple juice see note
- 4 teaspoons light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
- 2 - 4 tablespoons cornstarch divided
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil vegetable, canola, sunflower, etc.
- 5 pineapple rings chopped (optional)
- Chopped green onion for garnish
- Rice for serving
- Drain the tofu. Wrap it in paper towels, then in an absorbent tea towel and place it under something heavy to press.
- Meanwhile, combine the soy sauce, pineapple juice, brown sugar, ginger, garlic and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of cornstarch in a bowl.
- After the tofu has press for at least 15 minutes, cut it into small cubes about ½ inch (1.25 cm).
- Place the tofu in a container and add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Place the lid on the container and shake well to coat the tofu in cornstarch. If it’s not coated enough, add an additional tablespoon of cornstarch.
- Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Fry the tofu, flipping occasionally, until the tofu is golden on all sides.
- Lower the heat to low and add the chopped pineapple. Stir the teriyaki sauce to dissolve the cornstarch and pour it into the pan. The sauce should thicken quickly. Toss the tofu to coat it in the sauce.
- Serve over rice and garnished with green onion, if desired.