Whether you are a Tofu Lover, just starting to cook with this plant-based protein or you decided to give tofu a second chance, our Teriyaki Tofu is the ideal choice for your next meal! Sweet, salty, tangy, and umami-packed, this Japanese-style recipe is guaranteed to be a winner.
What makes our Pan-fried Teriyaki tofu so good?
- We use just a few ingredients. For our Vegan Teriyaki recipe, we use a simple homemade teriyaki sauce made with three ingredients: sake, mirin, and soy sauce or tamari. No added sugar, other sweeteners, or spices are needed to make this recipe.
- A fast meal to prepare during your busy weekdays. We make Teriyaki Tofu really often at home. It comes together fairly easily and really fast. Whether you choose to pan-fry, deep-fry, air-fry, or bake the tofu, it can be done while cooking the sauce. You can prepare the rice ahead and simply sautée some veggies to serve on the side.
- Great flavors. Asian cuisine is by far our favorite cuisine. We love the flavors and have been cooking these types of dishes for many many years now. You can be sure this recipe comes with delicious and umami-packed flavors.
- Alternatives and substitutions. Don't worry if you don't have all the ingredients listed in our recipe card, we provide some alternatives that you can use.
Our Teriyaki Tofu recipe is:
- Japanese-style dish
- A main dish
- Can be made gluten-free
- Quick to make
- Easy to prepare
How to make Teriyaki Tofu
Tofu. For our Teriyaki Tofu recipe, we use firm tofu. When buying tofu, you can find different types of tofu depending on the texture. For stir-fried dishes, the best tofu you can use is firm or extra-firm tofu. As well, we recommend getting fresh tofu if that is an option you have, as you may not be able to find it in your local supermarket.
You shouldn't try using soft tofu or silken tofu for Teriyaki Tofu, as it will just be too soft to hold its shape while cooking it.
Garlic and ginger. We love starting our Teriyaki sauce by stir-frying some finely chopped or pressed garlic and ginger. If you don't have fresh garlic or ginger, you can use garlic powder or ginger powder.
Mirin. To add sweetness to our sauce, we use mirin, a type of rice wine used commonly in Japanese cuisine. It has a low alcohol content and high sugar content. Rice vinegar is a great substitute for mirin.
Sake. This second rice wine contains a higher alcohol content than mirin but doesn't contain sugar so it brings the right balance to the dish. Don't worry, the alcohol will evaporate while cooking the sauce. White wine would be a good substitute for the sake to use in this teriyaki recipe.
Soy sauce or tamari. The key ingredient to make your teriyaki sauce. You can use light soy sauce, tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), or liquid aminos.
Cornstarch. Cornstarch diluted in water (cornstarch slurry) helps give the sauce the thickness that it needs. Some alternatives to cornstarch are potato starch, regular flour, rice flour, or tapioca flour.
Complete your Teriyaki Tofu dish with:
Green veggies. This rich sauce pairs beautifully with some fresh green veggies such as broccoli, green beans, bok choi, asparagus, or zucchini.
Sesame seeds. We like adding some toasted sesame seeds before serving. You can add a drizzle of sesame oil as well.
Green onions. Garnish the dish with some fresh green onions or spring onions.
- Cook the tofu. Wrap the tofu in kitchen paper to remove any excess water. Leave for a couple of minutes, change the paper to a dry one, and repeat. Cut the tofu into medium-sized cubes. Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat using a non-stick pan and add the tofu pieces. Keep turning the tofu until is crispy and golden on each side and when the tofu is evenly cooked and golden brown, remove it from the pan using a slotted spoon and place it on kitchen paper to remove any excess oil.
- Heat some vegetable oil in a small or medium saucepan and add finely chopped garlic and ginger. Cook for 2-3 minutes or just before the garlic starts to turn brown. Add the mirin, sake, and soy sauce or tamari. Bring to a simmer and cook the sauce for about 10 minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate.
- Add the cornstarch slurry in some water and keep cooking until it thickens. It shouldn't take more than two minutes.
- Incorporate the cooked tofu into the sauce and mix well until all the tofu pieces are evenly coated.
- Add sesame seeds and green onions and combine them with the rest of the ingredients.
- Serve with steamed rice or noodles.
Different ways to cook the tofu for Teriyaki tofu
For our Teriyaki recipe, we pan-fry the tofu. It is a faster alternative to baking, healthier than deep-frying, and suitable for those who don't have an air-fryer. You can choose the cooking method that suits you better when it comes to cooking your tofu for this recipe. Whether you choose pan-frying, deep-frying, air-frying, or baking the tofu, you need to remove the excess water before cooking it.
Wrap the block of tofu in kitchen paper to remove any excess moisture. Leave for a couple of minutes, change the paper to a dry one, and repeat. Cut the tofu into medium-sized cubes and then choose how you want to cook your plant-based protein:
Pan-frying. This is our favorite way to cook tofu when we make Teriyaki sauce. Heat a little vegetable oil over medium-high heat using a non-stick pan and add the tofu pieces. If you are using a wok or skillet, you will need enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan or wok so the tofu doesn't stick to the bottom. If you overcrowd the pan, the tofu pieces may stick to each other. When the tofu is evenly cooked and golden brown, remove it from the pan using a slotted spoon and place it on kitchen paper to remove any excess oil.
Deep-frying. You can deep-fry the tofu by adding enough frying oil to a frying pan or fryer. Heat the oil to medium heat and submerge the tofu cubes making sure to not overcrowd the pan. Fry until golden brown and using a slotted spoon place it on kitchen paper to remove any excess oil. If you want step-by-step instructions, check Full of Plants' Deep-fried Tofu recipe.
Baking. Maybe you haven't tried it before but baked tofu is great! You can get really crispy tofu by baking it and it is a healthier alternative to preparing your protein. You can add some flour or cornstarch to make your tofu crispier. Place your tofu on a baking tray on parchment paper, and bake for about 15 minutes at 200ºC / 400ºF. Then add the tofu to the Teriyaki sauce and serve. Cookie and Kate has a lovely baked tofu recipe where you can find step-by-step instructions.
Air-frying. We just got our air-fryer a few months ago and we have been cooking tofu with it really often. While we prepare the sauce or the rest of the ingredients, we leave the tofu cubes air-frying and they come out nice and crispy. For our Vegan Japchae, we made air-fried tofu and it is equally yummy! Add the tofu cubes into the air fryer for about 12 minutes at 200C (400F). Before adding the tofu to the air fryer, using a brush add a little olive oil or coconut oil to the tofu pieces.
Teriyaki Tofu is a complete main dish if you serve it with some steamed jasmine rice, brown rice, or noodles and some pan-fried, steamed, or roasted vegetables such as broccoli, carrot, asparagus, green beans, or zucchini.
This recipe makes for a great weeknight dinner as it comes together fast and uses ingredients that you may already have in your pantry.
You can build a rice, tofu bowl, or buddha bowl with this teriyaki tofu. Serve with some edamame or sliced avocado and sesame seeds. If you prefer a light meal, serve the teriyaki tofu on a salad or with zucchini noodles.
You can as well serve this delicious recipe in tacos, sandwiches, or even skewers.
If you have any leftovers, you can keep them in the fridge for 4-5 days using an airtight container. Keep any leftover sauce in a small bowl and use it for a noodle stir-fry or some fried rice with veggies.
To reheat this meal, you can use the microwave or a pan.
FAQ and Tips
Can I make this meal gluten-free?
Some rice wines contain wheat so you can substitute the mirin and sake for white vinegar and brown sugar. You will need to use tamari instead of soy sauce too.
Choose the right tofu for your Teriyaki Tofu
Use firm or extra firm tofu for this recipe. You shouldn't try using soft tofu or silken tofu for Teriyaki Tofu, as it will just be too soft to hold its shape while cooking it.
What other plant-based protein can I use for this recipe?
We have tried cooking Teriyaki with seitan, tempeh, soy curls, and "Heura" bites. We still think tofu is the best option but it depends on your taste!
How can I make this recipe sweeter?
If you prefer a sweeter sauce, you can add some maple syrup (about 1 tablespoon). We tried both ways and they are both delicious. We think the mirin brings enough sweetness to the dish but adding maple syrup adds a great touch. Other options to add sweetness are coconut sugar or white sugar.
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 piece ginger roughly same size than garlic clove
- ½ cup mirin
- ½ cup sake
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 teaspoon corn starch
- 1 teaspoon water
- 400 g tofu
- 1 cup rice
- ½ broccoli head
- Finely chop the garlic and ginger. Heat some vegetable oil in a small or medium saucepan and add them both to the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes or just before the garlic starts to brown.
- Add the mirin, sake and soy sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook the sauce for about 10 minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate.
- Mix the corn starch with the water and mix well until completely diluted. Add it to the sauce keep cooking until it thickens. It shouldn't take more than two minutes.
- Cut the tofu into cubes once all the excess water is removed. Heat some vegetable or sesame oil in a frying pan and add the tofu. Once it starts to golden, turn it over and cook on the other side. Add the teriyaki sauce and your Teriyaki Tofu will be ready to eat.
- Add the rice and 1 ¼ cup of water in a small saucepan. Turn the heat to high and while the pan is uncovered bring it to a boil. As soon as it starts to boil, turn the heat down to really low, cover the pan and cook for 10-12 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed by the rice.
- Remove the pan from the heat and keeping the lid on, leave the rice aside for 10 minutes. Stir and the rice will be ready to serve.
- Simply cook the broccoli by heating a pan, adding some vegetable oil and stir-frying until it starts to brown. You can as well cover the pan for 1-2 minutes to gently steam the broccoli.
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