This Honey Garlic Tofu is an epic meat free recipe that combines crispy fried tofu with sweet and savory flavors of a honey garlic sauce. Top with sesame seeds and green onion for the perfect finish.Jump to Recipe
It’s a healthy dinner that can be made on busy week nights. Say goodbye to flavorless tofu and hello to a meat substitute that’s crispy on the outside but soft and warm on the inside. You’ll love this recipe!
- Why You’ll Love This Healthy Honey Garlic Tofu
- Ingredients to Make Honey Garlic Tofu
- Choosing the Right Tofu for Spicy Honey Garlic Tofu
- How to Make Honey Garlic Tofu Step by Step
- How to Press Tofu
- Is This Honey Garlic Crispy Tofu Vegan?
- The Best Sides for Honey Garlic Tofu
- Storing Honey Garlic Tofu
- Crispy Honey Garlic Tofu
Why You’ll Love This Healthy Honey Garlic Tofu
- This easy honey garlic tofu is made on the stove using only one skillet so you won't be spending too much time doing dishes
- The tofu is crispy and crunchy on the outside but soft and warm on the inside
- Tofu honey garlic flavors are made with a few simple ingredients that you can find anywhere. Don't worry about trying to go to special markets to find obscure ingredients
- It’s a meat free meal that is guilt free and healthy
Ingredients to Make Honey Garlic Tofu
For The Tofu
Tofu - you can use firm or extra firm
Cornstarch - used for the breading which crisps up as the tofu is fried
Salt and pepper - to season the tofu and the breading
Vegetable oil - to fry the tofu in, canola can be substituted
For the Honey Garlic Sauce
Garlic - use fresh garlic, pre-minced or garlic powder will not provide the same flavor
Soy Sauce - liquid aminos or coconut aminos can be substituted, consider trying low sodium soy for a healthier alternative
Chili garlic paste - for added flavor and spice. It makes the spicy honey garlic sauce taste so good. This can be omitted if you don’t have any. Throw a pinch of red pepper flakes in the sauce if you have those on hand instead.
Honey - this is a must, maple syrup can be substituted as a vegan alternative
Water - to loosen up and dilute the flavors of the sauce.
Ground ginger - for added flavor
To Thicken the Sauce
Choosing the Right Tofu for Spicy Honey Garlic Tofu
Choosing the right tofu for this honey garlic recipe is essential. There are many types to choose from so making the right choice might seem overwhelming. Tofu is categorized as silken, regular, firm, extra firm, and super firm.
Silken - the softest type of tofu, has a texture compared to cheese. It’s commonly used to make creamy sauces for vegan recipes.
Regular - Soft, but not as soft as silken. It’s commonly used to make vegetarian scrambled eggs or can be found in miso soup.
Firm - Has the texture of feta and is probably the most versatile type of them all. Firm tofu can be stir fried, deep fried, baked, placed in a stew, or used to make spreads. This type of tofu typically comes in a container full of water and should be drained and pressed before using for the best results.
Extra Firm Tofu - This tofu has less water and is more dense. It resembled the texture of meat the most. It can be marinated and pan fried, stir fried, or deep fried. It’s not quite as commonly available as firm but it’s versatile and can be used to make this honey garlic tofu recipe.
Super Firm - The most dense of them all. Most commonly resembles meat. This version is not as commonly used as firm and extra firm. Again, this variety is used to marinate, pan fry, stir fry, or deep fry. Not quite as available but it’s easy to work with.
The types I would choose for this recipe would be firm or extra firm since they’re the most versatile. For this recipe in particular, I used extra firm. Frying the tofu gives it a crispy, crunchy outside with a soft inside that’s full of flavor.
How to Make Honey Garlic Tofu Step by Step
- Drain the tofu from the package and press the tofu ridding it of any excess water. Once fully drained, chop the tofu into bite sized cubes and set aside. In a large bowl combine cornstarch, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper.
- Add the tofu to the large bowl with the cornstarch blend. Place a top on the container and shake well making sure all the tofu gets coated by the cornstarch blend.
- In a large cast iron or regular skillet, add the oil and heat over medium heat. Once the oil is heated add the tofu making sure the pieces do not touch. Fry for about 3-5 minutes or until the bottom side has browned and become crispy. Flip the tofu and cook the other side until golden and crispy. About 3-4 minutes. Remove the tofu from the skillet and place on a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the second batch it they didn’t all fit in the skillet.
- In a small bowl add soy sauce, chili garlic paste, honey, and water. Whisk until well combined and set aside.
- Drain the skillet of any excess oil and place back over medium heat leaving some oil in the pan. Add the sliced garlic and ginger and cook in the oil for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Stir consistently to avoid excess browning.
- Add the soy sauce blend, stir until well combined and bring to a simmer. While the sauce is cooking, add the cornstarch slurry and stir well until thickened. Turn the heat off and add the fried tofu. Stir to coat the tofu with the honey garlic sauce. Top with toasted sesame seeds and green onion.
How to Press Tofu
Pressing tofu is simply applying a weight to the tofu to squeeze the excess water from the block. They do make a tofu press you can use but I find that using items I have on hand is easier and cheaper, especially since I don't make tofu very often.
I typically place the tofu on a plate then I put another plate on top of the tofu. Then, I top the plate with fresh fruit or 1-2 canned vegetables. Let the tofu sit for at least 30 minutes. Drain the excess water and pat with paper towels.
Be careful not to press the tofu with too much weight. This could cause the tofu to be crushed making it very difficult to slice into blocks. It may also crumble. I recommend using less pressure for firm tofu vs extra firm since it may not hold up the same way.
So why is it necessary to press tofu? A firmer, drier tofu absorbs flavor a lot more readily than if it wasn’t pressed. Not pressing the tofu will also lead to an undesirable texture and it won’t get crispy the way you want it to for this recipe.
Is This Honey Garlic Crispy Tofu Vegan?
No, this recipe is not vegan because it contains honey which is an animal product. It is however vegetarian. If you’re looking for a vegan version of this recipe you can substitute the honey for maple syrup. The flavor will still be absolutely delicious!
The Best Sides for Honey Garlic Tofu
I have serve the honey garlic tofu with broccoli and brown rice. The simple sides don’t overwhelm the tofu leaving it perfectly balanced. It also makes the perfect meal prep idea if you’re looking for something clean and healthy. Try serving the honey garlic tofu with these instead!
Storing Honey Garlic Tofu
Storing the tofu is easy. While it’s best served immediately, it can be stored and reheated. Be prepared, it may not be as nice and crispy as the day it was cooked. To store the tofu, place in an air tight container and refrigerate for up to a week. Reheat in the microwave and serve warm.
Crispy Honey Garlic Tofu
For the Tofu
- 12 ounces firm or extra firm tofu
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- salt and pepper
- 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Honey Garlic Sauce
- 3 cloves garlic sliced
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon chili garlic paste
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon water
- Sesame seeds
- Green onion
- Press the tofu and let excess water be released. Chop into bite sized squares. Place in a large container with a lid, add cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Place the lid back on the container and shake until all the pieces of tofu are covered.
- Heat a skillet with vegetable oil over medium heat. Once the oil is heated, add the tofu (do not let the tofu touch). Let the tofu fry until crispy and golden, flip as each side cooks. You may need to work in batches depending on how large your skillet is.
- Once done, place the fried tofu on a wire rack to cool and remove the skillet from the heat. While the tofu is cooling make the sauce. In a small bowl whisk together the soy sauce, chili garlic paste, honey, and water. Set aside.
- Drain the skillet of any excess oil, leaving a little to sauté the garlic and ginger. Heat the skillet over medium heat again. Once heated, add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant about 30 seconds to a minute. Whisk in the honey garlic sauce and let simmer.
- While the honey garlic sauce is simmering, in a small bowl combine cornstarch and water, whisk together until well combined. Stir into the sauce and let thicken for about a minute or so. Turn off the heat. Add the fried tofu to the skillet and stir until the tofu is coated by the honey garlic sauce. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onion.