Crispy Baked Salt & Pepper Tofu

By Amanda Paa – Updated May 21, 2022
5 from 1 vote
How to make the best crispy baked salt and pepper tofu. Crunchy and peppery on the outside, and tender inside! This healthy recipe is easy to make and gluten-free. Serve it with sautéed vegetables and rice noodles for a complete meal. Or just snack on it!
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Tofu is one of those ingre­di­ents that I find people to be skeptical of if you didn’t grow up eat­ing it. But it’s absolutely delicious when made well. With a few sim­ple prepa­ra­tion steps, you can cre­ate savory tofu recipes that even a non-vegetarian will enjoy.

Tofu is a won­der­ful source of pro­tein and soaks up the fla­vor of what­ever mari­nade or coat­ing you use.

The tex­ture is deter­mined by the type of tofu you buy, as well as how it’s pre­pared (baked, fried, scram­bled, grilled, etc).

For this recipe I used extra firm tofu dusted with a gluten free crust of cornmeal, cornstarch, and spices. I also love to grill tofu!

Up until my mid 20’s, I had never had tofu. That was until a friend took me to a fan­tas­tic veg­e­tar­ian Chi­nese restau­rant and said, “I know I’m going to change your mind about tofu once you try this salt and pep­per ver­sion”.

I took one bite of the hot, crispy, per­fectly sea­soned tofu and I was sold. Who would have ever thought that lit­tle nuggets of soy could be as addict­ing as salt and vine­gar fries? From that point on I became a tofu lover.

How to Make Crispy Baked Tofu

This recipe for Salt & Pep­per Tofu is healthy and very ver­sa­tile. 

Instead of frying the salt and pepper tofu, you’re going to bake it. The secret to getting it just as crispy as if it were fried is a cornstarch + cornmeal coating!

You can make this tofu for rice bowls, salads, an appetizer, or even just a snack. I like adding it to rice noodles and sautéed red pep­pers, and mush­rooms like I’ve done here. Dressed with a light, lime vinai­grette, it’s a refresh­ing sum­mer meal.

Fol­low these easy steps for pressing tofu:

1.     Drain tofu from the pack­age and pat com­pletely dry. Wrap in two lay­ers of paper towels.

2.     In a bak­ing pan with rimmed sides, put wrapped tofu inside of it with a cut­ting board on top of the tofu. Set some­thing very heavy like a cast iron skil­let on top of the cut­ting board. This will squeeze out all the excess water.

3.     Let sit 15 min­utes, empty dish if water has drained into it and flip tofu. Replace cut­ting board and skil­let, let drain another 10 minutes.

4.     Remove tow­els, and cut into 1 in square cubes. Now you’re ready to go!

More Tofu Recipes:

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Crispy Baked Salt & Pepper Tofu

This salt and pepper tofu is extra crispy and crunchy thanks to a bit of cornmeal and cornstarch for a coating, then baked until golden brown! You can serve it with sautéed vegetables and rice noodles for a complete meal.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time :15 minutes
Cook Time :30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Author: Amanda Paa



  • 1 14 ounce block extra firm tofu, pressed according to notes above in post
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal medium grind
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 red bell pep­per, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounce pack­age of sliced mushrooms
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ pack­age of flat rice noodles cooked per package directions

Lime Vinai­grette

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 clove gar­lic minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
  • ¼ teaspoon fine salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sriracha


  • While tofu is being pressed, pre­heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheet with non­stick spray. In a Ziploc bag, com­bine corn­meal, corn­starch, salt & pep­per.
  • Cut tofu into 1/2 inch cubes and put in bowl. Pour olive oil over tofu and toss to coat. Add tofu to Ziploc bag in 2 separate batches, and lightly shake to coat evenly. Place tofu on cookie sheet, (not touch­ing each other) and bake for 15 min­utes, then flip and bake for another 10 min­utes (or until crispy). Remove from oven.
  • While tofu is bak­ing, heat olive oil in sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for 2 min­utes, then add in pep­pers and mush­rooms with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sauté for 8–10 min­utes, until veg­eta­bles are soft­ened, set aside
  • Whisk all dress­ing ingre­di­ents together and toss with noodles.
  • Serve noodles with vegetables and crispy tofu.


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August 13, 2013


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