Skip the takeout tonight and make this delicious Pan Fried Tofu Stir Fry! Crunchy tofu, ramen noodles, and sautéed veggies are fried in a delicious sauce that is spicy, sweet, and full of umami flavor.
Because this is a homemade crispy tofu recipe, you’ll know exactly what goes into it and can customize the ingredients to your liking.
Some dishes are just better from a restaurant, and until we developed this recipe, the only way we were eating fried tofu stir fry was from a restaurant. Not anymore, friends! Welcome to your new favorite takeout alternative 😀
To make this great recipe, be sure to give yourself an hour beforehand to press the tofu so it can release its moisture. Then the rest is as easy as 1-2-3:
- Towards the end of your wait, make the easy green onion salad and stir-fry sauce.
- Then cook the noodles and saute the veggies before adding your tofu cubes.
- Once the tofu has a nice crispy texture, you can add all the other ingredients together, making an easy tofu stir fry that’s ready to serve!
Main Ingredients for Tofu Stir Fry
- Firm or extra-firm tofu: we recommend using either firm or extra-firm tofu for this recipe as it holds its shape better when fried.
- Green onions: the base of the green onion salad, this adds a fresh and oniony flavor to the dish.
- Rice vinegar: you’ll need rice vinegar for both the green onion salad and the stir fry sauce. It adds a tangy and slightly sweet flavor.
- Soy sauce: you can’t have a stir fry without soy sauce! This gives the dish its umami flavor and adds a deep savory element.
- Chili garlic sauce: you can find this in the international section of most grocery stores. This adds a nice kick of spice to the stir fry.
- Veggies: we used staple stir fry vegetables like white mushrooms and bell peppers to give this dish a balance of flavors and textures.
- Ramen noodles: ramen noodles add a nice chewy texture to this stir fry and are perfect for soaking up the flavorful sauce.
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Variations and Substitutions
Stir fries are known for their versatility and customizability, so feel free to switch up the ingredients based on personal preference or what is convenient for you!
For example, if you don’t have rice vinegar on hand, you can substitute it with apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar. Just note that the flavor might be slightly different. There are all kinds of chili sauces you could use in place of chili garlic sauce. If you are sensitive to spice, try using sriracha or a sweet chili sauce instead.
We used mushrooms and bell peppers for the stir-fried veggies, but you could also use carrots, broccoli, or even snap peas instead. And if you can’t find ramen noodles, thin spaghetti noodles will taste just as good!
Finally, for the tofu, if you don’t have avocado oil, feel free to use your favorite high-smoke point oil. Canola or vegetable oil are both good options. You could even try using sesame oil for a deeper flavor profile.
Top Tips for Tofu Stir Fry
- The key to crispy, golden tofu is patience. Take your time while frying the tofu. Gently wiggle the tofu while it’s cooking; sometimes, it will stick to the pan. Don’t try to move it before it’s ready!
- Pressing the tofu is key for removing any excess moisture and getting it as crispy as possible. If you don’t have a tofu press, you may need to drain the water that builds up every 5-10 minutes while pressing.
- Don’t overcook the noodles. Follow package instructions and cook them until just al dente so they don’t become mushy when added to the stir fry later on.
Crispy Pan Fried Tofu
If you’re looking for the simplest way to cook tofu, look no further than this pan-fried tofu recipe! All you need is extra firm tofu, corn starch, salt, and oil to get started.
Storage + Freezer Directions
Store any leftover stir fried tofu in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days.
We don’t recommend freezing your fried tofu stir fry, as the tofu will lose its crispiness when thawed out.
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What to Serve with Tofu Stir Fry
Fried tofu stir fry is a whole meal in itself, but if you want to add a little something extra to really round out the meal, we’ve got you!
For something fresh and flavorful, our Sesame Soy Kale Salad and Ginger Pea Salad would be a wonderful palette cleanser. This stir fry would also taste fantastic with some Quick Ramen Eggs or Pork Dumplings for added protein, or some Kung Pao Baked Chicken Meatballs or Korean Style Chicken Lettuce Wraps as appetizers!
Tofu Stir Fry Recipe
This fried tofu stir fry is a simplified way to enjoy all your favorite Asian flavors in the comfort of your own home. It’s crispy, chewy, savory, a little sweet, and full of flavor.
Total:1 hour 30 minutes
- 16- oz firm or extra firm tofu drained
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil
Slice the tofu in half lengthwise and wrap it in a paper towel or tea towel. Set a heavy pan on top of the tofu for about 1 hour.
Prepare the green onion salad. Add all of the ingredients for the green onion salad to a bowl and toss to combine. Place the salad in the refrigerator.
Mix up the stir-fry sauce. Add all of the ingredients for the stir-fry sauce to a mason jar and cover it. Shake the dressing together until it is combined and the cornstarch has dissolved. Set aside.
Cook the noodles. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the ramen noodles to the water and let them boil for 5-7 minutes or until the noodles are cooked al dente. Before straining the noodles, set aside 1 cup of pasta water. Strain the noodles, rinse them with cold water, and set aside.
Saute the veggies. Heat the coconut oil over medium/high heat. When the coconut oil is melted and hot, add the mushrooms and season them with ½ teaspoon of salt. Cook the mushrooms down for about 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Add the red bell peppers with the remaining salt to the pan and saute for 2 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl.
Slice the tofu into 1-inch cubes and add them to a large bowl. Add the cornstarch and salt to the bowl and toss until all the tofu pieces are coated.
Add the avocado oil to the same large skillet that was used for the vegetables. Heat the oil over high heat until it is very hot. Use tongs to place the tofu in the oil. Be careful, the oil may splatter. Once all of the tofu is in the pan gently move around each piece of tofu to be sure it doesn’t stick to the pan.
Fry the tofu for 2-3 minutes on each side of the tofu or until golden brown. Be patient, it’s worth it. Remove the tofu from the pan and season with salt.
Remove the pan from the heat and carefully wipe the pan free from any tofu pieces. Transfer the vegetables back into the pan along with the stir-fry sauce and ½ cup of the starchy pasta water. Whisk the ingredients together. Cook the vegetables over medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
Add the noodles to the sauce and vegetables. Gently mix all of the ingredients until combined. Add the last ½ cup of pasta water to the pan and mix again.
Finally, add the tofu to the man and mix until the tofu is coated in sauce. Heat until it reaches the desired temperature and consistency.
Remove from heat. Serve with the green onion salad on top of the stir fry.
Tips & Notes
- We used mushrooms and red peppers in this recipe. Feel free to use our favorite stir fry vegetables.
- If you can’t find ramen noodles, thin spaghetti noodles will work.
- We used a high smoke point oil like avocado oil for the tofu. Feel free to use your favorite high-smoke point oil.
- The key to crispy, golden tofu is patience. Take your time while frying the tofu. Gently wiggle the tofu while it’s cooking, sometimes it will stick to the pan.
Calories: 412kcal Carbohydrates: 42g Protein: 14g Fat: 22g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 11g
Photography: photos taken in this post are by Ashley McGlaughlin from The Edible Perspective.