Let me show you how to cook tofu without oil. It's super simple and you only need a few ingredients to get great results! This crispy baked tofu is perfect to use for tacos, wraps, salads, and pasta, or to coat with your favorite sauce.
This baked tofu recipe is a staple in my house and I make it at least a few times a month. It's super easy to make and you won't believe how crispy the tofu gets without using any oil! It can be used to make so many different meals, so this is a great recipe to have in your collection.
It's actually really simple. The secret to giving tofu a nice crust and texture without using oil is to use a little bit of liquid to help a blend of seasonings stick to it, and then cook it at a high temperature. I've eaten a lot of tofu over the years (good and bad), and this method really works!
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Tofu - You'll need firm or extra firm tofu. Don't use silken tofu, it's too soft.
- Low-Sodium Tamari - You can also use coconut aminos, soy sauce, or soy-free soy sauce.
- Nutritional Yeast - Nooch adds so much flavor and texture to the tofu's crispy crust. I also like this nutritional yeast from Trader Joe's.
- Taco Seasoning - I like this taco seasoning because it's made without salt and it's very flavorful. The tamari is salty, so you don't really need to add extra salt. You can also make something similar yourself if you prefer with this recipe.
How To Cook Tofu Without Oil
Begin by pressing one block of firm tofu in a press over a plate (to catch the water) for 30 minutes (Photo 1). After 30 minutes, drain the liquid and lay the block of tofu on a parchment paper-lined tray (Photos 2 & 3). Use a sharp knife to cut the block into 4 slices that are 1-inch wide.
Next, cut the block into 4 slices in the other direction. Then, lay the slices down and cut each row in half again. You should end up with 32 cubes. (Photos 4-6).
Sprinkle tamari over the top and use a large spoon to quickly toss the cubes around the tray to evenly distribute the liquid (Photos 7 & 8). This light coating of tamari seasons the tofu and makes it slightly damp so the dry seasonings will stick without using oil.
Sprinkle nutritional yeast and taco seasonings over the tofu (Photos 9 & 10). Toss to coat each piece in the seasonings and arrange the cubes so they're not touching each other on the tray (Photo 11). Bake until crispy.
Hands down, my favorite way to enjoy this crispy tofu is to add it to a wrap or tacos and stuff it with lettuce, tomato, avocado slices, green onion, and hot sauce or vegan ranch! However, this is a delicious and inexpensive source of plant-based protein that can be used to make a variety of different recipes. Try adding it to the following dishes:
You could also toss the tofu in one cup of buffalo sauce or BBQ sauce and serve it with a side of creamy broccoli salad or lemon tahini zucchini salad.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you have to press the tofu to get rid of the excess liquid that it's soaking in inside of the package. The tofu will have a better texture if it's not soggy and full of liquid.
No problem! Just wrap the block of tofu in a towel and put a heavy pot or book on top of it.
Nope! You can definitely cook tofu without oil. All you need is seasonings for flavor and high heat (in the oven or air fryer) to make a crispy textured crust.
- You need to use firm or extra firm tofu for this recipe. I like to buy the 4-pack of organic tofu from Costco because it's good quality and it's the best price that I've found anywhere. I make this recipe quite often, so it's nice to have multiple packs on hand.
- Don't skip pressing the tofu! If you do, the tofu won't turn out crispy and the texture will be soft and mushy.
- Line your baking tray with unbleached parchment paper so nothing will stick to the tray and it makes cleaning up a breeze.
Want More Tofu Recipes Without Oil?
The Best Crispy Baked Tofu (No Oil)
- Tofu Press
- Large Baking Tray
- Parchment Paper
- 14 oz block firm or extra firm tofu
- 1 tbsp low-sodium tamari
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp salt-free taco seasoning
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Press a block of firm tofu in a tofu press over a plate (to catch the water) for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, drain the liquid and lay the block of tofu on a parchment-lined tray. Use a sharp knife to cut the block of tofu into 4 slices that are 1-inch wide.
- Next, cut the tofu block into 4 slices the other direction. Then, lay each row down flat and cut each row in half again. You should end up with 32 1-inch x 1-inch cubes.
- Sprinkle 1 tbsp of tamari evenly over the tofu cubes and use a large spoon to quickly toss the cubes around the tray to absorb all of the tamari. This light coating of tamari seasons the tofu and helps dry seasonings stick without oil.
- Sprinkle 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast and 1 tbsp of taco seasonings over the tofu cubes. Toss to coat each piece in the seasonings.
- Arrange the cubes so they are not touching each other on the tray and then bake for 35-40 minutes, flipping halfway through.
This was good. used extra firm.
I bought vegan greek yogurt but no-one used it.... just the lime, chili sauce, and peri peri mayo. kids loved it us too, thanks. Rgds Nick
Thank you, Nick! I'm so glad you and the kids enjoyed it!
What spices would I use to make my own taco seasoning please.
Hi, Pam! I included a link to a recipe to make your own taco seasoning in the "Notes" section. Hope that helps!
The recipe for your salt-free taco seasoning is no longer visible in the “notes” section. Would you mind sharing it again please? Thank you!!!
Hey Lizzie! The link to that recipe is under the heading "Ingredients & Substitutions." Hope that helps!
Would this work in an air fryer? It seems like it should. If so, any suggestions or shall I forge ahead and report back?
Hi Ruchama! I haven't tried making this tofu in the air fryer but I don't see why it wouldn't work, I bet it would be even crispier! YUM! Please let me know how it turns out for you =)
All the tofu sold where I live (Colima, Mexico) is Silken which I know is too soft too press or to use for this recipe. Any suggestions-I’d really like to make this.
Oh no, that's such a bummer! Can you order firm tofu online?
The recipe doesn't mention the oven temperature.
Hey, Irene! Sorry about that, I just fixed it. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees!