Forget store-bought plant-based meats; this BBQ tofu recipe is the most delicious meat-free alternative for your meatless meals and the best tofu you’ll ever taste.

A bold, smokey, sweet homemade BBQ sauce hugs the small bites of crisp and chewy tofu to perfection. We were blown away by this recipe, and we think you’ll be too.

BBQ tofu brushed with sauce
how to serve bbq tofu

Our baked BBQ tofu is a simple recipe you can make on a sheet pan in the oven or air-fryer.

You’ll love this recipe because the tofu gets chewy, meaty, and incredibly flavorful.

The BBQ sauce gives it an irresistible sweet, tangy, and smokey taste, making it perfect for a sandwich or as a main protein for your meals.

Try putting it in a toasted buttered bun with some vegan mayo and creamy coleslaw salad, and you’ll be blown away by the bold combination of flavors.

The secret to this recipe? Aside from our homemade BBQ sauce, pull the tofu apart into bite-size pieces with your hands so that its rugged surface becomes the perfect vessel for the BBQ sauce.

BBQ tofu with a spoon

Ingredients & Substitutions

BBQ tofu ingredients

Tofu

Use firm or extra firm tofu. Pressing the tofu is unnecessary; just pat it dry with kitchen paper.

This recipe won’t work with soft or silken tofu.

Olive oil

Olive oil or extra virgin olive oil are healthy oils that withstand high temperatures well, thanks to their high content of polyphenols.

Substitute avocado oil or other vegetable oils for olive oil.

Soy sauce

Soy sauce adds flavor and color to the tofu. We use reduced-sodium soy sauce here.

Substitute tamari or coconut aminos for gluten-free.

Salt & Pepper

Tofu needs to be well seasoned with a generous pinch of sea salt and black pepper.

Smoked paprika

Smoked paprika adds a wonderful smokey aroma to this BBQ tofu recipe.

Substitute liquid smoke or chipotle powder if you like smokey and spicy.

You can also add paprika and chipotle powder together for a smokey and spicy kick.

Garlic powder

We add it for aroma. Substitute onion powder for garlic powder.

BBQ Sauce

You can use your favorite store-bought BBQ sauce or make your own.

It only takes 15 minutes, and you’ll need:

  • Ketchup
  • Soy sauce
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Brown sugar
  • Mustard
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Smoked paprika
  • Hot sauce (optional)

Here’s the full recipe for our easy homemade BBQ sauce.

BBQ sauce storage

How to make BBQ Tofu

Preheat the oven to 400°F or 200°C. Take the tofu out of the package, drain it, and pat it dry with kitchen paper.

With your hands, pull the tofu apart into bite-size pieces and add it to a medium bowl.

Note: The tofu’s rugged and porous surface will make the condiment and the sauce stick.

tofu and hands

Toss the tofu with olive oil, soy sauce, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper. Each piece should be fully coated with the condiments.

Tip: if you have chipotle powder, add a teaspoon of that, too, for a smokey, spicy kick.

tofu and spices in a glass bowl

Transfer the tofu onto a baking sheet and arrange it on a single layer.

Bake at 400°F or 200°C for 25 minutes or until slightly charred and crisp on the edges.

Note: we prefer not to use parchment paper or a silicone mat for this recipe, but feel free to do so if you want.

spiced tofu after baking

Add about 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce (or more to taste) to the tofu, toss with a spatula until coated, and bake for 5 more minutes.

BBQ tofu on a baking sheet

Take out of the oven, add more BBQ sauce to taste, and serve on a plate as the main protein of the meal or in a sandwich.

BBQ tofu brushed with BBQ sauce

Serving suggestions

Make a bbq tofu sandwich

BBQ sauce in a burger with coleslaw

You’ll love the combination of toasted buttery bread with creamy and crisp coleslaw, and chewy, sweet, and tangy BBQ tofu is divine.

It’s like a pulled pork sandwich but with tofu; a pulled tofu sandwich.

To make it, toast the buns on a pan with a knob of butter (or vegan butter). Spread a generous layer of vegan mayo on the bottom bun, plenty of tofu barbecue, top with our coleslaw, and close with the top bun with a smear of BBQ sauce.

This would also work well in a wrap.

With a cold and creamy salad

BBQ tofu with coleslaw and air fryer vegetables

BBQ tofu has bold flavors thanks to the dry rub and barbecue sauce coating.

We recommend serving it with a cold and creamy salad like:

With grilled or roasted veggies

BBQ sauce with vegetables and a sausage
BBQ sauce served with grilled zucchini, air-fried veggies, grilled tofu, and plant-based sausage.

It also works well with veggies like:

Variations

Grilled BBQ tofu

BBQ sauce brushed on protein

Make grilled barbecue tofu if you don’t feel like turning on the oven.

Grill the tofu slices as per instructions (here’s our grilled tofu recipe), then transfer them to a serving platter and brush with our BBQ sauce on both sides.

You can also cut the tofu into bite-size cubes, toss it in olive oil and salt, thread them onto skewers, and grill it for a couple of minutes on each side or until you see grill marks.

In either case, ensure your grill grates or grill pan are clean.

Air fryer BBQ Tofu

BBQ tofu with a spoon

The air fryer makes your BBQ tofu even chewier and meatier. To cook it in the air-fryer, toss the tofu in the spices and oil as described in the main recipe.

Then cook in the air fryer for 15 to 20 minutes or until chewy and slightly crisp.

Transfer onto a serving platter and toss in barbecue sauce. That’s it!

Questions

Can you cook tofu on the grill?

Yes. Use firm or extra firm tofu, and ensure your grill is clean to prevent it from sticking.

Also, toss the tofu in olive or avocado oil, salt, and black pepper before cooking it on the grill.

Finally, don’t move the tofu while it’s grilling. Cook for 2.5 to 3 minutes on one side, flip it with a flat metal spatula, and grill for three more minutes on the other.

What goes well with BBQ tofu?

Serve BBQ tofu with cold, creamy salads like coleslaw, red cabbage slaw, dill potato salad, broccoli salad, creamy pasta salad, and macaroni salad.

Which tofu is best for BBQ?

The best tofu for BBQ is firm tofu or extra firm tofu. Avoid soft or silken tofu, as they will fall apart while cooking.

Storage

Make ahead: tofu barbecue is an ok recipe to make ahead as the tofu keeps well in the fridge for a few days. However, the tofu gets dry after a few hours, so I’d recommend tossing it in more BBQ sauce as you are about to serve it.

Refrigerator: keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Freezer: let it cool down completely, then transfer it to a freezer-friendly container and freeze for three months.

Reheat: thaw and reheat in the microwave.

More BBQ recipes

Get ready for summer parties, BBQs, and cookouts with these creamy side dishes:

More tofu recipes

For many more tofu ideas, check out our tofu category page.

BBQ tofu with spoon

BBQ Tofu

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 13 votes
This BBQ tofu recipe is the most delicious meat-free alternative for your meatless meals and the best tofu you'll ever taste.
A bold, smokey, sweet homemade BBQ sauce hugs the small bites of crisp and chewy tofu to perfection. We were blown away by this recipe, and we think you'll be too.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Course: Main
Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces tofu firm or extra firm
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F or 200°C. Take the tofu out of the package, drain it, and pat it dry with kitchen paper.
    With your hands, pull the tofu apart into bite-size pieces and add it to a medium bowl.
    tofu and hands
  • Toss the tofu with olive oil, soy sauce, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper.
    tofu and spices in a glass bowl
  • Transfer onto a baking tray and arrange it on a single layer.
    Bake at 400°F or 200°C for 25 minutes or until slightly charred and crisp on the edges.
    spiced tofu after baking
  • Add about ½ cup of BBQ sauce (or more to taste) to the tofu, toss with a spatula until coated, and bake for 5 more minutes.
    tofu with BBQ sauce on a baking tray
  • Take out of the oven, add more BBQ sauce to taste, and serve on a plate as the main protein of the meal or in a sandwich.
    how to serve bbq tofu

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 serving on BBQ tofu out of 4 servings and with store-bought BBQ sauce. If you make our homemade BBQ sauce it has less sugar and fats.
STORAGE
Make ahead: tofu barbecue is an ok recipe to make ahead as the tofu keeps well in the fridge for a few days. However, the tofu gets dry after a few hours, so I’d recommend tossing it in more BBQ sauce as you are about to serve it.
Refrigerator: keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Freezer: let it cool down completely, then transfer it to a freezer-friendly container and freeze for three months.
Reheat: thaw and reheat in the microwave.
ALSO ON THIS PAGE

Nutrition

Calories: 288kcal, Carbohydrates: 33g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 214mg, Dietary Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 24g, Vitamin A: 653IU, Vitamin B6: 0.1mg, Vitamin C: 0.5mg, Vitamin E: 2mg, Vitamin K: 7µg, Calcium: 170mg, Folate: 4µg, Iron: 2mg, Manganese: 0.1mg, Magnesium: 15mg, Zinc: 0.2mg
Tried this recipe? Leave a comment below or mention @theplantbasedschool on Instagram. We are also on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and TikTok.

[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”7T9mRYuQ” upload-date=”2023-07-03T04:42:34.000Z” name=”BBQ Tofu” description=”Forget store-bought plant-based meats; this BBQ tofu recipe is the most delicious meat-free alternative for your meatless meals and the best tofu you’ll ever taste.

A bold, smokey, sweet homemade BBQ sauce hugs the small bites of crisp and chewy tofu to perfection. We were blown away by this recipe, and we think you’ll be too.” player-type=”default” override-embed=”default”]


Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

Easy right?

5 from 13 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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11 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Awesome!! I made this tonight for my kids (8yrs and 10yrs) and I, paired with vegan mashed potatoes and a side of peas. We all LOVED it! It was so easy and quick to make. My kids said it tastes just like BBQ chicken. Thank you!!

    1. Hi Amanda, that is just wonderful – I am delighted you shared the tofu as a family. What a compliment that you kids enjoyed it, too!

      Thank you for your kind comment, all the best,

      Louise

  2. 5 stars
    So easy to make and came out delicious. We served it in lettuce cups for a crisp spring dinner dish. Thanks for the fun and fast videos!

  3. 5 stars
    Made this last Wednesday for my husband and I. Loved it so much I had to make it again on Sunday. We had it with the creamy coleslaw and greens. Delicious! Thank you for your recipes. We love them!

  4. 5 stars
    I saw this recipe on tiktok a while ago and it has become a staple in our house.

    The only changes I made was I do freeze and press my extra firm tofu, to achieve the texture I prefer, and I use less BBQ sauce. Such a fantastic recipe, even my meat preferring husband likes it!

    1. That’s fantastic, Autumn! I’m delighted your husband likes it too, what a compliment that is 💪

      Thanks very much for your feedback and for taking the time to leave a rating. Have a wonderful weekend!

      Kindest, Louise

  5. 5 stars
    Made this with your coleslaw – wow!!! Absolutely delicious with an awesome texture. I’ve made a few meals from your site over the last couple of months and they are all fabulous. Thank you from a new plant-based eater!

    1. Hi Shannon
      That combination is probably one of our favorite summer meals this year, I am so happy you loved it!
      Thanks so much for leaving a comment, and all the best on your plant-based journey.
      Kindest,
      Louise