Grilled tofu is a quick and easy protein-packed recipe you can make in 10 minutes on a grill pan or grill and season with your favorite sauces and condiments.
With its smokey and slightly charred exterior and tender interior, grilled tofu is a versatile, healthy, and nutritious alternative to traditional grilled meats.
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You will love this simple recipe for grilled tofu because it's:
- TASTY. With a smokey, slightly charred exterior and tender interior, it's the perfect grilled chicken substitute.
- EASY. Without pressing or marinating the tofu, this recipe is the easiest.
- QUICK. It's ready in just 10 minutes (we timed it).
- VERSATILE. You can serve it with your favorite sauces and condiments, add it to grain bowls, stuff it in wraps, or serve it as a side protein boost.
And while most recipes will tell you to press the tofu and marinate it for hours, we take the opposite approach.
No pressing and no marinade? Why?
PRESSING: pressing makes the tofu dry and crumbly as it loses its structural integrity.
When living in Asia, where tofu is a staple, we've never seen anyone press tofu. And so we don't.
MARINATING: tofu doesn't absorb that much flavor from a marinade. It doesn't matter how long you marinate it. The best way to add flavor to tofu is to serve it with a rich and tasty sauce.
SPEED: when we stopped obsessing about pressing and marinating, we realized that actually, tofu is excellent the way it is.
This saves a ton of time in the kitchen, and we can add a delicious and healthy plant-based protein to our meals in about 10 minutes 🤯.
So in this blog post, we'll show you how to grill tofu in 10 minutes and how to serve it with delicious sauces and condiments to make it taste the best.
Ingredients for grilled tofu
Choose a firm or extra firm tofu so it doesn't fall apart on the grill pan.
If you are lucky enough to live in a country where you can find flavored tofu, go ahead and grill smoked tofu and other flavored firm tofu blocks.
Avoid soft or silken tofu, as it will fall apart on the grill.
We use extra virgin olive oil for grilling tofu. Substitute avocado oil for olive oil.
Salt and pepper
Tofu needs a generous amount of salt to taste good and some black pepper.
We recommend adding spices and sauces after grilling so they don't burn. Also, spices are optional; you can vary them based on the dish you are serving with the grilled tofu.
Some excellent spices are smoked paprika, chipotle powder, curry powder, sumac, za'atar, and dried rosemary.
How to make grilled tofu
Take firm or extra-firm tofu from the package, pat it dry with kitchen paper, and slice it into ¼ inch (7 mm) slices.
Tip: there's no need to press the tofu.
Transfer the tofu slices onto a plate and toss with olive oil, a generous pinch of salt, and black pepper.
Make sure the tofu is fully coated in the oil on all sides.
Tip: there's no need to marinate; just season and grill.
Ensure your grill grates or pan is clean, then warm it up.
Add the tofu and grill it on medium heat for 3 minutes without touching it.
Turn the slices around with the help of a flat wooden or metal spatula and grill for 3 more minutes on the other side.
Time can vary depending on your grill. Ensure your tofu is slightly charred and golden outside but still tender inside.
Grilled tofu skewers
Cut the tofu, zucchini, bell peppers, and red onion into bite-size cubes.
Arrange on metal skewers (or wooden skewers) alternating bell pepper, tofu, zucchini, and onion, and repeating until the skewer is full.
Toss skewers with olive oil, salt, and black pepper and grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Serve with your favorite sauce.
Pair grilled tofu with a tasty sauce
The best way to add flavor to grilled tofu is to serve it with a tasty sauce. Our favorites are:
Blend or whisk together:
- ½ cup (130 grams) peanut butter
- ⅓ cup (80 grams) soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons (45 grams) lime juice or rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) maple syrup or brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons (8 grams) sriracha sauce or ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 clove garlic grated
- 1 teaspoon ginger grated
Sesame Peanut Sauce
Blend or whisk together:
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- 3 tablespoons peanut butter
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or lime juice
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon ginger grated
- 1 clove garlic grated
- 2 teaspoons sriracha sauce or ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ packed cup (15 grams) parsley finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup (80 grams) extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) red wine vinegar
To make homemade barbecue sauce, add ingredients to a saucepan and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes, stirring often, till the sauce thickens.
- 1 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar or maple syrup, or agave syrup
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Our Buddha Bowl with grilled tofu, juicy mango, creamy avocado, crunchy red cabbage, peanut sauce, and tangy pickled red onions is a fabulous combination of flavors and texture. It is excellent for a nutritious and tasty meal.
Check out our Buddha Bowl recipe.
Our creamy and tasty sesame noodles, which we make with chewy linguine, cool cucumber, and juicy mango, and excellent with grilled tofu.
Check out our sesame noodles recipe.
More recipes to serve with grilled tofu
- Peanut noodles (add it on top and drizzle with peanut sauce)
- Tofu salad (substitute grilled tofu for fried tofu)
- Grilled eggplant, grilled zucchini, or grilled asparagus
- Creamy pasta salad (excellent as a BBQ side dish)
- Yaki udon (grilled tofu is excellent for stir-fries, and you can substitute it for diced tofu)
Here are some tips for grilling tofu:
- Clean your grill grates or grill pan before grilling tofu.
- Slice the tofu into ¼ inch to ½ inch thick slices.
- Toss the tofu in a generous drizzle of olive or avocado oil, salt, and pepper (avoid sticky marinades, just use olive oil).
- Don't touch or move the tofu while it grills.
- Turn it once with the help of a flat and thin wooden or metal spatula. Avoid using tongues.
- Serve it with a tasty sauce like peanut sauce, sesame sauce, or barbecue sauce.
Regular tofu, firm tofu, and extra-firm tofu are excellent for grilling.
Avoid soft tofu and silken tofu.
Tofu may stick to your grill. To prevent tofu from sticking to the grill:
1. Clean your grill grates or grill pan before grilling tofu
2. Toss the tofu in a generous drizzle of olive or avocado oil, salt, and pepper (avoid sticky marinades, just use olive oil).
3. Don't touch or move the tofu while it grills.
4. Turn it once with the help of a flat and thin wooden or metal spatula. Avoid using tongues.
There is no need to press firm or extra-firm tofu for grilling. Take the tofu out of the package, drain it, and pat it dry with kitchen towels. Then cut it, toss it in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and grill for 3 minutes per side.
Storage: keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Reheat: warm in the microwave for 60 seconds.
Freezer: you can freeze grilled tofu for up to 3 months and thaw in the microwave.
More tofu recipes
- Fried tofu (tofu cubes, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, etc.)
- Marinated tofu (mustard, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, oregano, tofu, etc.)
- Air fryer tofu (garlic powder, soy sauce, corn starch, tofu, olive oil, etc.)
- Braised tofu (bell pepper, mushroom, scallion, garlic, tofu, soy sauce, etc.)
- Steamed tofu (cherry tomato, lemon, olives, capers, tofu, olive oil, etc.)
More grilled recipes
- Grill pan or grill
- 16 ounces tofu firm or extra-firm
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
SERVE IT WITH
- Peanut sauce, Sesame sauce, Chimichurri, or BBQ sauce instructions in "serving suggestions" chapter above
- Take tofu from the package, pat it dry with kitchen paper, and cut it into ¼ inch (7 mm) slices.Tip: there's no need to press the tofu.
- Transfer the tofu slices onto a plate and toss with olive oil, salt, and black pepper.Make sure the tofu is fully coated in the oil on all sides.Tip: there's no need to marinate. It's best to add a tasty sauce later.
- Ensure your grill is clean, then warm it up.Grill the tofu on medium heat for 3 minutes without touching it.Turn the slices around with the help of a flat spatula and grill for 3 more minutes on the other side till golden and slighlty charred outside.Tip: At this stage you can sprinkle with your favorite spices like smoke paprika, za'atar, cayenne pepper, or other.
- The best way to add flavor to grilled tofu is to serve it with a tasty sauce. Our favorites are peanut sauce, sesame sauce, BBQ sauce, and Chimichurri sauce. Instructions in the serving suggestions chapter above.