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Sweet Chili Baked Tofu + How to Make Tofu Taste Good

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A four ingredient recipe for Sweet Chili Baked Tofu.  It’s sweet.  It’s spicy.  It makes tofu taste delicious.

sweet chili tofu 5Raise your hand if you:

a) Have never tried tofu
b) Have tried tofu and didn’t like it
c) Are weirded out by the texture of tofu
d) Are afraid of tofu
e) Love tofu!

sweet chili tofu 9I happen to belong in group “E” for this one.  But that was not always the case.  I used to identify with “A, B, C, and D” at one time or another.  So what changed?

I sucked it up, faced my fears, and actually tried tofu multiple times.  It is true what they say about needing to try new foods several times before determining whether you like them or not.  I definitely tried my fair share of just “okay” tofu and tofu that I simply could not get on board with.  But I kept on tasting (hint: it helps to try tofu at restaurants first if you are a bit uncertain of the taste), trying new recipes, and experimenting with different tofu cooking methods.

sweet chili tofu 6It may have taken me nearly three years to figure out the best way to prepare, cut, coat, saute, season, and bake tofu, but I have finally figured out exactly how to make tofu taste good.  Better late than never, right?

sweet chili tofuThis right here is the best secret ingredient for how to take tofu from tasting weird and chewy to making tofu taste crispy and delicious!  Below I am going to share with you my tofu cooking method.  I have also thrown in a delicious Sweet Chili Baked Tofu recipe to go along with it.  It’s like two gifts in one post.  Don’t say I never do anything nice for ya 😉

sweet chili tofu 8 graphicSweet Chili Baked Tofu (Vegan)

Serves 2


14 oz block extra firm tofu
1/4 cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, coconut aminos, or low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 to 1/3 cup sweet chili sauce
cooking spray, optional


Note: This cooking method does require some “waiting” time, so be sure to plan ahead!

1. Place the package of tofu into the freezer at least two days prior to when you want to cook it.  Allow it to freeze overnight.  Once frozen, move the tofu to the fridge and allow it to thaw for at least one day.  This freezing method is optional, but it tends to give the tofu a “meatier” texture.

2. Once the tofu is thawed, drain the tofu and press it for at least 30 minutes.  I use a tofu press, but back when I started I relied on placing a plate onto the tofu and topping the plate with books.  Whatever works, right?

3. After the tofu has been pressed, the majority of the liquid should be removed.  At this point you will cut the tofu into your desired shape.  You can cube it or cut it into strips like I did.

4. Place the liquid aminos into one shallow bowl and the cornstarch into another shallow bowl.

5. Heat a nonstick (use oil/spray if not nonstick) griddle or skillet over medium heat.  Dip each tofu piece into the liquid aminos until all sides are covered.  Then coat each piece of tofu with cornstarch.  Dust off any excess cornstarch.  Place the tofu pieces onto the griddle and saute for approximately 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through.

6. While the tofu is sautéing, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.

7. After the tofu has been sautéed, place it onto the baking sheet.  Using a basting brush, coat the top and sides of the tofu with sweet chili sauce.  Book for 15 minutes.

8. Flip the tofu and baste the other side with the remaining sweet chili sauce.  Bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until desired crispness has been reached.

sweet chili tofu 2If you plan to eat your Sweet Chili Baked Tofu on its own, I highly recommend serving it alongside your favorite veggie or fruit.  I also poured myself a small bowl of extra sweet chili sauce on the side for dipping.  There is no such thing as too much sweet and spicy.  Another great way to serve this tofu would be to throw it into a vegetable and rice stir-fry for an extra pack of protein.

sweet chili tofu 4I’ll be the first to admit that there are several steps involved in this tofu cooking process.  However, much of the waiting time is down time, and the steps are rather simplistic.  Plus, if it makes tofu taste good then it is 100% worth it, right?

sweet chili tofu 3Are you a tofu lover?  Have you ever prepared it yourself?  If not, what are you waiting for?!

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{ 43 comments… add one }
  • Sam @ pancakewarriors December 7, 2014, 11:07 pm
    ive never tried freezing the tofu before cooking it but it's worth trying for sure!! I usually press mine and the let it sit in a marinade of aminos and lime juice. The chili sauce sounds like a perfect compliment to stir fry! Sam @ pancakewarriors recently posted...Eggnog Gingerbread SmoothieMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl December 8, 2014, 4:22 pm
      You should definitely try freezing it first. I really love it that way! Awesome idea of adding lime to aminos. I'll have to try that!
      • Annette Sonnenberg March 13, 2015, 9:54 am
        Non GMO corn starch is hard to find and expensive. Can I use flour instead?
        • ClnEatingVegGrl March 13, 2015, 10:11 am
          That's a great question, Annette! I'm honestly not sure because I have never tried it. It might be harder to get the flour to stick to the tofu, but you could certainly give it a try. If you do, please let me know how it turns out. You have me curious now! ;)
  • Farrah December 8, 2014, 7:08 am
    I'm definitely E! <3 I can understand why people could/would get weirded out by the texture though. I love sweet chili sauce too, so this is an awesome recipe in my book! :D Pinned for when I get tofu again!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl December 8, 2014, 5:31 pm
      Yay, another tofu lover!! It is really delicious with the sweet chili sauce!
  • Rachel G December 8, 2014, 7:10 am
    You got me! I'm definitely not tofu's biggest fan, but the flavors you use to spice up this recipe intrigue me... Rachel G recently posted...Angelisms, on Hong Kong DisneylandMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl December 8, 2014, 5:32 pm
      That is the key when it comes to tofu.. making sure there are BIG flavors!
  • jess meddows December 8, 2014, 8:40 am
    I am a tofu lover too, Hannah! We live in Asia so I eat it almost every day. I have taken to using a kettle or urn when I press mine, as you say, whatever it takes! ;)
    • ClnEatingVegGrl December 8, 2014, 5:39 pm
      Haha, isn't it funny the things we find to press our tofu with? I love it! ;)
  • Joanna @Makingmine December 8, 2014, 9:29 am
    B, C & D - let's do a tofu 3C1K sometime! Joanna @Makingmine recently posted...weekend snaps: christmas prepMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl December 8, 2014, 5:40 pm
      That's a really great idea. I know Erin is a tofu fan. Maybe we can convert you ;)
  • Denise Dukeshire December 8, 2014, 9:42 am
    Mmmmm.... I would have never guessed tofu had so many steps! This sounds delicious. I am bookmarking this and coming back later! Sounds just like something I've been missing my entire life! Denise Dukeshire recently posted...What is my signature worth?My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl December 8, 2014, 5:43 pm
      I think some tofu may be quicker or easier to make, but I have found these extra steps to be SO worth it when it comes to the final product. Let me know if you give it a try!
  • Kelly @ Hidden Fruits and Veggies December 8, 2014, 9:53 am
    I think I've always loved tofu. True, it can be bland but I'm crazy about the texture (from crispy, to soggy, but especially when it basically feels like french toast). I'll have to try out this method for a nice and crispy tofu dinner Kelly @ Hidden Fruits and Veggies recently posted...Loaded Veggie SoupMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl December 8, 2014, 6:52 pm
      That is so funny because I am not much of a "soggy" tofu fan ;) To each their own, right? It's crispy all the way for me!
  • Cat @ Breakfast to Bed December 8, 2014, 11:55 am
    I freaking love tofu. It's one of my go-to lunches. I really want these sticks dipped in a bit of hoisin and peanut butter mix. Yup. Cat @ Breakfast to Bed recently posted...All Things for Face HolesMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl December 8, 2014, 6:54 pm
      Oh yum, that would be AWESOME! I'll have to try that next time I make a batch!
  • Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health December 8, 2014, 2:04 pm
    I'm an E too but it definitely has to be prepared the right way. I've never tried freezing it or using cornstarch though. It looks like it makes for awesome texture. I'm definitely going to give it a try! Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health recently posted...Cranberry Orange and Pecan GranolaMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl December 8, 2014, 6:55 pm
      Yes, you definitely should! I had no clue that freezing tofu could make such a difference, but I really love the "chewier" texture that it provides.
  • Kim December 8, 2014, 4:06 pm
    I don't mind tofu at all. Taste isn't an issue, it's the texture. I have yet to find a recipe I can replicate at home that has a texture my kids will eat. Kim recently posted...Tropical Escapes In OmahaMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl December 8, 2014, 6:56 pm
      I could see that. Tofu definitely has a texture that some people just cannot get behind. You might try the freezing/corn starch method. Maybe it will help!
  • Ashley December 8, 2014, 6:38 pm
    I like tofu but only when it is nice and crispy on the outside! I haven't tried making it myself though - this looks awesome with the sweet chili sauce! Ashley recently posted...Hot Chocolate Almond Flour CupcakesMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl December 8, 2014, 6:58 pm
      You should definitely try making it yourself! And go with the freezing, cornstarch, frying, baking (wow, complicated!) method. It results in the BEST texture!
  • Katie @ Daily Cup of Kate December 8, 2014, 7:10 pm
    Okay, this helps so much! I have been preparing it all wrong and have been hating the texture. Can't wait to try your tips and this recipe! Katie @ Daily Cup of Kate recently posted...Restaurant Review: Bonefish GrillMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl December 8, 2014, 8:07 pm
      Haha! Tofu is definitely a hard thing to figure out. Heck, it took me about 3 years and I am STILL finding more and more ways to make it even better!
  • Jamie | Jamie's Recipes December 8, 2014, 7:47 pm
    I love tofu! This looks wonderful. Mmmmm! Jamie | Jamie's Recipes recently posted...Honey Peanut ButterMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl December 8, 2014, 8:09 pm
      Yay, another tofu lover!! :)
  • Dana December 8, 2014, 7:59 pm
    Group B/C - I have eaten tofu and liked it a few times, but most of the time do not. Most recently, I have gotten 2 different kinds from my favorite Chinese restaurant and was not a fan. Fried tofu and a tofu "hot pot". Neither was really impressive, especially since it's a Chinese place that actually has a fantastic selection of other veggie-friendly things. I must try making it myself. I got thrown off my needing to buy a tofu press!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl December 8, 2014, 8:11 pm
      Yes, preparing tofu can SOUND intimidating... but if you have some time then it is really quite easy! No tofu press needed! I went with a cutting board and textbooks for years and it worked like a charm! ;)
  • Ariana December 8, 2014, 11:42 pm
    Hmmm...I kind of fall into the B category but this does look really good...I don't mind tofu when I go out and it's prepared by someone who knows what they're doing, but it usually tastes pretty bad whenever I make it haha. Ariana recently posted...Holiday Thrive Guide: Shopping EditionMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl December 10, 2014, 10:29 am
      Tofu is definitely one of those things that it takes some time and experimenting with until you get it right at home. Plus, I think some chefs are magicians when they cook tofu because they make it taste SO good!! ;)
  • Sonja Pound December 9, 2014, 5:30 am
    I love tofu and can't wait to try this recipe. Thanks! Sonja Pound recently posted...Choosing a Business: How Do You Decide?My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl December 10, 2014, 10:30 am
      Thanks, Sonja! I hope you love it!! Let me know what you think :)
  • Emily Riepe December 9, 2014, 2:59 pm
    I just bought my first Tofu! It is shelf stable extra firm. Do I still freeze it and press it? Thanks.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl December 10, 2014, 10:31 am
      Good question, Emily! The only shelf stable I have ever worked with was silkened tofu. I imagine you would work with the extra firm the same way. I'd freeze it and press it just the same. Let me know how it works out!
  • Cynthia Cover December 10, 2014, 4:20 pm
    Wow, what a great way to make some tasty tofu :) Cynthia Cover recently posted...No Love For The Turkey #SensoryBlogHopMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl December 14, 2014, 8:04 pm
      It really is! I sure enjoyed it :)
  • Bri December 15, 2014, 5:45 pm
    I love sweet chili sauce, never thought about using it for tofu! Great idea! Bri recently posted...Looking to get fit in 2015? Join Koru Personal Training’s January Fresh Start Challenge!My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl December 15, 2014, 9:33 pm
      Thanks, Bri! It is delicious! I hope you try it :)

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