How to Cook Tofu in a Pan

Pan-fried tofu is an easily made dish that can add a huge amount of variety to your diet. Tofu soaks up flavor like a sponge and is best when marinated or dipped in sauce. While most cooks believe they have perfected pan-fried tofu, there are ways to get an even crispier crunch and a more delicious taste from ordinary tofu.

Tofu cooking in a pan. (Image: JeremyAllard/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Remove the tofu from its packaging. Wrap the tofu in a paper towel and then wrap it again in a dish towel.

Step 2

Place a cast-iron skillet over the tofu and allow the tofu to flatten and dry out as much as possible, for about 15 minutes.

Step 3

Place the cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp. of oil to the pan, just enough to coat the surface. Remove the tofu from the towels.

Step 4

Cut the tofu into bite-size pieces or whichever shape you desire. If you wish, you can marinate the tofu for 30 minutes. Choose a recipe ahead of time and let the tofu marinate after being pressed and cut.

Step 5

Place the tofu in the heated pan and allow the tofu to cook untouched for five minutes. Check to make sure the tofu is browning adequately and flip, cooking for another five minutes on the opposite side. According to Vegan Yum Yum, you can spoon extra marinade into the pan after flipping to help the tofu absorb even more flavor.

Step 6

Remove the tofu from the pan and let it rest on a cooking rack for at least five minutes. Letting the tofu rest will help it firm up and lose its sogginess.

Things You'll Need

  • Cast-iron skillet

  • Cooking oil

  • Paper towel

  • Dish towel

  • Spatula


Pressing, drying and resting are what make the tofu extra crispy. Do not skip those steps.

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