I’ve made tofu a hundred different ways but Pan Fried Tofu is my all time favorite way to cook it and I’ve perfected the recipe! It requires just TWO simple ingredients, comes together in no time, AND makes an amazing addition to stir fries, curries, and so much more.

Oh HEY it’s me…back with ANOTHER tofu recipe (not sorry about that at all!). I’m on a mission to cook tofu in every single way possible and I realized that I didn’t actually have any sautéed tofu recipes on my blog.

Here I am to fix that with this AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS recipe that features a ridiculously creamy tahini sauce (it’s definitely a lick your plate kind of sauce ;)).

sauteed tofu on a bed of rice and topped with green onion and sesame seeds. on a marble board with a pink towel in the corner

So far we’ve baked tofu, grilled tofu, kebabed tofu, scrambled tofu, and now we’re making some simple pan fried tofu.

What should we do with tofu next?

up close shot of perfect sauteed tofu on a bed of rice and topped with green onion and sesame seeds. on a marble board with a pink towel in the corner

The tahini sauce is basically peanut sauce but with tahini instead of peanut butter. It’s magical and you NEED IT in your life.

I was never much into tahini until I started making videos for Monique Ambitious Kitchen who uses tahini ALL the time. That truly started my love affair with the toasted sesame butter of deliciousness.

My #1 tip:

Before we go any further, I want to share with you my NUMBER 1 TIP for the perfect fried tofu: a good non-stick skillet!

Trust me on this one! I’ve tried so many different kinds of cookware when frying tofu and nothing does better than a good non-stick. It makes it so that the tofu crisps up perfectly without sticking AT ALL. I’ve had moderate success using a cast iron but you definitely need more oil AND it’s still going to stick to the pan a bit.

All of this to say: if you don’t already have one, NOW IS THE TIME to get yourself a good nonstick skillet!

How to Pan Fry Tofu

All you need to saute perfect and crispy tofu is a little oil + tofu. That’s it! (although I almost always season mine in some way or end up adding a creamy sauce on top!). I have a FULL GUIDE HERE on marinating tofu if you would like to do that before frying it.

Start out by pressing as much of the moisture out of the tofu as possible. Pat dry and cut the tofu into bite sized pieces.

Heat the oil in a large skillet and add in the tofu in a single layer. The trick for perfectly pan fried tofu is to not touch it for at least 5 minutes. The tofu will kind of stick to the bottom of the pan but eventually form a crust and pull away from the pan. At that point you can toss the toss and let it cook on all sides.

How long does it take to pan fry tofu?

Typically, it takes about 15-20 minutes to pan fry tofu so that it’s got a nice crispy crust on all (or at least most) sides.

Sometimes when I’m feeling really lazy, I’ll cut the tofu into thinner strips so that I only need to bother frying it on 2 sides. Any way you decide to do it works great!

Is pan fried tofu healthy?

In moderation, tofu is a healthy addition to any diet. When frying it, you are adding extra oils (ie fats) to it. However,  using my recipe, we’re only using a small amount of oil (also a healthy part of any diet…in moderation!).

sauteed tofu on a bed of rice and topped with green onion and sesame seeds. on a marble board with a pink towel in the corner and chopsticks resting on the side of the bowl

Can you pan fry soft tofu?

Technically, yes, you can pan fry soft tofu. I do not recommend trying it with silken soft tofu but it can be done with a soft or medium firm tofu. Personally, I MUCH prefer to pan fry either firm or extra firm tofu.

How do you fry tofu?

If you’re looking for fried tofu that’s cooked in a bit more oil, I have a whole recipe for that at the bottom of THIS POST!

I also have a recipe for fried tofu nuggets (similar to chicken nuggets) that you can find HERE!

That’s it for this Friday! I hope that you have a very lovely weekend, friends!

More Tofu recipes you’ll love:

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How to Fry Tofu

  • Author: Brita Britnell
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 large servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Learn how to make PERFET Pan Fried Tofu that I love to serve with an (optional) Creamy Tahini Sauce!


Units Scale
  • 14 ounce block of tofu
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil (I usually use olive oil)
  • salt and pepper to taste if not tossing in a sauce
  • optional tofu marinade or other spices of choice

For the creamy tahini sauce (totally optional!):

  • 1/4 cup of tahini
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of sriracha or other hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup or agave
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 an inch of ginger root, freshly grated
  • 3 tablespoons of water


  1. Start by prepping the tofu. If you have a tofu press, you can use that.* Otherwise, wrap the tofu in a dish towel and place it on a rimmed plate or baking sheet. balance a large skillet or pan on top of the tofu block and weigh it down with something heavy (I usually use a couple of cans). Make sure that it’s evenly pressing down on the tofu and not lop sided. Press for 15 minutes.
  2. Pat the tofu dry and cut it into 1/2-1 inch cubes. Mine usually end up about 2/3 of an inch thick on all sides. If you’re not planning to toss this in the sauce, you can now toss the tofu with a bit of salt and pepper and any other spices that will go well with your dish.
  3. In a large skillet (I definitely recommend non-stick for this recipe!), heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add in the tofu in a single layer. Watch the tofu but do not touch it for at least 5 minutes. The bottom will form a nice crust after about 5 minutes at which time you can flip it and continue to cook it on all sides, about 10 more minutes. In my skillet a few pieces on the edges stuck a little but most turned out perfect. Continue to cook until you reach your desired level of crispiness.
  4. While the tofu cooks, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients. Toss the sauce into the skillet with the tofu and cook for a couple of additional minutes until thickened a bit and heated through.
  5. Serve and ENJOY!


  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Saute
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 266
  • Sugar: 1.4 g
  • Sodium: 16.2 mg
  • Fat: 21.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 4.3 g
  • Protein: 18.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: vegan dinner, tofu recipe, vegan recipes