This recipe for General Tso’s Tofu features crispy tofu pieces tossed in a sweet-savory sauce. A vegan twist on the takeout favorite that’s quick and easy to make at home and even more delicious than what you’d get in a restaurant!

My family is a huge fan of Chinese food, and I’ve set out to make a vegan version of all of our favorite recipes. We’ve been enjoying Kung Pao Tofu, Orange Tofu and this super tasty General Tso’s tofu. 

General Tso’s tofu is one of my all time favorite veganized Chinese food dishes. I love that the chunks of tofu get nice and crispy and the sticky sauce really takes this dish to the next level! It has the perfect balance of sweet and savory, with a hint of spiciness.

When we’re craving Asian food, I can whip this recipe up in just over 30 minutes with very little effort. It’s also much healthier than what you would be served in a restaurant. It has over 11 grams of plant-based protein and just over 200 calories per serving. We love this paired with white rice and sometimes a green veggie for a perfectly balanced meal.

tofu cooked in a sticky sauce in a skillet

What is General Tso’s Chicken or Tofu?

General Tso’s is a popular Chinese-American dish often served in North American Chinese restaurants. The recipe typically consists of lightly battered and fried chicken tossed with a sweet, slightly spicy sauce. The dish was created by was created in the 1950s by a chef named Peng Chang Kuei. He named the recipe after General Tso Tsung-t’ang, a military leader. In 1973, Chef Peng immigrated to the United States and opened his own restaurant. He adapted the dish for the American palate and added sugar to the sauce, making it sticky sweet. The dish got so popular that many Chinese restaurants copied the recipe and put it on their own menu.

Making Vegan General Tso’s Tofu

To make a plant-based General Tso’s recipe that’s completely vegan, we’re using chunks of tofu instead of chicken. This recipe still has an authentic flavor from the irresistible sticky sauce that’s so popular!   

This recipe totally works with chicken, but is absolutely perfect with chunky, crisp pieces of tofu coated in the sticky-sweet sauce. To ensure the tofu has the best texture without having to deep fry it in loads of oil, it is tossed in cornstarch before cooking it on the stovetop.

Don’t bother with take out, instead, enjoy Chinese food at home with this quick and easy recipe! Let’s get to all of the delicious details!

General Tso's Tofu in a bowl with rice

Key Ingredients 

Here’s a quick rundown of the essential ingredients needed to make General Tso’s Tofu. 

  • Tofu. You will want to use firm or extra firm tofu, so it holds up to pan frying and yields “meatier”, crispier chunks.  
  • Cornstarch. Creates a crisp outer layer around the tofu and helps to thicken the sauce as it cooks.
  • Hoisin sauce. Has a salty and slightly sweet flavor. It adds delicious richness to the sauce.
  • Rice vinegar. Adds acidity to the sauce and gives it that incredible sweet-and-sour taste. 
  • Ginger + garlic. Adds delicious aromatic flavor to the sauce.
  • Soy sauce. Combines with the other sauce ingredients for a classic Chinese food flavor. I recommend using a low sodium version, so you can control the saltiness of the sauce. Substitute with gluten-free tamari, if you’d like.
  • Chili paste. A must for a spicy kick in the sauce.
  • Brown sugar. A small amount of sugar is used to sweeten the sauce. Sub with maple syrup, if you prefer.
  • Sesame oil. Gives the marinade a rich, nutty taste that’s totally delicious. I love using toasted sesame oil!
  • Broth. To give the sauce depth of flavor and to make enough sauce to coat all the tofu.
  • Red pepper flakes. Optional, but I love that extra bit of heat!
stirring tofu with a wooden spoon in a skillet

How to Make General Tso’s Tofu

Making General Tso’s Tofu at home is quite simple and much faster than waiting for delivery! Here’s a quick rundown of the process, but for full, printable instructions, reference the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  1. Prep tofu. Prepare the tofu by pressing the liquid out. HERE is my full guide on pressing tofu with AND without a tofu press. Once pressed, tear the tofu into large bite-sized chunks. Mine were all roughly an inch long and varied in size a little. Toss tofu with cornstarch, salt and pepper. Then, cook in oil over medium heat for about 10 minutes and until browned on all sides; set aside.
  2. Make the sauce. While the tofu is cooking, make the sauce. Whisk together the hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, chili paste, brown sugar, sesame oil, cornstarch, and broth.
  3. Cook. Gently wipe down the same skillet used for the tofu, place over medium heat and add the sauce and cook, stirring often, until the sauce thickens. Add the tofu back to the skillet and toss to coat completely in the sauce. Cook for 2 additional minutes and then remove from the heat. 
  4. Serve. Enjoy the General Tso’s Tofu served over your favorite grain and ENJOY!

Recipe Tips & Suggestions

  • Tofu. I recommend tearing rather than slicing the tofu for this recipe. You’ll want to tear the tofu into large bite-sized chunks. The chunks end up looking a lot more like chicken, which is fun, but more importantly, the chunks create a lot of rough edges and pockets where the sauce can cling to. It also creates a texture that is meatier and just overall so much better. Watch the video within this recipe for a visual. This is my favorite way to serve tofu!
  • Gluten free. To make gluten-free General Tso’s Tofu, simply use tamari in place of soy sauce.
  • Spiciness. Traditionally, this dish is meant to be a bit spicy. If you’d like to make a milder version or just want more control over the heat level, try using less of the chili paste or omit it altogether. To increase the spiciness of the recipe, feel free to add more chili paste or red pepper flakes. 

What to Serve With General Tso’s Tofu

We typically enjoy this dish served over a bed of steamed rice. Feel free to use any favorite rice variety! For a lower carb option, try using cauliflower rice. General Tso’s Tofu is also delicious served over noodles, on a bed of steamed broccoli, or with stir-fry veggies. There are endless options!

Meal Prep and Storage Tips

  • Prep-ahead. Up to about a day in advance, whisk together sauce ingredients, but don’t cook yet. Prep and tear the tofu into pieces, but wait to coat in the cornstarch. Store each in separate containers in the refrigerator. 
  • Leftovers. Leftover General Tso’s Tofu stores really well! Place any extras in an airtight container and refrigerate. It will keep fresh for about 4 to 5 days.
  • To reheat. Rewarm in a pot or skillet on the stovetop or pop it in the microwave to reheat. Reheating tofu in the skillet will crisp-up the tofu best. 
General Tso's Tofu served over rice and garnished with green onion

As usual, PLEASE let me know if you make this recipe and how you like it! You can come back here and leave a comment and/or tag me on instagram (@foodwithfeeling).

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General Tso Tofu in a skillet with a wooden spoon

General Tso’s Tofu


  • Author: Brita Britnell
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This recipe for General Tso’s Tofu features crispy tofu pieces tossed in a sweet-savory sauce. A vegan twist on the takeout favorite that’s quick and easy to make at home and even more delicious than what you’d get in a restaurant!


Ingredients

Scale

FOR THE TOFU:

  • 1416 oz block of firm or extra firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of oil

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 1 tablespoon of hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of ginger paste (or 2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of chili paste
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup of veggie broth
  • Red pepper flakes for serving

Instructions

  1. Prepare the tofu by pressing the liquid out. HERE is my full guide on pressing tofu with AND without a tofu press. Once pressed, tear the tofu into large bite-sized chunks. Mine were all roughly an inch long and varied in size a little. Don’t worry too much about the size and shape. The idea is for it to have rough edges to give the tofu a little more texture and to hold onto flavors a little better. You can also just cut it into cubes if you prefer.
  2. Place the tofu chunks into a large bowl and sprinkle on the cornstarch, a good pinch of fine sea salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. Toss to combine so that the tofu is mostly covered in the cornstarch, salt and pepper.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add in the tofu and cook for about 10 minutes, tossing often so that it gets browned on all sides. Once done, remove tofu from the skillet and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, make the sauce by whisking together the hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, chili paste, brown sugar, sesame oil, cornstarch, and broth.
  5. Gently wipe clean the skillet you used for the tofu and place it back over medium heat. Add in the sauce and cook, stirring often, until the sauce thickens.
  6. Add the tofu back to the skillet and toss to coat completely in the sauce. Cook for 2 additional minutes and then remove from the heat. Serve and ENJOY!

Notes

  • Prep-ahead. Up to about a day in advance, whisk together sauce ingredients, but don’t cook yet. Prep and tear the tofu into pieces, but wait to coat in the cornstarch. Store each in separate containers in the refrigerator.
  • Leftovers. Leftover General Tso’s Tofu stores really well! Place any extras in an airtight container and refrigerate. It will keep fresh for about 4 to 5 days.
  • To reheat. Rewarm in a pot or skillet on the stovetop or pop it in the microwave to reheat. Reheating tofu in the skillet will crisp-up the tofu best.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Chinese, American

Keywords: General Tso Tofu, tofu