Want to know the secret to truly DELICIOUS Tofu? It’s all about having a good marinade! I’ve got 6 different easy tofu marinades that are great for baked tofu, air fried tofu or really ANY way that you’d like to prepare it!

Collage image with 4 photos of tofu marinating and cooke with text tht reads "6 DIFFERENT TOFU MARINADES: perfect tofu every time!

Hopefully it goes without saying that I am a HUGE tofu fan. HUGE!

Ever since I started eating a more vegetarian diet about 6 years ago, it has become a beloved staple in my house. It took me a couple of years to figure out how to get tofu to truly taste delicious and I’m hoping to save you that trouble :)

6 different bags of tofu marinating labeled each with it's flavor including: cilantro lime, bbq, teriyaki, balsamic, fajita, peanut

I have SIX different marinades for you to try out today! I wanted to cover a range of different flavors so that you are prepared to cook and serve tofu with any kind of dish that you desire. If there are more flavor profiles that you want to see, let me know and I’ll work on adding to this list.

Here are the 6 Easy Tofu Recipes:

  1. Cilantro Lime
  2. BBQ
  3. Teriyaki
  4. Balsamic
  5. Fajita
  6. Peanut Sauce
6 small bowls with 6 different marinade flavors. fresh garlic, lime and ginger in the scene and tofu in the corner

Before we dive into the marinades, I want to go over a few important things first:

Why marinate tofu?

I went years without marinating my tofu and I’ve since learned what a HUGE difference it makes. Tofu itself has a very mild taste which makes it very versatile and great for absorbing the flavors you add to it. If you don’t think that you like tofu, it’s probably because it wasn’t prepared very well :)

What kind of tofu to use:

This totally depends on the type of recipe that you’re making. In most cases when I’m making a curry, stir fry, grilling the tofu or anything like that, I almost always want firm or extra-firm tofu.

When in doubt, I suggest getting extra-firm tofu to use when marinating and cooking to be served with a dish.

large plastic bag filled with marinating tofu

Do I need to press the tofu?

In most cases, YES! Pressing your tofu before cooking with it makes a huge difference. Especially if you’re trying to get crispy tofu!

I have a WHOLE guide on how to press tofu, with and without a tofu press, that you can check out HERE. In most cases, I suggest pressing the tofu for about 15 minutes before adding it to the marinade.

What about freezing the tofu?

I talk a lot about freezing tofu in THIS which I highly recommend checking out. Freezing tofu (when you have the time) is a GREAT way to add a nice bit of texture to your dish.

Tofu naturally has a lot of moisture in it and when you freeze it, that moisture crystalizes and creates these little pockets throughout the tofu. Once the tofu is thawed and and liquid is gone, the pockets are left in the tofu which results in a meatier texture that I really love. The pockets also works well to soak up flavor!

Can I freeze marinated tofu? Why YES you can! Follow the recipe as written and once everything is mixed together and the bag is sealed, place it in the freezer. It’ll keep for about 6 months in the freezer and is GREAT for lazy dinners. Take the bag out the morning that you want to enjoy it for dinner and let it thaw in the fridge throughout the day. Once thawed, cook as usual. SO GOOD!

How long to marinate tofu?

In an ideal world, your tofu will marinate for a few hours or even overnight. However, I’ve found that even just 30 minutes of marinating your tofu will make a big difference and result in a much more flavorful tofu dish.

How do I cook marinated tofu?

You can use these marinades in almost any recipe. But if you’re looking for various different ways to cook your tofu, here are some of my favorites:

marinated baked tofu on a plate

How to marinate tofu:

Marinating tofu is VERY simple especially for HOW MUCH flavor it adds to the food. Simply pick your flavor from below and add all of the ingredients to a plastic bag, stasher bag, or resealable container or choice.

Prep the tofu by first pressing it and then cutting it into your desired shape. I have a guide on different ways that you can cut tofu within THIS POST. If you’re going to be marinating the tofu for 12+ hours or freezing it, you can actually throw the entire pressed block into the marinade before cutting it.

Let sit for 30 minutes or even overnight and then cook as desired. One of my favorite things to do with the leftover marinade is to add it into a saucepan with a cornstarch slurry (2 tablespoons of water + 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch) and cook until thickened. It makes for a great sauce to put on top of the tofu!

Cilantro Lime Tofu Marinade

collage image: left image is tofu and cilantro lime marinade in a gallon size baggie. Right image: the cooked cilantro lime tofu on a plate

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of maple syrup or honey
  • ½ cup of cilantro chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt

BBQ Tofu Marinade

collage image: left image is tofu and bbq marinade in a gallon size baggie. Right image: the cooked bbq tofu on a plate

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon of onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon of paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon pf salt
  • Dash of liquid smoke (optional)

Teriyaki Tofu Marinade

collage image: left image is tofu and Teriyaki marinade in a gallon size baggie. Right image: the cooked Teriyaki tofu on a plate

What you need:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger 
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons of maple syrup 
  • 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar

Balsamic Tofu Marinade

collage image: left image is tofu and Balsamic marinade in a gallon size baggie. Right image: the cooked Balsamic tofu on a plate

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil 
  • 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar 
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

Fajita Tofu Marinade

collage image: left image is tofu and Fajita marinade in a gallon size baggie. Right image: the cooked Fajita tofu on a plate

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil 
  • ¼ cup of lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pf chili powder
  • Optional: dash of liquid smoke

Thai Peanut Tofu Marinade

collage image: left image is tofu and Peanut marinade in a gallon size baggie. Right image: the cooked Peanut tofu on a plate

What you need:

  • ¼ cup of peanut butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of maple syrup
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger
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6 gallon baggies filled with tofu cubes and varies flavors and colors of tofu marinade

Tofu Marinade (6 ways!)


  • Author: Brita Britnell
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

See how easy it is to make TRULY delicious tofu by marinating it using one of my 6 delicious tofu marinades!


Ingredients

Scale

Cilantro Lime marinade:

  • 14-16 ounce block of tofu
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 ½  tablespoons maple syrup/ honey
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

BBQ marinade:

  • 14-16 ounce block of tofu
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup favorite BBQ sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Dash of liquid smoke (optional)

Teriyaki marinade:

  • 14-16 ounce block of tofu
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of  fresh grated ginger 
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 3 tablespoons of maple syrup 
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar

Balsamic marinade:

  • 14-16 ounce block of tofu
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil 
  • 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar 
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt 

Fajita marinade:

  • 14-16 ounce block of tofu
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil 
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 12 tablespoons chili powder
  • Optional: dash of liquid smoke

Thia Peanut marinade:

  • 1416 ounce block of tofu
  • ¼ cup of peanut butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of maple syrup
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons of  fresh grated ginger

Instructions

  1. Prep your tofu: Follow my instructions HERE for pressing tofu and cut it into your desired shapes. I like to cube mine into bite sized pieces but really anything works! Set side.
  2. Make the marinade: I like to whisk together my marinade directly in the dish/ bag that I plan to marinate the tofu in. A plastic baggie, stasher bag, or really any kind of shallow resealable container works well. Add all of the ingredients (minus the tofu) and whisk until fully combined.
  3. Add the tofu: add in your tofu pieces and let marinate for 30 minutes or even overnight. See notes above for freezing. Ideally this will marinate for a good few hours but even just 30 minutes makes a big difference.
  4. Cook as desired and ENJOY! As desired, you can use the leftover marinade to make a sauce for your tofu (this works with all of the marinades EXCEPT the peanut marinade). Add it into a saucepan with a cornstarch slurry (2 tablespoons of water + 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch) and cook over medium heat until thickened (about 3-5 minutes). It makes for a great sauce to put on top of the tofu!
  • Category: Tofu
  • Method: Marinade
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: tofu marinade, how to marinade tofu, flavorful tofu

Some of my favorite tofu recipes: