Broiled tofu may not sound sexy but this quick and easy technique is seductive as heck when you need dinner to be done pronto. Here’s how to make it plus a simple pantry-friendly marinade—actually, we give you a choice of three marinades.
This broiled tofu recipe brings you a simple yet exceptionally versatile method for cooking tofu with—bonus!—three simple yet spectacular glaze options. And yes, each glaze is as spectacular as the next. So keep this recipe handy and then simply choose whatever ingredients you’re in the mood for or happen to have on hand. Less than 45 minutes later, dinner is done.–Angie Zoobkoff
For the broiled tofu
- 14 to 16 ounces extra-firm tofu
- Vegetable oil for the baking sheet
For the Chinese-style hoisin glaze
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon regular or low-sodium soy sauce
For the Japanese-style miso glaze
- 1 tablespoon miso paste
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon mirin
- 2 teaspoons mild vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon scallions (about 2) thinly sliced
For the Indonesian-style soy glaze
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon warm water
- 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar or 1 1/2 tablespoons (20 g) dark brown sugar
Make the tofu
- Line a rimmed plate or baking pan with several paper towels and place the block of tofu on the towels. Top with several more layers of paper towels and another plate. Plop something heavy on top of the top plate and let the tofu drain for at least 30 minutes. (If you’re in a rush, you can pat it dry with paper towels but be warned that your finished tofu may not be as crispy.)
- Uncover the pressed tofu and cut it in half lengthwise. Then either cut it into 8 squares or 16 triangles. You want each piece to be about 1-inch (2.5-cm) thick.
Make any of the glazes
- While the tofu is draining, whisk all the glaze ingredients together in a shallow bowl. (If you want enough glaze to double as a dipping sauce, double the ingredients and only use half to coat the tofu before broiling.)
Broil the tofu
- Move the oven rack to the position closest to the broiler. Preheat the broiler on high (550°F or 290°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and slick it with a little oil.
- Either brush the glaze on the tofu or add the tofu to your bowl of glaze and turn to coat each piece on all sides. (If desired, you can cover and refrigerate the tofu for at least a couple hours and up to overnight to let the glaze permeate the tofu and act as a marinade.)
- Transfer the tofu to the baking sheet, placing the pieces about 1-inch (2.5-cm) apart and allowing any excess glaze to remain in the bowl. Broil the tofu until the top is golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip and broil until the edges are golden and crisp, 2 to 5 more minutes. Serve immediately and pass any remaining glaze on the side for dipping. (You can cover and refrigerate any leftover tofu for up to 4 days.)
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This broiled tofu is simple, delicious, and versatile! I opted for the hoisin marinade and used low-sodium soy sauce and firm tofu. The whole process took 1 1/2 hours but only 10 minutes of that was “hands on” time. I pressed and drained the tofu for an hour, sliced it horizontally, then into 4 squares, and cut each square in half again on the diagonal giving me 16 triangles. My triangles ended up being 1-inch thick, a nice size for picking up with chopsticks and large enough to stand out on top of a rice bowl. I used a silicone pastry brush to gently brush the marinade on the tofu pieces and then let them sit for 15 minutes for the tofu to soak up the flavor. I broiled the first side for 3 minutes and then flipped the tofu and broiled it for another 2 minutes. The pieces weren’t as crisp as I would’ve liked at that point, so I flipped them again and gave them another 2 minutes under the broiler. The edges crisped up nicely and there was a little smoke but not enough to set off any alarms. The tofu was delicious right out of the oven. The texture was firm and almost meaty and the marinade was lightly sweet and salty. I served it as part of a rice bowl with sautéed Chinese greens and a ginger and scallion dipping sauce but it would also work really well diced as an addition to fried rice, as a component in a veggie rice paper roll, even as an addition to an Asian-inspired soup. This one is a winner and will become a weeknight staple.
We chose the Indonesian-Style Soy Glaze as we had all the ingredients handy for that version. We were very interested in the Japanese-Style Miso Glaze as well but we couldn’t find authentic mirin. When we do, we’ll make that marinade as well. We started with a box of extra-firm tofu. We wrapped the tofu in paper towels and weighted it down for 30 minutes. The tofu crumbled into irregular bits and shapes. We did our best to coat the shapes in the glaze and then broiled them for 3 minutes, flipped it as best we could, and then broiled it for 3 more minutes. The resulting tofu ‘mash’ was tasty, but definitely too soft. This may be an issue of the brand of tofu. The flavor was good and we added the broiled tofu to a simple miso broth.
But we really wanted to make this recipe work as a broiled tofu, so off to Trader Joe’s we went, to buy their “sprouted tofu” which has a dense texture. The second time around, we doubled the marinade because it’s good. The sprouted tofu cut beautifully into slabs. We wanted crisp edges so we used the maximum broiling time. This is a good recipe. Look for extra extra firm tofu.
Being the lone tofu lover in my family, I made this broiled tofu for myself for lunch. The Japanese-Style Miso Glaze gave loads of flavor and a crisp edge to the tofu. Definitely double the glaze so you have enough for coating it before broiling and drizzling it after broiling. I served it alongside an Asian chicken salad and it was delicious!
This is such an easy and fantastically quick protein! I used the Indonesian style marinade because I had everything on hand. I really enjoyed that you could still taste the tofu through the marinade. That being said, if I was serving this to someone new to tofu I would probably increase the marinade by half and let each piece soak a bit to absorb more flavor. The leftovers were great, too. The tofu was a bit meatier in texture and the marinade really stood out. I served them with some baked vegetarian spring rolls that included some garam masala. The flavors tied nicely together. I could see this being a great kid friendly option. Who doesn’t love finger food?!
Mix the glaze ingredients, spoon them over the tofu, turn so the tofu is covered on all sides, broil for 3 minutes, turn and broil for 2 to 3 minutes more, and you’re done. This broiled tofu recipe is that simple! The only thing that takes any time is weighting the tofu. I did that earlier in the day so when I wanted to cook the tofu I didn’t need to wait. I made the broiled tofu twice, once using the Chinese-Style Hoisin Glaze and a second time using the Indonesian-Style Soy Glaze. I surprised myself and enjoyed the Indonesian more than the Chinese. To my taste, it had more flavor. The Indonesian also browned better with edges that got a tad caramelized. I’d planned on eating this with rice and broiled fish, but we actually ate the tofu all by itself both times. I guess I’ll need to make this a third time using the Japanese-Style Miso Glaze.
I’m going to be honest here and tell you that this is probably not a recipe that’s going to convert the tofu-haters of the world. It’s just a really simple way to get some tofu on table fast. If you’re trying to compose a grain- or noodle-based bowl or need a topping for a salad, you can whip this up in no time. I made the version with the miso glaze and the glaze was tasty but rather thick. I coated the tofu by just dipping it in the sauce. There was just barely enough glaze to coat the tofu. I served it with rice and vegetables.
Originally published March 30, 2017
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
In my experience, tofu is usually pretty soft and plain unless it’s deep-fried. This marinated broiled method gives you the crisp edges from frying plus a variety of flavors. I cut the tofu into 16 triangles. I thought these were good bite-sized pieces. I used a fork to dip the tofu pieces individually into the marinade. A thin coating did adhere to the surface. I think adding a bit of cornstarch might help thicken it up and adhere more to add more flavor. A fork or tongs were good to flip the tofu pieces. There was plenty of marinade left. I recommend saving it for dipping. My oven’s broil setting only went up to 525°F (274°C). I had to cook the tofu for about 5 minutes per side to achieve crisp edges. I think I could’ve gone a bit longer to get the sides crispier. This broiled tofu would be great in a variety of dishes including stir-fries and salads. I enjoyed mine served warm over roasted veggies.