Chili Crunch Tofu Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Chili Crunch Tofu

19 reviews / 4.9 average

Crispy baked tofu tossed with a 2-ingredient sweet, sticky, and spicy chili sauce!

This is a brand new recipe that’s part of our Spring 2023 SOS Series – in other words, EASY recipes! View our full collection of SOS recipes here.


In This Post


Lindsay's Notes

Holy spicy crispiness! This chili crunch tofu is chompy, sticky-sweet, and delicious. Two main steps for this guy:

  • Bake the tofu.
  • Sauce the tofu.

The end! Happy day! You're eating spicy, crispy, rockstar-level tofu with very little effort or thought into the whole thing which is what the SOS series is all about.

You can prep the tofu however you like, but I highly recommend the cornstarch method for baking (my favorite method as outlined in our tofu post), which is what's written into the recipe here. It never fails to be miraculously crispy, golden, and the perfect canvas for your favorite sauce.

Speaking of sauce, this one couldn't be easier.

  • Yum Yum sauce
  • Chili crisp
  • Honey (optional)

And that's it. If you like to go BIG big on flavor, you can also grate a clove of raw garlic into the sauce for something extra kicky. The chili crisp I use (Momofuku brand (affiliate link)) has a bit of garlicky-ness to it so I usually am fine leaving it at that, but we love flavor. WE INVITE FLAVOR. Add to your heart's content.

I love making this chili crunch tofu for a quick high-protein weeknight dinner and the leftovers work beautifully for a repeat lunch with a second coating of sauce. And we make this recipe a whole family affair by just saucing the tofu for the girls with the plain Yum Yum sauce, which is creamy and sweet and mild and, of course, they love it.

Chili crunch tofu for prez!


Close-up of chili crunch tofu in a bowl with green onions on top

RELATED: Why is tofu so great?! It's so great! These peanut-saucy tofu bowls are one of my other go-to tofu recipes!


Chili Crunch Tofu Video

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A picture of Chili Crunch Tofu

Chili Crunch Tofu


  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 3-4 1x

Description

Crispy baked tofu tossed with a 2-ingredient sweet, sticky, and spicy chili sauce!


Ingredients

Units Scale

Chili Crunch Tofu:

  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup Yum Yum sauce (affiliate link)
  • 1 tablespoon chili crisp (affiliate link)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)

Extras for Serving:

  • 1 1/2 cups rice, uncooked (see notes for the cauli rice I like to make!)
  • 1/4 cup green onions for topping

Instructions

  1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Prepping the Tofu: Cut tofu in half so you have two even, flat pieces. Press the moisture out of the tofu, using paper towels or a towel. (The more water you remove, the faster it will crisp up in the oven, but I usually don't spend more than 5-10 minutes here.) Cut tofu into cubes and transfer to a bowl. Add cornstarch, soy sauce, and olive oil. Toss gently to coat. It doesn't have to be perfectly smooth, but just try to generally get all the pieces semi-covered.
  3. Prepare Rice: Cook rice according to package instructions. 
  4. Bake the Tofu: Transfer to the baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring once or twice, to get the tofu evenly browned and crispy.
  5. Make the Sauce: Mix Yum Yum sauce and chili crisp in a small bowl.
  6. Mix Tofu and Sauce: When the tofu is done, toss it with several tablespoons of sauce, reserving sauce for topping.
  7. Serve: Serve with rice, on a salad, noodles, whatever you like. Dollop with extra sauce if you want, and top with green onions. OOO-eee this is good!

Notes

How to Make Cauliflower Garlic Rice: This is totally optional - just something I enjoy with this tofu if I can handle one extra sheet pan in the mix. On a separate sheet pan, add a bag of cauliflower rice. Drizzle with oil and season generously with salt. Add to the oven at the same time as the tofu; roast until very browned and flavorful, about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add about 2 cups cooked rice directly to the pan, along with 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and a squeeze of lemon. Toss to combine, return to the oven for a minute to warm it all up, and you're done!

Nutrition: The nutrition info below is only for the tofu and does not include rice.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Asian-Inspired

Keywords: baked tofu, spicy tofu, tofu bowl

What Do You Serve with This Chili Crunch Tofu?

I usually serve it on pre-cooked rice (SOS) or, if I have a teeny bit of extra time, I'll make cauliflower garlic rice, which is what you see in the pictures here.

To make it: you're just roasting store-bought cauliflower rice until it's golden and yummy, and then tossing it with precooked brown rice and a bit of garlic powder and salt (The recipe is also outlined in the notes section of the recipe card above.)

That said, you can serve this tofu with anything - a salad, a bowl of veg, or in a wrap! It would be great in lettuce cups for lettuce wraps as well.

How Do You Make This Tofu Gluten-Free / Dairy-Free?

It should be naturally dairy-free, and to make it gluten-free, just use tamari or coconut aminos! But check the labels on your specific brand of Yum Yum sauce and your chili crisp just to make sure the rest is also gluten-free and dairy-free.

What Can I Sub For Yum Yum Sauce?

I buy Yum Yum sauce (affiliate link) at Amazon, Target, Cub, Kowalski's... lots of different grocery stores carry it! At Target, it is shelved both in the refrigerated produce / dressing section and the global or international foods section, by the teriyaki sauce and soy sauce.

But if you can't find it or just don't want to run out to the store - you have a few options:

Yum Yum sauce tastes like a sweet mayo with a barely-there tomato flavor. I think you can build a great sauce just using regular mayo and adding a bit of extra salt and sugar and maybe a squeeze of ketchup.


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47 Comments

  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thanks for this tasty recipe, I love reading your recipe and making new dishes every weekend. I also started small recipe blog in my regional language. Hope it goes well.

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Yes! I am always looking for a simple, tasty, vegetarian dish. Thank you for sharing. I’ll report back once I’ve tried it out.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Word of advice: do not mix the cornstarch with the oil and soy sauce before adding the cubes. Do the cubes first, dust with the cornstarch, THEN sprinkle the liquid on.

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you for posting this! I needed a dinner idea for tonight. It looks amazing! One question, for the store-bought cauliflower rice, are you roasting fresh or frozen?

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Absolutely delicious! Added roasted broccoli and Brussel sprouts and made the yum yum sauce from scratch. My carnivore husband loved it, will definitely make on the regular. Love the SOS series especially the meatless recipes, thank you so much!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Delicious! I made this tofu and added it to the crunchy roll bowls. I made the yum yum sauce myself with a recipe I googled, the meal still came together quickly in SOS form!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    This looks amazing! I just picked up the yum yum sauce from target and plan to make it tonight. One question: Do you feed this to your kids? If so how do you adapt it? Just leave the sauce odd? I’ve seen your suggestions for how to offer the more adult foods you make to your kids and always really appreciate them!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Great recipe! I’ve tried several different tofu recipes and they’ve never turned out very well, but this was delicious! I will definitely be making this again.

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      I don’t usually make tofu, but yum! This was really good. Crispy outside, soft inside. Not too spicy, and pretty quick/easy to make too. I made it exactly according to the directions really enjoyed it.

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Just made this for dinner and it was so good! Will be going into the rotation! Thank you for sharing it.

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    I am completely obsessed with this Chili Crunch Tofu recipe! It’s a vegan masterpiece that proves plant-based meals can be incredibly satisfying and bursting with flavor. The tofu is perfectly crispy on the outside and wonderfully tender on the inside, creating a delightful contrast of textures. The star of the show, however, is the chili crunch coating. It adds a spicy kick and a satisfying crunch that elevates the dish to a whole new level.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    This was so good! I made it with homemade vegan yum yum sauce, and WOW! Everyone loved it.

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Will definitely be making this one again! Crispy tofu loves a spicy, creamy sauce and this recipe delivered.

    Didn’t have Yum Yum sauce so used equal parts plain Greek yogurt and regular mayo. Served with an “Asian Cucumber Salad” – the touch of acidity worked well with the richness of the chili crunch sauce.

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    Wow..its delicious.Thankyou for this valuable recipe. Texture, color , taste all are amazing. For more such recipe you can also visit allHungry

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    Made tonight and it was super good! We were trying to figure out where the optional honey comes in?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Haha, me too! Cooking this right now but came on here to see if anyone else had asked already 😅

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    I made this last night and it was to die for! I haven’t made tofu in a while but I loved the method of cornstarch/oven to make it crispy. The only thing I would do differently next time is cut my tofu smaller so that it gets crunchier. I cut my tofu block into 2 pieces and then 12 cubes for each piece– I’d try to do 16 per piece next time!

    I cannot wait to make this again and to try your other tofu recipes! Thank you for such a yummy one.

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    This recipe was SO good. I struggle to find good dishes with tofu instead of meat. This sauce elevates it to a whole new level! I used chipotle aioli instead of yum yum. Delish!

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    This might very well be my new obsession! Absolutely delicious and SO easy to make! I love tofu, and this is one of the best recipes I’ve encountered! I didn’t feel like doing the cauliflower so I added some garlic rice/quinoa mix that I had and wow! Will do again, very very soon 😀

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    Spice up your dining experience with the delectable goodness of Chili Crunch Tofu! This backlink leads you to a mouthwatering recipe that promises a symphony of flavors. From the crispy texture to the zesty chili crunch, this dish is sure to be a crowd-pleaser

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      In reading this article, I was impressed by how well written and informative it was. My blog can be found here too. I invite you to visit it. It is full of fresh and useful information. I really appreciate it, keep the work continue.

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    Made the yum yum sauce from scratch and served with salad dressed with the cashew crunch sesame dressing. So good! For the yum yum sauce I did half Mayo and half non fat Greek yogurt and then added Zindrew chili sauce. So much flavor!

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    thanks for sharing this delicious and easy to make recipe, i’ll make it tonight soon can’t wait to make this tofu.