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Crispy Tofu with Black Pepper Sauce

Sometimes tofu can be boring and tasteless, but not in this fried tofu recipe! The crispy vegetarian bean curd is so loaded with flavor, you'll never shy away from tofu again. —Nick Iverson, Denver, Colorado
  • Total Time
    Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
  • Makes
    4 servings


  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 4 green onions
  • 8 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 8 ounces fresh sugar snap peas (about 2 cups), trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh gingerroot


  • Mix first four ingredients. Mince white parts of green onions; thinly slice green parts.
  • Cut tofu into 1/2-in. cubes; pat dry with paper towels. Toss tofu with cornstarch. In a large skillet, heat 4 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add tofu; cook until crisp and golden brown, 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan; drain on paper towels.
  • In same pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add peas; stir-fry until crisp-tender, 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan.
  • In same pan, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. Add pepper; cook 30 seconds. Add garlic, ginger and minced green onions; stir-fry 30-45 seconds. Stir in soy sauce mixture; cook and stir until slightly thickened. Remove from heat; stir in tofu and peas. Sprinkle with sliced green onions.

Fried Tofu Recipe Tips

What is the best oil to fry tofu in?

We use canola oil to fry the tofu in this recipe, but you can use any other neutral-flavored oil that has a high smoke point, like vegetable oil or peanut oil. (Learn more about the best cooking oils for frying.)

How do you fry tofu without sticking?

To prevent the tofu from sticking, use a nonstick skillet or a cast-iron pan with a generous amount of oil. Make sure the oil is nice and hot before adding the tofu, and allow the tofu to sear in the pan for a few minutes before flipping it. We also recommend using firm or extra-firm tofu. (Here are other mistakes to avoid when cooking tofu.)

What do you eat with fried tofu?

Serve fried tofu with hot cooked rice and/or stir-fried vegetables to make it a complete meal! This recipe uses Asian-inspired flavors, but you can also serve fried tofu with buffalo sauce or barbecue sauce for a different flavor profile. Check out our best tofu recipes for more inspiration!

Research contributed by Sarah Fischer, Taste of Home Culinary Assistant
Nutrition Facts
1 cup: 316 calories, 24g fat (2g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 583mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 2g fiber), 7g protein.

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  • wendy
    Mar 16, 2021

    more like one serving!

    Dec 29, 2020

    This was excellent. I will categorically make again. Spicy indeed which I enhanced with hot sauce--- truly hot enough with the Chili Garlic Sauce. I would double the recipe so I have more leftovers.

  • Emily
    Jun 11, 2020

    Made this recipe last night, absolutely delicious. A little on the spicy side, but I think that likely depends on the type of chili-garlic sauce used. I will say that 4-servings is probably a stretch (more like 2-3). Will be making again (and again).

  • ray87
    Nov 18, 2019

    Made this tonight and really liked the crispness of the tofu. Will definitely make again. Added baby bok choy and some shredded cabbage

  • Summy
    May 4, 2019

    The first time that I made this, I made it exactly according to the recipe. I squeezed the tofu dry, and it soaked up so much flavor, it was crazy! I have made this, and doubled it (for me, a single person), every week now for months. I have substituted shrimp for the tofu, cabbage/carrots/onions/celery for the snap peas, and often just use up whatever veggies I have for a vegetable side dish, and vary the use of the chili garlic sauce depending upon what heat I want in my meal. I now top my dish with salted roasted peanuts. I can't seem to get enough of this dish, no matter how I make it. Any protein would work well with this. I've subscribed to TOH since it was first published (1992?) and this is my favorite recipe EVER. Love, love, love it.

  • noelfavorite
    Apr 9, 2019

    This recipe was great! It was super yummy and easy enough, plus had not too many ingredients. My boyfriend and I both loved it. I did not succeed in getting the tofu "crispy," but I think that's because I didn't get enough moisture out of the tofu. Also, I did not bother removing the tofu from the pan and stir fried the peas, onions, etc. along with the tofu. Delicious and will make again.