A Stir-Fried Tofu Recipe Kids Will Eat (and love)

This feels like a quick little recipe that I should just tack onto a social media post or something, but I intentionally want to let it live here on the blog.

Why? Because this is a method you’re going to want to reference all the time – especially when the family gets hooked on tofu. This is the gateway recipe that finally solidified my kid’s acceptance of tofu – so it’s a big deal!

For a good long while now we’ve been consciously trying to eat less meat and I’ve had to look elsewhere for our protein. No problem: we love lentils, embraced the year of the pulse, and eggs have always been a mainstay. Tofu was always an ingredient that I really enjoyed but no one else really got excited about – until now.

I developed this recipe for Sesame Stir-Fried Tofu while working on my last book, and I have to say, it was an instant hit. We toss it into fried rice, combine it with vegetables for a stir-fry, serve it up over noodles and add it to enormous Asian-style buddha bowls. It’s very versatile and I suggest you simply incorporate it into your meals however suits your fancy.

No matter how I am serving it, my eldest leans over the dish to scoop himself just a little extra tofu each time. And there’s never any leftovers.

I start with a firm, organic tofu and cut the block into four, as pictured above. I then place these smaller blocks on half of a clean tea towel and fold the other half over, so that it is covering the tofu. On top I set a heavy cast iron pan or solid wood cutting board to press out a bit more of the juices….and make way for the marinade that is coming.

After the tofu has been pressed for about 15 minutes, I cut the four pieces into 1/2 inch strips, as pictured above. They don’t have to be exact, we just want to have plenty of surface area for maximum crispy edges.

Now you could just salt the tofu and fry it up in a pan here and now, but I toss it with a simple marinade to give it an irresistible flavour. You can use what you have on hand – mirin, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce, chili oil – anything to give it a little punch.

Once the tofu has marinated for about 10 minutes (more is fine too), I preheat a skillet and brush the bottom with oil. I find a preheated, well-oiled wok works well, as does a non-stick pan, or a seasoned cast iron skillet. Use what you have; the important part is to preheat the oil so that it sizzles when you add the tofu. This gives our little morsels crispy edges, a highly desirable trait in pressed bean curd!

Once the tofu is golden brown on both sides, it’s ready to be enjoyed. Stay tuned, because I’ve got a recipe for a big, bountiful vegetable and vermicelli salad bowl coming soon to the blog and it’s the perfect dish for showcasing a fresh batch of Sesame Stir-Fried Tofu.

Sesame Stir-Fried Tofu

A simple and versatile way to prepare tofu. Serve as a side to rice, noodles or stir-fried vegetables.
4.67 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Essential Ingredient: tofu
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 5 people
Calories: 123kcal
Author: Aimee


  • 1 pound firm organic tofu
  • 1 large lime juiced
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • Sesame seeds to garnish


  • Cut the tofu into four pieces and lay flat on half of a clean tea towel. Cover with the other half of the towel. Place a heavy cutting board or cast iron pan on top and press the tofu for about 10-15 minutes, whatever you have time for.
  • Cut the tofu into strips about 1/2 inch thick and 1 inch long. In a medium bowl, stir together the lime juice, soy sauce and sesame oil. Add the pieces of tofu and toss gently to coat them in the marinade. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes, then drain.
  • Preheat a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Brush with a teaspoon of canola oil. Add about half of the tofu to the pan (it should sizzle with it hits the oil) and cook for 2 minutes. Turn each piece of tofu over and fry for an additional 2 minutes. Tofu should be golden brown on both sides.
  • Transfer to a bowl. Top with sesame seeds if desired and serve at once as a side to rice or noodles.


Calories: 123kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 639mg | Potassium: 29mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 7IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 119mg | Iron: 1mg


About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

Subscribe For Free!

Like reading this post?
Get more delivered to your email inbox.


  1. Great post, Aimee! I’m always looking for a new tofu recipe.

  2. What brand of tofu do you like?

  3. Frederique says

    Yay! I’ve been doing this for years but I marinate mine in only a little olive oil, salt and pepper and then spread it out on parchement paper and bake it in the oven at 400F for 20mins! it becomes crispy and akin to the deep friend tofu they serve on Pad thai! i then add it to the veggies I stir fried and smother it in peanut sauce! It’s my daughter’s favorite meal! Yay for kids eating tofu! The pressing is really what makes it awesome!

    • I need to revisit baked tofu. I’ve tried it a few times and I found it left the tofu so dry I could barely swallow it!

      • I feel you! It’s a guessing game but once you know what temp and how much time your oven takes to make it great, it’s perfect! The peanut sauce slathered on top definitely makes it less dry than if you were to serve it on the side!

  4. Cathinottawa says

    Great recipe – everyone enjoyed it and both kids packed the leftovers for their lunches tomorrow. The only reason I didn’t add sesame seeds at the end was because I used them all up making a double batch of your oat balls (adapted to be nut free) over the weekend!

  5. 5 stars
    I’ve been using tofu and trying new tofu recipes for years. When I see “crispy” I roll my eyes but to my surprise, this recipe actually produced crispy edges. I made it exactly per the directions and was very pleased.

  6. It looks very yummy.

    Thanks for sharing such a delicious recipe with us.

  7. Wow, this makes me want to go out and get that tofu. Which isn’t a feeling I’ve had in… eons. I will keep this recipe in mind. It really sounds good. And if the kids eat it, then I am sure I’ll enjoy it too. Greetings from Germany, ubi

  8. 5 stars
    I love this recipe. I have been using a baked tofu recipe for years, but could never convince my 17 year old son who eats anything to love it as much as everyone else does. He loves this and we often use it in various versions of a Buddha Bowl.

  9. 5 stars
    I’m a longtime tofu eater and I love to cook. I found this recipe about a year ago and I’ve been preparing it this way ever since – it’s perfect. After a year…here are 2 ideas to modify:
    -fry in coconut oil
    -when finished frying tofu, take it out of your pan, turn down the heat and pour in the marinade. Add a T of almond butter and 2 T water to make the most sublime gravy. This makes a nice addition to Buddha bowls or pouring over the tofu if serving on a platter.

  10. Julie Holley says

    3 stars
    Easy and I liked it, but unfortunately my grandkids didn’t😕.

  11. ​Dr Hemapriya MBBS,AFIH says

    Super cool recipe! Looks wholesome and perfect!

  12. 5 stars
    Thank you for giving good services

Speak Your Mind

Recipe Rating