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5 from 4 votes
Plate of Sesame Tofu and Rice with chopsticks.
Pan-Fried Sticky Sesame Tofu
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
25 mins

This mouth-watering sticky sesame tofu is made with crispy pan-fried tofu chunks in a sweet and savory sauce! An absolutely delicious vegan dinner that can be on the table in under 30 minutes.

Course: Entree
Cuisine: American, Chinese
Servings: 4
Calories: 340 kcal
Author: Alissa Saenz
For the Sticky Sesame Sauce
  • cup soy sauce
  • cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce (optional), or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chilled water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
For the Crispy Tofu
  • ¼ cup peanut oil, plus more as needed
  • ¼ cup cornstarch, plus more as needed
  • 1 (15 ounce) package super-firm tofu*, cut into approximately 1-inch cubes
For Serving
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
  • Cooked rice
To Make the Sauce
  1. Combine the soy sauce, maple syrup, water, rice vinegar, sriracha, ginger, and garlic in a small saucepan and place it over high heat.

  2. Bring the sauce to a boil, lower the heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes.

  3. When the sauce is almost finished simmering, stir the cold water and cornstarch together in a small container, then add it to the sauce.

  4. Bring the sauce back up to a simmer. It should start to thicken quickly — remove it from heat once it does.

  5. Stir the sesame oil into the sauce.

Pan-Fry the Tofu
  1. While the sauce simmers, generously coat the bottom of a large nonstick skillet with oil (at least ⅛ inch deep) and place it over medium heat.

  2. While the oil heats up, place the cornstarch into a small bowl. Add a few tofu cubes and gently stir to coat all sides in cornstarch.

  3. Place the tofu cubes in the hot oil. Continue dredging tofu cubes in cornstarch and adding them to the oil, placing as many as you can fit into the skillet without crowding. (Cook the tofu in batches if it won't all fit).

  4. Cook the tofu pieces for about 10 minutes, flipping them once or twice until they're crispy all over.

  5. Once the tofu has finished cooking, let the skillet cool down slightly**, then pour the sauce over the tofu and toss to combine.

Recipe Notes

* Extra-firm tofu can also be used, but will need to be pressed for about 20 minutes before using.

** Most of the oil should have been absorbed by the tofu by now, but if you still have more than a thin coating in the skillet you can either (carefully!) blot it out with a paper towel, or combine the tofu and sauce in another cooking vessel — you can use the saucepan you cooked the sauce in if it's large enough.

Nutrition information does not include rice.

Nutrition Facts
Pan-Fried Sticky Sesame Tofu
Amount Per Serving
Calories 340 Calories from Fat 179
% Daily Value*
Fat 19.9g31%
Saturated Fat 3.5g18%
Sodium 1216mg51%
Potassium 294mg8%
Carbohydrates 31.6g11%
Fiber 1.7g7%
Sugar 16.8g19%
Protein 10.6g21%
Calcium 258mg26%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.