Salt and Pepper Tofu

5 Oct

When I was in 6th grade my teacher, Mrs. Dagle, gave the class a get-to-know-you survey. She asked for everyone’s favorite color, book, food, etc. I remember answering my favorite food as “anything except tofu.” I hated the texture of tofu for years-I would often buy it and leave it in the fridge for weeks until I finally cooked it, only to throw half away. Salt and pepper tofu was the first recipe I tried where I really enjoyed the texture and the taste. Something about frying tofu to give it a crunchy texture made it more palatable to me.

I bookmarked this recipe years ago and it’s become a favorite for busy weeknights. I’ve also experimented with cooking the tofu in sauce afterwards, but I prefer to leave it crunchy just the way it is. Feel free to use it in other dishes or as a beginning step to making barbeque tofu.

Salt and Pepper Tofu


  • 1 block extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt (use your best salt for this, I like himalayan pink salt)
  • vegetable or canola oil for frying
  • 1 large hot pepper, diced


1. Layer a dishtowel, several paper towels, tofu, more paper towel, and another dish towel on counter. Place something heavy on top and wait about 30 minutes for tofu to release it’s excess water. Slice into 1″ cubes. Combine cornstarch, salt, and pepper in a bowl, and toss tofu to coat.

Salt and Pepper Tofu

2. Heat about 1 cup vegetable oil in a medium pan over medium heat until you can see ripples in the oil. Carefully drop coated tofu in, spreading apart so they don’t cook together in one massive chunk. Extra water in the tofu can make the oil pop, which is why it’s important to drain it. Cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes, then flip to cook the other side.


3. Drain tofu on a paper towels after cooking.

Salt and Pepper Tofu

4. Return to clean pan after draining and saute with hot pepper for a minute or two.

5. Serve with rice. I served mine with a homemade teriyaki sauce for dipping. Try this with Rogue’s Brutal Bitter IPA.

Salt and Pepper Tofu

Salt and Pepper Tofu


15 Responses to “Salt and Pepper Tofu”

  1. liveblissful November 6, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    This looks great, I will be definitely trying this!

  2. Jenny Marie November 7, 2012 at 5:07 am #

    Yum yum yum! I love salt & pepper tofu so much 😀

  3. October 5, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

    Need this in my life. Love how simple and easy the recipe is 🙂

    • avocadosandales October 5, 2015 at 3:09 pm #

      It’s so easy and so delicious! I always think one block of tofu is enough, but it never is!

  4. vegantreasurehunter October 5, 2015 at 3:38 pm #

    Oh wow this looks incredible!

  5. Sophestry October 6, 2015 at 2:39 am #

    Would this work with regular flour? If so I am making this asap!

    • avocadosandales October 6, 2015 at 6:59 am #

      Possibly, but another starch (like potato or tapioca) could also work as well!

  6. mkcasey80 October 6, 2015 at 7:19 am #

    This looks wonderful! I remember the first time I had this dish was at a little Vietnamese restaurant in the area. I loved it!


    • avocadosandales October 6, 2015 at 7:22 am #

      We always have it when we visit my in laws at a great Chinese restaurant in the area. It’s awesome to be able to recreate it at home!

      • mkcasey80 October 6, 2015 at 10:31 am #

        I am going to try and do this next week. I can taste it right now.

  7. Lili March 31, 2018 at 1:24 pm #

    Is there any way to make the tofu crispy and oil free?


  1. Marjoram & Coriander Spiced Rice with Lentil and Cumin & Coriander Fried Tofu | liveblissful - November 10, 2012

    […] dinner was inspired by a fellow blogger, Avocado and Ales. Her recipe for Salt & Pepper Tofu looked so good, so I had to try it. I just added cumin, chili and coriander to the tofu, before […]

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