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How to Cook Tofu in a Pan

If you’ve never liked tofu, you’re not alone. But many people with a similar distaste have changed their minds after tasting pan-cooked tofu. As such, the idea that this protein-rich food is strictly for vegans is slowly becoming obsolete. And today, you’ll find tofu in various regular recipes around you.

Cooking tofu in a pan is the easiest way to prepare it and comes with minimal instructions. Plus, it’s also flexible, as you can stick with the plain flavor or influence it with your preferred seasonings. Whichever you use, keep in mind that trying pan-cooked tofu is an unforgettable experience. And that you can enjoy it in noodles, rice, veggie, and stir-fry dishes or with spice sauce toppings.

Tofu Nutrition Facts

How to Cook Tofu in a Pan (3)

Why Cook Tofu in a Pan?

Many may wonder why bother cooking tofu in a pan? Well, lots of reasons would prompt you to consider this recipe, like these;

It’s Easy- Pan-cooked tofu takes very little time and effort to prepare. Most times, you’ll be done with the recipe in less than 20 minutes.

It’s Tasty- Whether seasoned with salt and pepper or combined with soy sauce, frying tofu in the pan is delicious. And you get a good hint of crispiness as well.

It’s Flexible- You can prepare the recipe in numerous ways or cut the tofu into different shapes and sizes.

Pan-Fried Tofu- What You’ll Need

For this recipe, the requirements are pretty simple, and you’ll barely have to seek something fancy or extra. Most times, all you need is;

Firm or Extra-Firm Tofu

Never use soft and silken tofu for this pan-cooked recipe, as they can’t hold shape well. And if you’re using firm tofu, you may need to drain it by pressing it against layers of paper towel. But if you use it as is, it still works well.


Consider virgin or extra virgin olive so that you can impart the highest of flavor to the tofu. Still, you can also use any other kind of strong-flavored oil; canola, coconut, grapeseed, avocado, etc. Another helpful tip is also to include sesame oil, but never as a replacement. For instance, you can use olive oil alone, but toasted sesame oil is primarily a flavor-supporting ingredient.


A pepper and salt combo works with this recipe, but you have the liberty to influence the flavor as you please. Other seasonings and spices can work, like chili powder, smoked paprika, black pepper, tamari, or curry. And if you’re not shy about imparting deep flavor, consider soy sauce or shoyu, the smoked version.

Steps to Cook Tofu in a Pan

Once you have all the ingredients, the next step is to prepare the recipe;

Dice the Tofu

Slice the tofu into sheets of large squares and dice these squares to make large cubes about two inches wide. Make sure the dices are dry, as frying wet tofu would result in a mushy product.

Fry and Flip

Put the tofu dices in a pan with cold oil, and set the pan to medium-high heat. Leave it to cook for about five to six minutes, by which the cooked side will be golden brown.

Once that side is ready, take the pan off the stove and flip each dice in it. Then, return to the heat and cook the second side for another five to six minutes. To minimize the oil spitting, take the pan down before flipping.

Season the Tofu

Once the cooking time is reached, season the cubes to your preference and leave them on the heat for two minutes, flip, and cook the other side for the same amount of time. Then, serve as you please.

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How to Cook Tofu in a Pan..

Pan-Fried Tofu (4 Servings)

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  • 14 ounces extra-firm tofu, diced
  • Two tablespoons olive oil, extra-virgin
  • Two tablespoons soy sauce
  • Two tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • Salt
  • Chopped chives
  • Sesame seeds, toasted


  1. Put the olive oil in a pan and arrange the tofu cubes into it. Sprinkle some pinches of salt on the top.
  2. Place the pan over medium-high heat and let the cubes cook for about five to six minutes. Then, remove from the heat and flip the cubes with tongs.
  3. Return the pan to heat and let the dices cook for another five to six minutes. Then, remove the pan again and drizzle with the soy sauce and toasted sesame oil.
  4. Return the pan, turn the heat low, and cook for an extra two minutes. Flip and cook for another additional two minutes. By this time, the tofu cubes will be dark. Serve hot.

A visual recipe can be found here.

  • Author: Bobby