Deliciously smoky, sweet, and chewy, this Baked BBQ Tofu is super easy to make and is delicious alongside any meal or a great topper for salad, pasta, and more. Bake it, air fry it, pan cook it, or grill it, this protein-packed side dish will push its way right into the spotlight.
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Hey Internet, so, I just published the Best Vegan BBQ Sauce (if I do say so myself, thank you) and I wanted to tell you about one of my favorite ways to use it: as a marinade for tofu!
Tofu is so bland on its own, but it is the PERFECT start of any delicious meal. Whatever flavor you’d like use, tofu’s gotchu.
And it’s packed with protein, so it completes any meal perfectly. It’s especially delicious with some vegan mac and cheese (coming soon!) and crispy broccoli. :D
This recipe also includes instructions for air frying, pan cooking, and grilling your tofu, so chances are you’ll find a delicious, easy staple that works for you!
Ready to learn how to make awesome tofu that will please your palate and your family? Let’s go!
What You’ll Need
So here’s a shocker: you only need 2 ingredients for this recipe!
Just tofu and BBQ sauce!
Of course, I highly recommend my own BBQ sauce--it takes just 5 minutes to make and it’s totally delicious.
But, sigh, I guess store bought will work too. :’(
Just kidding. What do I always say? Use what you like!
You want super dry tofu for this recipe, so it can absorb all that delicious BBQ flavor.
I cheat and use Extra Firm or Super Firm tofu, which is super dense and chewy.
You can get the same effect by pressing firm tofu. I like this tofu press and not just because it has my first two initials on it. But two plates or cutting boards and a heavy object will work too.
TEXTURE TIP: If you’re looking to make tofu extra meaty and chewy, try the freezer method! Freeze your entire block of tofu (you don’t need to take it out of the packaging, but if you do, make sure to put it in an airtight freezer container or bag), thaw it, (freeze and thaw again if you REALLY want an amazing texture), and press it!
You can also use this marinate and bake method with tempeh or seitan, but this is a recipe for tofu so let’s just talk about that, ‘kay?
How to Make Baked BBQ Tofu
It’s super duper easy to make this tofu. Make sure to preheat your oven to about 425 degrees Fahrenheit or 218 degrees Celsius. Check the following section for other methods.
First, slice or cube your tofu into desired shape and size. I just cut them in these slab-like strips, but do what you gotta do. :)
Lay the tofu next to each other in a rimmed baking dish. Use a basting brush to add the barbeque sauce in a THICK layer (you can also use a spoon or spatula).
Then flip over each piece and add more BBQ sauce. This and the first process I described should use about a half cup of BBQ sauce.
Next, cover and bake your tofu for about 20 minutes.
When the 20 minutes are up, baste on another layer of sauce, flip tofu pieces carefully (I like to use a cookie spatula, and add a layer of sauce to that side too.
Now bake it uncovered for 20 minutes, cooking the tofu for 40 minutes total. I find this is the right amount of time to get the texture I like, but cook it for as long or short as you need to get the texture you like.
Let the tofu cool for a moment before removing from the pan and serving with extra BBQ sauce!
How to Make BBQ Tofu in the Air Fryer
Want a crispier end product? I love the texture of air-fried baked tofu.
It’s definitely faster than the oven method, but keep in mind you may have to do it in batches if you don’t have enough surface area to fit your tofu in a single layer.
It also does harden the sauce. To impart more BBQ flavor, you may want to marinate your tofu in the sauce for an hour or more before air frying, or just serve it with more BBQ sauce when cooked.
To make this tofu in the air fryer, follow the same cutting and basting instructions as above.
Arrange tofu in a single layer. This process enables both sides to get crispy.
Air fry your tofu in a single layer for about 15 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 205 degrees Celsius,
Serve with more BBQ sauce!
Other Cooking Methods
You can also grill or pan cook this BBQ tofu.
Grilling will be similar to air frying and it will harden your sauce a bit. Not in a gross way, it just won’t be as saucy.
Solve this problem by marinating your tofu in the sauce for at least an hour before cooking, and serve with extra sauce after getting those sexy grill marks. :D (Can you tell I wish I had a grill?)
I recommend starting by cooking it on aluminum (or a grill basket) foil to cook on some of that sauce, then searing it for grill marks after it’s mostly done. You could also cook it in the oven or on stove top partially, then grill it.
Pan cooking will give you a similar texture to baking, but make sure to add extra sauce and use a nonstick pan. You can pan fry it in oil if you wish, but I’m afraid I have no advice on that as I don’t cook with oil.
What to Serve this Baked BBQ Tofu with
I love this BBQ baked tofu with anything! It’s really good on top of salads, with rice, chopped up on top of pizza (with some homemade vegan cheddar melted on top!), in a sandwich, with some potatoes, etc.
After we photographed it for this blog post, we ate it with some vegan mac and cheese we made in the instant pot (coming soon!) and some air fried broccolini (baby broccoli) and it was PHENOMENAL.
I highly recommend enjoying this delicious BBQ tofu any way you like, and when you do, please tag me on Instagram or your preferred social media platform. It makes my day when people make and enjoy my recipes!
And if you're looking for more tofu dishes, check out this post I made with all my best tofu recipes.
As always, I hope you love this recipe--I know I do, and Mr. Zardyplants does too.
This baked BBQ tofu is:
- And delicious on pizza, veggies, potatoes, vegan burgers, or served on the side as a dipping sauce!
Let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe or tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment–ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!