bella eats pan-glazed tofu

I’ve had several comments and questions about my pan-glazed tofu, so I thought I would do a tutorial post to go through my method.  If you’ve seen this before, I apologize.  I just thought it would be easier to have the method in one condensed post rather than buried in several…

I originally found this recipe in Jack Bishop’s A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen, which is probably the most-used cookbook in our house.  My hubb and I have tried many different ways of cooking stovetop tofu (amazingly enough we’ve never baked it!  I know!) and were never happy with the texture.  We love the feel and taste of the tofu from our local Chinese restaurant but I just know its deep-fried, which I refuse to do.  So I was really excited when I flipped through the Winter section of Jack Bishop’s lovely book and found several tofu recipes, all using this method, with Jack claiming that it was the best tofu he’d ever cooked.  We tried it, and had to agree.  And for a bonus, its really quick!  I can have tofu prepared and on our plates 25 minutes after removing it from its packaging.  Gotta love that.

There are endless variations that can be made to the glaze, you can see some of mine here, here and here. I think this one is my favorite though…

Bella Eats Tofu Glaze [for 12oz of firm or extra firm tofu]

  • 1/4 cup water or veggie broth
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • pinch of salt

The glaze has 2 main components that you should keep in any variation you make:

  1. liquid (deglazes the pan and helps coat the tofu)
  2. syrup (thickens the glaze when heated in the pan as the liquid evaporates)

*The liquid can be water, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, broth, orange juice, or any combination of the above.

* For the syrup I’ve used both honey and maple syrup – both turn out well.

Bella Eats Pan-Glazed Tofu Method [inspired by A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen, by Jack Bishop]

I use firm or extra firm tofu for this recipe.  I think that extra firm comes out the best, with a firm but silky texture inside and glazed crispiness on the outside.

  1. Cut tofu into 1/2″ thick slabs.  Size can vary, but thickness should always be around 1/2″.  Any thinner and it gets tough.
  2. Place tofu pieces on 3 layers of paper towels.  Put 3 more paper towels across the top and press down on tofu firmly with the palm of your hand, until paper towels are saturated.  Repeat once more.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp oil on medium heat in non-stick skillet.
  4. When oil is hot, place tofu in pan.  You may need to do two batches if your pan isn’t big enough to fit all of the tofu.
  5. This is the hardest part…LEAVE IT ALONE!  Don’t touch the tofu for 5-6 minutes.  No stirring, no pan shaking, no flipping.  Just let it sit and sizzle.  After 5-6 minutes, check the bottom of the tofu for color.  Once it is a beautiful golden brown, flip it.
  6. And again, LEAVE IT ALONE!  Let it sizzle on the second side for an additional 5-6 minutes, until golden brown.
  7. Meanwhile, mix all of your glaze ingredients together.
  8. When tofu is golden on both sides, pour glaze over tofu into pan.  Now you can stir, coating the tofu with the glaze.  Let simmer for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all liquid as evaporated and the glaze has thickened.  Remove from pan and serve, pouring leftover glaze in pan over the tofu.

Sorry for the repeat of pictures…

tofu after first flip

tofu after first flip

tofu simmering in glaze

tofu simmering in glaze

tofu ready to serve

tofu ready to serve

If I’m using the tofu in a stir fry with veggies, I cook the tofu first, remove from pan, cook the veggies in pan, then add the tofu back in when the veggies are tender along with a sauce of some sort.


tofu veggie stir fry



28 responses to “bella eats pan-glazed tofu

  1. I am already planning to make this tonight! The BF is going to bar trivia night so I get to experiment with Tofu. He will probable learn to like it once I test it out.

    Thanks for this post!

  2. thanks for the tutorial! when it comes to tofu i definitely need literal step-by-step directions so this really helped!

  3. Great tutorial!! I’ll have to try this method soon. I love the glaze concept 🙂

  4. tried baked tofu for the first time last night, now i must try your version!!!!

  5. Thanks for the instructions! Man, I’m also so intimidated by cooking tofu, just because I think you can make it really gross, ha. I think I’m gonna try this sometime soon. Eee!

  6. Thanks for posting this! I was just wondering what to make for dinner and I think this might be it! 🙂

  7. Sweet and Fit

    I am with Veggie Girl! I love stir-fry…. but every time I tried to fry tofu, I screwed it up. Thanks so much for this tutorial, your finished meal looking absolutely wonderful =)

  8. I have been wanting to try tofu for a while now but had no idea how to make it yummy! THANK YOU SO Much for this!! !:)

  9. Thanks for the technique. I”m never happy with my stove top tofu. Looks amazing!

  10. so many times i burn the tofu i bake, so thanks for the lesson on making it in a pan! of course… your photos are amazing!

  11. Thanks! I am definitely going to try this. Can’t wait!

  12. Thanks for the tutorial – I’ve never baked or pan fried tofu before, just tossed it in the mix as I went.


  13. Thanks! This is on my to-make list now!

  14. Thanks for this! I always bake my tofu, but I’ll have to try this way too!

  15. Thank you so much! I’ve kept a vegetarian diet for a while now but have always had no clue what to do with tofu. Your method looks fairly simple though!

  16. Thank you for sharing– I plan on using your recipe tonight! :o)

  17. Thank you Andrea. This sounds fairly simple. Tofu started bothering my stomach a few years ago, but I think my intolerance has subsided. Isn’t it strange how our bodies reject things sometime? Anyway, I really want to try this recipe soon.

    PS – Your camera takes amazing pictures. Very vivid colors.

  18. Thanks for sharing the recipe! I’ve had this at a few restaurants and always wondered how to make it 🙂

  19. I love the tutorial. It’s so great and I love the pictures!

  20. Thanks for the tutorial!! Looks great and sounds easy 🙂

  21. Yum, yum! Thanks for the tutorial. I’ll be trying this asap!

  22. runningwithfood

    Your tofu looks amazing! Thanks for sharing the how-to!

  23. Just made this…It’s AWESOME!

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