Honey Garlic Tofu (Super Easy Pan Fried Recipe)

Crispy pan-fried tofu glazed with hot honey garlic sauce! Learn how to make this easy honey garlic tofu recipe with tips and tricks to make tofu taste good.

pan fried honey garlic tofu with rice in a blue bowl.

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5 stars

My husband went vegetarian this year so I’ve been looking for tofu recipes we can all enjoy. This was absolutely amazing! Even great cold the next day. Thank you so much!

About sesame garlic tofu

Honey glaze sticky tofu can be tricky to make. It may turn out either bland or a soggy mess if not done properly.

I’ve been there and have failed multiple times. That was until I figured out this great way to make honey soy garlic tofu.

Even the meat lovers among my family and friends (whose favorites are recipes like sesame chicken stir-fry and chicken mince stir-fry) love this sweet and spicy tofu.

Not a tofu person?

This sesame garlic tofu will change your mind. It is not only an easy recipe to make but also one of the healthiest ways to eat tofu.

Honey glazed tofu can be paired with rice and stir-fried vegetables for a sumptuous plant-based tofu dinner. A simple cozy dinner that wouldn’t take you more than 30 minutes of active cooking time.

closeup view of sesame garlic tofu on a white plate.

Why you’ll love this easy honey glazed tofu

  • Healthy one pan tofu stir fry.
  • Simple ingredients you probably have in your kitchen.
  • Super quick dinner for busy weeknights.
  • Easy 5-ingredient savory sauce with tons of flavor.
  • Crispy honey garlic tofu bites, achieved with minimum amount of oil.
  • Lots of sticky honey garlic sauce to eat with steamed rice.

Video

Ingredients

(You can find the exact measurements and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this page.)

labelled ingredients for honey garlic tofu recipe.
  • Extra firm tofu (also called tau kwa)- 2 blocks, 200 grams each.
  • Corn flour, pepper and salt to coat tofu.
  • Peanut oil– for frying. Any cooking oil is fine as long as it has a high smoking point.
  • Fresh Garlic cloves.
  • Toasted sesame seeds and green onions for garnish.
  • Sauce ingredients:
    • Raw honey
    • Hoisin sauce– a soy based sauce that gives the characteristic flavor to this recipe. It can be replaced with oyster sauce if you’re not on a vegetarian diet.
    • Soy sauce– opt for healthier low sodium soy sauce.
    • Vinegar– Rice vinegar is fine, or you can use apple cider vinegar instead (a personal preference).
    • Chili flakes, pepper and salt.
    • Splash of water.

How to make honey garlic tofu: step by step

How to press tofu

Unlike the chili garlic tofu, for this recipe, tofu has to be pressed to remove excess liquid. This is the secret to crispy tofu.

Use 2 absorbent kitchen towels, one on top and the other below the tofu blocks. If you don’t have a tofu press, place a flat heavy object like a cast iron pan on top. Keep aside for 20 minutes.

tofu being pressed in a tofu press for honey soy tofu stir fry.

How to slice tofu

Slice each tofu block horizontally into half. Slice each half into 9 pieces.

Slicing tofu into thinner pieces like this instead of perfect cubes makes them easier to flip and fry.

More surface area exposed to oil = crispier tofu.

How to pan fry tofu

Place cubed tofu in a large bowl. Sprinkle corn flour, black pepper and salt on the tofu slices and toss gently until all the pieces are covered.

It’s a tiny step, but seasoning the corn flour adds to the flavor.

Heat oil in a wide pan. Place tofu in hot oil in a single layer without overcrowding the pan. Pan-fry on medium-high heat and do not stir for 4-5 minutes. 

Flip and cook the other side for 5 to 6 minutes, again without stirring. If they’re not fried to a golden brown, flip again and fry 3-5 minutes more. This way the tofu cubes turn out perfectly browned and crispy.

At this stage, the fried tofu will be hard and seem not-so-appetizing (as one of my readers pointed out in the comments). But you’ll have to finish the recipe with the sauce to realize its awesomeness!

Transfer the fried tofu to a bowl. Pour out the excess oil from the pan.

How to make hot honey garlic sauce

Mix all ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl. Keep aside.

Heat the same pan used for frying tofu. A little oil sticking to the bottom of the pan is enough to fry garlic.

Fry the garlic on low heat for about 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in the prepared sauce and bring up the flame.

Once the spicy honey garlic sauce comes to a rolling boil, gently drop in the tofu pieces and mix.

Simmer until the sauce thickens.

pan fried tofu simmering in honey garlic sauce.

Once it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, turn off the heat.

pan fried honey garlic tofu with thickened sauce in a spoon.

Garnish the sticky tofu with toasted sesame seeds and green onions.

sesame garlic tofu being garnished with sesame seeds.

Tips to make the best sticky tofu

  1. Wok: This recipe requires a good quality non-stick wok or pan. Or else the corn flour tends to stick to the bottom. (Thanks to Sam, one of the readers, for pointing it out!)
  2. Oil: If you’re using a regular pan (without non-stick coating) use double the quantity of oil, 1/4 cup for this recipe.
  3. Pressing: If you’re in a hurry, you can save 10 minutes of pressing time by first slicing tofu as mentioned above and then pressing the slices. Water can be pressed out of sliced tofu faster than with the whole block.
  4. Honey: Though everyone else is happy with the level of sweetness in this recipe, I personally feel that honey can be reduced by ½ tablespoon. You can do that if you feel the same, too πŸ™‚
  5. Soy sauce: For a deeper color and flavor, replace 2 tablespoons of soy sauce with dark soy sauce.
  6. Sesame oil: Add a teaspoon of sesame oil to the sauce for more flavor and glaze.
honey glazed tofu on a white plate with chopsticks.

What to serve with crispy pan fried tofu

honey soy sticky tofu with rice in a blue bowl with chopsticks.

Sesame garlic tofu is a flavorful dish that pairs well with a variety of side dishes.

  1. Steamed Rice or Rice Noodles: This is a classic choice that provides a neutral base for the flavorful tofu. Brown rice, jasmine rice, or even quinoa can work well.
  2. Stir-Fried Vegetables: A colorful mix of stir-fried vegetables like broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, and snap peas would be a great addition. You can stir-fry them with a light sauce or simply steam them for a healthier option.
  3. Steamed Bok Choy: This mild, leafy green vegetable complements the bold flavors of the tofu and adds a nice crunch. That’s the reason tofu bok choy stir fry tastes so good.
  4. Edamame: A simple preparation of steamed or boiled edamame sprinkled with a little sea salt can be a nutritious and easy-to-make side dish.
  5. Soba Noodles: Soba noodles with a sesame sauce can be a great alternative to rice. They’re hearty and provide a nice contrast to the tofu.
  6. Cucumber Salad: Sliced cucumbers tossed with a light vinaigrette or soy-based dressing can provide a refreshing element to the meal.
  7. Miso Soup: A warm bowl of miso soup with some tofu cubes and seaweed can add a comforting element to the meal.
  8. Fried Rice: Whip up a quick batch of healthy fried red rice with vegetables for a more substantial side dish.
  9. Spring Rolls or Egg Rolls: You can dip them into the sweet and savory honey garlic sauce for a fun and tasty experience.

More tofu recipes

pan fried honey garlic tofu with rice in a blue bowl.

Honey Garlic Tofu Recipe

Crispy pan-fried tofu glazed with hot honey garlic sauce! Learn how to make this easy honey garlic tofu recipe with tips and tricks to make tofu taste so good!
Author: Sheeba
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course dinner, LUNCH, Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Chinese
Servings 4
Calories 315 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 400 gms tofu (14 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons cornflour
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 5 cloves garlic finely chopped

Sauce ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup water

Garnish

  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion

Instructions
 

Press tofu

  • Remove tofu blocks from the packaging and place them on a kitchen towel. Place another towel on top of tofu. If you don't have a tofu press, place a heavy flat object like a cast iron pan on top. Keep it aside for about 20 minutes.

Prepare the sauce

  • Mix all the ingredients for the sauce and keep aside.

Slice and season tofu

  • Slice each block horizontally into half and then each half into 9 pieces. (check out the pictures in the post above)
    Place them in a bowl and sprinkle with cornflour, pepper and salt. Toss until all the pieces are coated with the cornflour mixture.

Pan fry tofu

  • Heat oil in a pan and fry the tofu in batches. Fry on medium-high flame for about 4-5 minutes each side until both the larger sides are browned. Drain and keep aside.
  • Remove the excess oil from the pan and add garlic. (the oil stuck to the pan is enough to fry the garlic). Fry on medium-low flame for about 2 minutes.
  • Add the sauce and bring it to a boil. Add the fried tofu, mix well and simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes. The sauce is done when it becomes thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and green onions. Enjoy!

Video

Notes

  1. Do this to reduce tofu pressing time to 10 minutes: Slice tofu first and then lay the slices flat and press as mentioned above. Water can be pressed out of sliced tofu faster than with the whole block.
  2. This recipe requires a good quality non-stick wok or pan. Or else the corn flour tends to stick to the bottom.
  3. If you’re using a regular pan (without non-stick coating) use double the quantity of oil, 1/4 cup for this recipe.
  4. Honey can be reduced by ½ tablespoon if you want to reduce the sweetness.
  5. For a deeper color and flavor, replace 2 tablespoons of soy sauce with dark soy sauce.
Honey Garlic Tofu (Super Easy Pan Fried Recipe)

β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…Did you try this recipe? Please give a star rating in the comments below β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

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Author profile photo

Hi! I’m Sheeba, welcome to Go Healthy ever after!

I have a passion for cooking delicious nourishing food that’s easy to cook with fresh natural ingredients free from additives or preservatives. The easy healthy recipes you find here will inspire you to cook with creativity.

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20 thoughts on “Honey Garlic Tofu (Super Easy Pan Fried Recipe)”

  1. 5 stars
    We really enjoyed this recipe. I used chilli oil in place of dried chilli and used agave in place of honey as I’m vegan. I served it with brown rice and stir-fried pak choi & edamame. Delicious.

    1. Thank you, Lucy! Chilli oil with honey garlic tofu sounds delicious. That’s a healthy and yummy dinner. I’m so inspired, will try to pair with pak choy and edamame next time I make this tofu.

  2. 5 stars
    My husband went vegetarian this year so I’ve been looking for tofu recipes we can all enjoy. This was absolutely amazing! Even great cold the next day. Thank you so much!

  3. 5 stars
    I never cooked tofu before so I tried to follow the recipe exactly, although my tofu came as a 1 block of that size so I quartered it to get it the size in the photo. I was terrified after frying to see it was rock hard and looked inedible. I worried I might’ve cut it too thin for that cook time. I hoped it was supposed to soften in the sauce but I was doubtful it was salvageable. Thankfully, that’s exactly what happened and it was great! It might be good to mention that part otherwise some folks might throw it out after frying, especially if they’re also tofu noobs like me.

    1. Thank you for the feedback! Yes, the sauce does the trick. Pan-frying makes tofu crispy on the outside and the sauce flavors and softens it up.

  4. No instruction on how high to put the burner and how long to cook the tofu on each side. The cornstarch on the tofu quickly stuck to the pan and I was left with unseasoned tofu cooking

    1. Hi Sam,
      Thank you for reaching out.
      Cook tofu on medium-high flame for about 4-5 minutes each side. If it is not browned to your satisfaction, flip and fry for 2-3 minutes more until browned. For this recipe, it is a must to use a non-stick wok/pan for frying.
      I’m so sorry, I had mentioned that inside the post but forgot to add it to the recipe card. Will update the instructions right away.
      I know, I’ve experienced that (when I used a low-quality wok to fry). It defeats the purpose and you’re left with bland mushy tofu instead of sweet and sour crisp tofu.

      If you don’t have a non-stick pan, use more oil to fry in a regular pan. For this recipe, you’ll need double the quantity (1/4 cup or 4 tablespoons).

      Hope I’ve answered your questions. Please feel free to reach out if you have more.

  5. 5 stars
    I added 1/3 cup of pure honey from our bees
    After the garlic I added thin slices of one red onion
    When I served I added on top fresh tomatoes slices and mini cucumber slices

    Excellent

    1. Ainsley Spencer

      Our local Asian food store sells ready fried tofu (may be a cheat but much easier!), so used it with this sauce and served with kimchi fried rice – absolutely delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

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