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!
About the recipe
Pan-fried tofu can be tricky to make. It may turn out either bland or a soggy mess, depending on what recipe you are trying to follow.
I’ve been there and have failed multiple times. That was until I figured out a few ways to make tofu taste so good. 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 recipe!
Not a tofu person?
This honey soy tofu stir fry 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.
Why you’ll love this easy honey glazed tofu
- Healthy one pan tofu stir fry.
- Crispy tofu bites, achieved with minimum amount of oil.
- Simple 5-ingredient sauce with tons of flavor.
- Lots of delicious sauce to eat with steaming boiled rice!
- 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.
- Toasted sesame seeds and green onions for garnish
- Sauce ingredients:
- 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.
How to make honey garlic tofu- step by step
(You can find the exact measurements and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this page.)
How to press tofu
Unlike the chili garlic tofu, for this recipe, tofu has to be pressed to draw out all the water. This ensures that tofu turns out crispy when pan-fried.
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.
How to slice tofu
Slice each tofu block horizontally into half. Slice each half into 9 pieces. Slicing tofu like this instead of cubes makes it easier to fry and flip.
More surface area exposed to oil = crispier tofu!
How to pan fry tofu
Sprinkle cornflour, pepper and salt on the tofu slices and toss gently until all the pieces are covered. A tiny step, but seasoning the cornflour adds to the flavor.
Heat oil in a wide pan and pan-fry tofu in batches, without overcrowding. Cook on medium-high flame 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 well browned, flip again and fry 3-5 minutes more. This way the tofu slices 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 honey garlic sauce
Mix all ingredients for the sauce and keep aside.
Heat the same pan used for frying tofu. The oil sticking to the bottom of the pan is enough to fry garlic.
Fry the garlic on a low flame 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. Once it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, turn off the heat. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and green onions.
- 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!)
- Oil: If you’re using a regular pan (without non-stick coating) use double the quantity of oil, 1/4 cup for this recipe.
- 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.
- 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 🙂
- Soy sauce: For a deeper color and flavor, replace 2 tablespoons of soy sauce with dark soy sauce.
If you love this recipe, you might want to try the Singapore fried bee hoon.
More tofu recipes
More vegetarian recipes
Chana Aloo Masala (Indian Chickpea and Potato Curry)
Red Lentil Salad with Lemon Honey Dressing
Easy Tandoori Paneer Tikka on Tawa
Boiled Egg Masala Fry
★★★★★Did you try this recipe? Please give a star rating in the comments below ★★★★★
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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.
20 thoughts on “Pan Fried Honey Garlic Tofu”
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.
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.
How did you make the bok Choi and edame
Hi Julie, you can check out my tofu bok choy stir-fry recipe. Just add edamame and leave out tofu!
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!
Thank you for visiting! I’m glad you and your husband liked the recipe! This is an absolute favorite at my home too 🙂
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Onions and more honey sound delicious! Congrats, you made a meal out of the recipe!
Gosh, this looks glossy and glorious. I’ve got loads of tofu in the freezer, I really should dig some out!
Thanks, Chloe! Please let me know how it turned out for you!
Wow looks so good !! Will give it a try
Thank you, Hannah! Glad to hear that!
Love the flavours you’ve used and that shine on the sauce looks great!
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!
Kimchi fried rice and honey garlic tofu sound quite interesting! Thank you, Ainsley!